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These are poems on the subject of the Bengali snake goddess Manasā (see Manasā Devī, Devī). Developed from the oral tradition, the poems were transcribed in the late sixteenth century. In some of the poems Manasā appears as the offspring of the god Dharma (see Dharma), who mates with her. Regretting his sin, Dharma convinces Śiva (see Śiva) to marry the girl, who, after throwing herself on a funeral pyre takes new form as Śiva's wife Pārvatī (see Pārvatī). It should be noted, in this connection, that the word manasā means “spiritual” and that it is also the name of a holy mountain, and that Pārvatī is the “Mountain Mother” or the “Daughter of the Mountain.” Sometimes Manasā is Śiva's daughter. Often she is a jealous goddess who threatens people if they do not worship her.

Subjects: Religion.

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