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Manasa Devi is also known as the snake Goddess who is worshipped mainly in Bengal and other North-Eastern states of India. It is believed that Goddess Manasa is the one who controls all the snakes on Earth and a snake bite can be cured by worshipping Her. People also worship Goddess Manasa for fertility and prosperity.
According to the legends Goddess Manasa is the daughter of Lord Shiva. However some scriptures suggest that She was the daughter of Sage Kashyapa and is distantly related to Shiva. She is the sister of Vasuki and wife to Sage Jaratkaru. Due to the confusion in Her parentage, Goddess Manasa has been denied the position which other deities enjoy. Hence, She is an extremely furious Goddess for those who refuse to worship Her while extremely kind to those who worship Her with devotion.
Let us find out about the whole story of Manasa Devi, the snake Goddess.
According to scriptures the parentage of Manasa Devi is under confusion. Some legends suggest that She was born to Sage Kashyap and Kadru who was the sister of serpent-king Sesha. While some other scriptures suggest that Manasa was Lord Shiva's daughter. But popular stories suggest that Manasa was born from Sage Kashyapa's mind. Hence Her name is 'Manasa' meaning born out of mind.
Rejected By Husband
According to the Puranas, Sage Kashyapa married Goddess Manasa to Sage Jaratkaru who married Her on a condition. Jaratkaru said that if Manasa ever disobeys him, then he will desert Her. Once Goddess Manasa awakened Jaratkaru very late in the morning and he was late for his morning prayers. He became furious at Manasa and deserted Her. Later he came back and they had a son named Astika.
A Powerful Demi-goddess
Goddess Manasa is the presiding deity of the snakes. According to the folklores of Bengal, Manasa was the one who saved Lord Shiva from the deadly poison. She is very kind and loving towards Her devotees and is equally destructive to those who refuse to worship Her.
The Snake Goddess
Manasa is depicted as a graceful Goddess adorned with the ornaments which are actually snakes. She sits on a lotus under a hooded canopy of the seven cobras. She is often portrayed as a 'one-eyed Goddess' or sometimes with Her son Astika on Her lap.
Goddess Manasa is generally worshipped during the rainy season because the snakes are more active during the time. The cult of Manasa Devi is mainly concentrated in the North-East region of India. She is an important deity worshipped for fertility, getting cured of snake bites and also to get rid of diseases like smallpox, chicken pox etc.