In Cambodian legends, the Nagas are a reptilian race who had a large empire in the Pacific Ocean region. The Naga King’s daughter married the king of Ancient Cambodia, and gave rise to the Cambodian people. This is why, still, today, Cambodians say that they are “Born from the Naga”. The Seven-Headed Naga serpents depicted as statues on Cambodian temples apparently represent the 7 races within Naga society, which has a symbolic association with “the seven colours of the rainbow”. Cambodian Nagas also possess numerological symbolism in the number of their heads. Odd-headed Naga symbolise male energy, infinity, timelessness, and immortality. This is because, numerologically, all odd numbers come from One.
Even-headed Nagas are said to be female, representing physicality, mortality, temporality, and the earth – I haven’t come across any of this kind browsing the net.
(I’m wondering whether the English words “odd” and “even” reflect an opposite perception of how many is odd and what is even in the world?)
Originally, Nagas came to Cambodia from India, together with Hindu religion, philosophy, legends and architecture. Naga cult is still part of Indian culture, and has even found its way into the Muslim communities in Kashmir. In Thailand, the Naga is usually depicted as a large crested serpent. However, at Angkor, the Naga loses its crest in favor of a more ominous multi-headed appearance reminiscent of the Hydra from Greek mythology. When visiting Angkor, the outer gates are flanked by seven-headed Naga serpents leading to the central temple complex.
Many fantastic abilities are attributed to the Naga, including the power to shape shift into human form and walk among man. (One of the questions at the ordination of monks inquires whether the applicant is human, just to make sure its not a sneaky serpent in disguise.) Buddhist scriptures describe a variety of killing methods available to the Naga, including a fatal poisonous bite, the strength to constrict its victims within its deadly coils, and the ability to spit a paralyzing venom.
What could be the trick of this one?!
Most ominous of all, the Naga is said to be able to kill simply by staring into the eyes of its victims. – I can fully believe that looking into these eyes!
– the last bit will be about Nagas in Isaan, including those fireballs –