Sunday, 26 July 2009

Charmed by Snakes - Naag Panchami

(Click to enlarge)

" Now the serpent was more crafty than
any beast of the field the
Lord God had made."
Gen 3;1

13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; (P)He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
Gen 3

Today is the Hindu festival

of Naag Panchami

Snake worship day

Although snake charmers are now banned from
performing .When my niece was
visiting 3 summers ago
she took these photos of a man
who came around with his wares.
He plays his pipe
and the cobra slowly rises
from his dreamy sleep
swaying to the movement of the musical instrument
I scanned some newspaper articles.
You can click on them to enlarge them,
There is a village of snake charmers close
to our city.I hope to visit it some day.
Snake charmers also have charms
and anti venom to "cure" people of snake bites
and other ailments.

(Click to enlarge)
Nag Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the moonlit-fortnight in the month of Shravan every year, according to the Hindu calendar when people worship the snake god.“Offering milk to snakes brings prosperity for the entire family, said Swastik, a devotee.This day also serves the purpose of wildlife conservation as millions of devotees refrain from harming snakes or any reptiles.Snake charmers, an otherwise impoverished lot, command importance on this day as devotees buy pairs of serpents and later release them in the forests.During Shravan month or (July-August) serpents invariably come out of their holes that get inundated with rain-water to seek shelter in gardens and houses. As such they pose a danger to man. It is, therefore, thought that snakes are worshiped on this day.Right from the time when mankind started acquiring some sort of culture, the sun and the snake have been invoked with prayers and ritual worship in most countries. In India, even before the Vedic times, the tradition of snake-worship has been in vogue. Courtesy - (ANI)
I am posting a snake dance video which I think you will enjoy.
It is from a Hindi movie based on a fantasy -folk tale.
The story is about a King and Queen Cobra who are the guardians of a magical stone in an ancient temple.
An evil snake charmer wants to procure
the gem in order to gain its enchanting powers.
The queen cobra comes to the house
of the king cobra (reincarnated as a prince) assuming human form
and marries him in order to protect him.
The King is unware of his true identity.
The snake charmer tries to charm and capture the queen.
When she hears the alluring music she
transforms herself into a dancing princess in order
to avenge her enemy who comes with his posse
of snake charmers.
When the song ends the King returns and is shocked to see his
wife dancing in front of strangers. That is why he strikes her.
I liked this movie and dance.
It was a great hit in the 80s.

20 Fertilize my soul:

Gudl said...

Hi! Just came by and visited!
Greetings to you!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
we have, all three of us, shivering admired your snake report.
There's a lot about Hinduism we know just too little about.
Since it has immense influence of a billion people, maybe one should take some time to read a little. I'm thinking of myself, supposed to be an enlightened person, and yet so ignorant.
From Felisol

Dick said...

I don't like snakes, we don't have them here, lucky me, lol.
But I have to admit I would like to see something like this, from a certain distance of course.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Amrita:)

Fantastic photo of snakes and the snake charmer. We hardly see any snakes here. If at all we see one, we want to kill it although it is considered sacred by the Hindus. Nag Panchami is not at all popular here in Kerala.

Similarly, Keralites consume quite a lot of beef although cow slaughter is banned in many states in India.

It is quite interesting to read about the festival of Nag Panchami. While we Christians hold the snake in contempt the Hindus worship it. Does this support the saying- ONE MAN'S FOOD IS ANOTHER MAN'S POISON?

I enjoyed the quotes from the Bible. PARADISE LOST of Milton is an interesting book to read.

The video is very interesting also.

I must congratulate you on this wonderful post because you have excellent narration, quotes, lovely photos and a video too. Fantastic! I enjoyed it.

Have a lovely day Amrita:)

Donetta said...

Wow it was just freaky to see that baby by that cobra!
In the states the parents would be arrested and the child taken.
What a different wolrd

madison said...

Intresting post, but man, I'm not one to get close to a snake! That pic of a child playing with a snake, so not me.
Hope your weekend is going well.

Gerry said...

I find your entry on the snake charmers quite fascinating possibly because on our Salt Gulch Ranch I grew up among many snakes, mostly large yellow blow snakes, and once in a while a rattlesnake, and of course water snakes, so I developed a life long interest. I must say the video of the woman dancing certainly conveyed to me the qualities of the cobra, and she was so beautiful with such striking eyes. I was quite mesmerized, even more so than by the photos of the children playing with snakes, ooh, that was rather disturbing although my country girlfriend used to play with snakes, wrapping them around her neck but I never wanted to come near her when she was playing with snakes as snakes always entered my nightmares as symbols of disturbance. I would dream my mother and dad were both big black snakes each rolled in a large ball, and since my molester wore a hat band of rattles from snakes his symbol was the rattlesnake. Gerry

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

To see how those snake charmers operate is an extraordinary experience. It probably took them long years of practice to perfect their craft. Thanks for the interesting post. God bless you always.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Gracious, that woman can DANCE!!!

Now I understand why Rudyard Kipling named the snakes in his story Nag and Nagaina, and why the writer of Harry Potter borrowed from that and named a snake Nagini...

Some of the very rustic peoples in the Appalachian mountains here handle snakes as part of their religious service!!!! No thank you!

Bluebirdy said...

Hello my sister on the other side of the world. I just love to learn about other cultures practices like this, however scary it is! I had no idea that snake charming was now against the law! I love the new picture you have at the top of your blog! I think you do an amazing job of keeping up with so much on the internet with your vision being so limited.
Bless you sister,

John Cowart said...

Hi Amrita,
Your postings always surprise!
The video of the dancer amazed me. she moves with such grace and beauty.
Those movements she does on her knees required incredible strength. I've never seen anything like this before.

Rosemary said...

Greetings Amrita,

Okay, I will not lie - I'm afraid of snakes and I know that they serve a useful purpose but oh my, they do make me weak in the knees.

You offer an interesting and enlightening viewpoint on an aspect of your country's culture and I find that fascinating.

God bless you and keep you well!

Amrita said...

Hi friends I really enjoyed your reactions.

I hate snakes too and there are plenty of them lurking aound in our garden and wooded area.We have a colony of mongooses to keep them at bay.

This actress is known for her dancing. She doesn 't star much now.

Yes Penni, Nag and Nagina feature in Kipling 's stories andthey are in the Jungle Book.

My Dad used to kill snakes with his double barrel gun.He was a good marksman.

ChrisB said...

I have to say I'm not a lover of snakes but I still found this post interesting. I'm glad you told us the story of the video, it made it easy to understand.

Julie said...

I love snakes but wouldn't want to be that close to the poisonous ones. great video

debbie said...

Dear Amrita,
Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I love to learn about all cultures and the customs and practices.
There are a few church groups that handle snakes but not very many....usually back woods people.
I live near a small town that every year has their annual rattlesnake hunt...there are contests for the biggest rattle snake, ....they make it a big festival with all kinds of rattlesnake to eat and arts n crafts and so forth.
Then growing up we always went to this area in arkansas camping and they had copperhead snakes...very daddy had to chop off a few snake heads...laying in wait to strike when we would bend down to unzip the tent
i will pray for your sister that has the severe migraines...
please come back and see me......
I am anxious to get to know you better.
angel hugs

sherri said...

i knew I could not practice I know EXACTLY why!

I could never look at a snake, or be anywhere near one- let alone set aside a day to worship one! i have a huge fear....

Sita said...

Hey Amrita,
Just had a chance to look at the clip. Wow, what incredible eyes she has and what an amazing story in dance. Tell me more of the story.

Serpents remind me of one thing, Satan. In fact the more people advance his (Satan's) kingdom, and the more influential they become, the more they bear the serpent's stamp. At least, I've observed weird.

And guess what, our guest speaker spoke about the devil this week and I just posted it.
Do take care.
Love, Sita

Amrita said...

I know Sherri, idol worship and even deifying created beings is so blatantly illogical and absurd still millions indulge in it...intelligent educated people. It is the deception of the evil one I believe.
Each year hundreds of Israeli young people after completing their millitary compulsary term flock to India firstly to party on the beaches of Goa and then in search of religion. They visit Hindu and Buddhist places of pilgrimage and become disciples of gurus.I want to have a ministry among them.

Welcome to my blog Debbie. You have such a caring and loving place.You have a heart for the suffering and disheartened. Pray your dear sister may be healed.

Dear Sita,
I will go over and read your post.
I have heard of the snake handling churches. Sounds weird to me as they misinterpret the Bible.
I know an Indian man who tried to do the same and he was bitten so badly he came within an inch of his life.I will read up the story on google and send you a link Sita.

Jan said...

Beautiful dance! That snake charmer definitely looks evil. He scares me... :)