Saraswati- The Goddess of Knowledge, Arts and Crafts
Saraswati Puja is undoubtedly one of the most popular Hindu religious festivals. It is celebrated with great fervor and gaiety in devotees’ temples, homes, clubs or educational institutions to worship the goddess of knowledge, arts and crafts namely Devi Sarswati. This day is also celebrated as Vasaant Panchami (the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the Bengali month Magh).
Different Names of Goddess Saraswati
Saraswati is the mother of four Vedas. She is one of the confluence of three rivers called Triveni Sangam. In Sanatan mythology she is also seen as the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. She is also called Vak Devi (the goddess of speech), Biraj, Brahmi, Bagiswari, Gayatri, Mahashweta, Prithudhara, Shatarupa, Sarbasuki etc. She is seen in white dress and usually rides a swan and sometimes a peacock while playing music on a veena. Her white dress symbolizes purity; her mount, the swan, personifies pure knowledge and her herald, the peacock, is a symbol of arts.
Myths about Goddess Saraswati
We get many stories connected with Devi Saraswati in different Sanatan Hindu scriptures. According to the Puranas, Saraswati evolved from the mouth of Brahma. She was so beautiful that Brahma pursued her. As she fled in different directions, a head appeared and so Brahma is attributed with five heads. Once being angered by the display of unbridled passion, Saraswati cursed Brahma and said that there might be hardly any temple or festival in His name. In a Puranic episode the Gandharvas stole the Soma plant and the theft infuriated all gods and goddesses. Then Devi Saraswati gave music to the Gandharvas and they returned the Soma plant to her. Once a Demon wanted to conquer the three worlds. Devi outwitted him and saved the three worlds. In another episode we see Her saving the world from Shiva’s third eye and the beast of doom.
Goddess Saraswati and the Great Poet, Kalidas
An interesting story of the great poet, Kalidas has been built around Saraswati. There was a proud and learned princess who rejected all suitors who could not match her knowledge. Being angered, the scholars of the country wanted to marry her to a fool. They found a man cutting a branch of a tree on which he was sitting. They understood that he was the ideal fool for their princess. Then he was presented to the princess as a man of wisdom who only spoke in signs. The scholars answered all the princess’s questions by interpreting his signs. Being satisfied, the princess married him but on the wedding night she realized she had been duped. She kicked her newly married husband out of her bed. In sorrow and shame he went to commit suicide. At that time Goddess Saraswati emerged before him and said to him to take a dip in the river. As he emerged from the river after taking a dip, he was transformed. He began to recite verses in praise of the Goddess. This man is known as the great poet Kalidas.
The Embodiment of Wisdom
Goddess Saraswati is the embodiment of wisdom. She is the symbol of consciousness. On the occasion of Saraswati Puja Hindu devotees, particularly students invoke the blessings of the goddess for success in knowledge, arts and crafts as they firmly believe that these are based on spirituality. Let’s pray to Goddess Saraswati-
Om Saraswati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamala Lochaney |
Viswarupey Vishalakshmi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey ||
Talker: Krishna Das