We have been delving into some of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, today let me introduce you to Saraswati, also spelled Sarasvati. She is the consort to the Hindu God Brahma and in many articles is considered one of the most ancient Goddesses.
She is the Hindu Goddess of Wisdom, Music, Drama and Learning. She invented writing, the Sanskrit language and music. As Sanskrit is also a sacred language, Sarasvati is also linked to gaining spiritual liberation through the practice of mantra (the repetition of sacred sounds). Musicians pray to her before performing and students ask for her help before taking a test. It is no surprise that Saraswati is especially revered by both students and teachers. At the beginning of spring her image is taken out in a jubilant procession. She is also a popular Goddess in both Jain and Buddhist mythology.
The birth of Saraswati – There are once again many versions of Sarasvati and Brahma, but this is my favourite.
In the beginning there was much chaos. Everything existed in a formless, fluid state. “How do I bring order to this disorder?” wondered Brahma, the Creator. “With Knowledge” said Saraswati as she emerged from his mouth. She was heralded by a peacock, with sacred books in her hand. “Knowledge helps man find possibilities where once he previously just saw problems.” Under her guidance, Brahma acquired the ability to sense, think, comprehend and communicate. He began looking upon chaos with eyes of wisdom and therein saw the beautiful potential that lay therein.
Brahma then discovered the melody of “mantras' words that are repeated in meditation. In his joy he named Saraswati “Vagdevi, goddess of speech and sound”. The sound of mantras filled the universe with energy, or “prang”. Things began to take shape and the cosmos acquired a structure: the sky dotted with stars rose to form the heavens; the sea sank into the abyss below, the earth stood in between.
Gods became Lords of the celestial spheres; demons ruled the nether regions, humans walked on earth. The sun rose and set, the moon waxed and waned, the tide flowed and ebbed. Seasons changed, seeds germinated, plants bloomed and withered, animals migrated and reproduced as randomness gave way to the rhythm of life. Brahma thus became the “Creator” of the world with his consort Saraswati as his “wisdom”.
Saraswati was the first being to come into Brahma's world, and Brahma began to look upon her with eyes of desire. She turned away from him saying “All I offer must be used to elevate the spirit, not indulge in the senses”. Remember Brahma having four heads so Saraswati would never be out of his sight? Brahma was undaunted by the curse and continued to gaze his lustful looks upon Saraswati. He then gave himself a 5th head to enhance his gaze even more! This Goddess came to be known by many as “alluring yet fleeting” as every form she took to try and run away from Brahma, he countered with the same form but as a male, and their chase seemed endless.