Mysterious creatures and people whose psycho-physical characteristics are not comparable to those of modern humanity are often protagonists of the history and civilization of the ancient world: the legends tell of half human and half animal beings able to change form at will, of archaic populations disappeared after intense and dramatic events.
Among the most recurrent creatures there are the Serpent Men, a race with semidivine characteristics that appears several times in the mythologies of people often geographically distant from each other: reptilian in appearance and of great powers, they delivered into the hands of humanity technological knowledge and urban civilization.
According to some scholars, the frequency of the serpentine figure in the traditions and in the human symbology sinks the roots in something real happened to the dawn of the evolution of man and between the various representations of this ancient and powerful race particular relief assumes that of the Nagas.
The Sanskrit term "Nagas", designates a progeny of supernatural creatures, half men and half snakes who, according to the Mahabharata, dwelt in the seventh kingdom of Hell, was in the service of Varuna, the Vedic god of storms, and was sworn enemy of the Garuda, a race of giant divine eagles.
In fact "nāga" ("naag" in Hindi), means "cobra" hence the scientific name of the Indian cobra "Naja naja", and not exactly "snake" word for which Sanskrit uses "sarpa".
The Nāgas are creatures who live in a mysterious and rich underground kingdom, have the ability to assume both the full human form and the full serpentine form and are usually associated with water and all the events (positive and negative) related to it. To access the mysterious cities of the Nāgas you should look at the bottom of the lakes or deeper rivers. They are positive beings except for those who deliberately harm the environment. All over the Asian world they therefore appear in association with the concept of fertility, with the cycle of rains that favors abundant harvests, but also with the terrible floods of some great rivers.
According to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky's Theosophical Glossary, the term "Naga" has a universal meaning because it is one of the few words that survived the destruction of the first language and, in every corner of the world, it assumes the double meaning of the 'serpent' symbol of magic knowledge and power and 'wise man', 'adept', 'initiated': for the inhabitants of Java, the Naga is a gigantic snake endowed with magical powers, comparable to the Dragon of China, where the cult of the Nagas was particularly widespread.
in Buddhism, the Naga is the wise snake, expert in magic arts and able to assume human form: it is said that Siddhartha Gautama (better known as the Buddha, the Awakened One) was accompanied throughout his life by some Nagas, who cared for him from birth, protected him and kept his remains after his death.
The Nagas are remembered as higher beings, dwelling in Nagaloka or Nagadvipa, a place identified by the Puranas in Patala ("Hells"), the pre-Aryan folklore recalls the Yaksha Yakshini; the Guhyaka or "secret beings", the Kinnara Mayu, half men and half horse like the Asvins who are also remembered as "knights of Surya" and at the same time doctors of the gods; the Rakshashi, bad giants similar to the Hebrew Nephilim; the Gandharva or "Heavenly Musicians"; the Siddha and the sensual Nagin ( called also Nagini or Maya) with the faculty to change their appearance, just like the Djinn, the Elohim Vigilantes and the tempting and multiform Nagini of Buddha, Devi Shakti.
In the Mahabharata, where it is said that the Mother Goddess Kadru, mother of all Snakes, gave origin to this race, it is also stated that the first kings of India began with the Naga and Shishnunaga dynasties, healer snakes hiding together with the first Shiites in the heart of the Decan in cities like Nagpur.
The Tibetan text 'Book of Dzyan' describes them as "the Serpents who came down, made peace with the fifth race, taught and instructed it", beings who are very reminiscent of those mythical Gods, Seraphim, Feathered Snakes and so on worshipped by pre-Columbian, Sumerian, Egyptian and Celtic civilizations, beings who intervened genetically on man that they themselves had probably sown on earth favoring the beginning of life.
The Nāgas sometimes mingle with humans and reproduce with them, it is told for example that a princess of Nāgas married the first king of ancient Cambodia and from their union would be born the Cambodian people.
According to this myth, snake-people inhabited a vast area of the Pacific Ocean and looking at similar legends concerning the Asia-Pacific region we come to associate the serpent-men to the mythical continent of Mu: James Churchard himself states that some tablets he found in an Indian monastery reveal that a sentient serpentine species, the Nagas, really lived in Tibet and Asia, and that’s probably why Chinese history also ascribes to the goddess Nu Kua, half dragon and half woman, the creation of the first men.
The very ancient Chinese text of "I Ching" reveals that dragons and men once lived in harmony until they mated with each other.
Another legend, common to the Nāgas and the lost continent of Mu, concerns the secret of "the elixir of life": these mythical beings stole a cup of pure life from the gods, while these were intent on distributing it to the creatures of the world.
The gods recovered the cup, but part of its contents fell to the ground and the nāgas began to lick the ground to drink pure life: in doing so they cut off their tongues, which remained forked forever. In this case the overall peaceful, positive and naturalistic vision of the Nāgas contrasts enormously with the image of the reptilians who would like to control the world.
Even the ancient traditions of Latin America tell extensively of "feathered snakes" and strange hybrid retpiloids creatures: among the natives of Central America, men of medicine or witchcraft are called Nagal or Nagual, a term similar to the name of the Mesopotamian high priest, Nargal; according to some scholars, the ministers dedicated to the cult of the serpent adopted the name Nagas in honor of the Naga to which they were devoted, becoming themselves Nagas: the addition of the final s transforms the Sanskrit naga, = "serpent/cobra" into Nagas, = the man-serpent/cobra.
The Hebrew "Nachash" is also referred to a multitude of men linked to the figure of the serpent; the presence of the "Shin" (-sh) at the end of the word, in addition to proposing the structure of the Sanskrit "naga-s", also recalls the British form of the adjective of origin, which makes use of the suffix -ish whose meaning is "belonging to" which in its turn originates from the Hebrew noun "îysh" namely "man".
Therefore, the "nacha-yish" is "snake-man" and, therefore, like the term Nagas, does not pertain to the reptile in the strict sense but describes a human being of great erudition, who master the magical and divinatory arts and is devoted to the serpent, from which he receives knowledge and powers.
The biblical Nachash designates a multitude of men bound to the serpent and manifestly opposed to Jahweh, as evidenced by the deception in Eden to induce Adam to transgress the dictates that Elohim had imparted.
“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha
Resources related to Through the coils of the Serpent-Men: The Nagas
- ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
- Dominion: Le origini aliene del potere by Piero Ragone
- Biblioteca Pleyades
- Khandro Net
- Indian Serpent-lore: Or, The Nāgas in Hindu Legend and Art by Jean Philippe Vogel
- ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA
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