The word Naga is rooted in Sanskrit and means "Serpent". In the East Indian pantheon it is connected with the Serpent Spirit and the Dragon Spirit. It has an quivalency to the Burmese Nats, or god-serpents. In the Esoteric Tradition it is synonymous for Adepts, or Initiates. In India and Egypt, and even in Central and South America, the Naga stands for one who is wise.
Nagarjuna of India, for example, is shown with an aura, or halo, of seven serpents which is an indication of a very high degree of Initiation. The symbolism of the seven serpents, usually cobras, are also on Masonic aprons of certain systems in the Buddhistic ruins of Cambodia (Ankhor) and Ceylon. The great temple-builders of the famous Ankhor Wat were considered to be the semi-divine Khmers. The avenue leading to the Temple is lined with the seven-headed Naga. And even in Mexico, we find the "Naga" which becomes "Nagal." In China, the Naga is given the form of the Dragon and has a direct association with the Emperor and is known as the "Son of Heaven"...while in Egypt the same association is termed "King-Initiate". The Chinese are even said to have originated with the Serpent demi-gods and even to speak their language, Naga-Krita. For a place that has no serpents, Tibet, they are still known in a symbolic sense and are called "Lu!" (Naga). Nagarjuna called in Tibetan, Lu-trub.
In the Western traditions we find the sae ubiquity for the Naga, or Serpent. One simple example is the Ancient Greek Goddess, Athena. She is known as a warrior Goddess as well as the Goddess of Wisdom; her symbol being the Serpent as displayed on her personal shield. Of course, in Genesis the Serpent is a Naga who instructs the new infant (humanity) in what is called the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Christian church has, unfortunately transformed the Initiate-Teacher into a tempting and negative demon-character. An apocryphal tradition says that Apollonius of Tyana, while on a visit to India, was taught by the "Nagas" of Kashmir. (See The Life of Apollonius, by Philostratos.) It is felt by many scholars of the Western Tradition that the life of Apollonius was taken from the New Testament, or that the narratives of the New Testament have been taken from the life of Apollonius. This is felt because of ! the undisputed and clear similarities of construction fo that particular narrative.
Naga is one of a handful of rare words surviving the loss of the first universal language. In Buddhism, Wisdom has always been ties, symbollically, to the figure of the Serpent. In the Western Tradition it can be found as used by the Christ in the Gospel of Saint Matthew (x.16), "Be ye therefore as serpents, and harmless as doves."
In all mythological language the snake is also an emblem of immortality. Its endless representation with its tail in its mouth (Ouroboros), and the constant renewal of its skin and vigor, enliven teh symbols of continued youth and eternity.
The Serpent's reputation for positive medicinal and/or life-preserving qualities have also contributed to the honors of the Serpent as STILL seen by the employment of the Caduceus. To this very day, the Hindus are taught that the end of every Universal Manifestation (Kalpa) all things are re-absorbed into Deity and the the interval between "creations." He reposes upon the Serpant Sesha (Duration) who is called Ananta, or, Endlessness. (See Ophiolatreiaby Hargrave Jennings)
by Soror Ourania
Reprinted from Thelemix and Therion Rising