July 21, 2024, Sunday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Naga Panchami: the message of maintaining ecological balance

The Nepal Weekly
August 22, 2023

Nags are believed to be deity snakes or holy snakes, who have special roles in the Hindu mythologies. Nag Pachami is regarded as the day of snakes, who reside in the lower world. Nags are worshiped on this day across Nepal and India as well. Nag Panchami or the day of Nag falls on Shrawan Shukla Panchami or the fifth day following the dark fortnight or Aunshi as per the Lunar calendar. This year the Nag Panchami was observed on Monday, the 4th of Bhadra. There are various mythological beliefs about Nagpanchami celebration.

According to the Mahabharata epic, Lord Krishna conquered Kalia Nag, the huge poisonous snake, and put an end to his evil deeds on the day of Shrawan Shukla Panchami. People believe that is the reason why people started celebrating this panchami as Nag Panchami. Tens of thousands of years ago Kathmandu valley was a big lake. Nags became very angry when human drained the lake to make it livable. To protect themselves against the anger of Nags, people allocated certain areas for the nags, and promised to worship them on the day, returning harmony in nature, according to another mythohlogy.

According to one Purana, Lord Bhrama’s son Kashyap rishi had thirteen wives namely Aditi, Dit, Kadru, Danu, Arishta, Surasa, Sauravi, Vinata, Tamra, Krodhavasa, Ida, Khasa, and Muni. Aditi gave birth to Devta, Diti to Garud, Kadroo to Nags, Danu to Daitya.

Those Nags were the rulers of Patal lok or the underground world. The great eight nags are Ananta, Vashuki, Padhmanavha, Kambala, Shankhapala, Dhartarashtra, Takshaka, and Kaliya. These Nags were very powerful and worshiped.

Here is the mantra which is recited on the occasion of Naga Panchami.

Anantam Basukim Shesha Padmanabham cha Kambalam,

Shankhapalam Dhartarashtram Takshakam Kaliyam tatha

Etani Nawanamanim naganam cha mahatmanam,

Sanyakale pathennityam prata kale visheshata,

Tasmai vishabhayam nasti sarvatra vijayi bhavet.

According to another Purana the earth was lifted by Shesh Nag on his head, when Lord Vishnu was sleeping on its coil inside the Ocean.

Scripture explains that without Nags’ help there will be no rain. So people worship Nags asking for rain. They offer prayers to Nags, and place food items such as milk and honey in their fields for Nags. People make cottons garland, use cow dung, rice and vermilion powder and worship the picture of Nag, which is placed on their main gate for the purpose of protection from harmful spirits.

In fact, the Hindus worship different types of animals and birds including cow, dog, crow, snake and so on to spread the message of maintaining harmony in nature. In fact, the Naga becomes angry when we don’t take care of the environment and thereby causing drought. Now a days we are very much concerned about climate change and the impacts of climate change is already creating troubles to human beings in the form of drought in some place while flood in other place. Thus, our scriptures teach us to maintain ecological balance recognizing the importance of each and every creature on this earth. If we strike a balance in the eco-system and maintain biodiversity our life could be safe and easy going.