Nag Panchami: Significance And Rituals
Naga Panchami is a traditional worship of snakes or serpents observed by Hindus throughout India, Nepal and other countries where Hindu adherents live. The worship is offered on the fifth day of the bright half of Lunar month of Shravana (July/August), according to the Hindu calendar. People make snakes out of clay, giving them different forms and colours. These serpent models are placed on a dais and offered milk. In some parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, there are permanent temples of Serpent-Gods and special pooja is performed with pomp and grandeur. There is special importance of snake-charmers too on this day, as they are offered milk and money. Digging of the earth is strictly forbidden on this day. In West Bengal, the Hindus worship 'Devi Manasha' with 'Ashta Naag', the Snake-Goddess on this tithi. Nag Panchami in 2019 will be celebrated on August 5.
Nag Panchami Vrat or fast is observed on the Panchami of the bright half of the month of Shravan. According to Garuda Puran, paintings of 'Nag' should be drawn on either side of the entrance (of the home) and worshipped. This is also known as 'Bhitti Chitre Nag Puja'. Women offer food, laddoos and kheer (typical dish made with the mixture of rice, milk and sugar) to Brahmins. Similar food is also offered to snakes and snake charmers.
The Story Behind The Nag Panchami Festival
There are many stories behind the observance of Nag Panchami. The story mentioned below may interest you.
Once upon a time, there lived a peasant who had two sons and one daughter. One day, while the peasant was ploughing the field, the plough ran over three baby snakes, eventually killing them. On seeing the death of her sons, the mother serpent lamented her sons' death and decided to take revenge on the peasant. In the middle of the night, when the peasant and his family were asleep, the mother-serpent entered their house and bit the peasant, his wife and two sons. As a result, all of them died except the daughter. Next morning mother-serpent again entered the house to kill the peasant's daughter. She was very intelligent and hence, to propitiate the mother-snake offered her a bowlful of milk, and with folded hands requested her to forgive her father for the death of her beloved sons. She welcomed the serpent and asked it to forgive her parents. Mother serpent was very pleased by this gesture and brought back to life the peasant, his wife and two sons whom she bit the previous night. Also, mother serpent gave blessings with a promise that on Shravan Shukla Panchami, the women who will worship a snake shall be protected for seven generations. Know your future, as per Indian Astrology.
That was the day of Nag Panchami, and since then snakes are worshipped to avoid snake bites. This tithi is also celebrated as 'Kalki Jayanti'. On this special day, people influenced by Kaal Sarpa Dosha of Rahu and Ketu should also worship 'Ashta Nag' with 'Sarpa Sutra' and 'Nag Gayatri' to get rid of ill effects of this Dosha.
Nag Gayatri Mantra :
Om Navkullaya Vidmahe Vishdantaaye Dhimahee Tanno Sarpah Prachodayat.
With Ganesha's Grace,
The GaneshaSpeaks.com Team