People in the community worshipped her as a snake goddess, brought her offerings, and prostrated themselves before her. But a powerful encounter with Jesus in a dream turned her away from black magic to follow the living, true God.
“My father was a leading sorcerer among our people. He was practicing black magic,” says Nagamma, which means, “mother snake.” Nagamma’s family is part of the Hindu Dalit class at the lowest rung of Indian society, sometimes known as “untouchables.”
Nagamma worshipped many idols and practiced witchcraft at the direction of her father. “Snakes were my favorite gods,” she notes. As a child, she first began to feed local snakes by bringing milk to the edge of their snake holes.
In her community in the border area of Kerala and Tamil Nadu States, there were many snake idols in a special temple dedicated to snakes, located under a fig tree.
When Nagamma was 12-years-old, a snake reared up its ugly head and bit her as she attempted to feed milk to it. “My parents took me to the local doctor (not a medical practitioner) who was able to take the snake poison from my body,” she recounts.
After three days her condition improved, but unusual side effects remained. “I had a total change in my body and mind. My color also changed,” she recalls.
“I began to act like a snake. I always wanted to stay and sit at our snake temple. So my people considered me as the snake goddess. My father was the one who announced first that I am the goddess of the snakes,” she says.
People in the surrounding area began to bring milk, fruits and flowers for her as offerings and prostrated themselves before her on the ground. “They wanted to get a touch from me for their blessings.” They even gave her offerings of money.
As word spread about the snake goddess, she became famous throughout her district.
People asked Nagamma to visit their homes. They asked for her black magic incantations to bring blessings to
their home and the destruction of their enemies. “My parents used me and made money out of it,” Nagamma notes.
Once some evangelists gave her Bible tracts and told her about Jesus Christ, but Nagamma’s father confronted the men and told them his daughter is a goddess, so they should follow her instead of Jesus.
Last year, Nagamma performed black magic in the home of a family with a small child when something unusual happened. “Satan instructed me that there is golden treasure in that house, so I had to sacrifice a child of below three-months-old to find that treasure.”
However, a spiritual battle ensued for the life of the child. As the supernatural warfare raged around her, suddenly Nagamma became troubled and disturbed. “I could not complete the black magic and left that house,” she says.
When she went to sleep in the evening, she had a remarkable dream.
“I had a dream that a bright and beautiful man came to me and sat beside me. I noticed my room was full of light and there was no darkness at all. The man showed me His hands.”
His hands were nail-scarred, bearing the marks of crucifixion.
“My daughter, you are dear to me,” He said. “I am your Lord and God. I give you the treasure of peace and eternal life.”
“I am the gate,” He continued. “Those who come in by me will be saved; they will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes in only to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life – life in all its fullness.”
Nagamma recognized the man in her dream as Jesus Christ! Overwhelmed with emotion, she knelt down before him and accepted Him as her personal Savior and Lord.
In the days that followed, her changed heart led to bold actions. “I myself broke all the idols and temple of snakes. My parents and those who believed in me did not like it. They told me I was mad. They tied me to a tree and beat me. Many other persecutions I faced. But I did not loose my faith in Jesus,” she says.
After Nagamma’s baptism, she received a new name: Maria. “The Lord has anointed me by the Holy Spirit,” she says. “He is using me as a servant for many through Paul Ciniraj Ministries. Please pray that I shall be a faithful witness unto our Lord till the end of my life.”
By Mark Ellis