Nag Panchami 2024: Dates and Importance

Nag Panchami is celebrated every year on the day of Shravan Shukla Panchami. This year, Nag Panchami is on August 09, 2024. The serpent used by Lord Shankar as an ornament and Lord Vishnu as a bed is worshiped with equal reverence.

Nag Panchami festival is celebrated by worshiping the snake and hanging a picture of it on the main door of the house. There is a belief that snakes living inside the hut in the summer will come out on Shravan Shukla Panchami due to the coolness of the rains.

It is religiously believed that by hanging a picture of a snake worshipped by the Brahmin priest in the house all year long, snakes and scorpions will not harm, and we will also be protected from the fear of fire, clouds, and lightning.

There has been a tradition of worshiping eight snake gods, namely Ananta, Vasuki, Padma, Mahapadma, Takshak, Kulir, Karkat, and Shankha, since Vedic times. It is believed that snakes are beneath every house, and if the snake sitting under the foundation of the house gets angry, the foundation of the house will collapse. So people started the tradition of worshipping snakes.

As mentioned in the Varaha Purana, this day is also famous for Naga Puja because Brahma’s dialogue with Nagaraja (king of snakes) was on Shravan Shukla Panchami.

Hindu Gods and their relationship with Snakes 

Lord Shiva wears a garland of snakes, and Lord Vishnu sleeps on the bed of the snakes, so both deities are associated with snakes in one way or another. Lord Ganesha, who received the right of first worship, has a snake in one hand.

Lord shiva with snake

Sri Ramachandra’s brother Lakshmana and Krishna’s brother Balarama are also considered incarnations of Shesha naga (शेषनाग). The story is mentioned in various Puranas that both were born to help Shri Ram and Shri Krishna, who were born as avatars of Lord Vishnu to destroy the wicked and protect the gentleman.

The incident of Lord Krishna oppressing Kaliya in his childhood is described in various Puranas. The statue of Buddha has a serpent figure on its head in the form of a crown. Matsyendranath is decorated with a garland of serpent snakes. Jain Tirthankara also has serpentine crowns on their heads. Arjuna, the son of Pandu, and Chandragupta II married a Naga-Kanya in the scriptures.

The belief that Goddess Lakshmi resides in the house where snakes are worshiped has been in our society since time immemorial.

Origin of Nag Puja (Worshipping of Snake Gods)

In every civilization of the world, religions, and cultures have adopted nature worship. Based on the archeological materials obtained from the excavations of primitive societies, it is confirmed that ancient humans were nature worshipers. The difference is that the worship and sadhana methods differ according to the country, era, and environment.

There are various legends about how and why Nagpanchami started to be celebrated. One of the famous legends is as follows.

A farmer dug his field when he found three baby snakes and killed them. When the child’s mother came looking for food, she became angry with the farmer since all her children had died. Nagini, who was enraged by anger, killed the farmer immediately, as she was not free from anger, so she went to the farmer’s house and killed his wife and two sons. By chance, the farmer’s daughter managed to escape as she was outside the home.

After searching for the farmer’s daughter, Nagini found her on the road and tried to kill her. After the farmer’s daughter begged her not to kill me in many ways, I will worship you and give her milk, Nagini left the farmer’s daughter in pity.

The farmer’s daughter, happy to escape from the mouth of death, worshiped Nagini and gave her milk in a bowl. Nagini, pleased by the farmer’s daughter’s prayer, said, “I am pleased with your devotion; ask for a boon.”

The pleased Nagini saved the farmer’s family by calling her Tathastu (तथास्तु). In this way, the day Nagini saved the farmer’s family is Shravan Shukla Panchami, so it is believed that the tradition of performing Nagpuja and sticking it in the house has been in place since then.

Other legends are

Rishimuni (sages) are believed to have established the ritual of worshiping snakes after scientifically confirming that snakes exploit poisonous substances in nature and other species such as humans are not affected by toxic substances.

Guru Gorakhnath sat on the seat of nine snakes and performed penance for twelve years, and no water fell while pressing the snakes, so Guru Matsyendranath of Gorakhnath was called. Since the coming of the Guru, after Gorakhnath got up, the snake was freed and rained down in the scriptures.

Importance of Snakes in Hinduism

The snake maintains the natural balance by absorbing the toxic elements in nature. Just as the Hindus worship the cow that gives milk as nectar as their mother, the Hindu Aryas are the caste that worships the poison-spewing snake. Thus, the importance of celebrating Nag Panchami becomes clear.

Lord Vishnu Image

In mythological literature, there has been a broad discussion regarding the Nagjati (clans of snakes). It is said that Shesha holds the entire earth, and Lord Vishnu sleeps on Shesha Naga in Kshir Sagar (the ocean of milk). Lord Shiva says Nagpuja is rare worship even for deities. It is mentioned in the Harivansh Purana that the Kaliya poisoned the water by entering the Yamuna river, and Lord Krishna suppressed the Kaliya.

Mention in Mahabharata

According to the story mentioned in the Adi Parva of Mahabharata, after the death of King Parikshit by Takshak तक्षक) Naga, Janmajeya performed a huge snake sacrifice to avenge his father’s death. After seeing the destruction of the entire snake race, Basuki Nag took the help of his sister, Jaratkaru. It is mentioned that Vasuki, Shesha, Ananta, Takshaka, Kurma, and Kulika are sons of Kadru and sage Kashyapa.

According to the story, Basuki Naga’s nephew Astika and Brahma Rishi reminded King Janmajeya and asked him not to take revenge, after which King Janmajeya stopped the sacrifice of the remaining snakes. Vasuki’s younger sister, Jaratkaru, had married a great Brahman mighty as Prajapati and had the same name, Jaratkaru. They had a great-souled son named Astika. Sage Astika was supreme among the Brahmanas and learned the Vedas and Vedangas. You can read this story in detail in this blog.

Today, Hindu devotees worship the snake god in temples and all the possible places where the snake resides; offerings of cow’s milk, akshata, couch grass, kheer (rice pudding), and bread are made in honor of the snake.

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We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

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