For those who follow the Vedic tradition, every act in life holds great spiritual significance. There are many festivals throughout the year where spirituality takes precedence and celebrations make way for opportunities to grow spiritually. Each festival offers something special; a chance to reflect on one's self and evolve spiritually from within. 

Nag Panchmi is one such Hindu festival celebrated on the Panchami (5th Day) of the first half of the month Shravana in the Lunar calendar, during which worshippers worship snakes. It falls around July or August every year. On this day of Nag Panchami, we may see people going near an ant hill to worship the snake believed to reside there and then offering milk as libation. What could be the spiritual significance in pouring milk over a snake that is supposedly living within an ant hill? Is this the way Nag Panchami is meant to be celebrated?

In this article, let us take a closer look at the significance of Nagara Panchami practices.

Professor P.R. Mukund says that the beauty of Sanskrit words is in their historical roots. You may break down this word into three sections- Na+Ga+Ra. Ga means Gati which refers to one's final destination-Moksha, or liberation from worldly ills through enlightenment. Ra means Ramayate which describes the act of experiencing pleasure.

When added 'Na', you can summarize that Nagara is a place that does not provide happiness for one who pursues Mukti. This explains why the spiritual component of one's life has minimal significance while immersed in city life. Most people feel comfortable, at peace, and show an interest in spirituality when taken to serene places away from their routine life.

The Snake & The Ant Hill- Spiritual Meaning

There are large numbers of people who work tirelessly every day. These millions of hard-working individuals each contribute to providing us with the infrastructure and other basic necessities we need, similar to the mass of ants who cooperate together to build an anthill.

But once they finish, a snake may come and slither inside. What meaning does the snake hold in this scenario? The snake's movements are quick, almost erratic. It can be in one direction for a few moments then suddenly dart off towards an opposite side; this mirrors the continual back-and-forth of focus and clarity.

Along with this comes the snake shedding its old skin every now and then. This is something all of us living in cities can relate to every day we strive for satisfaction and after reaching it, there are new desires waiting for us around every corner. And so we continue going through life without ever having enough because new desires always surface wherever we go-a never-ending vicious cycle. 

After some time has passed, we realize that we spent too much energy on things that mattered less than they seemed to. And so starts another journey only to realize yet again how irrelevant those things are in comparison to what's truly necessary. Many city-dwellers are very familiar with this feeling of being overwhelmed by the slow and winding currents of life, mentions P.R. Mukund. 

Why Is Milk Offered To Naag Devta?

In the Vedas, a cow symbolizes spiritual knowledge. Milk is offered during this festival to Naag Deva in hopes that he will grant us his blessings and lessen the effects of serpents dominating our lives.
Hinduism is an ancient religion of faith that has always been preoccupied with an understanding of truth. For Hindus, all this means a lifestyle that involves worshiping the forces of nature - something they've been doing since antiquity.

Naagara (Nag) Panchami - The thought behind the Action