Human Nagas and the Legends of Immortal Sages
“(…) the “Serpent” and “Dragon” were the names given to the “Wise Ones,” the initiated adepts of olden times. It was their wisdom and their learning that were devoured or assimilated by their followers, whence the allegory. The Gnostic Ophites, he says, had a reason for honouring the Serpent: it was because he taught the primeval men the Mysteries (Adv. Haeres. 37). Verily so; but they did not have Adam and Eve in the garden in their minds when teaching this dogma, but simply that which is stated above. The Nagas of the Hindu and Tibetan adepts were human Nagas (Serpents), not reptiles. Moreover, the Serpent has ever been the type of consecutive or serial rejuvenation, of Immortality and Time.
On the lowest plane of materiality the Serpent was, no doubt, “the great mystery in the mysteries,” and was, very likely, “adopted as a type of feminine pubescence, on account of its sloughing and self-renewal.” It was so, however, only with regard to mysteries concerning terrestrial animal life, for as symbol of “reclothing and rebirth in the (universal) mysteries” its “final phase”* — or shall we rather say its incipient and culminating phases — they were not of this plane. They were generated in the pure realm of ideal light, and having accomplished the round of the whole cycle of adaptations and symbolism, the “mysteries” returned from whence they had come — into the essence of immaterial causality. They belonged to the highest gnosis. And surely this could have never obtained its name and fame solely on account of its penetration into physiological and especially feminine functions!” (Helena P. Blavatsky. 1888. The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, pp. 404-405)