Takshaka Naga is named the King of the Naga in many references, especially in the Mahabharata. He is a friend of Indra (a later mythic addition) and spared from the great serpent sacrifice of King Janamejaya who was, in turn, avenging the death of his father from a serpent bite. The sage Vyasa saved Takshaka at the last minute in exchange for treasure. Takshaka is very poisonous, mighty and connected with clever robbery. After being expelled from his kingdom he sought help from the Devas where he achieved Indra’s protection. There is much more to be said, but in terms of mythos, we see the worship of a powerful and ancient Naga spirit uprooted and then incorporated into Vedic (Indra) cults. The sage Vyasa upheld the survival of the Naga race with treasure as recompense. In other words, it seems this mighty Naga King was too valuable an entity to burn or discard. Takshaka is identified as the great Naga King of Bhogavati (the underworld kingdom of the Naga), as well as being the most heroic leader. Virile, powerful, very deadly and a powerful leader, he is also associated with the great Naga queen and folk deity, Manasa Devi (possibly his mother) and also with the Hindu God of healing, Dhanvantari. Some of his shrines, especially in Kashmir, are located near springs, and serve even today as actual healing centers. Traditional appearance when invoked: Takshaka Naga appears as a glistening red Naga, with a glowing swastika image on his hood. (Note: The swastika is an ancient symbol of blessing, peace and illumination.) What follows are parts of an original invocation generated by Sadhana that gives a number of key mythological aspects of this Naga. The full invocation will be found as part of the final Grand Naga Puja.
Takshaka Naga! Hero of the Naga Great shining serpent of swiftness, power and warrior skills! You are poisonous, fierce and relentless in your pursuit of justice You are called ‘woodcutter’ because you mow down your enemies You deified hero-king of primal times Spirit of might and beauty Gem burning brilliantly on your head In the Vedas and Sutras you are named Takshaka Vaisaleya Great son of the mighty river Your venom is famed and is gathered for alchemical wonders You have fought and lost to the demon Ravana But lived to fight and win the day You came forth from the forest A friend of Indra General and hero of the Naga You proclaim yourself Master Healer Patron of healers and teacher of Rasa Yoga! You are called wrathful and sharp of weapons Yet you are the Lord of righteousness As Lord of healing you sit with the healing God Dhanvantari As Takshakesvara and Takha-ji! You are mighty enough to slay hosts and churn the cosmic ocean And your venom is feared and threatens the world But you also hold the cup of healing And the fruit of medicine.
NAGA MAGICK. The Wisdom of the Serpent Lords
by Denny Sargent.