Nagas (Myths and Legends of the World)
Nagas are a race of semidivine serpent creatures in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Female Nagas are called Nagis or Naginis. Usually depicted as human above the waist and snake below the waist, Nagas can also change shape to appear fully human or snake. Nagas and Nagis are known for their strength, wisdom, and good looks. When Nagis take human form, they can marry mortal men, and some Indian dynastiessuccession of rulers from the same family or group claim descent from them.
According to legend, Nagas are children of Kadru, the granddaughter of the god , and her husband, Kasyapa. Nagas lived on earth at first, but their numbers became so great that Brahma sent them to live under the sea. They reside in magnificent jeweled palaces and rule as kings at the bottom of rivers and lakes and in the underground realm called Patala.
Like humans, Nagas show wisdom and concern for others but also cowardice and injustice. Nagas are immortalable to live forever and potentially dangerous. Some are demons; others seem friendly and are worshiped as gods. Nagas also serve as protectors and guardians of treasureoth material riches and spiritual wealth.
(The entire section is 272 words.)
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