Saraswati, the goddess of learning and knowledge, is the wife of Brahma, the
creator of the world. She is represented as an extremely beautiful woman with
milk-white complexion, sitting or standing on a water Lily and playing on a lute.
|BRAHMA - GODDESS OF LEARNING
She presides over and protects arts and is credited with the invention of writing.
On the fifth day of the expanding- moon fortnight during the month of MAGH, the
worship of this goddess is performed in front of her image or even without her
image in front of her vessel in which a pen, an inkstand and a book are placed.
These articles are supposed to form a proper substitute for the goddess, who
is also named as VAGVADINI, the deity of eloquence. Offerings are placed with
flowers on these objects and prayers are chanted from scriptures.
Saraswati is also the goddess of speech, the power through which knowledge expresses
itself in action. In the Vedas Saraswati is primarily a river but in the hymns
she is celebrated both as a river and a deity. This sacred river, although now
dried up, is said in the RIGVEDA as "she who goes pure from the mountains
as far as the sea ". According to Mahabharata, the river was dried up by
the curse of the sage Utathya. As a river Saraswati is lauded for the fertilizing
and purifying powers of her waters and as the giver of fertility and wealth.
Though Rig Veda does not specifically mention her as Vach, the goddess of speech,
but she is clearly bestowed this status in Mahabharata and Brahmans. Dr. Muir
attempts to explain the acquisition of this character by Saraswati in these words, "When
once the river Saraswati had acquired the divine character, it was but natural
that this river should be regarded as the protector and patron of the rituals
and ceremonies accompanied by hymns performed at her banks. For this purpose
the blessings of Saraswati would have been invoked for their proper and successful
performance. This idea must have been further extended to the very composition
of these hymns. All this must have resulted in identifying Saraswati with Vach,
the goddess of speech."