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Dr E S Neelakantan

The Snake is considered a Holy Species according to Hindu tradition. Even in olden times, western countries used to look upon India as a land of Snake Charmers. If we look at the origins of religion, we find mostly people worshipped Nature, be it trees, rivers, animals such as cows, reptiles such as snakes and stones as Shivalingas. The holy rudraksha grows on the trees; Shaligramas are taken out of Gandaki river; Bana Lingas are taken from Narmada river,so on and so forth.

The dosha by which one can decipher that a person is cursed by a snake is  termed as “Sarpa Dosha”.

“Sarpa” means snake, while “sapa” means curse . The effect of this dosha is death of children. It is said that in Hindu tradition, a person bereft of male progeny meets with an adverse fate in the afterlife (Aputhrasya Gathim naasti  ).A similar sentiment is echoed by the legendary poet Kalidasa in Raghuvamsam. So the effect of Sarpa sapa is that it has an adverse impact  In terms of not only denying the pleasures associated with children while living with family but also denying the benefits associated with meeting with a favourable destiny in the afterlife.

Here I would like to make one point clear. The Yoga for being cursed by a snake is different from the yoga from being bitten by a snake.It is said that under the power of destiny, a man is bitten by a snake. For being bitten, it is not necessary that he should have been cursed by a snake either in the present birth or in an earlier birth.Altogether if a person’s karma is unfavourable, he will be bitten by a snake provided his horoscope shows indication for the occurrence of such an adverse event.

Let us look at the astrological combination for Sarpasapa Yoga.

  1. a) 5th house is occupied by Rahu and aspected by Mars.

b) Rahu in the 5th in Aries or Scorpio.

  1. Rahu conjoins the 5th lord while Saturn occupies the 5th house either conjunct the moon or aspected by the moon.
  1. Jupiter in conjunction with Mars while Rahu is in Lagna and Lord of 5 is in 6,8,12.
  1. Rahu is in the 5th in Aries or Scorpio, aspected by or associated with Mercury.

The Yoga for being bitten by a snake is called  Sarpaganda Yoga.

When Rahu joins Mars in the Second house, Sarpaganda Yoga is given rise to. If this Yoga is absent in the chart, then the person need not be afraid of being bitten by snakes.Snake bites need not be fatal in all cases but for snake bite to prove fatal,we have a separate rule.

Death due to Serpent bite or Sarpadamshtramruti 

There is a variant of Sarpa dosha by which a person is destined to die having been  bitten by a serpent. An example of this rule is found in Bhagavata Purana wherein King Parikshit dies on account of being bitten by the serpent Takshaka. 

Rahu , Sun and Saturn in conjuction in the 7th from Gulika causes death due to Serpent bite.

Curse of Serpents according to Prasna Marga:

It is possible to detect the anger of Serpent God either from the natal Chart or from the horary chart. I would like to mention here how a natal chart differs from horary chart. If Sarpa Yoga is present in natal chart it refers to curse of a snake arising out of  previous births. The same in a horary chart can imply either an event in a previous birth or the current birth. If Sarpa Yoga is absent in the natal chart, but present in horary chart,then it is due to the curse of snake on account of an event in the current birth.

Once in a horary chart, an astrologer detected a sarpa dosha though it was not there in the natal chart.He immediately asked the chart holder, “Did you do any sarpa shanthi in recent times”?. The chart holder replied in affirmative.Then the astrologer told the client that by doing an unwanted ritual, a new problem has arisen. Here I would like to serve a warning to the reader.Sarpa Shanti is not a vitamin pill –  it is more like an antibiotic.Sarpa Shanti or a ritual to pacify the sarpa dosha ought to be done only when a dosha exists in the first place. If there is no dosha, then where is the need for a remedy? In the instant case, we discussed above, the ritual proved counter – productive, by manifesting a Sarpa Dosha, when the chart holder, had no sarpa dosha in the first place.

Before we go to the rules mentioned in Prasna Marga, I would like to explain what “House of Harm” means. Houses of harm are termed as Badhaka sthanas. They are:

  1. 7th house in the case of common signs.
  2. 11th house in the case of movable signs
  3. 9th house in the case of Fixed signs.

Let us say the fixed sign Scorpio is the lagna. Cancer as the 9th house is the “house of harm”. Similarly for the Movable Lagna, Aries, Aquarius is the Badhaka sthana.For Gemini lagna, Sagittarius is the Badhaka sthana.

Some authors hold the view that houses 3,6,8 and 12 are the houses of harm.

Accordingly to Prasna Marga:

  1. If Jupiter as lord of the house of harm occupies 6, 8 or 12i n a quadrant from Rahu, then the person has earned the wrath of superior serpents. 
  1. If in the above combination ,Jupiter is in a quadrant from Gulika, the person has earned the wrath of the inferior serpents.
  1. Sarpa Dosha is to be inferred if Rahu occupies the house of harm.
    1. In the yoga mentioned above if Rahu is connected to the Sun, the wrath is that of the good serpent.
    2. On the other hand if Rahu is connected to the Moon,the wrath is that of the inferior serpent.
    1. If Rahu occupies a Movable sign, the curse is due to wanton destruction of Serpent’s eggs.
    2. If Rahu occupies a Fixed  Sign, the Curse is due to destruction or felling trees near the serpent’s abode
    3. If Rahu is in a common sign, the curse is due to killing of small snakes.
  1. If Rahu conjoins Mandi or occupies 5, 7, 9 from Mandi, the curse of serpents is to be inferred.
  1. If Mars occupies a Kendra from Rahu, then the resultant sarpa dosha is due to one or more of the following reasons:
    1. Destruction of trees near Serpent’s abode.
    2. Removing the earth in which the serpent lives.
    3. Killing of serpents.
    4. Setting fire to trees near serpent’s pit.
    5. Breaking of anthills near the abode of serpents
    6. Failure to replant trees, which have been removed near the serpent’s abode.
  1. If Saturn and Gulika occupy a Kendra of Rahu, then then the resultant Sarpa Dosha is due to one or more of the following factors:
    1. The abode of serpents has become unclear due to heaping of urine, stools ,so on and so forth.
    2. Allowing sinners to go near snake’s abode.
    3. Allowing elephants to trample snake pit.
    4. Ploughing of land inhabited by snakes by use of bullocks.

8, If Gulika alone stands in a Kendra from Rahu, the abode of snake has become polluted by spitting, excreting so on and so forth.

When we look at the Drekkana Chart for the analysis, we have a term called “ Sarpa drekkana”  – this refers to:

  1. First and second decantes of Scorpio.
  2. Second and third decanates of Cancer
  3. Third decanate of Pisces.

This is also a useful tool in analysis of charts.

Possession by Serpent:

Possession by Serpent goes by the name ”Sarpa baadha lakshanam”.

Astrological rules for the same are as follows:

  1. Rahu in a baadha Rasi or Kendra or in 6, 8 or 12.
  1. Rahu and Gulika in Aries without benefic connection.
    1. a) If Rahu is connected with Malefic the serpent is of Vile Nature.

b) If Rahu is connected with benefics, the serpent is of good nature.

    1. a) If Ascendent is movable, the serpent is from a distant place.

b) If Ascendent is fixed sign, the serpent is from a same place.

c) If Ascendent is common sign, the serpent is from a not – too – distant place.

Fear of Snakes:

Some people have a fear of sankes. This is known as “Sarpa Bhaya”.The astrological rules for Sarpa Bhaya are as follows:

  1. Rahu and Gulika in the 2nd 
  2. Sun, Saturn and Rahu in the 7th
  3. Mars in the Ascendent in Netrapani Avasta

Effects of Sarpa Dosha:

Both delay and denial are attributable to Sarpa dosha. Those who have Sarpa dosha in their charts experience one or more of the following:-

  1. Delay in Passing Exams.
  2. Delay in getting Jobs
  3. Delay in Promotions
  4. Loss of Job due to retrenchment
  5. Delay in getting Married
  6. Delay in getting Progeny
  7. Financial Problems.
  8. Separation of Married Couples .

Overall, there are many things in life which are enjoyable, provided it happens at the right age. People get settled down in life and achieve their life time goals between 25 years of age to 50.It is in this age group, the adverse effects of Sarapa dosha are mostly felt. Thus, if Sarpa dosha is detected in chart, it is better to perform the remedy immediately and ward off the evil.


To overcome sarpa dosha, some of the remedies are as follows:

  1. Observing Naga Panchami Vrat
  2. Doing Rahu – Ketu Pooja at Srikalahasti temple.
  3. Performing Sarpa Samskara at Kukke Subrahmanya temple ;while this is done in the morning, the same day Ashlesha Bali is performed in the afternoon. The following day Naga Pratishta is done and this is followed by a darshan of Lord Subrahmanya at the Kukke Subrahmanya temple.
  4. Chanting of Sarpa Dosha nivarana Mantra
  5. Mopidevi temple in Krishna district, near Vijayawada, in Andhra Pradesh is a famous temple where childless couples go and offer prayers for childbirth. In this temple Sarpa dosha nivarana pooja and Naga Pratishta are performed. Mention about this temple is found in Skanda Purana written by sage Veda Vyasa.
  6. Rahu is Propitiated by offering milk abhishekam during the Rahu Kaal time at Tirunageswaram (near Kumbakonam) in Tamilnadu.
  7. Nagercoil, Mannarshala, Srisailam, Rameshwaram, Trayambakeshwar and Sarpavaram (near Kakinada in Andra Pradesh) are some of the places where rituals are performed in order to pacify Sarpa Dosha.

Sarpavaram is six kilometres from Kakinada.It is dedicated to lord Bhava Narayana Swamy. This is said to be the place where the serpent Takshaka bit King Parikshit and this narrative forms part of the famous Bhagavata Purana. While it is difficult to pinpoint whether Sarpa dosha exist or not, broad consensus view among the astrologers is that Sarpa dosha exists if any one of the following doshas are present.

Located at a distance of around 70 km from Rameshwaram, Sri Adi Jagannatha Perumal Temple, popularly known as Thirupullani Temple, is one of the 108 Divya Desam temples. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple is visited by most of the devotees as part of their pilgrimage to Rameswaram.This ancient temple not only attracts visitors because of its sanctity but also for its historical background and architectural excellence. Built during the reign of Cholas, various contributions were made to this temple during the rule of the Pandya kings.

Santhana Gopala homam  performed  at a holy  place like Thiruppullani enables one to receive the blessings of Lord Krishna to overcome and remove obstacles which one might face in attaining parenthood.

  1. Rahu in the 8th in a malefic sign, in conjuction with or aspected by Saturn.
  2. Rahu and Gulika in the 8th
  3. Rahu in Badhaka sign  conjunct or aspected by Saturn.
  4. Rahu and Gulika in a badhaka sign
  5. Rahu and Ketu in Lagna, 2, 5, 7 or 8.

Chart I is a case of a female where there is a delay in Marriage. This is a classic case of Sarpa dosha with Rahu in the 5th in Scorpio and the lord of the house is relegated to the 12th house.

Chart II is a case of delay in Marriage, Progeny, loss of jobs and other ways of getting frustrated in life. Rahu is in the 8th in a Malefic sign and if you observe a bit keenly, the tenth house aspect of Saturn which falls in Capricorn spills over in its orb so that it falls on Rahu. While Saturn is in 26 degrees, Rahu is in 6 degrees, so as to come under its special aspect.

Chart III is a classic case of Sarpa dosha where in all the three factors which cumulatively give rise to sarpa dosha viz (a) Rahu in Lagna (b) Jupiter conjunct Mars and (c) Lord of 5 in 6, 8, or 12 being in a dustana house, are all fulfilled. This chart as an whole looks good, but undeniably the Sarpa Dosha is present.

Chart IV is a case of a girl studying medicine in Russia but not getting internship leading to delay in Marriage. Rahu in 8th is one of the factors contributing to delay.

Chart V is that of a female whose husband was sick and subsequently passed away. In her chart Ketu is in the 8th in conjuction with Saturn where the Sarpa dosha also partakes the character of Mangalya dosha.

Chart VI belongs to a person whose career is unstable and who is also separated from his wife. Here the Rahu – Ketu axis is formed on the 2/8 houses both from Ascendant as well as the Moon, with Rahu in opposition to malefics Sun and Mars.

Chart VII belongs to a person who has Ketu in the 8th in a malefic house in conjuction with Saturn. He faces lots of losses in his exports, business and his life is one of great struggle.

While we are on the subject of case studies, Charts 1 to 3 fulfil the textbook rules regarding sarpa dosha. Rahu and Ketu in 2 or 8 are treated as a blemish leading to sarpa dosha, more so if they happen to be in malefic houses under malefic conjunctions or aspects,according to scholars on Astrology. This view is found to be correct in charts 4 to 7.

Once Sarpa Dosha is found to exist, the astrologer should advise the client about the appropriate remedy  to overcome the dosha. If a client is going to consult multiple astrologers, chances are that each of them would advise a remedy that wouls cause inconvenience to the client. To avoid this, this astrologers should get a confirmation regarding the occurrence of sarpa dosha by erecting a horary chart. In my humble experience, the rituals performed in Srikalahasti and Kukke Subrahmanya temple are most effective and a number of childless couples have been able to conceive by performing Sarpa samskara, Naga Pratishta and Ashlesha Bali  .

There is a Sanskrit saying, “Ahimsa Paramo Dharamaha” meaning Non – violence is the highest dharma. I know a person who killed a cobra when it entered his house. Later on he was separated from his wife and is issueless. I used to discuss astrology with a learned gentlemen who used to tell me, that his father had ten children but most of his children are issueless ever since they killed a snake, which had come to their house. In Sai Sat Charita, one can find a discussion between Sai Baba and his devotees about the ethics of killing snakes. Since some snakes are poisonous, they can pose a threat to humans. Sai Baba advocated non – killing of snakes. His view was that unless ordained by Almighty, no person would die on account of being bitten by a snake. 

India has a  long tradition of worshipping the snake.It is said that one who worships, Nala, Damayanti, the king Rituparna and the serpent Karkotaka, would never be troubled by Saturn. God is worshipped as Naga Subrahamanya, Naga Raja and Snakes as such are worshipped as Adisesha or as Vasuki. Many women offer Milk and Eggs to snakes living in snake pits especially on Friday Mornings. Naga Chaturti and Naga Panchami are also considered as holy days. In India, the snake is considered a reptile worthy of worship.

In conclusion I wish to say that Sarpa dosha need not be considered a doomsday prediction but one which requires timely intervention. The purpose of this dissertation is also to forewarn the reader about the possible repercussions which can occur through ill – treatment of snakes. 









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