About Hindu Gods and Goddesses: In recent issues, we discussed the Hindu trinity: Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Now we turn to the feminine, and look at their consorts. Saraswathi, the consort of Lord Brahma–the Creator, is the first of three prominent goddesses of Hindusm. The others, Lakshmi and Durga, will be the topic of upcoming issues. The following information is from www.wikipedia.org and www.lotussculpture.com
About Hindu Gods and Goddesses: Goddess Saraswathi was the first being to come into Brahma’s world. It is said that Lord Brahma became the creator of the world with Saraswathi as his wisdom. Brahma was so infatuated with Saraswathi that he grew a head in every direction to stare at her beauty. Saraswati turned into various creatures (taking the form of a cow, mare and bird) to avoid Brahma’s lustful pursuit.
As a goddess with multiple forms, she became known as Shatarupa, personifying material reality, alluring yet fleeting. Angered by his display of unbridled passion Saraswati cursed Brahma for filling the world with longing that is the seed of unhappiness, focusing on the flesh instead of the soul. Along with Shiva, she accused him of not being worthy of reverence, and decreed: “May there be hardly any temple or festival in your name.” Under Saraswathi’s teachings, Brahma acquired the ability to sense, think, comprehend and communicate. He began looking upon the chaos with eyes of wisdom, enabling him to see the beauty within.
Saraswathi is the goddess of learning and the arts (e.g., music), and is often seen playing a string instrument called the veena, which represents perfection in all arts and sciences. She is also worshiped as the goddess of thoughts of truth and forgiveness. It is likely that she originated as a river Goddess because her name in Sanskrit means “she who has lakes or pools” or “one who flows,” which apparently was applied to thoughts, words or the flow of a river. As a river/water goddess, Saraswathi symbolizes fertility and prosperity. She is associated with intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, purity and power. Saraswathi is not only worshiped for secular knowledge, but for the true Divine knowledge essential to achieve freedom or enlightenment. According to some scriptures, Saraswathi is said to be the only Goddess to be revered by all of the three great gods of Hinduism–Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Saraswathi is often depicted dressed in pure white, seated on a white lotus, which symbolizes that she rests on the Absolute Truth of the Highest Reality. Her four arms represent the four aspects of human personality: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. A white swan often rests nearby, sometimes two. The sacred swan when offered a mixture of milk and water, is able to drink the milk alone. The swan thus symbolizes the ability to discriminate between good and bad or the eternal and the fleeting. A peacock is sitting near Saraswathi, hoping to serve as her vehicle. However, since a peacock depicts unpredictable behavior and ego, Saraswathi chooses the swan as her vehicle, for knowledge dominated by ego can destroy the world.
As the feminine energy and knowledge aspect, or shakti of Brahma, Saraswathi reigns as the goddess of knowledge, speech, poetry and music. Proponents of Vedanta philosophy believe that only through the acquisition of knowledge does one reach the final path to moksha, or liberation from reincarnation. Thus, they believe that only through devotion to Saraswathi and continuously seeking true knowledge with one’s complete attention can one attain enlightenment.
A mantra to call upon Saraswathi’s blessings is “AUM AING SARASWATYE NAMAHA AUM.” The seed syllable “AING” is the condensed form. To hear this mantra chanted, visit www.sanatansociety.org