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).
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. Twitter: @priyanka14049