Friday, January 27, 2012

Saraswati Jayanti (or) Saraswati Pooja

Saraswati Puja 2012 Date is Saturday 28th of January. This festival is primarily celebrated in Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa.

Saraswati Puja is performed on Vasant Panchami every year. The festival celebration takes place on the fifth day of brighter fortnight of the month of Magha based on the Indian calendar. It is understood that Goddess Saraswati was born on this particular day. On this day the devotees offer prayers to Goddess Saraswati, who symbolizes knowledge as well as learning.

Who is Goddess Saraswati
Goddess Saraswati happens to be the consort of Lord Brahma and is known to be the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom. She personifies knowledge, science, arts and crafts. She also represents Shakti, inspiration, creativity and presents herself at a time when Nature is in all its splendor and the weather is very pleasant. Her presence is indicative of inspiration as well as passion. In Buddhism Goddess Saraswati is considered as guardian deity that protects and assists Buddhist practitioners and upholds Gautama Buddha’s teachings.

Saraswati is the daughter of Lord Shiva and Goddess Durga. She is dressed in white, which represents purity and rides the white swan.
Legend of Saraswati Puja

Goddess Saraswati is considered to be the Goddess of learning as well as speech. She represents the union of power and intelligence from where organized creation emanates. She possess the knowledge of all the scriptures, Vedas, musical power, dances and poetry. She is the person who has revealed knowledge and learning to mankind.

Goddess Saraswati originates from the Vedic river that has disappeared. This link indicates her sense of fluidity in all walks of life. She is the embodiment of wisdom, intelligence, fortune, brilliance, nourishment, splendor, contentment as well devotion.

The belief held is that Goddess Saraswati endows people with powers of wisdom, speech and learning. She has four hands which represent four aspects of the personality of human beings in learning process, mind, learning, intellect, ego and alertness.

About Goddess Saraswati Picture

Saraswati is the Goddess of leaming, knowledge, and wisdom. The Sanskrit word sara means "essence" and swa means "self." Thus Saraswati means "the essence of the self." Saraswati is represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the universe. Since knowledge is necessary for creation, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.

In Her popular images and pictures, Goddess Saraswati is generally depicted with four arms (some pictures may show only two arms), wearing a white sari and seated on a white lotus. She holds a book and a rosary in Her rear two hands, while the front two hands are engaged in the playing of a lute (veena). Her right leg is shown slightly pushing against Her left leg. She uses a swan as Her vehicle. There is a peacock by Her side gazing at Her. This symbolism illustrates the following spiritual ideas:

  • The lotus is a symbol of the Supreme Reality, and a white lotus also denotes supreme knowledge. By sitting on a lotus, Saraswati signifies that She is Herself rooted in the Supreme Reality, and symbolizes supreme knowledge. The white color symbolizes purity and knowledge. The white sari that the Goddess is wearing denotes that She is the embodiment of pure knowledge.
  • The four arms denote Her omnipresence and omnipotence. The two front amms indicate Her activity in the physical world and the two back arms signify Her presence in the spiritual world. The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality. The mind (manas) is represented by the front right hand, the intellect (buddhi) by the front left hand, the conditioned consciousness (chitta) by the rear left hand, and the ego (ahankara) by the rear right hand.
  • The left side of the body symbolizes the qualities of the heart and the right side symbolizes activities of the mind and intellect. A book in the rear left hand signifies that knowledge acquired must be used with love and kindness to promote prosperity of mankind.
  • The rosary signifies concentration, meditation, and contemplation, leading to samadhi, or union with God. A rosary in the rear right hand representing ego conveys that true knowledge acquired with love and devotion melts the ego and results in liberation (moksha) of the seeker from the bondage to the physical world.
  • The Goddess is shown playing a musical instrument that is held in Her front hands, which denote mind and intellect. This symbol conveys that the seeker must tune his mind and intellect in order to live in perfect harmony with the world. Such harmonious living enables the individual to utilize acquired knowledge for the welfare of all mankind.
  • Two swans are depicted on the left side of the Goddess. A swan is said to have a sensitive beak that enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. A swan, therefore, symbolizes the power of discrimination, or the ability to discriminate between right and wrong or good and bad. Saraswati uses the swan as Her carrier. This indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. Knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world.
  • A peacock is sitting next to Saraswati and is anxiously waiting to serve as Her vehicle. A peacock depicts unpredictable behavior as its moods can be influenced by the changes in the weather. Saraswati is using a swan as a vehicle and not the peacock. This signifies that one should overcome fear, indecision, and fickleness in order to acquire true knowledge.
Celebration of Saraswati Puja

The arrival of springtime is celebrated. Nature decorates the tree and plants with new blossoms. Families dress up in bright yellow and gather around the idol of Goddess Saraswati and pray that they are blessed with knowledge.

Kites are flown high on this day, making the sky look colorful.

Mantra For Goddess Saraswati
yaa kundendu tushhaar haara dhavalaa
yaa shubhravastraavR^itaa .
yA vINaavarada.nDa ma.nDitakaraa

yaa shvetapadmaasanaa

Rituals of Saraswati Puja
Devotees dress up in yellow and gather around the idol to pray for knowledge. Flower as well as wild berries are offered to the Goddess. Students keep their books near her idol and seek her blessings. On that day the students do not do any writing or reading. Then puja is performed with sandalwood, joss sticks, ghee, and incense. Slokas are read and conch shells are blown and drums are beaten. Devotees eat only vegetarian food. Children are initiated into learning by writing the word “Om”.
Some people perform the pitri-tarpan( homage paid to dead ancestors).
Saraswati Puja is an auspicious occasion for those interested in enhancing their knowledge and learning. It is a day for the family to get-together and pray that they are a success in every walk of life.

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