Nag Panchami 2021 Date, Muhurat, Puja Vidhi

By: Future Point | 15-Jul-2021
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Nag Panchami 2021 Date, Muhurat, Puja Vidhi

Naga Panchami is a traditional festival where devotees worship snakes or Nagas. This is a Hindu festival observed by devotees throughout India and Nepal predominantly; however, there are followers in other countries as well. As per the Hindu calendar, the day is celebrated on the fifth day of bright half or Shukla Paksha of lunar month of Shravana (July/August).

This year Naga Panchmi will be celebrated on Friday, 13th August 2021. In some Indian states, like Rajasthan and Gujarat, Naga Panchami is observed on the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the same month. Hindu ardent offers worship to Naga devta as a part of the festivities, a serpent deity or naga made of silver, wood, stone or a painting of snakes is given a reverential bath with milk and their blessings are sought for the welfare of the family. Some people also worship live snakes, like cobras, on this day and make offerings of milk to it in assistance of a snake charmer.

The festival is mainly dedicated to the sacred snake, Ananta, Lord Vishnu is seen resting on whose coil. It is believed that the Lord Vishnu created this universe while resting at its coil. As per the Hindu belief system, snakes can bestow its devotees with prosperity and wealth. Snakes are believed to have sharp memory and it is considered that they remember the faces of the people harming them. They then take revenge by destroying the family of the person. So, women worship the snake idols to please them and to seek their forgiveness against any harm. Therefore, this day they are worshipped through offerings of milk and flowers. 

Lord Shiva also entangles snakes around his neck so it is also connected with Lord Shiva. There is a ritual according to which hundreds of snakes are released in temples of Shiva at Varanasi, Ujjain, Uttar Pradesh and M.P. They are considered the main centre of Hindu faith system. Even in Rajasthan, huge nag idols made up of cloth are displayed.

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Why only snakes?

There are a number of folklores available in Hindu texts explaining the importance of worship of serpents. According to Hindu mythology and the epic Mahabharata, Kashyapa, who was the son of the creator of the universe Lord Brahma, married two daughters of PrajapatiVinata and Kadruand. Kadru gave birth to the race of Nagas, while Vinata gave birth to Aruna, the charioteer of the sun god, Surya, and she also gave birth to Garuda, the revered eagle of Hindu philosophy. We all know that Garuda is the carrier of Lord Vishnu.

The day of Naga Panchami is also considered special by the wrestlers and body builders. Indian gyms called Akharas, observe special celebrations to respect the mystic powers of the snakes as a symbol of valor and kundalini energy. Vedic Indian scriptures such as Narada Purana, Skanda Purana, Agni Purana and the Indian epic Mahabharata also narrate the history of snakes praising the worship of snakes. 

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The legend 

The legend relates to the times of epic Mahabharata, a yajna was performed by Janamejaya to destroy the race of Nagas. He was determined to kill every snake in existence as his father, Parikshit died due to the deadly bite of the king of the snakes named, Takshak, and he wanted to take the revenge of the same. The day that the sacrifice or yajna was interfered and stopped by Astika, a Brahmin, was the Pancham tithi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Shravana. That day has since been observed as Naga Panchami. This auspicious day of the serpent worship always falls on the fifth day of the waning phase of the moon in July/August. Hence this earned the name Naga Panchami.

The whole story goes like this:

According to Mahabharata, Janamejaya, the prince of the Kuru Dynasty and the son of King Parikshita was performing a yajna or sacrifice known as Sarpa Satra, to take revenge from the race of snakes as their king Takshaka had bitten and killed his father Parikshita. A fireplace meant for the sacrifice was erected and the fire sacrifice to destroy the entire race of snakes in the world was initiated by learned Brahmin ascetics.

The sacrifice so performed in the presence of Janamejaya was so powerful that it attracted all the snakes towards the sacrificial fire. When the Brahmins noticed that only Takshaka the main culprit had escaped to the Pataal lok or nether world to seek protection of Lord Indra, the sages raised the tempo of chanting to drag Takshaka along with Indra to the yajna kund.

Takshaka had wrapped himself around the throne of Indra but the recitation of mantras was so powerful that not just Takshak but Indra also was dragged towards the pit. This raised a feeling of terror in the gods who then requested Mansadevi to save Indra. She then asked her son Astika to go to Janamejaya and to appeal to refrain from performing the yagna. Astika influenced Janamejaya with his knowledge of all Vedas, who in turn granted him a wish.

It was then that Astika pleaded Janamejeya to stop the yajna. Since the king never steps back from his words given to a Brahmin, he had to relent the completion of the yagna. The yagna was then stopped to save the lives of Indra, Takshaka and the entire race of serpents. As per the Hindu Calendar, this day happened to be Nadivardhini Panchami (fifth day of Shukla paksha of Shravana falling in the monsoons and since then the day is observed and celebrated as a day of the Nagas or Naga Panchmi as their lives were spared this day. Indra too went to Manasadevi to worship her.

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Importance of Worshipping Nagas this day:

Garuda Purana narrates that offering prayers to serpents this day is considered auspicious as it ushers auspicious things in one's life. After worshipping, one should also feed Brahmins this day.

People observe fasting and make donations to Brahmins as per their capabilities. The sanctity is considered to protect against the fear of snake bites. At many places, people worship real snakes and huge fairs are held. On this day it is said to not to dig the earth as it could kill or harm reptiles residing underneath. 

In some Indian regions people offer milk, milk products, prasaadam made of milk etc to the serpents in order to appease them. A special tradition involves keeping a lotus flower in a silver bowl and then offering the same at the temples. A beautiful rangoli with patterns of snakes is also made before the idols with a wooden brush using silver or gold with organic pastes like that of sandal, rice and turmeric as paints.

The design patterns have resemblance of five hooded snake. Devotees then pray to this image on the floor. In villages, people search for anthills as serpents are believed to stay there. They do worship there lighting diyas and incense sticks along with milk. They believe that offerings of milk will let the snakes out of the anthills. After this, they pour the milk into the hole as an offering to the snake god. 

People paint their doors with the pictures of the snakes this day with auspicious mantras or shlokas written with them. These depictions are believed to ward off the any evil or poisonous effects in the house. 

Other names of Naga Panchami

Naga Panchami is also known as Bhratru Panchami when sisters along with their brothers offer prayers to snakes and its holes, to please nagas so that they bestow protection, good luck and long life to their brothers. The festival takes another form as Vishari Puja or Bishari Puja in some regions of the nation and the meaning of Bisha or Visha is "poison".

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Ancient and astrological connections

Snakes are believed to have more powers than humans. Their association with Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma further highlights their mystical importance. This reverential spirit of the devotees has resulted in deification of snakes and their worship around the nation by Hindus. Snake also denotes our astrological nodes of Vedic astrology.

The head of the snake represents Rahu ("Dragon's head") and the lower part i.e. the tail denotes Ketu ("Dragon's tail"). If in a natal chart of a native all the seven main planets are hemmed between Rahu and Ketu then the person is said to have a Kalasarpa dosha. A defect caused due to the ill effects of snakes. This dosha brings ill luck and hardships in a person’s life and the same can be cured by doing astrological remedies and appeasing snakes by doing puja on the day of  Naga Panchami.

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