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42 The curse of the serpents
Serpent worship was quite a powerful part of the spiritual custom among many castes in the subcontinent. It seems that the higher castes worshiped the cobras. Some of the lower castes had disdain for the cobras and would kill them in a mood of perfect equanimity. Not every lower caste.
Among the worshiping groups there was a general aversion for the curse of the cobras. I think it was the advent of the British rule in the subcontinent that more or less gave a deathblow to the cult of serpent worship. For most Britons, the snakes were quite abhorrent creatures. At the same time, for the devotee people, the cobra was a most welcome visitor to their houses.
In fact, many higher caste houses did have Cobras living a family-life inside. They were treated with quaint respect and deference. In fact, REV. Samuel Matter, in his Native Life in Travancore, does give a very candid description of this worship and co-existence. He says that the Cobras were everywhere. They would be seen slowly going out of higher caste houses in a pose of quietude and composure. They were more or less tame. The only danger came when they were inadvertently trodden upon. This was only a natural reaction to extreme pain.
Mateer mentions an occasion when he was sleeping in the Church. One Cobra simply slithered over him and went away. He found Cobras and all other snakes quite repulsive.
People kill Cobras. They do not face any problems. However, the fear is of paining a Cobra.
There is supposed to be a curse involved. It is mentioned in the local languages as Sarpakopam (the wrath of the serpents). That is, the resentment of the serpent. It is believed to cause problems.
How can that be? There is no known mechanism by which snakes or any other beings would be able to use a biological machinery to affect others. Or is there a wider idea behind this that needs to be pondered upon?
There are many things I would like to convey here.
The first item is about the tameness of snakes.
It was around the year 1965. I was in my extreme childhood. Something like 3 years or so. Or maybe less. As a family we had moved to Deverkovil from elsewhere. The place was more or less wilderness. Very few houses were there. Most of the places were bushy forest-like locations.
In the night-hours, there would be terrific howling of the jackals all around the house.
One evening, there was a man standing with some other people. The man was new to the location, and he was from the town. A huge rat snake (non-poisonous) appeared near the people. It was more or less unconcerned about the presence of the people, whom it more or less understood as not as animals of prey. It was simply standing there, and pondering on something.
The man took a huge spade and went near it. Going near a rat-snake nowadays is quite impossible. It will scoot at the sight of human beings. However, here this huge snake was simply not bothered by the man’s proximity.
The man hit the snake right in the middle of its backbone. It was a terrific scene. In fact, it was a horrible thing that was done. There was no known enmity or reason for enmity between the individual and the man. The individual in the snake had no reason to expect an attack, as it had lived in close proximity with the earlier occupant human beings there.
The man pushed the wriggling snake into a pit. He put some paper inside and gave fire to it. Then he put mud on the snake.
Looking back, I must say that what was done was a most horrible thing. The individual in the snake must have cursed that man.
I think from that moment that man’s life went haywire slowly. It went from bad to worse. He lived for many years, moving from one terrible experience to another.
Many years later, there was another incident. More or less in the same location. I had come to this remote location during my class-12 holidays. There were two or three men, at least one woman, and two or three children. In the bushy ground in front of us, two huge snakes (someone told me that it was mountain rat-snakes), were in a pose of romantic ritual. They were twined on each other, with a passion that was very powerful. It was quite obvious that the two individuals cared for each other very much. Everyone watched the ritual. One small boy threw a stone, which missed them by the whiskers. He was told not to do it. But he occasionally did it again.
This went on for some time, but somehow, the snakes smelt some danger and moved off. However, they were somewhere around.
A couple of days later, when I was moving along the road, I saw one of the same snakes putting its head out of a mud-cut wall. Its head was held up high in a pose of rare dignity and frankness, and looking at a small number of people watching him or her. As I could understand the scene, it was just a matter of not being able to communicate. The individual in the snake was standing as if in a pose of enquiry.
There was one hefty, worker laughing at this pose of high stature by a creature that moved on the ground. I heard him say that he wanted to hit it. He went searching for a stick. At this point, I moved off.
I think that he must have pulverised the head of that snake. The other snake, its partner must have borne the pain of the loss. That individual must have cursed this man from the very core of its heart.
Looking back, it is curious. That man had a very rare accident. He went down in life. Lingered on in terrible physical agony. And died in a very terrible condition.
There is another curious issue. Both the above-mentioned men were connected in a very peculiar manner. Though they were from totally different social heights. I do not want to mention more.
Can mind work beyond the confines of its biological body?
I have done many experiments which I cannot divulge here. I am of the confirmed conviction that mind can at the very least connect to other minds. And may be even influence the other person’s body.
In fact, the practise of pranayama confirms it. It seems to work. That of a practitioner being able to alleviate physical pain and distress to some extent from afar. Even though I do not have any personal experience, a person quite proximate to me does use this to alleviate certain body pains.
Can serpents communicate using their mind?
At the time of Thurston’s writing, this question would be of the most preposterous kind. There was nothing that could postulate on the possibility of communicating across empty space other than by sound, light, vibration, taste and smell.
Yet, think of what are known as of now. Not only Cell phones, Satellite phones, Radio and TV channels, there is even the direct broadcast of data across device using file-sharing apps like Xender &c. Even the quaint feature of copy-pasting in computers and mobile devices is something that cannot be imagined from a physical world experience, as of then and also now.
Most of the users of these things, including persons claiming immense profundity in medical science, psychology, psychiatry, physics, chemistry, biology etc., do not have an iota of information on what is the entity that is moving from one device to another, and reassembles as a video, audio or text file.
An hour or so back, I made an online search to understand how snakes communicate with each other. There is no information at all about this. There are only shallow postulations that they communicate via vibrations, smell, hissing, tasting etc. The scholarly explanations seem to be quite insipid.
The question is why is no one thinking of the possibility of some kind of mental work wherein a communication akin to a biological version of Bluetooth, Wifi, Xender, Mobile phone etc. is at work?
Well, the simple answer would be that academicians do know very little about anything. As to the managing technicians in the IT gadgets manufacturing companies, well, they wouldn’t speak about their trade secrets.
There might be more to serpent worship than what the academic geniuses might be able to explain.
02. The frill issues
35. Issue of viewing
46. Jinxed buildings
59. Lucky stones
67. A warm talisman
69. Commentary 1
70. Commentary 2
71. Commentary 3
72. Commentary 4