Maa Saraswati – The Goddess of Knowledge

Maa Saraswati – The Goddess of Knowledge

The female trinity of the Goddess is represented by Maha Saraswati, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Kali, who help in the creation and maintenance of the universe by being with Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Maa Saraswati, is the Goddess of language, learning, speech, art, and music and is the force of creativity.

Saraswati in Sanskrit means “flowing water” and it is through her that the thoughts of human beings are allowed to flow, and they are inspired to action. She is the river of consciousness that enlivens creation. She is the goddess dawn who dispels the darkness of ignorance.

She is also known as Bharati, Shatarupa, Vedamata, Brahmi, Sarada, Vagisvari, and Putkari. Not only in Hinduism she is also revered by believers of Jains and Buddhist sects. In South India, she is called Saraswathi while in north India as Saraswati. Apart from India she is worshipped and venerated in countries like China, Japan, Burma, and Thailand.

The Saraswati Puja is performed on the 5th day of the Magha month of the Hindu Almanac. This is also commonly known as Basant Panchami. Brahma is the creator of the universe, created the embodiment of wisdom and art. Goddess Saraswati emerged out of His mouth. Saraswati, who became the wife of her own father, was actually the daughter of Lord Brahma.

There are many mythological stories related to why Saraswati is the wife of Brahma. Saraswati cursed Brahma and later on Shiva cut his fifth head out of anger. Despite the fact that Saraswati’s husband, Brahma (the Hindu Creator God of the Trimurti), is very rarely worshipped today, shrines and statues of Saraswati persist in nearly every Hindu town and village around the world.

The Symbolism of Maa Saraswati

We recognize Goddess Saraswati as a beautiful yet stern goddess with four arms, holding a veena, scriptures (the Vedas), and a Kamandalu. She is wearing a white sari (which symbolizes purity) which has a blue border. She may have a crescent on her forehead and be seated on a lotus flower and accompanied by a swan – both symbols of wisdom. An important object commonly seen in Saraswati’s hands is the veena (the Hindu classical music instrument) which reminds of her gift of music to humanity.

Saraswati is mostly associated with the color white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge. Occasionally, however, she is also associated with the color yellow, the color of the flowers of the mustard plant, that bloom at the time of her festival in the spring. Unlike the goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati is not adorned heavily with jewels, gold, and heavy silks, but is shown as attired very modestly, maybe symbolizing her preference of knowledge over worldly material pursuits.

A white swan is often located next to her feet. The sacred swan, if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. The swan thus symbolizes discrimination between the good and the bad or the eternal and the evanescent. Due to her association with the swan, Goddess Saraswati is also referred to as Hamsa-Vahini, which means “she who has a swan as her vehicle”.

Sometimes a peacock is shown beside the goddess. The peacock represents arrogance and pride over its beauty, and by having a peacock as her mount, the Goddess teaches Hindus not to be concerned with external appearance and to be wise regarding the eternal truth.

Goddess Saraswati facts

  • In the Devi Mahatmya, Saraswati is in the trinity of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati.

  • Goddess Saraswati is known as the mother of all Vedas. Maa Saraswati is the repository of all knowledge and intelligence.

  • Brahma created Saraswati as the incarnation of knowledge, Brahma created another wife, Gayatri.

  • Maa Saraswati sits on a white lotus as white is purely meant for knowledge.

  • The Veena of Goddess Saraswati signifies her full command over all branches of knowledge and her ability to play any part which radiates knowledge in all directions.

  • Goddess Saraswati rides on a unique animal Swan, which is the most clever bird and animal, if you place a bowl of milk mixed with water in front of Swan, it will drink only milk and all the water will be untouched. Due to her association with the swan, Goddess Saraswati is also referred to as Hamsa-Vahini, which means “she who has a swan as her vehicle”.

  • Knowledge, education, and wisdom are always pure, just like Peacock is a pure living being. Hence a Peacock sits beside Goddess Saraswati.

  • She is less associated with the material aspects of adornment or practical knowledge and more concerned with spiritual teachings.

  • Goddess Saraswati also has another popular form of Gayatri. Gayatri was so much attracted by the brilliance of Sun God Surya, that she dissolved herself to become the Gayatri Mantra dedicated to Surya.

  • It is said that Brahma was so allured with the beauty of Saraswati, he wanted to look at her whichever direction she was, so he got four heads.

  • In some Puranas (like Skanda Purana) she is the daughter of Shiva (Shivaanujaa) and in some Tantras with Ganesha. However, across India, she is worshipped as the wife of Lord Brahma.

  • Apart from Hindus, Goddess Saraswati is also worshipped by people of the Jain religion in western and Central India.

  • Saraswati, known as Sraosha in Zoroastrianism is the guardian of the earth. She also guides the souls of the deceased to find their way to the afterlife.

  • Saraswati is known as a guardian deity in Buddhism who upholds the teachings of Gautama Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners.

  • Saraswati is also popular in Japan and is referred to as Benzaiten in that region.

  • It is believed that Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu purified himself in the River Saraswati after ending the race of Kshatriya.

May Goddess Saraswati bless all who read this with good education, peace, and prosperity. Goddess Saraswati is all about mercy, when you keep on concentrating on your studies and work remembering her, you will realize her greatness.

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.