Nagabana Bennekudru
Nagabana Bennekudru


August 7th 2016

The worship of the snake god happens all over India and other indigenous  cultures. In the Tulu – Malayala region it is very vibrant since it is essentially the snake territory. We have the cult of Nagamandala, the Nagapatri and other folk rituals which tell the stories connecting nature-animal-man.  Most families are associated with nagabana or  snake hives.

The worship could rise from the belief that the earth is held together by Sa-akarshana the geomagnetic force that is symbolized by the snake sankarshana.  So snake worship is a form of earth worship, where clusters of old trees are found.

The motif of earth-soil and fertility keeps popping up along the  coast, the land being created or reclaimed by Parashurama the son of Renuka  while Renu is also the essence of sand or soil. Goa at one end of the Parashuramakshetra has satteri the anthill in this folk religion tradition for ants are pointers to fertile soil. Once the ants move on, the snakes arrive indicating that the Bhu is now ready to turn to Shri. So snakes are always known as the keepers of wealth.

shed snake skin
shed snake skin

It is believed that the snakes return to Patala after nagapanchami, though I am not really sure when they emerge from there, anyway ritual offerings are made to ensure that the snake has enough nourishment for the journey through the sea.  So a symbolic stone is consecrated with milk, coconut water and water, soft offerings are made of traditional food like chikkli, tambittu and halubai. Nagapanchami also heralds the end of the period of where farm work particularly digging is a taboo. The belief is one might accidently kill a snake or be killed by one.

Nagabana - Kadekaar
Nagabana – Kadekaar

There some interesting rituals like not using the kumkum, or heating oil in a pan for the it might irritate the skin of  the snake.

The snake is believed to be natures equivalent of a Brahmin, probably because it the knowledge that recognizes fertile soil, the belief is so strong that if one sees a dead snake particularly a cobra it is given a human funeral.

Astrologically when the asteroid Rahu snake headed goes off balance then he is appeased by making offerings to the snake.

Ailments  of the nerves and skins are sarpadosha or the effect of the element of snake.

Eminent snakes in Hindu mythology

Worship of snakes in other cultures

Nagarapanchami worship of snakes

Naga preeta bhavanti shantimapnoti via viboh
Sashanti lok ma sadhya modate shashttih samh

Let all be blessed by the snake goddess, let everyone obtain peace
Let all live peacefully without any turbulence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: