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(skt.: naga; tib.: lu) The Sanskrit word naga means snake or serpent. Nagas belong half to the animal realm and half to the god realm. Nagas are often snake-like in form, creatures with the torso and head of humans, and the body and tail of a snake, though they can assume human form at will. They dwell in a variety of locations ranging from waterways and underground locations and also in unseen realms. They are broadly divided into two classes: those that live on land (thalaja) and those that live on water (jalaja). The Jalaja-naga live in rivers as well as in the sea, while the Thalaja-naga are regarded as living beneath the surface of the earth.
Nagas have their own society and kingdoms under the earth and are often the custodian of treasures: either texts or actual material treasures under ground. Some are infinitely wealthy and owe their present form to a previous life of unethical generosity. Their lives are long and they are gifted with miraculous powers and great strength. Nagas are easily angered and passionate. Nagas are susceptible to suffering created by mankinds carelessness and basic ignorance of proper conduct in nature and disrespectful actions in relation to our environment. The weaker nagas will undergo great hardship or die off, while the more powerful will react with anger and strike back at the offenders, inflicting skin disases, death, and sudden catastrophe like floods and drought. Additionally, Nagas can bestow various types of wealth, bring rain and thus assure fertility of crops and the environment as well as decline these blessings. For this reason the practice of Lu Sang (offering of smoke) can be performed as a method to increase prosperity, and assist the Nagas by preserving the positive qualities of their natural environment.