Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity (Trimurti) of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively.
Mantram: “Om Saraswatye namaha:”
“Sri Gurubhyo namaha”
Festivals: Vasant Panchami
Saraswati, sometimes spelled Sarasvati,Saraswathi, Saraswathy means “One possessing Knowledge” and “Essence of oneself”
Saraswati is known by many names Brahmani (power of Brahma), Brahmi (goddess of sciences), Bharadi (goddess of history), Vani, Vaani and Vachi (eloquent speaking), Varnesvari (goddess of letters), Kavijihvagravasini (one who dwells on the tongue of poets), Chaduvula Thalli (god of studies), Sharada, Veenapani, Pustaka dharini, Vidyadayini, Kalaimagal, Kalaivaani, Bharathi., Veena pustaka dharani (the one holding books and a Veena), Vaakdevi, Vagdevi, , Varadhanayagi (the one bestowing boons), Savitri (consort of Brahma), Gayatri (mother of Vedas), Thurathadi, Tipitaka Medaw, Biàncáitiān, Benzaiten, Suratsawadi or Saratsawadi
Saraswati is the active energy and power of Brahma.
May the goddess of speech enable us to attain all possible eloquence,
she who wears on her locks a young moon,
who shines with exquisite lustre,
who sits reclined on a white lotus,
and from the crimson cusp of whose hands pours,
radiance on the implements of writing, and books produced by her favour.
– On Saraswati, Sarada Tilaka
Goddess Saraswati is a beautiful woman dressed in pure white, often seated on a stone which symbolizes light, knowledge and truth. Sitting on stone resembles that knowledge once acquired its permanent asset unlike Lakshmi (who sits on Kamal in water is Chanchal) which is shaky and moved. White the colour symbolizing Sattwa Guna or purity, discrimination for true knowledge, insight and wisdom.
- She is generally shown to have four arms, but sometimes just two. When shown with four hands, those hands symbolically mirror her husband Brahma’s four heads, representing manas (mind, sense), buddhi (intellect, reasoning), chitta (imagination, creativity) and ahamkara (self consciousness, ego).
- Brahma represents the abstract, she action and reality.
- The four hands hold items with symbolic meaning — a pustaka (book or script), a mala (rosary, garland), a water pot and a musical instrument (Veena). The book she holds symbolizes the Vedas representing the universal, divine, eternal, and true knowledge as well as all forms of learning. A mālā of crystals, representing the power of meditation, inner reflection and spirituality. A pot of water represents the purifying power to separate right from wrong, the clean from the unclean, and essence from the inessential. In some texts, the pot of water is symbolism for soma – the drink that liberates and leads to knowledge. The musical instrument, typically a Veena, represents all creative arts and sciences, and her holding it symbolizes expressing knowledge that creates harmony. Saraswati is also associated with anurāga, the love for and rhythm of music, which represents all emotions and feelings expressed in speech or music.
Hansvahini – Hansa (swan) is her vahana and hence the name, and is often located next to her feet. Hans is a sacred bird can drink the milk alone in milk mixed with water. It thus symbolizes the ability to discriminate between good and evil, essence from outward show and the eternal from the evanescent. Due to her association with the swan,
Chitramekhala (also called mayura, peacock) is shown beside the goddess sometimes. The peacock symbolizes colorful splendor, celebration of dance, and – as the devourer of snakes – the alchemical ability to transmute the serpent poison of self into the radiant plumage of enlightenment.
She is usually depicted near a flowing river or other body of water, which depiction may constitute a reference to her early history as a river goddess (Saraswathi river)
There are many temples, dedicated to Saraswati around the world. Some notable temples include the
Gnana Saraswati Temple in Basar, on the banks of the River Godavari,
Wargal Saraswati and Shri Saraswati Kshetramu temples in Medak,
Shringeri Sharadamba Temple.
Dakshina Mookambika Temple North Paravur.
Saraswati Puja calendar:
- Saraswati Puja Avahan – Maha Saptami – Triratna vratam starts in Andhra Pradesh.
- Saraswati Puja (main puja) – Durga Ashtami
- Saraswati Uttara Puja – Mahanavami
- Saraswati Visarjan or Udasan – Vijaya Dashami
- Saraswati Kartik Purnima on (Sristhal) siddhpur of Gujaratis ancient festival since Solanki ruling of Patan state.
Last three days of the Navaratri festival, i.e., Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami, are celebrated as Sarasvati Puja. The celebrations start with the placing the books for puja on the Ashtami day. It may be in one’s own house, in the local nursery school run by traditional teachers, or in the local temple. The books will be taken out for reading, after worship, only on the morning of the third day (Vijaya Dashami). The child is made to write for the first time on the rice spread in a plate with the index finger, guided by an elder of the family or by a teacher.
Viajaya dasami is celebrated as victory over evil by burning effigies of Ravana.
Navarathri is celebrated with once alamkaram(dressing) every day and Saraswati Alamkaram is most important one.
Source: Sarada Tilaka, Mahabharata, Vedas, Wikipedia, Brahmanas, Upanishads etc.