Manasa Devi is a snake goddess worshipped in eastern parts of
India especially in Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa. She presides over the
serpents or Nagas. Her worship is very ancient – some scholars are of the view
that she was worshipped from pre-Aryan Time.
Manasa Devi is believed to be the daughter of Shiva. Some texts suggest that she is the sister of Snake Vasuki.
The popular belief is that she can cure snakebites and give relief to people from any adversity.
She is worshipped on the Panchami day in Ashar and Shravan months. The most important date is the Nag Panchami day.
Legend has it that when people stopped worshipping snakes, Manasa requested, Lord Shiva, to include her in the pantheon, so that she is worshiped by humans. Shiva responded that if Chand, a businessman, of Anga kingdom agrees to worship her, then her wish would be fulfilled.
Chand had no respect for Mansa Devi as he was an ardent devotee of Shiva. Due to the activities of Goddess Manasa he suffered immensely. He went bankrupt and all his sons were bitten by snakes and killed. The youngest son is killed on the wedding night by a snake bite. The young widow accompanies her husband to heaven and here she finds out the reason for all the misfortune that had befallen on the family. She returns and convinces her father-in-law to worship Mansa Devi.
The businessman was able to regain is previous glory after worshipping the Snake Goddess and it is believed that the worship of Mansa Devi started from the day.