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Saraswati: Find out how the River became Goddess of Wisdom in Hinduism!

According to Skandha Puran, Vishnu ordered Saraswati to carry Barabagni (fire) to the sea

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Sarswati, Wikimedia Commons

According to Hindu Mythology, Goddess Saraswati is believed to be the Goddess of ‘Vidya’, i.e. knowledge or wisdom. A river too is named as ‘Saraswati’ in North India. If you have doubts whether they are of different or same identity? Why her skin color is white? Why there is a duck with her? or, Why is she worshipped in spring? Fret no more, this article will give you a brief idea about how the river became the Goddess of Wisdom in Hinduism.

According to Bramhabaibarta Puran, at the end of a Kalpa (The four great epochs or Yugas in Hinduism: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga and Kali Yuga), Rudra (one of the many forms of Lord Shiva) demolishes everything. Then Brahma starts meditating and his Satwaguna takes the form of Saraswati. Bramha gets attracted to Saraswati, because of his attraction towards “Jnana” or knowledge. He asked the Goddess to sit on all poets’ tongue.  But how could she sit everyone’s tongue? So Brahma said her to find one poet. Saraswati found Valmiki and therefore, he became Adikavi or the first poet. In Hinduism, it is believed that other poets are following his marks till the date.

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Hindu text, Vedas say something different to Puran. ‘Saras’ means water. In the age of Rigveda, Saraswati was worshipped both as river and goddess. In this Hindu text, the Sindhu river was called Saraswati. The saints used to gather on the river side of Saraswati and perform Yajna, chant shlokas, mantras and sing Saam. Thus Naadshalini (sound) river Saraswati became the Veenabaradmanditabhuja’ (who carries Veena, the instrument).

Saraswati River, Wikimedia Commons
Saraswati River, Wikimedia Commons

According to Skandha Puran, Vishnu ordered Saraswati to carry Barabagni (fire) to the sea. While carrying Barabagni, she became tired and to reduce the tiredness she sometimes moved over or under the earth. A mountain proposed her to marry him and she neglected him and crossed by another side.

To fulfill four Brahmin’s wish, she divided herself into five streams. If one looks at the geographical condition of the Saraswati River, they will get the story. The river is sometimes wide, sometimes just a thin stream, sometimes it’s subterranean.

After Veda Yuga, when the saints separated themselves and moved to new places all over India, they took the river in the form of the idol. The waves under the idol’s feet prove this theory. The lotus bloomed in the river became the Aasan (or the throne) and the ducks of the river became the Vahan (or the mound).

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Besides this Hindu belief, there lies a philosophy. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom and knowledge and as we all know, Knowledge enriches the soul. According to the Hindu Mythology, She is the light, the Sattva guna as well as a symbol of a river too. Therefore, her skin color, sari, jewelry, Lotus (a flower) and duck- all of them is white. One might ask the significance of duck with the Goddess Saraswati. This is so because, a duck has equal speed in the sky, ground, and water. This is similar to that of a knowledgeable person who can be everywhere due to the understanding of the nature, people or situations around him. Another reason is why the duck is present with the idol is that only a duck can get the oyster from the mud. This symbolises how a person full of wisdom has the ability to see good from the worst of the situation, circumstances, and even the people. Duck tours in water but its feathers never wets.  The true knowledge teaches one to how to live in this world but not get involved in it.

Now, one might also ask, why Saraswati is worshipped after autumn? Well, the answer is here! Worshipping the symbol of wisdom in the end days of winter comes with a very obvious reason. She is called Nihsheshjadhyapaha means who gives relief from inertia and ignorance. Winter is the season of inertia, the length of night is more than the length of day. With spring the length of the day increases. Saraswati is worshipped when the night of ignorance is getting eliminated by the daylight of knowledge.

Thus, Saraswati idols should be colored white. Let our surrounding be colorful and our mind be pure and bright.

– by Priyanka Saha of NewsGram. Twitter: @priyanka140490

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  • hdkpatel

    Fraud. Saraswati is not a Sindhu ,it is different river

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Fireworks Might Extinguish the Flame of Laxmi Puja

We can have various kind of festival enjoyments on Festivals but without ever causing problem to others and the environment

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Fireworks
There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. Pixabay

BY SALIL GEWALI

If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong. There is no mention in any corners of the voluminous scriptures of Fireworks blasting during a PUJAS that “upset” the harmony of peace and tranquility of others. To disturb others’ tranquility falls under the heading of vices. Preserving the sanctity of the environment, and more importantly, inner purity of mind and heart is the “prime doctrine” of SANATAN DHARMA which is popularly known as Hinduism. This Hindu culture now seemingly run the risk of having been defined by other communities with what is not very pleasant to hear.

Fireworks
It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment without Using Fireworks.

I’ve overheard many toxic comments against this blatant desecration of auspicious “puja celebrations”. During Holi festival, many people fear to move out of their homes, particularly in certain the plane areas in India. You might be blasted with a bucketful of dirty water by pranksters from the 5th floor of the building. Is this sadism the part of the puja and holi celebration? One is afraid, with each passing year, this festival of color of joy, though having strong spiritual significance, has only painted the very face of Hindu culture with vulgarity and depravity.

Fireworks
If one wants to connect Hindu culture with the senseless bursting of crackers, Fireworks and boisterous fun then he is absolutely wrong.

Matter of fact, peace in one’s life and his efforts to help bring peace in others’ lives is essentially the fundamental basis of Hindu culture and festivals. Practically speaking, there is no devotion to God without “peace”.  Therefore, “Shanti” (peace) is one of the most paramount peace mantras in Sanskrit, not “Ashanti” which, of late, is the hallmark of such Hindu puja celebrations. The profound objective behind this peace mantra, as propounded in Upanishads, inspired even one of the greatest poets of the 20th Century – TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land. That poem finally ends with the same peace mantra — Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

Fireworks
TS Eliot who underlined it with the purpose of life which he brought out in his epic poem – The Waste Land.

It should not be misunderstood ever that Hinduism disapproves of all kinds of fun and frolic. No, it is never so.  We can have various kind of festival enjoyments but without ever causing problem to others and the environment. There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna LilaRam Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”. Ancient sages in their meditation conceived and authored a number of treatises in which we find the elaborate approaches and procedures to evolve oneself spiritually through fun-filled dances and music. There are “ragas and layas” (musical modes and rhythm), which are meant to “recharge” the mind for the meditative concentrationThe objective behind being to climb up the ladders of realization of oneness and universal uniformity.

Fireworks
There are sufficient mentions of fun and frolic, merrymaking even in the spiritual activities — like Krishna Lila, Ram Lila…; and there exist endless nritya shashtras for healthy recreation and not Fireworks. But they all are within the “purview of Dharma”.

However, there is absolutely no scope or prescription for deriving pleasure or fun by causing pain and anxieties to others? How come bursting high decibel fireworks at 2 AM or 3 AM or 4 AM is puja? In fact, it is called “adharma” or irreligion leading to self-degeneration.

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Therefore, it is DIYA, as per Vedas, which symbolizes the LIGHT to dispel the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of vices, and bring forth the light of knowledge to awake the “inherent” divinity. Goddess Laxmi is the “flame” of feminine ENERGY in the infinite cosmic creation. So, indulging in earsplitting fireworks and causing continuous problem to HER creatures, and HER environment, is totally against the fundamental principle of the devotion in Hinduism. Very sadly, with the blasting of the fireworks in the name of Goddess Laxmi we have invariably set off the tank of vices alone.

Salil Gewali is a well-Known Writer and Author of ‘Great Minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali