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India celebrates Nag Panchami: Traditional Worship of Snakes as per Hindu Rituals

Sawan month of the Hindu Calendar, Shukla Paksha Panchami is also observed as Nag Panchami and falls two days after Hariyali Teej. This year it will be on August 7

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Snakestone in South India. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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It is the diverse customs and traditions, that makes India lively and vibrant to the world. Celebrating these festivals bring one closer to the traditional and cultural values and also a sense of belonging to the community or place. Similarly, one such festival is Nag Panchami that is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm across India and also in Nepal to please the serpent Gods and seek their blessings.

During Sawan month of the Hindu Calendar, Shukla Paksha Panchami is also observed as Nag Panchami and falls two days after Hariyali Teej. This year, in 2016, India celebrates Nag Panchami on August 7.

On the day of the festival, they worship of snakes or serpents. According to the Hindu Calender on the fifth day of the bright half lunar month of Shravan. It is observed that devotees usually worship King Cobra.

The ancient literature says Kashyapa, son of Great Lord Brahma, the creator of the dynasty had four consorts. The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining the three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, Daityas.

The Third wife of Brahma was Kadru who belonged to the Naga race of the Pitru Loka. She gave birth to the Nagas among the other three, the remaining three gave birth to Devas, Garuda, and Daityas. The Epic Story of Mahabharata mentions, Astika, the Brahmin son of Jaratkarus, who spotted the Sarpa Satra of Janamejaya, king of the Kuru Empire, that lasted for 12 long years.

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Yagna was performed by Janamejaya to decimate the race of all snakes, to avenge the death of his father Parikshit due to snake bite off of Takshaka, the King of snakes. The day fire sacrifice was stopped, due to the intervention of Astika was on the Shukla Paksha Panchami day in the month of Shravan when Takshaka and his remaining races at that time were saved from decimation by the shape Satra Yana. From that day, the festival of Nag Panchami is celebrated in all over India and Nepal.

In the famous Changu Narayan Temple in Nepal- there is a statue of Garuda, the son of Second wife of Brahma.

Nag Panchami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Nag Panchami. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu mythology, Naga Panchami has great importance in the Mahabharata. Even Indian Mythological scriptures such as Narada Purana, Agni Purana, and Skanda Purana give details of the history of snakes extolling the worship of snakes.

In India Several Hindu human tribes are known as “Nagas”. It is a belief among the people of this community that prayers offered to snakes would please the Nag Devta.

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  • Nag Chaturthi: People observe a fast on the day prior to Nag Panchami. Fasting before Nag Panchami is known as Nag Chavithi. This ritual of fasting in Andhra Pradesh is Observed after Diwali.
  • Nag Pancham: Nag Panchami in Gujarat is also known as Nag Pancham. In Gujarat, Nag Panchami is observed in 15 days after it is celebrated in all the other states of India.

– Prepared by Shweta Maheshwari, a NewsGram writer

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  • AJ Krish

    The worship of snakes is seen in almost every temple. There are even large temples constructed for its worship.

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#MeToo Movement Shows The Decaying Soul of India: Mahesh Bhatt

These are larger issues. The soul of the country is decaying. We are far away from what we claim to be. And cases like this only put spotlight on that," added the director

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Nana Patekat, Metoo, Women
#MeToo movement shows India's soul is decaying: Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt

On the one hand, Indians bow down to a goddess to pray and on another some people violate women. This dichotomy in India is creating a mess of things, says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, who feels Indians are far from what we claim to be.

“The #MeToo movement cannot be resolved through the court of public opinion. There are people standing up for something. I would say more power to women who scream from the rooftop about something wrong done to them — whether it is after 10 years or 20 or 50… It doesn’t make a difference,” Bhatt told IANS in an interview when he was in the city to promote “Jalebi”.

“You cannot deny the right to individuals to say what they say. But the question is whether the quotes are in sync with the legal system, which is based on a certain understanding. Are they in sync with this so-called enlightened new view that we have? If punitive action is not taken, the cynicism that nothing happens would be reinforced,” he added.

women
The dichotomy is what has made a mess of things.

 

The #MeToo movement in India started in September after Tanushree Dutta recounted an unpleasant episode with veteran actor Nana Patekar on the sets of “Horn ‘OK’ Pleassss” in 2008.

After that, a slew of controversies surrounding Vikas Bahl, Chetan Bhagat, Gursimran Khamba, Kailash Kher, Rajat Kapoor, Alok Nath and Sajid Khan have emerged.

“There is only one thing you can’t use this #MeToo movement for (and that is) settling old relationship issues. You cannot categorise that.

“There is domestic violence which is there between married people or lovers. There can be sexual misconduct which can be tackled legally. But we are talking about sexual harassment which is another case. Women need to handle that very responsibly,” Bhatt said.

The director feels it is time to ask a “deeper question”.

#MeToo, women
Bollywood actress Tanushree Datta presents a creation by designer Sanjeet Anand at the Bangalore Fashion Week in Bangalore, India. VOA

“During Durga Puja, you bow down to the deity which was created by this great story of male gods putting their best to create her so that she can kill the demon to save the world and heaven from the wrath of that demon. It is time to understand that you support the woman and let her retain her dignity or she will perish.

“The question is, ‘Do you really view women in the form of the goddess you worship in the temple’. Because in private life you violate them.”

He said “there is a kind of dichotomy”.

“The dichotomy is what has made a mess of things. We have an idea about ourselves and the reality is quite different from the idea. Look at what you are doing to women. There are issues which cannot be resolved themselves within a time frame of a week, a month or a year.

Nana Patekat, Metoo, Women
#MeToo movement is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017. Flickr

“These are larger issues. The soul of the country is decaying. We are far away from what we claim to be. And cases like this only put spotlight on that,” added the director, who has helmed projects like “Arth”, “Saaransh”, “Naam”, “Sadak”, “Junoon” and “Papa Kahte Hain”.

As a film producer, how does he ensure a safe workplace for women?

Also Read: India’s #MeToo Movement Makes The Most Glamorous Industry Its Subject Of Scrutiny

“Human beings are vulnerable to all this and more. But I can only say that you lead by example. You set the tone about what the morality of the house is going to be. I have enough women force. I have my own daughter (Pooja), who is a tough chick. I have my sister who is hands-on. I have my niece.”

“If there is any outrage anywhere, I think there are enough pockets to bring out what is happening,” added Bhatt , who will be back as a director with “Sadak 2”. (IANS)