As the Legend is narrated within the Mahabharata, Parikshit wo was the grandson of the valiant warrior Arjun, was cursed by a Rishi to die from snake bite. So, the naga king Takshaka came to fulfill that cursed destiny. But even though Takshaka did that job to fulfill the rishi’s command, Parikshit’s son Janamejeya was angry at his father’s death and decided to avenge it by performing a massive Yagna- a fire lab ritual, Sarpa (meaning snake) Satra- which coerced and forced all the snakes of from all ends of existence to come and fall into the yagna fire to reach their death and annihilation!
Takshaka along with lord Indra (who is the king of the Gods) approached Manasadevi to intervene. She then requested her son Astika to help Takshaka and all the Nagas. He in turn impressed Janamejaya with his scriptural knowledge and was able to calm his anger. When Janamejaya asked Astika to ask for a boon, he requested that the lives of all the Nagas to be spared!
Finally, Janamejeya was pleased and stopped the dreadful Sarpa Satra yagna! The day this happened was the fifth day of the bright forthright of the Hindu lunar month of Shravan- which is now celebrated as the Nag Panchami. This day falls two days after Hariyali Teej.
On the day of Nag Panchami, we honor all these various divine serpent energies. People offer milk and other sweetened milk items like Kheer to the Naga devas on Nag Panchami. We need to remember that Nagas are not just the guardians of wealth and good fortune, they are also the keepers of secret, hidden esoteric spiritual wisdom and cosmic sciences.
So, it is a good practice to honor these divine serpent energies not just on the day of Nag Panchami, but every day. Pay respect to them and seek their blessings and guidance so that you will be provided with the wisdom you need to walk along your path of conscious living.