The inner significance of Saraswati, the Goddess of Knowledge and Music. This particular form of the Divine ie Goddess Saraswati represents the totality of human experience. She is the very personification of power and beauty.
She is depicted as a beautiful lady with four arms. Each of Her arms represents one of the four purusharthas, the four pillars of the structure of human life. These, as we have discussed before, are Dharma, Righteousness; Artha, Prosperity; Kama, Willpower; and Moksha, the Ultimate Freedom
Two of her arms hold a veena, a stringed musical instrument representing the arts, music, all that is beautiful and fine. When She plays on the veena, the primeval sound Aum resonates and universes come into being. Aum is the core of the big bang. It is the nucleus of sound, the primeval cause of all sounds. This primeval sound is actually made of three different sounds, “A,” “U” and “M.”
“A” stands for Brahma, the Creator. This is the sound of Creation. A child is born with this sound. In the language of science this is the Positron.
Listen to the cry of a newborn; you shall hear all the different variances of sound “A.” In many languages, therefore, “A” is either the first letter of the alphabet or the first vowel sound. “U” is the sound of Preservation, of nurturing and caring. This sound stands for Vishnu, the Preserver, and the Electron. And “M” is the sound of Annihilation. This is Maheshvara, or Shiva. In the language of science, this is the Neutron.
Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – Positron, Electron and Neutron: Creation, Preservation and Annihilation – and this is Aum. Birth, Life and Death. Here, however, Death is not the end, but the beginning of a new cycle. Aum is the sound of Immortality, Eternity and Infinity.
Saraswati reminds us to chant Aum, and to discover the Eternal Truth, Sat; the Immortal Self, Chit; and the Infinite Bliss, Anand. When rightly chanted – with the first sound, “A,” we become expansive. We go beyond all manmade barriers. All borders and boundaries are instantly transcended.
The second sound, “U,” helps us in self-discovery: that Expansive Truth is none other than you! Tat Tvam Asi – That Thou Art! Having attained this state of consciousness, we cannot but love all creation. Here, compassion is the rule of life.
The third sound, “M,” takes us deeper into the sanctum sanctorum of Self, the core of our being – where birth and death are intertwined. This is where “That” and “Thou” meet. This is where Yin and Yang, the Feminine and the Masculine, are ever engaged in the eternal life-dance of birth and death.
Pause for a while, take a deep breath, inhale very, very deeply, and while you exhale, very slowly chant Aummmmmm. Do this three times with your eyes closed, and you shall experience what you have just read.
Saraswati carries a Rosario, Ganitri or Japmala in Her third hand. This is the symbol of Continuity, Time. This emphasizes the very meaning of Her name. Saraswati means the Eternally Flowing River of Life.
Ganitri also implies “counting of beads” – mathematics, logic. In this it represents the left hemisphere of the human brain, as also the book in Her fourth hand, representing knowledge, science.
With two of Her hands holding the veena, representing the arts, and two others holding ganitri and a book, representing knowledge and science – Saraswati is the very embodiment of human intelligence. She unites the right and left hemispheres of the human brain.
Clad in white – the colour of Purity – She stands upon a fully blossomed lotus flower. This emphasizes Her Purity, and Ability to Transcend Impurities. Like the lotus, the muddy waters of life do not affect her.
A white swan and a peacock surround Her. Sometimes She is seen standing or sitting on one of them. The swan is considered the most intelligent of all birds. The legendary swan of Saraswati is known for its ability to draw milk from water mixed with milk. It can distinguish the good from the bad.
And the peacock is known for its beauty, and dance. It represents the Celebration of Life, of all experiences, pain and pleasure, heat and cold, so on and so forth. It is the dance that transcends all dualities.
Saraswati is, indeed, the Totality.
Worshipping Saraswati is worshipping Totality. Invoking Her is invoking self, this little self, the individual self – and the Great Self, the Universal Self, the All.
Strength, science, the arts, knowledge, purity, righteousness, prosperity, willpower, ultimate freedom, creativity, care, eternity – these and all other similar values are synonyms. This is Saraswati, Mahashakti, Almighty.