Goddess Saraswati – Symbol of Knowledge and Arts

February 3, 2016, In: Festivals

“Yaa Kundendu tushaara haaradhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha
Yaa veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana
Yaa brahmaachyutha shankara, prabhritibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha
Saa Maam Paatu SaraswateeBhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa”

Hey Maa Saraswati, Protect me from oblivion. You are fair like a jasmine coloured moon, adorning garlands as white as frosty dew drops. Glowing in white attire, you reside on a white lotus with one arm rests on melodious veena. Hey Devi of knowledge and consciousness, please remove my lethargy, apathy and ignorance and bless me with your divine glory.

“What can bring the order to this chaos? What can I do to light the path for the mankind?” These were the words Lord Brahma uttered looking at the state of disarray the universe in the beginning.

“With Knowledge, as it is knowledge that helps a man find possibilities amongst his problems”. With these words a Devi Saraswati appeared from Brahma’s mouth. Adorned in pure white, glowing with divine white glow, she rode on a peacock with a veena sitar in one hand and holding scripts in another. Her arrival echoed the melodies that put the world in order, creating the ‘Trilokas’ as we know them. Lord Brahma hence also named her ‘Vakdevi’ – the goddess of speech, music and sound.

Devi Saraswati is known and avidly revered as a goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, music and other creative arts. She is known as a repository of all the intelligence and artistic abilities. ‘Rigveda’ captures the earliest mention of Goddess Saraswati.

Her demeanour is calm and soothing. She is dressed in all-white saree without any glitzy jewels. Accessories held in each of her four hands signify her persona. One hand holds Veena Sitar – resounding melodious music to the world it represents creative arts and sciences that can bring harmony around. One hand holds scriptures – Vedas that bring knowledge to light the world, while another right arm holds rosary bead – suggesting a life of meditation and spirituality, renouncing material belongings of the world. Another left arm holds the Kamandal- a reservoir of life and knowledge with a power to separate right from wrong. She is seen riding a white swan – representing creativity, or a peacock – representing knowledge. The entire look signifies a life of piousness and sat-guna, seeking awareness and learning.

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped as a goddess on divinity and knowledge not just in India, but also Nepal, Japan, Vietnam, Bali and Myanmar. In Buddhist iconography, Saraswati is also worshipped as a consort of Manjushri. All the learned hold her in the highest regards and attach great importance to her reverence and puja. Hence she is the first one worshipped by all Indian Artistes. Saraswati Puja is also regularly performed at schools, gurukul and other education institutions.

Many celebrate her birthday – Vasant Panchami, the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Magha month as per Hindu calendar, with great fervour organising a grand puja. Many consider this day to begin teaching kids to write alphabets. Kids are encouraged to participate and commence new courses on music, singing or dance preferably on this day. There are many festivals dedicated to Goddess Saraswati apart from Vasant Panchami. For Eg, In Western states like Goa and Maharashtra and Southern region of Karnataka, Saraswati Puja starts with Saraswati Avhaana on Maha Saptami and ends on Vijaya Dashami with a Visarjan.

Goddess Saraswati stands for inner awakening, knowledge, intelligence, arts, music and people pray to her for better learning and greater success in life.

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