Nagas in Asian Mythology

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Nagas in Asian Mythology

Updated on Venerable 25, 2019

Sam Shepards


I lovemaking traveling in Asia. Almost visited countries are Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. I trust you bask my articles.

Naga are a family of snaky beings that turn an crucial purpose in Hinduism, Buddhism, and South-east Asian mythology and folklore as a unscathed. Naga normally blend hum features with the features of snakes, about ofttimes the hamadryad, and they are mostly associated with the urine. Contingent the textbook or the custom, naga can be either plus or veto influences. Still, they are well-nigh invariably brawny and ingenious.

Nagas in Hindu Mythology

According to Hindu custom, nagas are the children of the sage-green Kashyapa and one of his wives, Kadru. Kadru precious to bear many children, and she fulfilled that like by laying egg that crosshatched into chiliad snakes. In bodoni Hindu exercise, nagas are intimately even to irrigate. In India particularly, they are seen as the shielder of seas, rivers, wells, and springs. On the disconfirming english, withal, they are responsible water-related raw disasters such as floods and droughts. Nagas are too attached to rankness. Approximately Hindus end-to-end South-east Asia, thence, concluded dilate rituals or otc adoration in observe of nagas in gild to advance natality. At Hindu sites round Southeasterly Asia, and especially in southerly India, you leave probably see carvings of nagas. They may look as simpleton snakes or snakes with android top halves. They can be either virile or distaff, and the distaff versions, particularly, are called nagi or Nagini.

Nagas swordplay an crucial use in a bit of Hindu texts, peculiarly the Mahabharata, an antediluvian Indian epical that tells the level of the Kurukshetra War, a fabled dynastic battle that took position roughly 3100 BCE. In the Mahabharata, the nagas are effected as the enemies of Garuda, a combined man-eagle wight who is the nagas’ cousin-german. Garuda and the nagas turn entangled in their mothers’ struggle, which results in Garuda existence enslaved to the naruda. When he is finally released, he holds a score against them everlastingly and views them from that item on as predate.

Mamallapuram Nagaraja Nagini – Blood of Ganges

Nagas in Buddhist Mythology

Inside Buddhism, nagas are typically considered tiddler deities. Many of them are believed to last Backing Meru or in the Himmapan Woods, patch others last the homo world or safeguard former deities from onslaught on Ride Sumeru. As in Hinduism, nagas inside Buddhism are frequently associated with pee. Many are believed to domicile in oceans, streams, or rivers, piece others are believed to exist in cloak-and-dagger caverns or holes. Because of this part, they are affiliated to the scheol. In many Buddhist locations, the custom of naga has been combined with otc mythical traditions of over-the-counter serpents and dragons.

Significant Nagas

One of the near illustrious nagas is Shesha, who is typically considered to be the tycoon of all nagas au review. At Brahma’s asking, Shesha agreed to go the earth in club to steady it. Therein persona, he corpse coiled up. Whenever he uncoils, he makes clip movement onward. If he coils backrest, the population bequeath millilitre to live, but he bequeath rest the like. Shesha is likewise oftentimes portrayed drifting in the cosmic sea, property up Vishnu, the sovereign god of Hindusim. In art, you testament much see Shesha as the bed of Vishnu and his agree. Shesha normally appears with many heads.

Another authoritative naga inside both Hindu and Buddhist mythology is Vasuki, a magnate of the naga who plays an crucial part in roiling the sea of milk. Master Shivah, one of the tercet near outstanding Hindu deities, wears Vasuki coiled round his cervix. In an crucial report, the gods and demons pauperization to distill the core of immortality from the sea of milk. To do so, they wind Vasuki roughly Ride Mandara and use him as a circle to boil the sea.

Inside the Buddhist custom, the well-nigh crucial naga is Mucalinda. Mucalinda is considered a guardian of the Buddha and erst saved the Buddha from the elements during a gravid force spell the Buddha meditated. In esthetic depictions, you testament see Mucalinda stretch many heads supra the meditating Buddha.

Inside esthetic depictions, you are virtually probably to see these nagas. Hold in psyche that nagas may seem in humming shape (oftentimes with hoods evocative of snakes), in ophidian manakin, or in combined shape.


DK. The Illustrated Mahabharata: The Classical Pathfinder to India’s Sterling Epos. DK, 2017, 512 p.

Campbell J. and Kudler D. Oriental Mythology (The Masks of God Hold 2). Joseph Campbell Instauration, 2014, 618 p.

© 2019 Sam Shepards

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