Nag panchami is one of the sacred Hindu festivals where the snake-Gods are worshipped and offered prayers. The snakes are worshipped on the fifth day of moon’s waning phase as per the Lunar Hindu month of Shravana on the Shukla Paksha Panchami, this is how the festival got its name as Nag Panchami. The custom of worshiping the snakes has been practiced since the ancient Vedic times. Some research’s also state that snake-worship came into existence because of the ‘Naga’ clan. There are plenty of proofs stating the popularity of snake-worship by the Nagas during the Indus Valley civilisation of 3000 B.C. even before the Aryan race came. It is believed that offering prayers and worship to Snake Gods will appease them and they will protect the family from dangers and look after the wellbeing of all the family members. Snakes are also associated with Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Devi and Subramanya, hence on Nag Panchmi some people also offer prayers to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Subramanya and Devi. This year the Nag Panchami falls exactly two days after the Hariyali Teej that is on the 5th of August 2019.
Nag Panchami tithi:
|Date and Day
|Nag Panchami Tithi
|August 4th 2019, Sunday
|Puja Vidhi Muhurat
|August 5th 2019, Monday
|Nag Panchami Tithi
|August 5th 2019, Monday
Which Snake deities are worshipped on Nag Panchami:
The ancient Holy scriptures mention names of various snake deities but on the auspicious festival of Nag Panchami only a few snake- gods like Shesha, Vasuki, Kaliya, Ananta, Shankhapala, Pingala.
Padma, Ashvatara, Kambala, Karkotaka, Dhritarashtra, and Takshaka are worshipped.
How to worship Snake- God on Nag Panchami:
Nag Panchami is celebrated across the globe by Hindu households. Some perform pujas in temples while some perform pujas at home. On this day people worship the idols of snakes which are made of stone, wood, metal and cow dunk at their homes by offering milk, flowers, sweets like kheer and ladoo.
After the offering chant the following mantra
‘Naga preeta bhavanti shantimapnoti via viboh
Sashanti lok ma sadhya modate shashttih samh’ which means
‘Let all have divine blessings of the Snake Goddess, let all attain peace. Let all live serenely without any turmoil.’
On this day many snake charmers are found on the streets of India with the live King cobras in small boxes. The snake charmer plays an instrument called the ‘pungi’ which resembles to a flute and the snake dances on the tune of it. Many people visit these snake charmers and offer prayers to the snakes.
Also some people follow a custom of consuming stale food on the day of Naag Panchami. The only food they cook is which is used in worshiping. The food used to consume cooked a day before the Nag Panchami. Many people also observe fast on the Nag Panchami.
How to Fast on Nag Panchami
On the day of Naag Panchami, according to the tithe as per Hindu calendar fast must be observed to make the Snake- God happy. In this fast, after the sunset and whole day fasting, a traditional Hindu sweet delicacy Kheer is prepared and offered first to the snake- god or to Lord Shiva, and then distributed among the family members as Prasad (offering from God). Intake of salt and fried things is prohibited during this fast. The person keeping the fast should follow all the rules.
Nag Panchami and Kaal Sarp Dosha:
People who have Kaal Sarp Dosha in their kundali (natal chart) must observe fast on the festival of Nag Panchami. One must make two sculptures of five headed snake made out of cow dunk or the red soil and place it on both side of house’s threshold. Once the sculptures are made, worship them by offering milk, Akshat, flowers, grass, sandalwood, Kusha, and sweets like kheer and ladoo. Once the prayer is done chant the following mantra three times.
“ऊँ कुरुकुल्ये हुँ फट स्वाहा”
Chanting the mantra mentioned above helps to pacify the ill effects of Kalsarp Dosha.
Legend behind celebrating Nag Panchami:
As mentioned in Mahabharata, the ancient Vedic scripture, there was a King named Parikshit who was killed by a snake named Taksaka. The king’s son Janamejeya was angered and outraged by the demise of his father. Janamejaya decided to perform the greatest ritualistic sacrifice in order to kill all the snakes across the globe. With the help of learned and qualified Brahmins and priests, the ritual of Sacrificial Fire began. This fire was so magnanimous that it dragged all the snakes into it except the serpant Taksaka who was the Nagaraja (King of serpants). Taksaka was safe as he was hiding in King Indra’s heavenly abode. As the fire was intensified by the Brahmins king Indra too was dragged towards the fire along with Nagraja Taksaka. Looking at this grave situation all the gods got disturbed and prayed to Manasadevi goddess to put an end to this dreadful event. After a lot of prayers and pleading goddess Manasadevi agreed to help the gods. She sent her son Astika who was a great sage to pacify the anger of Janamejeya. Sage Astika went to the King Janamejeya and tried calming his anger by sharing scriptural knowledge with him. Janamejeya was astounded by the scriptural knowledge of the sage. Astika in return asked the King for a boon. Pleased with sage Astika the King agreed to bless him with a boon on which the sage asked him to give up his revenge and stop the fierce fire. King Janamejeya asked the Brahmins to stop the Fire. Once the fire was stopped all the snakes got their life back and thus, this day marks the rebirth of all the snakes and hence it is celebrated with zeal in order to pay respect to the Nag devas.