Mystical serpent beings inhabiting oceans, lakes and rivers, the Naga gods and goddesses in their various forms have played an important part in most religions and mythologies worldwide as well as in folklore and fairytales. They are known for their miraculous powers, vast esoteric knowledge and a capricious character that can change from helpful to malevolent seemingly on a whim. As keepers of the treasures of the water elements, they often appear with a magical gem in their hands or jewels in their crowns. Their head auras are often composed of radiant serpents.
Possession of this crystallized wisdom-power exposes the Nagas to many archetypal enemies, including Garuda (half man-half bird), who would like to steal this immense source of power. Naga versus Garuda (or snake versus archangel) is the essential force or polarity that creates the world of existence from vastly different perspectives in both East and West.
Psychologically, Naga energy can be associated with libido, Kundalini or life force. The whole process of enlightenment is determined by how wisely one handles his or her own Naga energy. The practice of Tantric Kriya Yoga is devoted to the safe awakening and use of Kundalini for higher consciousness. In Tantric Buddhism quite beyond any folkloristic beliefs, there are privileged esoteric levels for the advanced Tantrician. It is stated that the historical Buddha Shakyamuni took rebirth in the Naga realm just before his last incarnation on earth, and while sitting under the Bodhi Tree in India was magically protected by a Naga.