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PremKudva's Journal
Premnath Kudva, Mangalore, India
Death of a Cobra  
26th-Mar-2015 08:49 am
Couple of weeks back a dead cobra or Naag was found underneath some stores and spares in our leaf spring processing section. Here in Dakshina Kannada district cobras are held in great reverence. And so a purohit was called right then to cremate the cobra under full Hindu rituals. And today was the bojja day or the 12th day when they held this maha puja. It was held near the place where the Naag was found.

I then learnt that while we are paying for the puja, collections were taken out and donations worth ₹36 thousand had come in, including from non company people who are renting spaces in our premises. The puja was complete with the anna prasad or lunch for all the people present numbering some 300.

While I have heard of last rites being conducted for a cobra, this was the first time I had seen it. The purohit who conducted it supposed to be a Naga specialist. That image of the Naag that you see is actually a very large and elaborate rangolli and unlike regular rangollis that I have seen this one was in relief with raised and lowered portion [3D].

Once the puja was over the purohit in one smooth uninterrupted sermon told us in Tulu the reason why this puja was being conducted. And that's when I understood why the Naag had so much relevance in our district. The reason being our region is called Parashuram Shrashti, as per legend land that arose from the sea after Parashuram threw his axe which landed at Gokarn and from where this land was reclaimed from the sea. This I knew [the legend] but purohit went on to tell that the creatures [perhaps the cobra or all lost in translation] said that humans didn't deserve to occupy this land. Hearing this Parashuram said that the humans would forever pray to the creatures.

Finally he told us that if the Naag died and went to his final place without this puja being done, the Naags in the final place would taunt him and throw him out. He would then come back and take vengeance on the humans for not conducting the puja. But since this puja has been done he would now be accepted in his final place [Naag heaven?! perhaps] and he would be proud of all of us showering us with health and wealth. Wealth being several times what you have currently, 10 times 100 times he said.

A story worth telling here I thought. I didn't take more photos since no one else was. And I didn't want to look in appropriate for the occasion being the boss and all. Even then I asked permission before taking these three photos.

The lunch was in our canteen, but prepared by Brahmin cooks who had come along with the purohit. It was quite good.

Comments 
26th-Mar-2015 04:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this with us, Prem. I did not know that Cobras were treated with such reverence in India. The rangolli is lovely and very intricate.
Are Cobras uncommon where you live?
26th-Mar-2015 04:47 am (UTC)
Glenn they are actually quite common all over India, but do not come to the urban environment. How ever our factory premises has a large green coverage and people have regularly spotted snakes and other animals. In fact just last year they had spotted a large python alive which was left alone.

And the cobra or Naag is considered holy and in fact worshipped as a God, once a year we have a festival called Nagara Panchami.
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