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After GANAPATHI comes SARASWATHI. It is only natural that the GURU is followed by Wisdom. SARASWATHI is universally worshipped as the Goddess of Wisdom. In the revaluation of Yajna (Sacrifice,) the BHAGAVADGITA says, “Better than sacrifice of any object, is the sacrifice of Wisdom”. This transition from KARMAKANDA (The ritual action section) to JNANAKANDA (The wisdom understanding section) is marked by the acceptance of SARASWATHI as the all-pervasive effulgence of knowledge, which is at once creative and eternal.
SARASWATHI does not touch the ground of Necessities. That is why it is proverbially held in India that the Devotees of SARASWATHI have to take pride in their poverty. Her hypostatic character is symbolized by Her vehicle, the White Swan (Hamsa). The Swan is a bird of the Water as well as the Air. Water stands for pure Devotion. Air stands for Intuition. SARASWATHI caters to the sentimental and the intuitive aspect of our Life. Her grace comes from above riding on the swan of Intuition.
SARASWATHI by herself is colorless like SPHATIKA OR GLASS. A PRISM gives rise to Spectrum. Similarly SARASWATHI mysteriously causes a colourful world of Names and Forms. Her mist-like veil is fabricated with TIME & SPACE. This mysterious veil serves as an AVARANA or PRINCIPLE of Screening Reality.
She is the invisible light giving visibility to all illuminations.
The other name of SARASWATHI is BHARATHI, which literally means “one who takes delight in illuminating”. It is the joy of SARASWATHI to fill our mind with Her light.
It is held that “in the beginning there, was the Word; the Word was with God and the Word was God”. BHARATHI, the giver of light is also called ‘VAK DEVI’ OR ‘GIRWANI’ or ‘PRANAVA SWAROOPlNl’. VAK and GIR literally mean THE WORD. PRANAVA is the Monosyllable Word representing the ABSOLUTE. SARASWATHI is equated with AUM and therefore She is. identical with, BRAHMAN or the ABSOLUTE. Therefore She is called BRAHMANI.
ROSARY’ OF LETTERS
SARASWATHI is pictured with four hands. In one of the right hands, She holds a Garland of Letters.
In BHAGAVAD GITA, SRI KRISHNA says “All this is threaded on ME, as rose of Gems on a string”. Even so, SARASWATHI provides the thread of meaning conjoining the Letters of Language. The Word of Manifestation presented to the Human Mind consists of THREE ELEMENTS — A NAME, A corresponding IDEA and an OBJECT, which substantiate a Name as well as an Idea. Therefore, though REALITY is undifferentiated. CHAITANVA (Subsistence), the empirical world known as VYAVAHARA is knitted together by WORDS.
A PARROT in her other raised hand is symbolic of the intuitive inspiration She gives. Being a Bird of the Air and fond of imitating the human voice, the parrot represents the intuitive or inspired ART. ART is often defined as the imitation of nature.
In the other two hands, SARASWATHI keeps a GRANTHA meaning Collection of Vedas and a VEENA. The Vedas symbolize the ETERNALWORD and Veena symbolizes the Spoken word or voice. The Vedas stand for SATHYA or TRUTH and the Veena gives the harmony of five notes namely the physical, emotional, intellectual, and intuitional and the spiritual aspects of life.
A WHITE LILY FOR HER FOOT - STOOL
The Lily is a Water plant and expresses the purest form of Devotion, it is said to be stimulated by the Moon and not the Sun. The SUN stands for Pure Truth and the MOON stands for its Reflection as the Shaastras. The Lily stimulated by MOON thus combines the symbolism of DEVOTION supported by Shaastras. Those devoted to Goddess SARASWATHI cannot afford to be haphazard in their life.
All beings enshrine Her and reflect Her light in various degrees of clarity and perfection. From the clod of earth to the pulsating brain of SRI SHANKARA, there is an endless degree of variation. The clear and brighter among them are the chosen temples of SHARADA where one finds a better expression of HER GRACE and GLORY.
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