Why snakes are meaningful and Aesthetic?

Why snakes are meaningful and Aesthetic?


If we keenly observe God’s creation every single origination is divine no matter how tiny it is. In this post let’s talk about snakes and get to know why they are so fascinating though furious?

The snake undoubtedly is a unique creature. It is decidedly un-human; yet, exhibiting a bewildering blend of human and serpentine uncanny powers.  It is also unlike any other animal; because of its peculiar shape and its distinctive ability to move swiftly, in a mysterious gliding motion. Further, it is the power of their unblinking mesmerizing eyes that holds one spellbound.

Also, Snakes play an integral role in maintaining balance in the ecosystem. In most systems, snakes can be both predators and prey. The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols.  

Hindu Beliefs about Snakes

Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.

The Uroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake or serpent eating its own tail . And creating a circle signifying infinity and the cycle of birth and death. The skin-sloughing process of snakes symbolizes the transmigration of souls. In some cultures, snakes symbolized the umbilical cord, joining all humans to Mother Earth.

In Hinduism, Kundalini is a coiled serpent. Nagas are very powerful. They bring rain and thus fertility and prosperity. And also are guardians of the treasure of Naga-Loka or Patal-Loka. Naga tends to be curious and are malevolent to humans only when if we mistreat them.

Legend has it that when these creatures over-populated the earth, their creator, Lord Brahma sent them to live underground or patala.And they can only come out to bite those who are truly evil and destined to die prematurely. This is why they are also used as a symbol of protection in many temples. So that evil cannot come inside.

Snakes

As per Hindu Mythology:-

Story # 1

According to Hindu tradition, nagas are the children of the sage Kashyapa and one of his wives, Kadru. Kadru wanted to have many children and she fulfilled that wish by laying eggs that hatched into one thousand snakes. 

Story # 2

During a 12-year-long pilgrimage over the whole of India, Arjuna, leaving Indraprastha and arrived at the source of the Ganga (now known as Rishikesh) . There he met a Naga woman, Ulupi. She took Arjuna to the mansion of Kauravya, king of the Nagas. Arjuna spent one night with Ulupi and came back from the palace of Kauravya to the region.A son named Iravan was born to Arjuna and Ulupi. As per Mahabharat,Iravan also entered the Kurukshetra war with an excellent cavalry force driven by Naga warriors

Story # 3

As per Agni Purana, many Hindus believe that there are 14 lokas or worlds that make up a multiverse. They believe that there are inhabitants in each of these planetary systems.

In their most simple form, the lokas are divided into the seven upper worlds;  vyarthis and the seven lower worlds, known as patalas.

sEVEN LOKAS OF PATALA
  1. Atala-loka –  Bala is the ruling God, who is a son of Maya.
  2. Vitala-loka – Hara-Bhava is the ruling God, who is a form of Shiva.
  3. Sutala-loka – Sutala is the kingdom of the demon king Bali.
  4. Talatala-loka – Talatala is the realm of Maya.
  5. Mahatala-loka – Mahatala is where many nagas (serpents) live.
  6. Rasatala-loka – Rasatala is the home of the demons Danavas and Daityas.
  7. Patala-loka (or Naga-loka) – This is the lowest realm. It is the region of the nagas, ruled by Vasuki a King serpent.

Story # 4

Interesting facts about 3 notable nagas (snakes) are ;

  • Shesha (or Ananta)-On whom Lord Narayana (Vishnu) lies on the cosmic ocean and on whom the created world rests.At Brahma’s request, Shesha agreed to hold up the world in order to stabilize it. In this role, he remains coiled up.
  • Vasuki, a king of Naga to whom both Devas and Danavas had used as a churning rope to churn the cosmic ocean of milk. To do so, they wrap Vasuki around Mount Mandara and used him as a rope to churn the ocean..
  • Lord Shiva, one of the three most prominent Hindu deities, wears Vasuki coiled around his neck.
  • Takshaka As per the epic Mahabharata he was one of the Nagas , well known for his great powers, knowledge and wisdom. After a sage’s son cursed King Parikshit to die by a snake bite for a small mistake, Takshaka came to fulfil the curse. He did the deed by approaching in disguise and biting Parikshit. Who was the grandson of great warrior Abhimanyu and the great-grandson of Arjuna.
  • The text of Mahabharata itself begins at the Sarpa-Satra yajna (Serpent or snakes Sacrifice) organized by Janamejaya, son of Parikshit
  • Due to the intervention of the Astika, it beacme possible to stop the sacrifice on the Shukla Paksha Panchami day in the month of Shravana. And we have been celebrating the auspicious day as Nag Panchami.

Story # 5

As per Garuda Purana, Garuda is mentioned as a permanent and sworn enemy of the Nagas. The ones belonging to the serpent race – Garuda fed only on snakes.

 He is generally shown as winding the mighty Adisesha on his left wrist and the serpent Gulika on his right wrist. The great serpent Vasuki winds around him to form his sacred thread. Takshaka, the cobra, winds on his hip to serve as a belt. He wears the serpent Karkotaka as his necklace. Further, the snakes Padma and Mahapadma are his earrings. The serpent Shankachuda adorns his hair like a crown.

As per Brihadaranyaka Upanishad remarks : ‘Like a Snake’s skin, dead and cast off, lies upon an ant-hill, likewise lies his body; but that which is body-less, immortal and life, is pure Brahmana, is pure light. ’

Story # 6

Manasa, goddess of snakes, female serpentine avatar, worshipped mainly in Bengal and other parts of northeastern India, chiefly for the prevention and cure of snakebite and also for fertility and general prosperity. As the protector of children, she is also the goddess Shashti (“the Sixth”; to whom we worship on the sixth day after birth).

In Hindu mythology, Manasa is the daughter of sage Kasyapa and Kadru, the sister of the serpent-king Sesha. She is the sister of Vasuki, king of Nagas and wife of sage Jagatkaru.

Story#7

In Buddhism, naga (Sanskrit for “serpent”) were often depicted as protectors of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. In the Buddhist scriptures, one particularly famous Naga was Mucalinda. A naga king spreads his great cobra hood to shelter the Buddha from a storm that arrived while the prophet was deep in meditation.

Story#8

The Asta Kula Nagas are the 8 Nagas who still remain active in this world even now. Each Naga deva rules over the other in order. And the main head of the Nagas is Ananta or Shesha. He is the one on whom Lord Vishnu sleeps. Followed by Vasuki, Takshaka, Kulika, Karkotaka, Padma, Mahapadma and Shankapala. These are supposed to be the 8 names of the Ashta kula Nagas. Of these, the first three are standard and the rest may be wary or replaced by another name. Just as Krishna may be referred to as any other name like Govinda or Gopala.

In the first chapter of Adi Parva, the sarpa satra of King Janamejaya is the center of all Naga worship, for the Ashta Kula are the 8 remaining kulas of the thousands that existed before that.

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Anindita Mishra

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