Q. Do Snakes Drink Milk ?Ans. : No; being reptiles and not mammals, they lack mammary glands and do not produce milk for their offspring. Hence, wild snakes do not drink milk by the natural instinct. However, captive snakes used by charmers are made to drink milk - they are kept thirsty for an unimaginably long time. Because of their thirst, they are forced to consume milk. However, milk is not physiologically and anatomically good for their health and the kidney and liver get badly affected since evolution has made them unused to milk. Most snakes which are forced to drink milk die of anatomical problems.
And this is our ritual cause why we should celebrate Nag Panchmi.
Many people celebrate Nag Panchmi without knowing the significance of this festival. There are some myths and facts behind the celebration, worship and offerings that are given to the snake God. It is a festival celebrated all over India with same vigour and devotion. Read on to learn why Hindus celebrate Nag Panchmi and what are the reasons behind celebrating this festival.
Nag Panchmi is a Hindu festival on which snakes are worshipped. Hinduism is a religion of faith and is surrounded by common search of truth. For Hindus all this means a way of life and worshipping forces of nature has been a part of Hinduism from ancient times. Nag Panchmi is celebrated throughout India and falls on the fifth day of the moonlit fortnight of the month of Sravana, which falls in the month of July or August.
The main reason of celebrating this day must be that snakes are a great threat to mankind during these months. They usually come out of their holes as rainwater seeps in and while looking for shelter they might harm humans. However, this is why they are worshipped this day and fed with milk.
Reason behind celebrating Nag Panchmi
It is believed that Krishna, a Hindu God had saved the lives of people from the harassment of Kaliya, the snake. It is believed that one day, when Krishna was still quite young, was playing by the side of river Yamuna and his ball got stuck in the branches of a tree that was just by the side of the river. While trying to get that ball, Krishna fell into the river. When Kaliya, the snake attacked him, he fought and after some time the snake understood that he was not an ordinary child. This was when he pleaded Krishna not to kill him and Krishna spared him by taking a promise that he will not harass the people anymore. Nag Panchmi is celebrated as the victory of Krishna on Kaliya, the most dangerous snake.
Ways of worshipping in various states of India
People do not dig the earth this day and offer cow's milk, fried paddy, rice's breed and durva (tip of a special grass) in front of the pictures of Nag or make its idol of mud and sand and worship it. This festival is celebrated all over India and more or less the way of worshipping is same.
People believe that Lord Shiva, a Hindu God, loves and blesses snakes and so by worshipping the snakes they also try to please him. Lord Shiva is believed to be one of the most short-tempered Gods and can even ruin your life if he gets angry. Some people even worship live cobras on the Nag Panchmi day and offer them milk and other offerings as feed.
India is a country with different cultures and so the celebration varies from one state to state. In Maharashtra, a group of people asks alms and clothing by taking a dormant cobra in a plate and visiting as many houses as possible. In kerela, people prefer visiting the snake temples and worship the stone or metal icons of snakes and pray so that they and their families are saved from any snakebite throughout the year.
There are many different kinds of belief behind offering milk and flowers to the snake God and the names also vary. Young girls pray and offer milk to cobras with the intention of getting married to a good person so that they live their lives happily. It is believed that snakes remember the faces and they take revenge with the whole family even if one of the member harms it. So, married women pray to save their families from any kind of harassment that can happen due to the snakes.