This festival falls on the fifth day of the moon’s waxing in the month of Shravan. This year it falls on 15th of August.
In this day, Cobras and Snakes are worshipped and flowers, sweets, kheer and lamps offered to them. Idol of Naga is made in gold, silver and other metals and bathed in milk and water and then worshipped with mantra below:
नाग प्रीता भवन्ति शान्तिमाप्नोति बिअ विबोह्
सशन्ति लोक मा साध्य मोदते सस्थित समः
Naga preeta bhavanti shantimapnoti via viboh
Sashanti lok ma sadhya modate shashttih samh
Translation: Let all be blessed by the snake goddess, let everyone obtain peace
Let all live peacefully without any turbulence.
There are many folk tales related with this festival. One such tale is that of a farmer whose son killed snakes whole ploughing the field. The mother of the snake took revenge and bit the farmers family and only his daughter survived. The grieving daughter prayed to the mother snake with a bowl of milk and asked forgiveness and restoration of life of her family. Please with this prayer, the snake restored her family.
Of all the animals, snake is the one known to take “revenge”. It represents hidden karmas of being taken revenge for wrongful acts done that are deeply embedded with the subconscious. Fear of snakes is one of the greatest known fears in any human being. And spiritual evolution is about releasing and combating all the fears. Hence Self realization is signified by the Kundalini snake rising up. You will see Lord Shiva with snake coiled around His neck or Vishnu sleeping on the Ananta Shesha or Lord Ganesh with snake around His belly or Kartikeya with snake held by His vehicle Peacock and all Jain Gurus awakened with Snake behind them. So complete awakening signifies “Taming of the Snake” within.
This festival we learn to face our fears, cleanse our past karmas that would sting us with revenge with Abhisheka and learn to be appease them and be friendly with them so that we can deal with them.
Happy Nag Panchami!