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Encyclopedia > Saraswati
Saraswati
Saraswati, goddess of knowledge
Saraswati, goddess of knowledge
God of Learning, the Arts, and Rivers
Devanagari: सरस्वती
Affiliation: Devi
Mantra: Om Eim Saraswatyei Swaha
Consort: Brahmā
Mount: swan, peacock

In Hinduism, Saraswati (Sanskrit सरस्वती sarasvatī) is one of the goddesses, the other two being Lakshmi and Durga, that form the female counterpart of the Trimurti. Saraswati has been regarded as a river goddess and in recent times a goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. She is the consort of Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The Hindu Vedas mention a river named SarasvatÄ«. In Sanskrit saras means a pool or water body, and vatÄ« (from vnt-Ä«, the female form of the -vant suffix) means she having lots of pools. Sarasvati was the biggest and most important of the seven holy rivers of the Rig Veda. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... It has been suggested that Shri Vidya be merged into this article or section. ... Brahma, the Creator, is depicted with four heads, each reciting one of the four Vedas. ... For other uses, see Swan (disambiguation). ... Peacock re-directs here; for alternate uses see Peacock (disambiguation). ... Hinduism (known as in modern Indian languages)[1] is a religious tradition[2] that originated in the Indian subcontinent. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... For the 1934 film, see The Goddess (1934 film). ... For other uses, see Lakshmi (disambiguation). ... In Hinduism, Durga (Sanskrit: ) is a form of Devi, the supreme goddess. ... This article is about the Hindu gods. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Contents

Saraswati as a river

Main article: Sarasvati River

The Rigvedic hymns dedicated to Saraswati mention her as a mighty river with creative, purifying, and nourishing properties. The best theory regarding the Vedic Sarasvati River states that it was formed by the present headwaters of the Yamuna River. In ancient times, after they had left the Himalayan foothills, the waters of the Yamuna turned west instead of east at Paonta Saheb. Next, the river flowed southwest across the Punjab and Haryana regions along the course of the modern Ghaggar-Hakra River in a pathway roughly parallel to the smaller Indus River to its west. The Sutlej flowed further east than it does today, and joined the Sarasvati somewhere near Bahawalpur. Eventually, the wide river emptied into the Rann of Kutch, which at the time was a more integral part of the Arabian Sea. The Sarasvati River is an ancient river that is mentioned in Hindu texts. ... Rig veda is the oldest text in the world. ... For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... The Sarasvati River is an ancient river that is mentioned in Hindu texts. ... The river Yamuna is a major river of northern India, with a total length of around 1370 km. ... Perspective view of the Himalaya and Mount Everest as seen from space looking south-south-east from over the Tibetan Plateau. ... This article is about the geographical region. ... For the town in Hoshiarpur district, see Hariana. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Indus River (Urdu: Sindh; Sindhi: Sindhu; Sanskrit and Hindi: सिन्धु ; Persian: حندو ; Pashto: ّآباسنFather of Rivers; Tibetan: Lion River; Chinese: Yìndù; Greek: Ινδός Indos) is the longest and most important river in Pakistan and one of the most important rivers on the Indian subcontinent and has given the country India its... The Sutlej, also known as Satluj, is the longest of the five rivers of Punjab (five waters) that flows through Northern India, with its source in Tibet near Mount Kailash. ... Bahawal Pur (also Bhawalpur or Bhawulpore) (Urdu: بہاولپور ) is a city of (1998 pop. ... Rann of Kutch on the Top Left. ... The Arabian Sea (Arabic: بحر العرب; transliterated: Bahr al-Arab) is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui, the north-east point of Somalia...


Along the course of the Sarasvati, the Harappan Civilization developed. The earliest known examples of writing in India have been found in the ruined cities that line the now dry riverbed of the ancient waterway. Some have postulated that the goddess Saraswati gained her role as personified communication and the giver of knowledge due to the role of the Sarasvati River in the development of written language in ancient India. Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro. ... For the Bobby Womack album, see Communication (1972 album). ...


Between 2000 B.C. and 1700 B.C., seismic activity caused the waters of the river's two main sources to change course. The Sutlej moved course westward and became a tributary of the Indus River. The Yamuna moved course eastward and became a tributary of the Ganges. The tremendous loss of water which resulted from these movements caused the once mighty river to become sluggish and dry up in the Thar Desert without ever reaching the sea. Without any water for irrigation or transportation, the dense population of the river basin soon shifted east with the waters of the Yamuna to the Ganges River valley. Late Vedic texts record the river as disappearing at Vinasana (literally, "the disappearing"), and as joining both the Yamuna and Ganges as an invisible river. Some claim that the sanctity of the modern Ganges is directly related to its assumption of the holy, life-giving waters of the ancient Sarasvati. This article is about the natural seismic phenomenon. ... The Sutlej, also known as Satluj, is the longest of the five rivers of Punjab (five waters) that flows through Northern India, with its source in Tibet near Mount Kailash. ... The Indus River (Urdu: Sindh; Sindhi: Sindhu; Sanskrit and Hindi: सिन्धु ; Persian: حندو ; Pashto: ّآباسنFather of Rivers; Tibetan: Lion River; Chinese: Yìndù; Greek: Ινδός Indos) is the longest and most important river in Pakistan and one of the most important rivers on the Indian subcontinent and has given the country India its... Not to be confused with the nearby Jamuna River a tributary of the Meghna River, which is sometimes confused both in older historical literature, and by translations of the local dialects. ... This article is about the river. ... A NASA satellite image of the Thar Desert, with the India-Pakistan border superimposed is found in canada, united states. ... Not to be confused with the nearby Jamuna River a tributary of the Meghna River, which is sometimes confused both in older historical literature, and by translations of the local dialects. ... Not to be confused with the nearby Jamuna River a tributary of the Meghna River, which is sometimes confused both in older historical literature, and by translations of the local dialects. ...


Recently, archaeologists using satellite images have been able to trace the course of the river. A small channel of water flows near Kurukshetra. A nearby signboard denoting the former path of the once great Sarasvati River can be seen along the main highway (GT road).


Maha Saraswati

Maha Saraswati is the presiding Goddess of the Final episode of Devi Mahatmya. Here she is a part of the trinity of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. She is depicted as eight armed. Her dhyana shloka is: Wielding in her lotus-hands the bell, trident, ploughshare, conch, pestle, discus, bow, and arrow, her lustre is like that of a moon shining in the autumn sky. She is born from the body of Gowri and is the sustaining base of the three worlds. The Maha Saraswati I worship here who destroyed Sumbha and other asuras.[1] THE PRIMEVAL ENERGY One of the unique features of Hinduism is the fact that it conceives Divinity also as Mother Goddess. ... Dhyāna is a term in Sanskrit which refers to a type or aspect of meditation. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... In Hindu mythology, the Asura are a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes misleadingly referred to as demons. ...


Mahavidya Nila Saraswati

Nilasaraswati is another form of Mahavidya Tara. There are separate dhyana shlokas and mantras for her worship in Tantrasara.[2] Mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms) are aspects of Devi in Hinduism. ... Mahavidyas (Great Wisdoms) are aspects of Devi in Hinduism. ... This article is about the Hindu goddess. ... Dhyāna is a term in Sanskrit which refers to a type or aspect of meditation. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion. ... The Tantrasara is a work attributed to Abhinavagupta, the most famous historical proponent of the Trika or Kashmir Shaivism philosophy of Hinduism. ...


Origins and context in Hinduism

In the Rig-Veda (6,61,7), Saraswati is credited, in association with Indra, with killing the serpentine being Vritraasura, a demon which hoarded all of the earth's water and so represents drought, darkness, and chaos. She is often seen as equivalent to other Vedic goddesses such as Vak, Savitri, and Gayatri. Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, and power. She is not only worshipped for secular knowledge, but for the true divine knowledge essential to achieve moksha. She is also referred to as Shonapunya, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘one purified of blood’. In the early Vedic religion, Vritra (Sanskrit: वृत्र (DevanāgarÄ«) or (IAST)) the enveloper, was an Asura and also a serpent or dragon, the personification of drought and enemy of Indra. ... // In Hinduism In Hindu mythology, the Asura (Sanskrit: असुर) are a group of power-seeking deities, sometimes misleadingly referred to as demons. ... Fields outside Benambra, Victoria, Australia suffering from drought conditions A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. ... Darkness is the absence of light. ... For other uses, see Chaos (disambiguation). ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Savitri and similar spellings represent various Sanskrit words and names:- Savitri, with all vowels short, is a (confusing) Roman-phonetic spelling of the Vedic Hindu sun god Savitr. ... Gayatri (Sanskrit: , IAST: ) is the feminine form of gāyatra, a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ...


In some Puranas (like Skanda Purana) she is associated with Shiva and in some Tantras with Ganesha. The Puranas are part of Hindu Smriti; these religious scriptures discuss devotion and mythology. ... Skanda Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text believed to be written and compiled over a long period, from 6th century to 15th century, is the largest Purana, and is devoted mainly to the life and deed of Kartikeya (also called Skanda), a son of Shiva... For other uses, see Shiva (disambiguation). ... This article is an overview of Tantra and an in-depth look at the Tantra of Hinduism. ... For other uses, see Ganesha (disambiguation). ...


According to Brahma Vaivarta Purana 2.6.13-95 Vishnu has three wives, who constantly quarrel with each other, so that eventually, he keeps only Lakshmi, giving Ganga to Shiva and Saraswati to Brahma. Brahma Vaivart Purana, one of the major eighteen Puranas, a Hindu religious text, is divided into four parts. ... Vishnu (IAST , Devanagari ), (honorific: Sri Vishnu) also known as Narayana is the Supreme Being (i. ... For other uses, see Lakshmi (disambiguation). ... Ganga may refer to: Ganges River, a river in India Ganga, the Hindu goddess that personifies the Ganges River The Gangas, an ancient southern Indian dynasty Ganga (music), a type of rural folk singing from Croatia and Herzegovina Daren Ganga, a West Indian cricketer Ganga, an alternate spelling of ganja... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The original (spiritual) forms of devas including Saraswati are present in the spiritual world: For other uses, see Deva (disambiguation). ...


"In the centre [of Vaikuntha] reside the deities of fire, sun and moon, Kurma-avatara, Ananta Sesha, and Garuda, the master of the three Vedas. The Vedic hymns and all sacred mantras also stay in that holy place, which is made of all the Vedas, and which is known in the Smriti-sastra as the yoga-pitha."[3] Vaikunta is the abode of Lord Vishnu, one of the Trimurti Hindu Gods. ... For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ... Sol redirects here. ... This article is about Earths moon. ... A carving of the Kurma avatar on a pillar at the Vittala Temple, Hampi, India Kurma is also an alternative transliteration of korma. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Sesha Naga. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In Tibet, many Buddhists carve mantras into rocks as a form of devotion. ... Smriti (Sanskrit स्मॄति, that which is remembered) refers to a specific canon of Hindu religious scripture. ...


Rupa Gosvami elaborates: "Accompanied by Goddess Lakshmi and other associates, the catur-vyuha expansions headed by Lord Vasudeva are manifest in the eight directions, beginning with the east. In the directions beginning with the southeast, the palaces of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Rati, and Kanti respectively are situated."[4] Category: Possible copyright violations ... Krishna and Balarama meet their parents. ... In Hinduism, Rati is the goddess of passion and lust, and a daughter of Daksha. ...


According to Vedanta she is considered to be the feminine energy and knowledge aspect (shakti) of Brahman, as one of many aspects of Adi Shakti. This article is about the Hindu philosophy. ... Lakshmi is a common aspect of Shakti Shakti meaning force, power or energy is the Hindu concept or personification of Gods female aspect, sometimes referred to as The Divine Mother. Shakti represents the active, dynamic principles of feminine power. ... This page deals with the Hindu concept of The Supreme Reality. ... Lakshmi is a common aspect of Shakti Shakti meaning force, power or energy is the Hindu concept or personification of Gods female aspect, sometimes referred to as The Divine Mother. Shakti represents the active, dynamic principles of feminine power. ...


Other associations

As a river/water goddess, Saraswati symbolizes fertility and prosperity. She is associated with purity and creativity, especially in the context of communication, such as in literary and verbal skills. In the post-Vedic age, She began to lose her status as a river goddess and became increasingly associated with literature, arts, music, etc. Her name literally means "the one who flows", which apparently was applied to thoughts, words, or the flow of a river (in Sanskrit: "dhaara-pravaah"). Fertility is the natural capability of giving life. ... Prosperity is best achieved when one creates wealth with wealth, be it ones own wealth (equity) or the wealth of another (debt). ...


Saraswati is known as Benzaiten in Japan. Benzaiten (弁才天, 弁財天) is the Japanese name of goddess Sarasvati (Saraswati). ...


Appearance

Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, yellow-skinned woman dressed in pure white often seated on a white Nelumbo nucifera lotus (although Her actual vahana is believed to be a swan), which symbolizes that she is founded in the experience of the Absolute Truth. Thus, she not only has the knowledge but also the experience of the Highest Reality. She is mainly associated with the color white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge. Occasionally, however, she is also associated with the colour yellow, the colour of the flowers of the mustard plant that bloom at the time of her festival in the spring. She is not adorned heavily with jewels and gold, unlike the goddess Lakshmi, but is dressed modestly--perhaps representing her preference of knowledge over worldly material things. Species See text. ... For other uses, see Lakshmi (disambiguation). ...


She is generally shown to have four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. Alternatively, these four arms also represent the 4 vedas, the primary sacred books for hindus. The vedas, in turn, represent the 3 forms of literature :- Poetry ( Rigveda contains hyms- representing poetry) , Prose (Yajurveda contains prose), Music ( Samaveda represents music). The four hands also depict this thusly - prose is represented by the book in one hand , poetry by the garland of crystal, music by the veena. The pot of sacred water represents purity in all of these three, or their power to purify human thought.


She is shown to hold the following in her hands:

  • A book, which is the sacred Vedas, representing the universal, divine, eternal, and true knowledge as well as her perfection of the sciences and the scriptures.
  • A mala of crystals, representing the power of meditation and spirituality.
  • A pot of sacred water, representing creative and purificatory powers.
  • The veena, a musical instrument that represents her perfection of all arts and sciences. Saraswati is also associated with anurāga, the love for and rhythm of music which represents all emotions and feelings expressed in speech or music. It is believed that children born with that name will prove to be very lucky in their studies.

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".


She is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her early history as a water goddess. The swan and her association with the lotus flower also point to her ancient origin.


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.


Festivals

Saraswati festival on Dasashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India, January 2007
Saraswati festival on Dasashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, India, January 2007

Saraswati Puja is performed on the 5th day of Falgun month of Hindu Calendar( Also known as Basant Panchami). Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,024 × 768 pixels, file size: 284 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution‎ (1,024 × 768 pixels, file size: 284 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... , Varanasi (Sanskrit: वाराणसी VārāṇasÄ«, IPA:  ), also known as Benares (Hindi: , Urdu: , IPA: ), or Kashi (Hindi: ), is a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the river Ganges (Ganga) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. ...


In several parts of India, generally states to the south, Saraswati Poojas are conducted during Navaratri - a 9 day long festival celebrating the power of feminity. Navratri is celebrated in all goddess-temples of India- esp with great pomp and splendor in south and east India. The last three days of Navaratri starting from Mahalaya Amavasya (the New Moon day) are dedicated to the goddess. On the ninth day of Navaratri (Mahanavami), books and all musical instruments are ceremoniously kept near the gods early at dawn and worshipped with special prayers. No studies or any performance of arts is carried out, as it is considered that the Goddess herself is blessing the books and the instruments. The festival is concluded on the tenth day of Navaratri (Vijaya Dashami) and the goddess is worshipped again before the books and the musical instruments are removed. It is customary to study on this day, which is called Vidyarambham (literally, Commencement of Knowledge). All students are traditionally required to study a part of all that they have learn till that day, and also to start the study of something new on the same day. Gurus ( Preceptors) are worshipped on this day as embodiments of Saraswati.In major part of India this Navratri is associated with Goddess Durga, but down South is celebrated as Saraswati Puja.


Temples

Major temples for the goddess are in Basara Town ( Andhra Pradesh, www.BasaraTemple.org) Shringeri (Karnataka), Pushkar (Rajastan), Panachikkad (Kerala), South Paravoor (Kerala). Though temples for saraswati are rare, there are some minor temples in Kumbakonam,Koothanur (Tamilnadu), Basar, Nuzvid(Krishana Dt..)(Andhra Pradesh). Also Deupatan, Kamalakshi, Thimi, Bhadrakali ,Gairidhara in the Kathmandu region have her temples.


The Worship of Goddess Saraswati

The goddess's abode is mentioned as being in the state of Kashmir - among the Himalayas. Her favorite fruit is supposed to be the apple.


In hindu mythology, great significance is attached to offering honey to this goddess, as honey is representative of perfect knowledge.


A Prayer to Goddess Saraswati - Saraswati Vandana Mantra Saraswati Vandana Mantra is an important hindu mantra that is recited for higher knowledge and wisdom. ...


Yaa Kundendu tushaara haaradhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha|
Yaa veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana||
Yaa brahmaachyutha shankara prabhutibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha|
Saa Maam Paatu Saraswatee Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa||


English Translation
"May Goddess Saraswati, who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon, and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops; who is adorned in radiant white attire, on whose beautiful arm rests the veena, and whose throne is a white lotus; who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me. May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance." [1]


Other meanings

  • An Indian female name.
  • In India there is a river called Saraswati, which flows from the west end of the Aravalli Hills into the east end of the Rann of Kutch.[citation needed]
  • Veda's pada paatha ( etymology ) explains the compound word Saraswati as "Saaram vaati iti saraswati" - "She who flows towards the absolute is saraswati" - thus edifying the ability of knowledge and communication to steer one towards spiritual absolutes.

The Aravalli Range is a range of mountains in western India running approximately 300 miles northeast-southwest across Rajasthan state. ... Rann of Kutch on the Top Left. ...

See also

The Hindu Vedas mention a river named Sarasvatī. In Sanskrit saras means a pool or water body, and vatī (from vnt-ī, the female form of the -vant suffix) means she having lots of pools. Sarasvati was the biggest and most important of the seven holy rivers of the Rig Veda. ... Goddesses are an integral part of Hinduism, and the worship of goddesses is a significant aspect of Hindu religion. ... Sharada Peeth was the famous temple of goddess Sharada (Saraswati) in Kashmir. ... Aredvi Sura Anahita is the Avestan language name of an (Indo-)Iranian cosmological figure, venerated as the divinity of the Waters (Aban) and hence associated with fertility and increase. ... See Avesta Municipality for the Swedish town Yasna 28. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Sankaranarayanan, S., Glory of the Divine Mother (Devī Māhātmyam), p183
  2. ^ Kinsley, David, Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine p 98
  3. ^ Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda 256.23
  4. ^ Laghu Bhagavatamrta 5.288-290

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
  • Kinsley, David, Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine, The Ten Mahavidyas, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Ltd., Delhi, India, 1998. (ISBN 81-208-1523-8)
  • Sankaranarayanan, S., Glory of the Divine Mother (Devī Māhātmyam), Nesma Books, India, 2001. (ISBN 81-87936-00-2)

Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...

Further reading

  • Saraswati Puja for Children (ISBN 1-877795-31-3) by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Devi Mandir.
  • Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Mulsim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western By Guy Ankerl. Geneva: INUPRESS, 2000, ISBN 2881550045.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Category:Sarasvati

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