Friday, March 9, 2012

More About Goddesses: Saraswati--The Artistic Goddess (Essay)

More About Goddesses: 

Saraswati – The Artistic Goddess
by Tim Kavi

For every Indian artist, the goddess Saraswati is a major influence. To them, all art – old and new – starts with Saraswati. She is the Hindu goddess of music, knowledge and creative arts and is also known as Vak Devi, or the goddess of speech.

Originally from the creation of the goddess that Brahma fashioned after himself of whom half was woman and half was man. The woman part of this goddess was called Gayatri, but later she became known by several other names, one of them being Saraswati.

She appears always in all white and usually is seen riding atop a swan, but sometimes can be seen on a peacock instead. She plays music on a veena, and holds in her hands a mala, or prayer beads, and palm leaf scroll to show knowledge.

Indian students take the power of Saraswati very seriously, and a daily mantra can be recited to supposedly improve their concentration, memory and power in their studies. They regularly worship Saraswati in hopes to do well on their tests, as well. There is a temple, Vilma Vashi, which is solely dedicated to Saraswati.

In yoga, Saraswati is represented as the neutral channel in a trio that also includes the lunar energy channel which symbolizes the river Ganga and the solar energy channel which represents the river and the Yamuna goddess. Then the upward flow of the Kundalini goes straight through the central channel, Saraswati, to pierce the chakras and bring liberation. This convergence is called Triveni Sangam and takes place near Allahabad.

In summary, general aspects of the Goddess Saraswati includes her status as the wife (consort) of Lord Brahma and the fact that it is she that possesses the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning; mind, intellect, alertness and ego. 

Often, she has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lotus (a symbol of true knowledge) in the second. With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on the violin (veena).  She is also often dressed in white ( a sign of purity) and rides on a white goose (swan). Regardless of how you view her, and in what manifestation, surely the Goddess Saraswati is one of the most interesting Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon.

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