Let’s go the Mysterious world of Snakes this Nag Panchami
Each of our festivals bring us closer to nature and the other beings. Right after celebrating the monsoons with Hariyali Teej – a festival of prosperity and showing gratitude for the rains; we also acknowledge and honour the clan of mystical creatures known as serpents of Sarp (in Sanskrit).
From our history to the present ecology, snakes play an important role in the physical as well as mental realm of our universe.
As per various ancient texts Nagas are described as a powerful, splendid, wonderful and proud semi-divine race that can be present in their physical form either as human, partial human-serpent or a complete serpent.
Although their venomous nature makes them dangerous but they have used that to contribute towards protecting treasures in various realms and providing support in many other forms.
Sage Patanjali, who gifted us with the famous Yog Sutras, is also known to be a manifestation of the serpent of eternity.
Naga Panchami – a day when we worship Nagas or snakes on the fifth day of bright half of lunar month of Shravana. It is observed throughout India, Nepal, and other countries where Hindu adherents live. Some Indian states, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat, celebrate this festival Krishna Paksha(descending moon days) of the same month.
Being an ancient festival, there are various stories / rationales for celebrating the festival, lets look at a few –
Starting with the planet earth, during monsoons like other reptiles snakes also come out of their abode underground. Their presence can be alarming and if we don’t understand their nature it can lead to conflict. Therefore, this festival helps us understand and respect these creatures to help live in harmony.
Secondly in the mental / spiritual realm, snake also represents the Kundalini Shakti (the 7 energy chakras) and is the ornament of Lord Shiva. It’s a metaphor depicting uncontrolled desires which can be checked through the practice of Yog. Matsya Purana also mentions that Lord Shiva should be garlanded with snakes.
It is also said to represent the endless cycle of birth and regeneration. In vedic schools, Sarpa (snake) were also used to express the flow/ wave of Energy; another example of the closely woven educational system that creates wholistic learning in sync with the environment.
There are various ways / rituals observed to celebrate this day, you can read a few here – LINK
You can chose to celebrate the way that agrees with you, but don’t forget the essence of the festival which is to respect this beautiful and mysterious species.