Sanatan Dharma aka Hinduism gives certain animals spiritual importance. Most of these animals are associated with deities and are respected and worshipped. Cows, bulls, snakes, elephants, ravens are some of the commonly seen animals which are sacred. There are specific days when the animal is specifically offered energy through mantra and rituals are performed. (For Snakes – Nag Panchami ie Shukla paksh Shravan month, sometime in August. For Bulls – Pithori Amavasya, for Cows+calves – Krishna Dwadashi Ashwin etc). Those who cannot understand the energy dynamics, think us Hindus to be superstitious and pagan. But for those who can see the energy, these energy rituals are bursting with power.
Snakes simultaneously invoke fear and respect. As a child I was taught that if I ever saw a snake, I was to do Namaskar to it and turn back. Seeing a snake, even in dreams, means that you are being called on to pay your energy debts. The debt is being called now, you have delayed it for so long and it is urgent. It is a serious thing. If you see a snake in your house, call a snake-catcher or maybe the forest/wildlife department people and get it released into its natural habitat. Do not kill it. If you see them often in your dreams or in life, do a puja for your ancestor spirits, or for Shiv or the Nag-devata or for your family gods. Repay the debt which is being called for by doing these energy rituals. Most sensible Hindus (followers of Sanatan Dharma) will not harm snakes. The act of killing or hurting a snake creates several problems. Killing a physical snake in waking life or even in dreams means that you have exponentially increased your karmic imbalance.
Snake is called a Sarpa, Naag, Aksh etc in Sanskrit. Shiv the potential intelligence of Tama-gun wears snakes on his body as ornaments. Vishnu the potential energy of Satva-gun sleeps on a snake. Snakes represent the huge mountain of bindings lying heavy on your individual soul. Snakes are energies which are twisted, move very slowly, tortuously. They represent karmic bindings which cloud your experience of the Ultimate reality. Rahu/ Ketu the lunar nodes are called serpents. (They look very reptilian too, are very terrifying, if you do their mantra rituals during eclipses you might see them. But they always bless and are ultimately kind.) These are the karmic bindings which disturb the perfect symmetry of our internal chakra geometry. This serpentine energy has the capacity to literally churn your energy.
One of the types of pran/vital energy in your body resonates with the energy of snakes. If you kill a snake, the energy of its death subtly disturbs the movement of pran in your body. And the biggest one, the Kundalini, the energy of self-determination is depicted as a snake, it is a ‘sarpini’, ‘female snake’. A snake with the hood raised is often depicted on our deities, this represents the Kundalini which is awake and has reached her goal.
The energies of your ancestors are linked to snakes. Snakes represent the pitr, deceased ancestors. We are linked by our DNA to our ancestors. DNA molecule is serpentine, twisted. We are 50% each parent, 25% each grandparent, 12.5% each great-grand-parent, 6.25% and 3.125% and so on the next higher generation. The actual souls who were the ancestors may have taken rebirth but their DNA, their impressions exist in us. So when the energy rituals, tarpan, for the ancestors are performed, the energy goes to their spirits in the other dimensions and also rebalance the DNA that we have received from them. Snakes represent this part of our own energy. For men with the XY chromosome set these tarpan mantras are essential to keep this Y chromosome intact.
‘Modern science’ has now accepted that mantras affect DNA directly. The mantras of the cremation, Anteyshti Sanskar and the subsequent tarpan rituals for the deceased ancestors are linked to the Y chromosome exclusively. This is why women do not perform these mantra rituals for the dead, they do not have a Y chromosome and they cannot power the mantra. The energy does not reach the ancestor and it adversely affects the woman performing it. (I am a woman and have seen many such rituals related to the dead/ ancestors being performed. I can see how the energy coils around and within the man performing it. And I also see the spirits who come to take their share of the energy. This is the sole responsibility of the men, my father, husband, son and brothers have to do it. My job is to get the things ready, cook the typical dishes needed and organise everything.)
Then the snake represents our children too. We need to give our DNA to our children. This needs the blessings and permission of our ancestors from whom we received it in the first place.
Then there is a popular theme in TV shows, ‘iccha-dhari-nag’, a snake who can take the shape of a human. This is not a myth. There are beings from other dimensions who are called ‘Naag’, ie serpents. In the remote areas of the Himalaya there are places which are not suitable for humans. The Himalaya are very mysterious, energy rich. The dimensions often interlink in such high uninhibited areas. To my knowledge there are at least 2 temples which were constructed by the Naag and perhaps are used by them even now. I live in the Himalaya. If I see a snake here in these type of forests, I would show my respect and retreat. There are just too many things beyond human perceptions here.
And finally snakes are linked to Time in all its majesty.
Sanskrit words are mantra. A single word has several layers of meanings and they all resonate with each other. Sarpa, naag, aksha, are all mantra, they mean snakes and much much more. If you worship snakes, offer them intention, mantra, your attention and gratitude, you are also balancing out all these aspects of your own internal energies. Kill or hurt a snake and you are damaging yourself on these several deep levels. This karma will give extremely inauspicious results either in the current life or in the next lives.
Now a bit of astrology. As you know Vedic/Indian astrology gives importance to the lunar mansions, Nakshatras. These 27 Nakshatra have an animal associated with them. There are 14 such animals called as the yoni of these Nakshatra. Yoni is commonly understood as reproductive organs. But it really means the origin, how things have evolved, the gradual lowering of energy from the highest source. It means the form of existence which was fixed in you and me at the time of birth. How energy descended and become fixed, how it was set up. It is a very subtle word.
So the 14 Nakshatra yoni animals very briefly are,
Ashwa – Horse, but Ashwa means, 7, an archer and also the first instant where the kundalini starts moving.
Gaja – Elephant, but Gaja means, 8, a measure, the energy supporting the manifested creation and also the enormously huge energy controlling access to the Kundalini
Mesh – Ram, but Mesh is the one who has no birth nor death, the one instigates and causes movements, the energy which leads or guides, a ray of the Sun.
Sarpa yoni – Snake, but Sarpa is a creeping, twisted, curving or spiral, noiseless movement. It is exactly how the Kundalini moves in your Brahmanadi. You do all your Dhyan and you don’t realise has happened. Also karma and time.
Shwan yoni – Dog but Shwan also means to wind and bind something on something else.
Marjar yoni – Cat, but Marjar is also to clean up or erase something.
Mahish yoni – Buffalo but Mahish means powerful, the Sun or someone having knowledge of the universes. Devi kills the Mahish-asur, ie she removes the limited knowledge of the manifested creation to grant you the knowledge of Reality.
Vyaghra yoni – Tiger but Vyaghra is strong, noble, of high intensity, excitement and vibrations. This is linked to the movement of Raja gun in your body. The Devi sits on a tiger, ie she controls the movement of Raja gun, thus drives manifestation.
Simha yoni – Lion but Simha is also vibration, the foundation, a yogic posture, a powerful eminent person, also a unit of time.
Mruga yoni – Deer but Mruga means to unsteadily chase something. To examine or seek. And an event which occurs often. Its energies are linked to the Swadhisthan chakra.
Nakul yoni – Mongoose, seeing a mongoose is very auspicious. I have noticed this several times, if I see a mongoose something very agreeable happens during that day. Nakul means, son, creation, a musical instrument, a color, saffron, certain herbs etc. But Nakul is also the extended form of the Akshar ‘ha’, this Akshar represents the Shiv, the energy at the top of your energy body the goal of the Kundalini.
Vanar yoni – Vanar is often translated as monkey, but ‘Markat’ is the animal ‘monkey’. Vanar is a more correctly ‘Vansaya narah’. The ‘Nar’ who are of the ‘Van’. Nar are a class of beings like the Yaksha, Kinnar, Gandharva etc. ‘Van’ is the forest, distant lands, other dimensions, running water, sun-ray, vehicle, residence, desires, abundance etc. So a Vanar would be a being from the other dimensions. It is Sanskrit, the subtle meaning is very different from what you’d expect. Our body is composed of all the 5 panchabhoot, Akash, Vayu, Agni, Aap, Pruthvi. The other dimensional beings have other types of bodies, eg Yaksha have bodies composed of Akash, Vayu and Agni only. When you do your Dhyan you dissolve one mahabhoot into the other and move upwards, you can interact with these other dimensional beings. (Hanuman was not a monkey, calling him that is demeaning him!)
Mushak yoni – Mouse, but a Mushak is a thief, also a meter of prosody and a round opening or a tiny vessel. This is an interesting animal, said to be the vehicle of Ganapati. Now Ganapati is the intelligence which will allow you entry into the thinnest section of the Sushumna. The Brahmanadi is a very thin vessel with a round opening. Ganapati sits on the Mushak, he controls it.
Go yoni – Cow, but Go is a Sanskrit word with literally thousands of meanings. It means, the number 9, Devi Sarasvati, voice, Akshars of Sanskrit, earth, sky, creator, Sushumna nadi, sun-ray, sense-organs, third eye, moon, stars, hidden etc. In India you will find the cow, especially the desi Indian cow with a prominent hump, randomly roaming in the villages and even cities. They are a traffic hazard no doubt and some people might think them to be unhygenic, but they have very pure auras, they help in maintaining the spiritual levels of the village/town. But if you ever see a pure bred Indian desi cow who has a proper diet of grass etc, the aura is literally blinding! Most traditional temples have such cows and devotees feed them grass or touch and pray to them. Their energies respond and how!
The energies of these animals resonate deeply with these things inside of our own self. This was a very brief description for you to get interested. These are very subtle cues if you can and use them they will give you a tremendous boost. If not, then yes animal worship will remain a ‘pagan-superstition’ to you, and you won’t think twice about killing snakes.
I recite this small Naag – mantra everyday and offer its energy and my intention to the small moorti of the Snake in my puja-ghar /altar. It goes a long way in balancing my own karma and increasing the depth of my Dhyan.
ॐ अनन्तं वासुकिं शेषं पद्मनाभं च कम्बलं शन्खपालं ध्रूतराष्ट्रं च तक्षकं कालियं तथा
एतानि नव नामानि नागानाम च महात्मनं सायम काले पठेन्नीत्यं प्रातक्काले विशेषतः
तस्य विषभयं नास्ति सर्वत्र विजयी भवेत, इति श्री नवनागस्त्रोत्रं सम्पूर्णं ॐ
Om Anantam vasukim shesham padmanabham cha kambalam
Shankhapalam dhartarashtram cha takshakam kaliyam tatha
Aetani nava navaami naganam cha mahatmana
Sayamkale pathet nityam prathah kaale visheshath
Tasya vishabhayam nasti sarvatra vijayi bhavet Om