Origin of Manasa Devi
Manasa Devi is known as the daughter of famous Sage Kashyapa and Kadru. She is the sister of serpent king Sesha and Vasuki, one of the most important Nagas. Manasa is known to be a pre-Aryan Goddess who is most commonly worshipped in different parts of Bengal. She is ritually invoked with sacrifices and offerings. She is also the name of a form of Vishnu born out of Sambhuti, along with the Gods Abhutarajasas in the Rawala Manwantara.
Legend of Manasa Devi
Manasa Devi was the daughter of Lord Shiva by a beautiful mortal woman. She was not liked by her step-mother, Parvati; so she took up her abode on earth with another daughter of Shiva, named Neta. Due to the confusion in her parentage, Goddess Manasa was never really elevated to the status of a premium deity.
Manasa wished to receive the worship as a Goddess and knew that it would be easy to obtain the same if she could once secure the devotion of a very wealthy and powerful merchant-prince of Champak Nagar, by the name of Chand Saudagar in Bengal. He was a widower and had six sons. He was very attentive to his sons so that they never felt the absence of their mother. For a long time, she tried to persuade him; but he was a stout devotee of Shiva himself, whom he was not going to desert for a Goddess of snakes. Manasa thus destroyed the beautiful garden of Chand many times and every time Chand used to restore the beauty to his garden by the help of his magic power, which he had received from Shiva.
Once Manasa took the guise of a beautiful maiden and appeared before the widower Chand, who was enchanted by her beauty. He decided to marry her but the lady asked for the magic powers of Chand to be bestowed on her before the marriage and Chand did the same. Then Manasa showed her original self and again told Chand to worship her but that time also Chand rejected her demand. Then six of the sons of Chand were killed by snake bites with the instructions of Manasa and Chand remarried and got a son and named him Lakhindar. Lakhindar grew up to be a handsome young lad and Chand selected a beautiful girl named Behula to be married with him. The couple was engaged and wedding date was fixed. In those years Manasa did not give up her hope and appeared again with her resolve to subdue Chand by killing Lakhindar.
Manasa killed Lakhindar and due to the love and devotion of Behula, Lakhindar was brought back to life. Finally, Behula convinced her father-in-law to worship the Manasa Devi and thus Chand agreed and promised to worship Manasa by using his left hand to perform the rites. This was accepted by Manasa and Chand worshipped Manasa with all his devotion. Thus this legend of Goddess Manasa gave Manasa Devi much reputation and people worshipped her in all parts of India.
Worship of Manasa Devi
Manasa Devi is an extremely furious Goddess for those who refuse to worship Her, while extremely kind to those who worship Her with devotion. She is considered to be very powerful and worshipped in different forms and with different names throughout India. The Goddess is worshipped mainly during the rainy season, when the snakes are most active. She can be worshipped in the form of an idol or even as a formless power.