By Swami Harshananda
Pratyavarohaṇa literally means ‘re-descent’.
The country possesses more varieties of serpents than any single country in the world. Serpent-worship, which is common even today, must have arisen from the fear entertained about the deadly effects of snakebites. Hence, the serpent-sect may be considered as very ancient. The dangers posed by snakes get intensified during the rainy season since their places of dwelling get drowned under water.
To ward off the dangers, the rite of offering a bali to serpents was performed on the Śrāvaṇa-purṇimā day and continued everyday for four months till Mārgaśirṣa-purnimā. Till this day, people were advised to use cots or some high furniture inaccessible to snakes which they were expected to discard now and sleep on the ground. Thus Pratyavarohaṇa became a religious rite.
- It does nāgapujā and nāgabali.
- Bali means oblation or a sacrifice.
- It is the full-moon day in the month of Srāvaṇa, generally in August.
- It falls on full-moon day in the month of Mārgaśīrṣa, generally in December.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore