Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 27 Oct 2003

     

MESSAGE ON THE FESTIVAL OF SERPENTS

Stop Wastage: You are pouring milk to serpents today[1]. But otherwise you are killing serpents whenever and wherever you see them. A serpent never harms anybody unless it is hurt and fears for its own life. It spreads its hood and gives a hissing sound as a warning. After biting, the serpent does not drink your blood or eat your flesh. Man is killing animals, which do not harm man or eat his flesh. Today you must develop some kindness and understand these serpents. Then today will be a meaningful festival. Moreover, you are pouring milk in the abode of snakes [termite-mounds or holes where snakes are commonly found]. Since serpents do not drink milk, the milk is wasted. The Veda says “Annam na parichaksheeta” i.e. food should not be wasted and that such wastage is sin. Milk is a complete food and by wasting it you are earning a lot of sin. The Veda is the highest authority.

If a priest takes Rs.10/- from you and charges you another Rs. 100/- for unnecessary materials, which are wasted, you may sometimes get sin and your money may go waste. An uneducated doctor takes Rs. 10/- as fees and prescribes [wrong] medicines worth Rs. 100/-, which do not cure the actual disease and sometimes lead to new diseases. Instead you may give Rs.100/- to a Sadguru. He gives clear knowledge to you like a qualified doctor, who takes Rs.100/- and prescribes a tablet worth just Rs.2/-, which will cure the disease completely. The priest represents karma (action) and the Sadguru represents Jnana (knowledge). The Gita says that Jnana destroys karma (Jnanaagnih…)

Understand the Real Meaning

The snake’s abode represents the human body and the snake represents the hunger, which is the fire-energy represented by waves. Energy is propagated in the form of waves and the serpent also moves in the forms of waves. Therefore, the serpent represents the life-energy. Giving milk to a hungry deserving person is the inner meaning of this festival. Datta is fond of milk. Therefore, you should offer milk to the Human Incarnation of Lord Datta or to a devotee of Datta or to an incapable beggar and preach to him about Datta.

Every serpent is not God. Only Adi Shesha[2] is God in the form of a serpent. This is told in the Gita. Similarly, Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Buddha etc., are God in human form. This does not mean that every human being is God. Today you must remember that Adi Shesha represents an ordinary human being because Adi Shesha is a serpent and the serpent represents the life energy. Adi Shesha was born as Lakshmana when the Lord was born as Rama. Lakshmana served the Lord personally as well as in His mission. Therefore, Lord Rama granted him a permanent togetherness (sahavasa) with the Lord on earth. Rama never left Lakshmana even for one day.

The pure mind is represented by the milk and the Human Incarnation of the Lord represents the snake’s abode. Pouring milk in the snake’s abode represents the dedication of your pure mind to the Lord. The serpent represents the life energy of the Human Incarnation. Sometimes, the Human Incarnation may move in a curved way like a serpent [deliberately display some negative qualitites]. Krishna also showed some curved ways. Just as the serpent hisses or bites, the Human Incarnation may threaten or even trouble the devotee to test his devotion. In spite of the negative qualities of the serpent, you are offering it milk. This means that even if the Human Incarnation of Datta exhibits some negative behavior or threatens or harms you, you must dedicate your mind to Him as you pour milk to the serpent in spite of its negative qualities. This is the innermost spiritual essence of this festival.


[1] On the Naga Panchami or the Festival of Serpents, snakes are worshipped by pouring milk before them or into holes or termite mounds where snakes are found, in an attempt to feed them.

[2] Adi Shesha literally means the “primordial part [of God]”. He is depicted as a gigantic cobra with a thousand heads. He is the Lord’s greatest devotee and is also considered as a partial Incarnation of God. In Vaikuntha Loka, the fourteenth world and the abode of Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu rests on a bed made out of coils of the body of Adi Shesha, in the Milk Ocean.