Saraswati-the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom is
easily recognizable, as she is seen seated on a white
lotus, with the Veena-ancient musical instrument in her
two hands! The graceful image of this divine Goddess can
be so uplifting, that just meditating on this image can
create an enlightened feeling.
in Sanskrit actually means that which continues and
inspires like a beautiful woman! ĎSarasí means water
or lake and Ďwatií means the one who possesses. Wati
also means a woman. Thus, knowledge is continuous and
flowing like water and interesting and powerful too!
is the consort of Lord Brahma the creator of the
universe and thus she is creativity personified and is
the Goddess of speech, arts, music, poetry and
literature and all skills. Dressed in white or pinkish
white, she depicts absolute purity in thoughts. The
white lotus she is found seated on, speaks of the purity
of the lotus bloom that grows even in murky waters and
yet seems unperturbed by all the muck around it. Even as
the dirty waters touch the leaves and petals of the
lotus, they trickle off. Such is the texture of the
lotus bloom! Blessed is the person who never lets his
circumstances and surroundings corrupt him. Even as the
lotus remains unsullied despite growing in the murky
waters, let our souls remain steadfast in our duties and
most remarkable feature that makes the icon of Goddess
Saraswati stand apart, is the Veena- the ancient seven
stringed Indian musical instrument. Interestingly, the
Veena is compared to the human body with the spinal
chord in the centre and the seven chakras represented by
the strings of the Veena. Physical pain manifests itself
when even a single chakra has a blockage of energy. The
Fine-tuning of the seven chakras is necessary to
facilitate a stress-free living.
Today, aura and chakra cleansing has gained much
prominence, as scientific proof regarding the importance
of the charkas has spread far and wide. The 24 frets of
the Veena can be compared to the 24 cartilages of the
spinal chord! There are 24 syllables in the Gayatri
seven strings of the Veena produce melody when tuned
perfectly. In the absence of fine-tuning, only cacophony
her other two hands, Goddess Saraswati is depicted as
holding a book and a chain of beads. The four hands
represent the four Vedas-the fountainhead of Hindu
wisdom and knowledge. Seated beside her is a white swan,
elegant and humble.
knowledge is available aplenty, wisdom is the
discernment that is needed to tread the right path.
bead of chain on her third hand denotes that attainment
of knowledge and enlightenment is a continuous process
and vanity and over-confidence are snares one must be
cautious about. A truly enlightened man is naturally
humbled when he realizes that he is just a speck in the
ocean of life!
Goddess has a book on her fourth hand, denoting that the
Goddess of wisdom is updating her knowledge too,
indicating that the pursuit of knowledge is an ongoing
process. Itís never too late to enlighten oneself!
swan has the ability to separate milk form water, which
again indicates, the necessity for humans to be
discriminating between the right and the wrong, between
the truth and falsehood, between knowledge and wisdom! A
varied icon portrays a peacock, which the Goddess is
seated on, instead of a swan. The peacock that is
symbolic of outer beauty is subdued by the Goddess of
wisdom, indicating that wisdom is far more appealing
than physical or outward appearances.
Goddess is worshipped during the nine day festival of
Navratri and in some places in India during Basant
Panchami-Spring. Saraswati is worshipped on the last
three days of Navratri. In South India, on the ninth
day, all books and musical instruments are placed
wrapped in a silk cloth at the family alter and
worshipped with flowers. Students abstain from studies
on this day, as itís believed that the books and
musical instruments await the Goddessís blessings!
Moreover, this waiting period is a testing period too,
where all seekers wait eagerly to pore through books and
play the instruments. On the next day which is the tenth
day, the books and instruments are unwrapped and
worshipped. The tenth day also known as Vidyarambham
meaning the day when learning commences, new students
are initiated into learning new subjects, music or other
fine art forms.
visit their Gurus, preceptors on Vidyarambham and seek
Saraswati is as much revered in Bali, as in India!
Similarly, the Balinese celebrate by placing books in
the altar and read only after worship is completed.
Heavenís wisdom permeate our very senses and render
beauty and rhythm to our existence.