According to Garuda Purana offering prayers to snake on this day is auspicious and will usher good tidings in one’s life. This is to be followed by feeding Brahmins. According to Garuda Purana offering prayers to snake on this day is auspicious and will usher good tidings in one’s life. This is to be followed by feeding Brahmins.
In the Mahabharata epic, Janamejeya, the son of King Parikshit of Kuru dynasty was performing a snake sacrifice known as Sarpa Satra, to avenge for the death of his father from a snake bite by the snake king called Taksaka. A sacrificial fireplace had been specially erected and the fire sacrifice to kill all snakes in the world was started by a galaxy of learned Brahmin sages. The sacrifice performed in the presence of Janamejaya was so powerful that it was causing all snakes to fall into the Yagna kunda (sacrificial fire pit). When the priests found that only Takshaka who had bitten and killed Parisksihit had escaped to the nether world of Indra seeking his protection, the sages increased the tempo of reciting the mantras (spells) to drag Takshaka and also Indra to the sacrificial fire. Takshaka had coiled himself around Indra’s cot but the force of the sacrificial yagna was so powerful that even Indra along with Takshaka were dragged towards the fire. This scared the gods who then appealed to Manasadevi to intervene and resolve the crisis. She then requested her son Astika to go to the site of the yagna and appeal to Janamejaya to stop the Sarpa Satra yagna. Astika impressed Janamejaya with his knowledge of all the Sastras (scriptures) who granted him to seek a boon. It was then that Astika requested Janamejeya to stop the Sarpa Satra. Since the king was never known to refuse a boon given to a Brahmin, he relented, in spite of protects by the rishis performing the yagna. The yagna was then stopped and thus the life of Indra and Takshaka and his other serpent race were spared. This day, according to the Hindu Calendar, happened to be Nadivardhini Panchami (fifth day of bright fortnight of the lunar month of Shravan during the monsoon season) and since then the day is a festival day of the Nagas as their life was spared on this day. Indra also went to Manasadevi and worshipped her.
How to Celebrate
Nag Panchami is celebrated throughout India; however, more festivities are seen in the south than in the north.
The village of Baltis Shirale, which is situated approximately 400 kilometers (approximately 250 miles) from Mumbai, conducts the most outstanding of all the celebrations.
Reportedly, the largest collection of snakes in the world can be found in Baltis Shirale. Visitors from all over the world gather in the village to worship live snakes. Interestingly, despite no venom being removed from the snakes, no one has ever been bitten.
Other popular areas of worship during the Nag Panchami include:
* Adiesha Temple in Andhra Pradesh
* Nagaraja Temple in Kerala
* Nagathamman Temple in Chennai
* Hardevja Temple in Jaipur.
In Bengal and parts of Assam and Orissa the blessings of Mansa, the queen of serpents are sought by offering her all the religious adoration. Protection from the harmful influence of snakes is sought through the worship of Mansa who rules supreme over the entire clan of serpents. On this occasion snake-charmers are also requisitioned to invoke the Snake Queen by playing lilting and melodious tunes on their flutes.
In Punjab Nag-Panchami is known by the name of "Guga-Navami". A huge snake is shaped from dough, which is kneaded from the contribution of flour and butter from every household. The dough-snake is then placed on a winnowing basket and taken round the village in a colourful procession in which women and children sing and dance and onlookers shower flowers. When the procession reaches the main square of the village all the religious rites are performed to invoke the blessings of the snake god and then the dough snake is ceremoniously buried.
In Maharashtra, Hindu women take an early bath wear their "nav-vari" - nine yards-sarees, put on ornaments and get ready for the "puja" of Nag-Devata. Snake charmers are seen sitting by the roadsides or moving about from one place to another with their baskets that hold dangerous snakes that are their pets. While playing the lingering melodious notes on their flutes, they beckon devotees with their calls -"Nagoba-la dudh de Mayi" (give milk to the Cobra Oh Mother!) On hearing that call, women come out of their houses and then the snake-charmers take out of the snakes from their baskets. Women sprinkle haldi-kumkum and flowers on the heads of the snakes and offer sweetened milk to the snakes and pray. Cash and old clothes are also given to the snake-charmers. Bowls of milk are also placed at the places which are likely haunts of the snakes.
Elderly women draw pictures of five-headed cobras on wooden planks, recite mantras and pray. The daughters wash the eyes of their fathers with rose flowers dipped in milk and then receive gifts from their fathers. In Hindu homes frying any thing on this day is forbidden by tradition.
The most fantastic celebrations of Nag-Panchami are seen in the village of Baltis Shirale which is 70 Kilometres from Sangli and 400 Kilometres from Mumbai. There people pray to live cobras that they catch on the eve of this pre-harvest festival. About a week before this festival, dig out live snakes from holes and keep those in covered earthen pots and these snakes are fed with rats and milk. Their poison-containing fangs are not removed because the people of this village believe that to hurt the snakes is sacrilegious. Yet it is amazing that these venomous cobras do not bite instead protect their prospective worshipers.
On the day of the actual festival the people accompanied by youngsters, dancing to the tune of musical band carry the pots on their heads in a long procession to the sacred-temple of goddess Amba and after the ritual worship the snakes are taken out from the pots and set free in the temple courtyard. Then every cobra is made to raise its head by swinging a white-painted bowl, filled with pebbles in front. The Pandit sprinkles haldi-kumkum and flowers on their raised heads. After the puja they are offered plenty of milk and honey.
Naag Panchami Vrat (Fast)
(To abstain from snake bite)
It is believed that by observing this fast and by worshipping snake God( Naag devta) on this day he
gets pleased and gives his blessings to his devotees. If one observes this fast his next seven generations
won’t have the fear of snake bite. By listening Naag Panchami Vrata Katha all sorts of sins get destroyed.
Method of Observing Naag Panchami Vrat
This fast is observed on the Panchami of bright half of month of Shravna. According to Garurh Purana the pictures of Naagas should be drawn on the both side of the house and be worshipped. Same Puja can be done on the Panchami of every month because Panchami Tithi is ruled by Naag Devta. Offer food, Laddus and kheer (typical Indian dish made with the mixture of rice, milk and sugar) to Brahmins. On this day digging of land after sunset is not allowed.
"Om Kurukulye Hoong Phatt Swaha"
Naag devtaa Trahimaan, Pahimaam (2)
Hey Vishnu ko saiyaa, Pay sunanay walay
Hey Shankar ke gale ko sananay walay
Naag devtaa Trahimaan…
Komal komal anga tihara (2), Shaam rang tora naage pyara
Jhilmil jhilmil chaal tiharee, Jaise jumana jal ki dhaara
Hey jhoomte hazaro phanowalay, Hey sheesta pay basee -
Ko uthanay walay, Naag devta Trahimaan…
Soyay balak royay maata (2), Ya kaisa anyaaya bidhataa
Yay balak hai tun palak ho (2), Praan daan doh jivan data
Hey visha-amrit ko patanay walay, Hey bhagaton ki laaj -
Bachanay walay, Naag devta Trahimaan…