Saraswati's name refers to the One who is like a flowing river of Self-knowledge. She is worshiped not only by yogis and sadhus but also by musicians, dancers and scholars. She is prayed to for knowledge of the Self, purity, artistic expression, scientific knowledge, and the receptivity necessary to learn from the guru. Her lunar day of worship (Saraswati Puja) takes place in January-February (February 12th in 2016). This day is also Vasant Panchami, which is celebrated as the first day of Spring in India. Part of the ceremonial offerings on this day are items of learning and skill such as tools, books and instruments. Song and dance are important on this day. A joyous day indeed for the Goddess of creation and art!
The Sanskrit verses at the end of this article were written in India by an unknown devotee of the Goddess, describing Her many attributes. Inspired by these words, I composed a chant in the raga Hamsadhwani ("Call of the Swan") as a vandana, or devotional offering, to Saraswati.
In the various depictions of Saraswati, such as statues and paintings, She holds the Vedas, symbolizing that She is the source of all teaching and the guru tattwa (the principle of guru that flows through all sincere teachers and gurus). She also holds the veena, an ancient stringed instrument, as a symbol of...Read More