Naga worship- geopiety

Naga worship people of tulu-malaylabelieve that the earth is held to gather by sa-akarshana– symbolized by the snake sankarshana, or the geomagnetic force. When we talk of nagaworship we are essentially talking about the earth worship. The cult of the naga is strongest at Tulu-Malayala the land recovered by Parashurama the son of Renuka-renu (sand/earth} again the earth motif. Ants are pointers to fertile soil, and the snakes who enter the hive afterwards symbolize the conversion of “Bhu” to “Shri” the wealth, hence another reason for them to be the keepers of wealth. It is believed that the nagas are all on the surface of the earth on the day of the nagapanchami after which they return to patala their residence. Milk and honey is offered to ensure nutrients which are convey to the patala through the sea– this is also a way of improving the nutrient value of the earth. Entire month of atti no farming work is done for the fear of killing the snake, even on nagapanchami, no farming or digging work is done for the fear of killing a snake. Tulu malayala also has other beliefs like a tawa is not warmed as the emerging fumes might irritate the delicate skin of the snake. The worship ritual in itself takes place in a groove housing an anthill. Milk and hone;y are no doubt offered. But no kumkum is applied as the lime in the kumkum might irritate the skin of the snake. Since this kind of co-habitation with nature is not seen in the high lands, images of snakes are made of flour, and worshiped, neither is there a ban on use of kumkum. At the end of the day the image is immersed into a water body. Offerings for the day are also such that the toothless reptile can eat it, the dish is called halubayi( will post the recipe tomorrow) the normal delicacy the rice noodle is not made as it is snake like in appearance. If one sees a dead snake particularly a cobra, it has to be given a funeral ritual that is simlar to the that of a brahmin. Astrologically all troubles created by the Rahu- element which is represented by the snake head, can be absolved by appeasing Naga. The ailments of the nerves and skin are also sarpadosha’s. The skin shedding invader of an anthill is thus honored by the traditions of geopiety.

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