The festival of Naga Panchami falls on the fifth day of the Shravana month during Shukla Paksha. This festival, dedicated wholly to the serpents, is celebrated as one of the most popular festivals in the month of Shravana.
During this season, snakes come out of their nests and burrows. The Shravana month is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Snakes are dear to Lord Shiva; snakes are worshipped to please Lord Shiva. For them not to harm humans when they come out due to the rains, they are worshipped on Naag Panchami.
Along with this, they are also given a bath in milk. Here we would like to mention that many people offer milk to snakes, which is believed to be a wrong practise, as snakes cannot digest milk. Rather, our scriptures mention that the snakes should be given a bath in milk and not served milk for drinking.
Benefits Of Observing Naag Panchami
It is believed that worshipping a snake on Naag Panchami helps remove poverty. It is also believed to give the desired husband to unmarried girls and women are blessed with a baby boy. Worshipping snakes on Naag Panchami pleases the lord of snakes, Naag Devta. He protects his devotees from snake bites and fulfils their wishes. The festival is celebrated throughout India.
Types Of Naagas Or Snakes Mentioned In The Scriptures
Twelve types of snakes have been described in our scriptures. These types are as follows:
Why Lord Vishnu Should Be Worshipped On Naag Panchami
There is a story related to Kaliya Naag amongst these which narrates the tale of why snakes are worshipped on this day. Once Kaaliya Naag entered the waters of the river Yamuna. As a result of this, the waters of the river started becoming black. Not just this, the water of the river had even started becoming poisonous.
The poison showed its effect on all the inhabitants of the river and those of the nearby forests. When the villagers came to know this, Lord Krishna, who also lived in the Gokul, went to the riverside and challenged the snake to accept a battle against him. As both of them began to fight, it is said that Lord Krishna stepped on his head.
The snake tried hard but failed to win and finally accepted his defeat when he realised that it was Lord Krishna trying to save the villagers and the water of the river. The snake felt sorry for having created problems for the villagers and left the place.
Thus, there is a tradition of worshipping Lord Vishnu as well on this day. The worship of snakes too gained more prominence so they do not attack the lives of those who offer them prayers.
Why Lord Shiva Should Be Worshipped On A Naag Panchami Day
Along with this, the incident of Lord Shiva having drunk poison during the Smaudra Manthan, too, is very prominent in relevance to the worship of snakes. He had saved the entire universe from the halahal poison which could destroy the whole universe.
We offer prayers to him to seek protection from not just snakes but all problems in life. In fact, the whole month of Shravana is dedicated to Lord Shiva mainly.
Since Lord Shiva hangs the snakes around his neck and is considered to be their deity, snakes are worshipped to please him.
Thus, Lord Vishnu as well as Lord Shiva are offered prayers on Naag Panchami along with the snakes and Naag Devta, mainly because snakes are dear to both.
Naag Chaturthi is celebrated one day prior to Naag Panchami. It is known as Naag Chavithi in some regions such as Andhra Pradesh. People fast on this day.
Naag Panchami 2018 Dates
Naag Panchami is observed two days after the Hariyaali Teej festival. Naag Panchami 2018 will be observed on August 15. We will let you know about the puja vidhi as well as the mantras to be chanted on Naag Panchami in the coming articles.
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