Snake bite cure in Atharva Veda(Post No.3268)

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Written by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 19 October 2016

 

Time uploaded in London: 18-47

 

Post No.3268

 

Pictures are taken from Wikipedia and other sources; thanks. (Picture is used only for representational purpose; no connection with the current article.)

 

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

 

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Following Prayer is found in the Sixth Kanda of Atharvana Veda:-

Prayers for purging Snake poison

“Just as the Surya knows the heaven well,I am well acquainted with the story of the birth of the snakes. Just as the sun removes the darkness of the night, I remove the snake poison from your body.

 

The Brahmanas , the sages and gods knew how to purge snake poison. The learning has come down to us from the past and will be used in future as well. I cleanse you of snake poison with that learning.

 

I sprinkle you with waters of the rivers and mountains. I sprinkle you with the waters of the rivers Parushni and Shipala. May peace descend upon your face. May peace descend on your heart”.

 

(The Parushni is now identified as the Iravati or the Ravi. It is not possible to identify Shipala. The Shipala probably simply meant a stream in which the aquatic plant shaivala grew.)

 

Snake Bite Miracles

 

Hindu literature has got many stories of snake bite cure miracles.Hindu poets use the similes such as “even the snakes obey/ listen to the Mani Mantra Aushada” meaning snakes are controlled by the Mantra or Gem stones or herbs.

 

It is interesting to note that Manu Smrti advised people to wear gemstones to counter the poison.(Manu 7-218)

 

Tamil poet Kamban and Sanskrit poet Kalidasa used similes saying that the snakes listen to mantras and behaves.

When the King Dilipan tried to shoot an arrow at the lion that attacked his divine cow, his hands became numb like the snake benumbed by the mantras and the herbs.( Raghu Vamsam 2-32)

 

Kamban says the demoness Ayomuki misbehaved with Lakshmana like a bad snake who  did not obey the command of mantras.  (Aranyakas Kandam)

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Tamil Miracles

There are several miracle stories in Tamil and Sanskrit literature where saints cured their disciples bitten by the snakes. They say the verses sung by the saint poets revived the dead. Two famous saints lived in Tamil Nadu 1400 years ago. One of them was Sambandar, a Boy Wonder who did many miracles before he died at the age of sixteen. A woman who eloped with her boyfriend was staying at a choultry in Tirumarukal. He was bitten by snake at the dead of night and died at once. When the woman was crying loudly Sambandar came there and revived him by singing the praise of Lord Siva. Lord Siva wash known as Neelakandan– The Blue Necked– because he swallowed poison and his wife Parvati stopped it at his neck. His neck became blue because of the poison.

 

Sambandars contemporary was another saint by name Appar. He visited Thingalur, a town where there was a water distribution centre named after him. During summer, Hindus used to distribute drinking water as a charity. When Appar asked people there, without revealing his identity, who the gentleman was that named the centre after Appar alias Tirunavukkarasu. When he was taken to the owner of the charity centre, Apputhi Adikal, Appar pretended as if he was someone else, and criticised Apputhi Adikal for using the name of a non entity like Appar.

 

Apputhi became furious and reeled out the glorious deeds of Appar and asked how dare he criticised him as an unknown person. At that point, Appar revealed his true identity and Apputhi was in ecstasy. He insisted that Appar must stay for dinner which he agreed whole heartedly. It is customary for the Tamils to eat on banana leaves. When Apputhi’s son went into the garden to cut some leaves from the plantain tree he was bit ten by a snake and he died on the spot. Apputhi and his wife decided to hide him from Appar. When they were about to serve the food, Appar insisted that Apputhi’s son also should join them. With great grief and much hesitation they told Appar what happened. Immediately Appar sang ten verses praising Lord Siva and the boy came alive. 

Pandaripura Miracle

We read about similar incidents in Maratti language also. There were two true devotees of Pandaripuram Panduranga. Kamalakar and his wife Sumati heard about the visit of great Saint Namadeva. When he came to the town, the couple wanted to feed all the people in his group. Sumati asked her son Padmakar to fetch some fuel wood from the backyard. When Padmakar did this he was bitten by a snake and died. The couple decided not to upset the guests, and she hid the body, wrapped in an old cloth. When Namadeva insisted all the family members should sit with him in the dinner, the couple revealed the tragedy. Namdeo sang in praise of Lord Panduranga and the boy came alive as if woken form sleep.

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In such stories we see the power of divine words. Coupled with the power of the Saints, miracles do happen. But not all the people are lucky to be alive like the above; we hear about hundreds of deaths every year due to snake poison. God’s devotees are saved if they are at the right place at the right time with the right people!

 

Tamil Poet Kamban and Snakes

There are two anecdotes about Tamil poet Kamban. He came to launch his new book about agriculturalists. One of the important guests was Chedirayan from Pondicherry. Unfortunately a snake suddenly came from nowhere and bit him. Moreover, it wound in his feet. Kamba  sang some verses and then the snake left the place.

 

On another occasion, a snake bit one of the Chidambaram dikshitars’ son. Kamban sang a few verses from the Nagapasa verses in the Ramayana and the boy was revived.

-Subham-

 

 

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