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Nagas

by Micha F. Lindemans
In Hindu myth, nagas are a primeval race of divine serpent-people that play an important part in religion. They are half human and half snake, and are still worshipped as the bringers of fertility, especially in southern India. Nagas are believed to live in palaces (Patala) in the underground city Bhogavati. They are considered the protectors of springs, wells and rivers. They bring rain, and thus fertility, but are also thought to bring disasters such as floods and drought. Their ruler is Sesha. Some of the nagas are: Ananta (symbol of eternity), Vasuki, Manasa (fertility goddess and protector against snake-bites), and Mucilinda.

In the myths of Malay mariners, nagas are a many-headed dragons of enormous size.

On Java and Thailand, a naga is a mythical serpent or dragon, a serpent-god, a ruler of the netherworld who possesses immense wealth. In Java it is also called Sesa. In Thailand, a naga is often sculpted in temples as a dragon with five heads. It is the symbol of Narayana.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    nah'-guhs
  • Etymology:
    Serpent

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