Mansa Devi is a Hindu goddess of snakes, worshiped mainly in north-eastern states. Mansa is the sister of Vasuki, king of snakes and wife of Jagatkaru. She is also known as Vishahara (the destroyer of poison), Jagadguri, Nitya and Padmavati.
Mansa is depicted as a woman covered with snakes and sitting on lotus. She is sheltered by the canopy of the woods of seven cobra snakes.
In Kamakhya, shakti peeth, the mansa puja or dev dhawni mela is celebrated in August. There is a book which opens only once in a year. The book is not bind and are loose leaves recited in song form by groups of people and has to be completed in a single night each day during the mela. From July onwards, this book roams around every house of those people who want to do mansa puja. Listening to this katha in a song form removes all the hurdles of life.
In these loose leaves, the story of mansa devi is written. According to this book, Mansa Devi was born when a statue of girl that had been sculpted by Vasuki’s mother was touched by Lord Shiva’ semen. Vauki accepted Mansa as her sister and granted her the charge of the poison. Once upon a time, Lord Shiva saw her in a forest and she was so beautiful that he was sexually attracted to her, but she proved him that he was her father. Shiva took her to his home where his wife Chandi suspected Mansa of being Shiva’s other wife, and insulted Mansa and later on, burnt one of her eyes, leaving Mansa half blind. Finally tired of quarrels between Mansa and Chandi, Shiva deserted Mansa underneath a tree, but created a companion for her from his tears of remorse called Neta.
Accompanied by her advisor Neta, Mansa descended to earth to obtain human devotees. She managed to convert people from different walks of life, but failed to convert Chand Sadagar, an ardent Shiva and Chandi devotee. In attempting to convert him, Mansa killed Chand’s six sons and left him bankrupt.
She also killed Lakhindar on his wedding night, Chand’s wife and widowed daughter-in-law tried to coax him to worship Mansa.
At last, he yielded by offering a lotus flower to the goddess with his left hand without even looking at her. This gesture made Mansa so happy that she resurrected all of Chand’s sons and restored his fame and fortunes. Ever since, the worship of Manasa became more popular and gained momentum.
The goddess is widely worshiped in the rainy season when snakes are most active. Mansa is also a very important fertility deity and her blessings are invoked during marriage or for childlessness. She is usually worshiped and mentioned along with Neta. MAnsa is ceremonially worshiped on Nag Panchmi – a festival of snake worship in Hindu month Sharvan (July-August).
Jai Maa Mansa Devi