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The Symbol of The Serpent

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Author Topic: The Symbol of The Serpent  (Read 3935 times)
Aphrodite
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2007, 09:56:36 am »

From Heather:

The word Naga comes from the Sanskrit, and nag is still the word for snake, especially the cobra, in most of the languages of India. When we come upon the word in Buddhist writings, it is not always clear whether the term refers to a cobra, an elephant (perhaps this usage relates to its snake-like trunk, or the pachyderm's association with forest-dwelling peoples of north-eastern India called Nagas,) or even a mysterious person of nobility. It is a term used for unseen beings associated with water and fluid energy, and also with persons having powerful animal-like qualities or conversely, an impressive animal with human qualities.

In WW II, learn how inhabitants of Nagaland came to the world's attention.

Mythology

In myths, legends, scripture and folklore, the category naga comprises all kinds of serpentine beings. Under this rubric are snakes, usually of the python kind (despite the fact that naga is usually taken literally to refer to a cobra,) deities of the primal ocean and of mountain springs; also spirits of earth and the realm beneath it, and finally, dragons.

In Indian mythology, Nagas are primarily serpent-beings living under the sea. However, Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, is viewed as the King of the Nagas, ie. Nagarajah.

Here we see the king and queen of water nagas worshipping Parshva, the Jain Tirthankara of the era before this one.

All nagas are considered the offspring of the Rishi or sage, Kasyapa, the son of Marichi. Kashyapa is said to have had by his twelve wives, other diverse progeny including reptiles, birds, and all sorts of living beings. They are denizens of the netherworld city called Bhogavati. It is believed that ant-hills mark its entrance.

The naga-Varuna connection is retained in Tibetan Buddhism, where Varuna, lord of weather, is known as Apalala Nagarajah.

As a category of nature spirit:

"Nagas [kLu] are a class of beings (often snake-like in form) that dwell in a variety of locations ranging from waterways and underground locations and also in unseen realms. These beings have their own perceptions and vary in their enlightened level as do humans and other beings. Nagas are susceptible to suffering created by mankind's carelessness and basic ignorance of proper conduct in nature and disrespectful actions in relation to our environment. Therefore Nagas often retaliate towards humans when they behave in such ignorant manners. The expression of the Nagas' discontent and agitation can be felt as skin diseases, various calamities and so forth.

Additionally, Nagas can bestow various types of wealth, assure fertility of crops and the environment as well as decline these blessings. For this reason the practice of Lu Sang has been developed or arises as a natural method to increase prosperity, and assist the Nagas by preserving the positive qualities of their natural environment." ~ Tsewang Ngodrup Rinpoche

The bodhisattva Manjushri, in wrathful form, can appear as Nagaraksha (Tib: jam.pal lu'i drag.po).

http://www.khandro.net/mysterious_naga.htm

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