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July 27 is Nag Panchami : Here’s Why Summoning the Serpent God is of Significance in this Hindu Festival

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Women shower flowers, rice and turmeric powder over snake deities in reverence of the gods. Wikimedia
  • Rich mythological background of Hindu culture believes there exist seven realms of universe below the earth
  • Snakes have a momentous part in holy Hindu scriptures
  • Nag Panchami is celebrated to seek defense against serpent gods

New Delhi, July 26, 2017: 

In the land of snake charmers, man has always lived to strike harmony with the environment. Keeping this in view, Nag Panchami is celebrated to appease the serpent gods throughout India, Nepal, and places with Hindu populations. This year, July 27, marks Nag Panchami and is celebrated with zeal and fervour.

Snakes comprise a significant space in Hindu mythology as they are considered the residents of the Patal Lok or Nag Lok. Thus, they are worshiped seeking protection of the family and the community in totality.

Nag Panchami is one of the lesser known Hindu festivals.
Nag Panchami is popularly celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm. Wikimedia

Date and Day 

Nag Panchami is observed on the fifth day of Shukla Paksha (the waxing moon) during the month of Shravana (Sawan) according to the traditional Hindu calendar. Normally, Nag Panchami falls two days after Hariyali Teej.

The festival is celebrated during the monsoon months because that is when snakes are most apparent after their underground homes are filled with water.

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The Story Behind the Festival

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.

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.

Rituals 

The Puja on Nag Panchami is conducted either at home, or at temples where women bathe deities of the serpent gods with water and milk, and decorate them with flowers and turmeric. Mansa Devi, the snake goddess is especially offered prayers on this day.

Snake charmers are often seen roaming around the city with their pet defanged snakes, playing local tunes on flutes, praising the serpent gods. Women often shower these snakes with flowers, rice, and turmeric powder, and give them sweetened milk as an offering to the gods. At places where snakes are uncommon, milk bowls are placed outside, hoping for the reptiles to visit and accept the offering.

In some places, it is a common practice to draw images of the Navnag with turmeric or red sandalwood, which is then worshiped. The Navnag comprises of nine snakes –

  1. Ananta
  2. Vasuki
  3. Shesha
  4. Padmanabha
  5. Kambala
  6. Shankhapala
  7. Dhritarashtra
  8. Takshaka
  9. Kalia

Nag Chaturthi – In some regions, fasting is observed a day before Nag Panchami. In Andhra Pradesh, it is observed just after Diwali. In Gujarat, it is called Nag Pancham and is usually observed three days before Krishna Janmashtami.

Nag Panchami Puja Muhurat – 07:01 to 08:25
Panchami Tithi Begins – 07:01 on July 27, 2017
Panchami Tithi Ends – 06:38 on July 28, 2017
(24-hour clock with local time of Delhi and DST)

 

– by Soha Kala for NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


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Next Story

Know How Each Community in India Celebrates Hindu New Year

It is a celebration of life; however, it is not a celebration of its creator

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new beginning
Jhulelal, the Ishta Devta of the Sindhi Hindus.

By: Jatin Damudre

Many communities in India celebrate their New Year on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada (First day of the month of Chaitra of Hindu Lunar Calendar). Marathi community celebrate it as Gudi Padwa, the Kanada and Telgu community celebrate it as Ugadi, Sindhi community celebrate it as Cheti Chand. Every community has their unique way of celebrating this festival, but for all it is a day of New beginning; the day when Lord Brahma created this Universe.

Unlike the rest of the world, which welcomes and celebrates New year on 31st December, on cold winter nights (except Australia), the Hindus prefer the warmth of the spring celebrating, at sunrise, where the molten ice has made the soil moist, tiny blades of grass have covered the earth, trees are festooned with leaves, flowers and fruits. It is a celebration of life; however, it is not a celebration of its creator. Surprisingly Hindu’s don’t worship the Creator of Universe Lord Brahma.

new beginning
12th-century Brahma with missing book and water pot, Cambodia. (Wikipedia)

Throughout puranic stories, Brahma has either been cursed to never have been worshipped, or he has had his head cut off. This is a subtle reminder to each one of us, in our own way, to be the creator and maintainer of our own life-long journey, so that people find us worthy of their acknowledgement, unlike Brahma, who has been forgotten.

The seed of creation is desire and the god of desire is Kama. However, Shiva burns Kama to ashes, which I see as a subtler reminder to keep our intentions pure and genuine.

new beginning
Traditional Gudhi.

In a Marathi household, the day is celebrated by erecting Gudi, which stands tall on a wooden base with an offering of coconut and beetlenut. It is a wooden stick on which hangs, a sugar string, neem leaves, marigold flowers, a cloth with a border and an inverted kalash. The wooden base represents stability in life, while the coconut represents knowledge, the beetlenut is your commitment. The stick represents your strength, a bordered cloth represents prosperity, the sugar string is sweetness of life and bitter neem leaves offer health and immunity, the marigold flowers represents fruition of every task under taken and the kalash is achievement. The traditional meal of the day is Shrikhand- Puri which one relishes in the company of family and friends.

new beginning
The traditional meal of the day is Shrikhand- Puri which one relishes in the company of family and friends.

Meanwhile, as you are researching and seeking your own help, here are a couple of tips that can help you for your new beginnings:
# Let bygones be bygones – make peace with the past, ask forgiveness if need be.
# Set yourself free from guilt and self-criticism.
# Face your fears
# Let go of the things beyond your control
# Clean your clutter, it will refresh your mind
# Find time to connect with yourself and disconnect with the world, like taking a day off from your phone or the internet.

Originally Published by hinducouncil.com