Nagas: The Serpent Gods – Who Were They!!
This is an article I recently wrote for a regional magazine about the myths of the Nagas. The hub here is the English version of that article. Talking about Nagas, we are not talking about the indigenous people of the state of Nagaland in India. What we are talking about are the snake people/deities we have read and heard about.
For people who are not aware about the myths of the Nagas, the Nagas were the snake gods/deities who have been worshipped for thousands of years around the world. From the Vedic people (ancient India) to Aztecs and from Sumerians to Chinese, the snake people have been worshipped in different forms over ages. Each of these civilizations has their own form of snake deities. The Indians had Adishesha (Lord Vishnu’s vehicle) whereas the Aztecs had Quetzalcoatl and the Chinese had their dragon gods. The Bible too depicts Lucifer in the form of a snake when he tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in paradise.
Each of these civilizations has elaborate scriptures and carvings in their temples depicting the Nagas or the snake gods. In fact, the Indian Vedas also talk about the different races of these Nagas or snake people who lived on earth in detail. This brings us to the question: Who were these Nagas?
There are different theories concerning these Nagas/snake deities. Here are some of them.
1) The gods from other world
When it comes to the theory of gods from the other world, there are different stories depending on the culture. According the Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl and his gods came from a distant land in order to teach the indigenous people the art of farming, science, astrology and so on. The Hindu (Indian) culture depicts the Nagas in various ways. There are different races of serpent people, out of which only some races were worshipped. For example, Adishesha (a seven hooded snake) and the cobra on the neck of Lord Siva are considered divine. The Chinese too worshipped dragons as gods who gave them the knowledge of science and various arts.
In total, each of these cultures claims that these serpent gods brought “civilization” to mankind and gave us ancient knowledge.
2) The people of the underworld
There may not be many accounts of this theory. However, most Asiatic traditions talk about the various races of serpents. The Vedas, considered the oldest texts in the world going back thousands of years, have depicted various races of serpents that lived on earth. Some of these races were known to be benevolent while the others were considered malevolent. The benevolent races were worshipped as deities. Hindu as well as Buddhist texts talk about certain races of serpent people who dwelled in underground caverns.
Cambodian traditions speak about seven races of serpents out of which one race lived in the Pacific Ocean region. It is said that the Naga king’s daughter married an Indian Brahmin Kaundinya (a particular sect in India) and the Cambodian people were born as offspring.
The video here is an episode of the "Ancient Aliens" series showing some of the underground caverns that were constructed thousands of years ago.
3) The reptilian race
When it comes to this theory, there are many bizarre claims from different people. Here are two bizarre claims. The first one claims that some of these reptilian races came from other stellar systems such as Alpha Draconis and Altair, and were the first alien race to inhabit earth. This has been said to have occurred thousands of years before humans came on earth. Another bizarre theory claims that reptilians were none other than some of the dinosaurs that survived the global catastrophe 60 million years ago. One species of dinosaur in particular called the Troodon was known to be far more intelligent than its counterparts during its time. It is said that this species of dinosaur went underground during the catastrophe, survived there and evolved parallel to humans.
While these bizarre claims are not backed by any hard evidence, the possibilities are endless.
4) The spiritualist theory (Kundalini)
This is another theory which has no evidence whatsoever. However, this is also considered a new age theory by certain spiritualists. The claim has its roots from the creation myths. The theory claims that the gods who came down from the skies were in reality an advanced civilization of aliens (read about the Anunnaki). These aliens had scientists among them who created humans by DNA splitting and gave the DNA the double helix structure (notice the serpent-like structure of the DNA). It is also said that the human life-force also called Chi or Kundalini is in the form of a sleeping snake in the human body. When this Kundalini is raised through certain processes, humans attain godhood.
The theory goes onto claim that the gods taught humans across different cultures how to realize godhood and as a symbol of the Kundalini, they took up the symbol of snake which is depicted everywhere around the world.
Mainstream archaeology has no place for such claims as most of these claims haven’t been backed up by scientific evidence. However, the world is filled with the myths of the Nagas, with different cultures thousands of years old, across the world separated by thousands of miles depicting similar stories. The question yet to be solved is “Who were these Nagas”?