ezHinduism series: Goddess Saraswati
The ezHinduism class in November was about Saraswati, the Hindu Goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and aesthetics. She is also known as Bharati (eloquence), Shatarupa (existence), Vedamata (‘mother of the Vedas’), Brahmi, Sarada, Vagishvari, and Putkari. As Vac, she is the goddess of speech. Saraswati first appears in the Rigveda and, in later religious texts, she is identified as the inventor of Sanskrit and, appropriately, gives Ganesha the gifts of pen and inks.
The audience learnt that Saraswati River just like River Ganga flows from the Himalaya and is considered a sacred source of purification, fertility, and good fortune for those who bathe in her waters. The sacred river, again like the Ganga, then developed into a personified deity.
The talk also covered French writer Colette who once advised fellow writers to follow the generic verb to locate the real heart of a word. The verb behind the name Saraswati is the Sanskrit sru, signifying a constant and self-renewing flow of both pure water and knowledge. A river with a name such as this was bound to merge and mutate with the Vedic goddess Vac, the creator of multiple streams of fluid thought. Thus Saraswati was born as a constantly purifying, fertilising force that lent a fluidity to languages and sustained all art forms. After the merger of Vac with Saraswati, even after the original river had petered out in the deserts of Rajasthan, Saraswati continued to signify a sustaining bond between humans and nature, a creator of the sense of nationhood. In the famous Vac Sutra, the goddess boasts:
“I move among the Gods, I hold them, sustain them… whosoever breathes, sees, hears or eats does so because of me… I create powerful creators and embed them with wisdom and sight… my powers overflow the universe..”
Sarasvati is also worshipped as the goddess of learning by Jains and some Buddhist sects.
Thank you Shreyaa Chezhian for this wonderful sharing.