There has been a tradition of Snake worship in India for centuries. It is believed that during the Aryan period in 3000 BC, there used to be a clan of Nagvanshis in India, who worshiped snakes. But do you know what is the origin of Nagvansh in India. Whether it is Ramayana, Mahabharat or Satya yug stories we have heard of many stories related to Nagvansh. This is the reason that different snakes are named after the major snake clans.
Who is the Father of Nagvansh ?
According to the Varahapurana, Maharishi Kashyapa was married to Kadru, the daughter of Daksha. Kadru served her husband Maharishi Kashyap a lot, being pleased with which Maharishi asked Kadru to ask for a boon. Kadru said that one thousand stunning snakes should be my sons. Maharishi Kashyap gave a boon, as a result of which the serpent dynasty originated.
According to the Puranas, there was the rule of Kashyap Rishi in Kashmir. He got eight prominent sons from Kadru, among 1000 serpent prince, whose names are as follows-1. Ananta (remains), 2. Vasuki, 3. Takshaka, 4. Karkotaka, 5. Padma, 6. Mahapadma, 7. Shankha and 8. Kulik.
It is said about Sheshnag that the earth rests on its hood, it lives in Hades only. The paintings often depict the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu lying on Sheshnag. Actually, Sheshnag is the servant of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Sheshnag has thousand heads. There is no end to them, that is why they are also called ‘infinite’. Shesha is called Anant. He was the most powerful and the first Nagraj among the sons of Kadru, the wife of sage Kashyapa. The reason for his worldly disenchantment was his mother, brother and his step-daughters Mana Vinta and Garuda, who had mutual enmity.
Leaving the company of his deceitful mother and brothers, he considered it best to do penance on Gandhamadan mountain. Brahma was pleased and gave him a boon and made him the king of Patal Lok. Apart from this, he considered becoming the servant of Lord Vishnu as his greatest virtue. As soon as Sheshnag went down to the earth, that is, when he went to the water world, his younger brother, Vasuki, was enthroned in his place.
Sheshnag’s brother Vasuki was a servant of Lord Shiva. The territory of Vasuki, the second king of the serpents, was the area around Mount Kailash. According to Puranas, Vasuki Nag is considered to have a very huge and long body. During the churning of the ocean, the gods and demons made the Mandarachal mountain the churner and Vasuki the neti (rope). At the time of Tripuradah, he became the string of Shiva’s bow. Vasuki knew the future that Nagkul would be destroyed in the coming times. In such a situation, he married his sister to Jaratkaru to save the snake clan because he knew that only his son could save the snake clan. Astika, the son of Jaratkaru, protected the snakes at the time of Janamejaya’s Nagayagya.
Takshak, the son of Kadru, one of the eight major snakes, also resides in Patal. According to western historians, there was a caste named Takshak whose caste symbol was a snake. He had a fierce battle with King Parikshit. In which Parikshit was killed. Then his son Janamejaya fought with the Takshaks and defeated them. Although the Puranakars made the history of snakes a myth and declared them as snakes.
Takshak had stung King Parikshit on the basis of the curse of Shamik Muni. After that Janamejaya, the son of King Parikshit, had performed a snake sacrifice to destroy the snake race. According to the research of Webdunia, Takshak’s rule was in Takshashila. A snake named Takshak is found inside the sea, whose length is about 22 feet and it moves at such a high speed that it is difficult to capture it in the camera. This is the most dangerous snake.
The area of Karkotak and Airavat Nag Kul is believed to be around the Iravati river of Punjab. Karkotak was a son of Shiva and the king of snakes. Due to the curse of Narad, he was lying in a fire, but Nala saved him and Karkotak bitten Nala, due to which the color of King Nala turned black. But this also happened due to a curse, then the king disappeared after giving Karkotak boon to Nal. Due to the praise of Lord Shiva, Karkotak had escaped from Janamejaya’s snake yagya and in Ujjain he did severe penance of Lord Shiva. An ancient neglected temple of Karkoteshwar is still standing in Kot locality near Chaubis Khambha Devi. Although at present the Karkoteshwar temple is in the courtyard of Mata Harsiddhi.
The Padma serpents ruled the region called Nemish near the river Gomti. Later they settled in Manipur. The Nagavanshis of Assam are from their lineage.
In fact, scared of Janamejaya’s nagvansh bali, Sheshnag went to the Himalayas, Kambal Nagvansh to Brahmaji’s world, Shankhchud to Manipur state, Kalia Nagvansh to Yamuna, Dhritarashtra to Nag Prayag, Elapatra to Brahmalok, Karkotak nagvansh to Mahakal forest and others to Kurukshetra.
The mention of Kalia Nag is also found in the Gita. It is believed that Kalia Nag used to reside in Yamuna river with his wives. Its poison was so poisonous that even the water of the entire Yamuna river had become poisonous. Lord Krishna jumped into the Yamuna river due to his pastimes. Here there was a fierce battle between Kalia Nag and him. His wives prayed to Shri Krishna to save his life to protect their master, then Shri Krishna took a promise from Kalia to reside somewhere else along with the family. At the behest of Shri Krishna, leaving the Yamuna river along with the Kalia Nag family, they made their abode somewhere else.
The temple of Mansa Devi is situated on a hillock on the banks of the Ganges near Harki Paidi in Haridwar. She is considered to be the Manas daughter of Shiva. Manasa Devi is mentioned in Puranas. It is also believed that Mansa Devi was born from the brain of sage Kashyap. She is worshiped as the sister of Nagraj Vasuki, she was a Vishkanya.
It is written in some texts that to fulfill Vasuki Nag’s wish of getting a sister, Shiva gifted him this girl named Manasa. For the birth of Manasa Devi, it is also said that the mother of the serpent Vasuki created a statue of a girl who became a snake girl after being touched by Shiva’s semen, that is called Manasa. She was a devotee of Shiva and Krishna. As a result of the worship of Mata Manasa, King Yudhishthira was victorious in the war of Mahabharata.
Apart from the above, Mahapadma, Shankha, Kulik, Nal, Kawardha, Phani-naag, Bhogin, Sadachandra, Dhandharma, Bhootanandi, Shishunandi or Yashanandi Tanak, Tushta, Airavat, Dhritarashtra, Ahi, Manibhadra, Alapatra, Kambal, Anshtar, Dhananjay, Kalia, Saunfu, Daudhiya, Kali, Takhu, Dhumal, Fahal, Kana, Gulika, Sarkota etc. Nagavansh are found in scriptures.