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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(a Sanscrit word signifying snake) designates in Hindu mythology a monster, regarded as a demigod, and having a human face with the tail of a serpent and the expanded neck of a cobra de capello. The worship of the snake-gods is termed Naga Panchami. These gods, of whom, among the Hindfis, Vasfki is the lord and Manasa the queen, reside in regions immediately under the earth, supposed to be the seat of exhaustless treasures, the blaze of which supplies the absence of the solar radiance. The race of these beings is said to have sprung from Kasyapa (q.v.), in order to people the regions below the earth (Patala). The prihcipal Nagas, of which there are about a dozen, are propitiated with offerings of milk and ghee. The fifth lunar day of Sravana is held sacred to the Nagas. On that day ablutions are performed in the pool sacred to Vasfuki, the lord of the Nagas. By observing this ceremony the Nagas are pleased, and the votaries are believed to rest free from the dread of serpents. See Moor, Hindu Pantheon, s.v.; Coleman, Hindu Mythol. page 254.

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Naga'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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