Saraswati is the Goddess of learning. So preferably the students worship Goddess Saraswati on the Basanta Panchami Day i.e. the fifth day of second half of the month of Magha in Hindu calendar. It may be mentioned that in vedic times, Saraswati was being worshipped in the month of margasira. That’s why it is called Sri Panchami – Sree means Laxmi. And margasira is the month of Laxmi. After some hundred years, the day was shifted to the month of magha for convenience.
In Rig Veda the prayer to Saraswati is like this –
Ambi tame devitame nadi tame Saraswati, Aprasta iba Swamy
Prasasti mama nishkruti.
(0 Goddess Saraswati, you are mother, you are devi and you are a river. My heart has become narrow due to lack of knowledge. So please enlarge my heart by giving me wisdom and knowledge.)
Goddess Saraswati is worshipped to invoke the blessings of the deity, who is the Goddess of culture, music, art and education. Saraswati puja heralds’ the spring season. Saraswati is variously worshipped as Gyana Saraswati, Maha Saraswati, Prouda Saraswati, Vidya Saraswati, Sarada Devi, Panachikkad Saraswati, Shri Saraswati,
Yellow clothes are worn by people as a symbolic depiction of mustard flowers which bloom at this time of the year. Many Parents mark the occasion to initiate education (Writing and reading) on this day. Spring senson is the king of seasons. It is stated in the Hindu mythology that people feel ecstatic in the spring because of their good health and affluence. This day is significant that the students want to get blessings of Saraswati to get success in their education career. Light spring breezes welcome late winters. It is the happiest period of the year.
The most popular prayer to Saraswati is like this in English Translation (The original is in Sanskrit)
“May the Goddess Saraswati Protect me. She is fair like jasmine coloured moon and her pure white garland is like frosty dew drops. She is adorned in radiant white clothes and in her hand rests the veena. She has a throne of white lotus and is respected by Gods. O Goddess, bless me and remove my weariness, Sluggishness and ignorance.
There was a river called Saraswati. But now it is not in existence. It has dried up. Why it has dried up is not known correctly. In the Nadi. Stuti of Rig veda Saraswati was a river between Yamuna in the east and Satlej in the west. Mahabharata mentions that Saraswati dried up in a desert.
Saraswati is the feminine nominative singular form of the adjective-Saraswati, as the name of the keeper of the celestial waters. The river Saraswati was famous for its abundant flow of water. The Saraswati river was revered for Hindus because on this river bank the Vedic Sanskrit had its origin. Rig veda and several Upanishads were composed on the bank of Saraswati river. The earliest Aryan homeland in Aryaverta was in the Punjab and in the valleys of Saraswati and Drishdvati (a tributary of Saraswati) rivers in the time of Rig veda.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur. He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.
He can be reached at [email protected]