Thursday, August 4, 2011

Naga-Garuda Panchami

Today August 4th is Panchami or the fifth day of the Sravana month.

We Hindus  divinity in all, birds, animals, rivers and even mountains and stones. The reason behind this is that the environment or nature would then be respected. As humans we are more intelligent. At the same time, we have the power to destroy other creatures and nature. In order to avoid this, our forefathers-learned and wise sages taught us to see divinity in all.
Today is Naga Panchami and also Garuda Panchami. Nagas means serpents. Garuda means the golden eagle. 
          Sage Kashyapa

Both are the children of the great Rishi Kashyapa. He had many wives.  Nagas  meaning snakes or serpents were born to his wife Kadruva. Garuda was born to his wive Vinata. you can read more about this in one of my previous posts:

Nagas or serpents are worshipped today. They represent so many mystical qualities and symbolise many things. I will write about them separately as there is lot to write about. Shiva wears snakes as ornament- primarily round his neck. Vishnu reclines on Shesha Sarpa. So many mythological stories are connected with them. They are worshipped in the form of Manasa devi-queen of serpents, Rahu-Ketu (shadow planets) as well as Kuja or Mars. Lord Subrahmanyam- son of Shiva is also worshipped in the form of snake.

Garuda or the mighty eagle, gold in colour is also known as Pakshi Raja -the king of birds and and many other names, is associated with strength. He is known for his love for his mother.

What to do today:

Lord Subrahmanyam and Nagendra is to be worshipped. Mansa Devi is also worshipped.

One can recite stotras, ashtotra, sahasranamas. A silver snake form is placed in a vessel and worshipped with cow milk (unheated), turmeric, vermilion and flowers  either by chanting the mantras or stotras of Subrahmanyam or separate for Nagendra. Sesame seeds and jaggery are powdered together and made into laddus (round balls), rice flour(raw rice washed and powdered) mixed with jaggery and made into laddus, cow milk is offered as Prasaadam and eaten. Many keep complete fast on this day except for eating the Prasaadam, some fruits and drinking milk. 

Many people don't use combs or cut vegetables with knives or cutters on this day. That is why they eat only those vegetables which need not be cut. Even cooked food is not eaten by some.

People also visit temples or other places to worship ant hills( where serpents reside) or snake pits. A little bit of earth from the same is taken and applied to ear lobes and eyes as it is believed that it keeps our sense organs healthy.  

Naga Puja or worshipping snakes is done for snakes are associated with fertility. By worshipping them many childless couples seek children. Good health of children, family members, safety from snake bites, prosperity-as snakes are believed to be safe guard wealth and possess presicious gems. They also represent spiritual knowledge and Kundalini shakthi.

Garuda is worshipped for health, for be-getting  strong children, as a protection against snakes, or snake bites and poison as well as the one who carries lord Vishnu.

Those who cannot do all this can at least recite stotras.

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