Disclaimer: Comparisons between a snake and a communist may seem evident throughout this article but are completely unintended.
“Incomplete knowledge makes a communist out of you, complete knowledge, a sanatani.”
I came up with the above quote upon observing my self, my friends, my relatives and my society at large. To understand the aforementioned statement, I have come up with a simple formula.
(Any ritual+ spiritual significance and symbolism) = tradition, which is consciously practiced by the society at large. Thus, a tradition without any essence of symbolism and spirituality dies a slow and abusive death of superstitions ritual. Thus, incomplete knowledge does not let you appreciate the practices of Hinduism and ends up making you discredit every other tradition you are ignorant of and slowly turns one into a communist.
On the occasion of Naga Panchami, I would like to throw some light upon the practice of offering milk to snake, and thus try making sense of this seemingly absurd and so called superstitions practice.
Let me first start by stating a couple of facts perceived about sankes in general. It is believed that cobras often reside inside an anthill, it is also a well known fact that out of the 5 gyanendris, or the five sense organs, a snake lacks the sense of hearing. Having said that, an anthill is symbolic to a Nagar or a city built by humans and the snake lacking in its ability to hear symbolises inability to imbibe knowledge, as shrutis since the vedic times have been the main source of spiritual knowledge. Thus, a snake inside an anthill symbolises the society devoid of its ability to imbibe spiritual knowledge in his world of ignorance and desires.
Now comes the part about offering milk to snakes. Milk of a cow in Indian society is considered nothing less than elixir as it is wholesome to the dietary needs of an individual. Moreover, since ancient times, a cow is also regarded as Vedmata. Thus, milk becomes symbolic to the elixir of knowledge of the Vedas which is consciously poured upon snakes on this day to remind ourselves that our pursuit of knowledge and spirituality should not become stunted in this samsara or world full of ignorance and desires.
Again, the aforementioned qualities may sound synonymous with certain sections of our societies but none of these were intended. Also, don’t keep this knowledge to yourself, or you will be branded as a bhrahmanwadi, sanghi etc, as it has been established into a popular opinion that Brahmans in the past didn’t share knowledge. Therefore, share my post and save our traditions or, in other words, keep pouring milk over snakes. 😉