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Symbolism of Snake in Hinduism

Snake (referred as nagas) is an important symbol in Hinduism. The symbolism attached to the serpents are of eternity, fertility and regeneration. They are the protector of the universe. The popular belief is that 1000-headed snake Ananta is holding the earth. “Ananta, the Lord of serpents, supports the Earth with its mountain and forests.” – states the third chapter of Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Ananta is regarded as an emblem of eternity. The divine 1000-headed serpent is believed to be supporting the seven nether worlds below and the seven aerial regions above.

Ananta  Sesha means that which remains after dissolution of the universe. Srihari Vishnu the seed of creation rests atop it.

The prominence of worship of nagas is based on the belief that snakes do not die but they shed their skins and emerge as new. This eternity of snakes became a symbolism. This ageless quality of the serpent is known as Ananta – never ending.

Snake is a symbol of eternity, fertility and regeneration in Hinduism. It is the symbol of wisdom too. The snake is depicted with good and bad deeds of man. The snake is poisonous but its venom is medicinal too. Similarly anger, lust, etc are poisonous. We have to convert our nature and develop the opposite qualities such as quietness, control or continence, love, contentment and so on.

(Source - Astadala Yogamala, Volume 5 By Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar)