The Goddess of knowledge and arts – The symbolism behind Saraswathi
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The Goddess of arts and knowledge, Goddess Saraswathi is one of the most revered Goddesses in Hinduism. Derived from Sanskrit, the name Saraswathi means ‘the essence of oneself’.
Goddess Saraswathi and her four arms:
Goddess Saraswathi is usually depicted as having four arms and each of her arm signifies a particular aspect. While her arms signify her omnipresence and omnipotence in this world, they also signify her actions in the physical world (her two arms in the front) and her actions in the spiritual world (her two arms at the back). The mind and the intellect (manas and buddhi) are symbolized in her right and left hand at the front, respectively and the consciousness and ego are symbolized in her left and right hand at the back, respectively.
Goddess Saraswathi and her rosary:
The rosary in her right hand at the back, that also signifies ego, is symbolized as one of the ways to reach God through meditation. It is believed that knowledge that is gained with a pure heart and complete devotion, will result in destruction of the ego, thus pushing us closer to God.
Goddess Saraswathi and her swans:
The swan is known for its ability to separate milk from water, when mixed together. Goddess Saraswathi’s vahana is the swan, thus symbolizing her ability to differentiate between evil and good, no matter how tangled the situation might be. This also symbolizes that the knowledge acquired by someone must be distributed for the good of mankind, without any discrimination or ego.
Goddess Saraswathi and the peacock:
The Goddess also has a peacock at her side, but it is not her vahana. The peacock changes according to the weather, thus symbolizing the fickle human mind, and thus teaching us that in the pursuit of true knowledge, one must not let external factors affect them in any way.
Goddess Saraswathi and her veena:
Goddess Saraswathi is known for playing her veena and it symbolizes that we must tune our minds in the right way to survive in this world. The veena symbolizes a person’s mind and intelligence.
Goddess Saraswathi and the lotus:
The lotus is a very significant symbol in Hinduism. The Goddess is shown sitting on a lotus because the lotus symbolizes purity, as it manages to stay clean in spite of rising from marshy lands. For a more insightful view on the lotus flower, read the beautifully sacred lotus.
For a list of Saraswathi temples across the world, visit http://www.ishtadevata.com/saraswati/
Click here to listen to the Saraswathi Stotram and seek her blessings.
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