Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Naga Panchami is a festival that is observed throughout India on the 5th day of Shravana month. It has got its own significance in mythology, folklore and scientific basis.
It is a festival where, Snakes and serpents are worshiped by offering milk, flowers and sweets to the metaphors of serpents such as idols and images of snake god. Mythology says it is a day Lord Krishna got victory over snake king Kaliya to protect the people from poisonous cobra of the king. Folk stories say farmers pray to snakes and offer devotion to snakes for not harming them and their families.
Scientifically; it is a metaphor of worshiping serpents and giving equal rights to snakes to live. This festival is celebrated in the monsoon season,during which snakes come out and, most of them will not be poisonous (not all though) and the festival means the innocent snakes are saved to balance ecosystem and to make sure the harmony of humans with other beings in the nature.
Fasting is observed a day before Naga Panchami; and, on the day of Naga Panchami, jaggery water or milk is offered to the idols or images of Snake god. In some places; people pour milk even to snake pits and they decorate pits with diyas and conduct activities such as Bhajans and firing crackers.
On this festival many sweets and other traditional snacks are prepared , which suits our digestive system during monsoon climate. Eating these sweets and snacks give good exercise to buccal cavity and helps teeth and the buccal cavity to be healthy.
It was in our school days, all children of our school are taken to Sri Vijay Mahantesh mutt located in my town Ilkal. Sri Vijay Mahantesh mutt is known for practicing the principles of Vachana literature. On this day mutt distributes milk to children as a metaphor the avoid wastage of milk (though people pour more jaggery water to idols in our place). The Mutt also encourages saving snakes and harmony with nature; except, for its opposition to wastage of milk. The step may seem extravagant to strong believers; but, it seems practical for me, despite being a believer in Hinduism.
Last year I was astonished by seeing a message from one of my friend who is working as a teacher in my school. He messaged me saying , he was happy for he caught and made real snake to drink milk.
This rubbishes the purpose of the festival as snakes don’t drink milk ;and, even if they drink milk milk will harm their life. Feeding milk to live snake will not serve the purpose of ecological harmony. Pouring milk , firing crackers near the snake pits will disturb the snake if they are present in the pit., they try to harm the pupil as part of its flight and fight mechanism.
It’s time to think new thoughts as much as possible; let’s celebrate the festival scientifically to serve its purpose.
Happy Naga Panchami and Happy Shravana month.