Goddess Saraswati  

Posted by Stella Clark

Goddess Saraswati Cover
In Hinduism Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. She is the consort of Brahma. Saraswati is considered to be the "mother of the Vedas". The name Saraswati came from "saras" (meaning "flow") and "wati" (meaning "a woman"). So, Saraswati is symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman. Saraswati is known as a guardian deity in Buddhism who upholds the teachings of Gautama Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners. She is known in Burmese as Thurathadi or Tipitaka Medaw, Chinese as Biancaitian, in Thai as Surasawadee and in Japanese as Benzaiten.

Goddess Saraswati (Sarasvati) is the wife (consort) of Lord Brahma and possesses the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning; mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She has sacred scriptures in one hand and a lot us (a symbol of true knowledge) in the second. With her other two hands she plays the music of love and life on the violin (veena). She is dressed in white (sign of purity) and rides on a white goose (swan).

In East Indian states of Bihar,West Bengal,Orissa; Saraswati is considered to be a daughter of Durga along with her sister Lakshmi and her brothers Ganesha and Karthikeya.

In the Rigveda, Saraswati is a river as well as its personification as a goddess. In the post-Vedic age, she began to lose her status as a river goddess and became increasingly associated with literature, arts, music, etc. In Hinduism, Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, and power. Hindus worship her not only for "secular knowledge", but for "divine knowledge" essential to achieve moksha.

In some Puranas (like Skanda Purana) she is daughter of Shiva (Shivaanujaa) and in some Tantras with Ganesha.

The original (spiritual) forms of devas including Saraswati are present in the spiritual world:

In the center reside the deities of fire, sun and moon, Kurma-avatara, Ananta Sesha, and Garuda, the master of the three Vedas. The Vedic hymns and all sacred mantras also stay in that holy place, which is made of all the Vedas, and which is known in the Smriti-sastra as the yoga-pitha [Sanctuary of Union]. (Padma Purana Uttara-khanda 256.23)

Accompanied by Lakshmi and other associates, the chatur-vyuha [Four Expansions] headed by Lord Vasudeva are manifest in the eight directions, beginning with the east. In the directions beginning with the southeast, the palaces of Lakshmi, Saraswati, Rati, and Kanti respectively are situated.

According to Vedanta she is considered to be the feminine energy and knowledge aspect (Shakti) of Brahman, as one of many aspects of Adi Shakti.

Maha Saraswati:


In the Devi Mahatmya, Saraswati is in the trinity of Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. She is depicted as eight-armed.

Her dhyana shloka given at the beginning of the Fifth chapter of Devi Mahatmya is:

Wielding in her lotus-hands the bell, trident, ploughshare, conch, pestle, discus, bow, and arrow, her lustre is like that of a moon shining in the autumn sky. She is born from the body of Gowri and is the sustaining base of the three worlds. That Mahasaraswati I worship here who destroyed Sumbha and other asuras.

Mahavidya Nila Saraswati:


Nilasaraswati is another form of Mahavidya Tara. There are separate dhyana shlokas and mantras for her worship in Tantrasara.

Other associations:


Saraswati is known as Benzaiten in Japan. She is venerated as a guardian deity in Buddhism who upholds the teachings of Gautam Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners along their spiritual path towards liberation.

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