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From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Aug 08 1998 - 08:07:14 PDT
Dear BhakthAs : In response to Sri Mani Varadarajan's question on the legitimacy of Sarasvathi PoojA , I will assemble a few facts from IthihAsa , PuRaNAs , Tantra Sasthram , AchArya SthOthrams and Sthala purAnams . Sarasvathi has a central place in all of these source granthams and Sarasvathi PujA is an important one in many families .There are many layers of meaning for Sarasvathi beyond the conception and celebration of Her as the Goddess of Knowledge . The Vedic Symbolism of Her is ancient and She is one of the three types of speeches there .Sarasvathi manthram is one of the Pancha PraNavams ( AIM pronounced as AYM ) . Saarsavatha PrayOgam is eloquent speech blessed by Sarasvathi Devi .Sarasvathi also means flowing water ( Knowledge) .The DhAthu "Rayi" forming the word Sarasvathi means , "Water" or "Wealth" . 1. Sarasvathi Devi is the consort of BrahmA at the post-vEdic , PurANic level . The Lord of Creation and son of PadmanAbhA is wedded to Knowledge (Sarasvathi ) .Many of the stories referred to in BrahmaNAs and PurANAs regarding the creation and the origin of mankind center around the figure of Chathurmukhan , the HiraNya Garbham ( the golden embryo ) Brahmaa and His consort (Sarasvathi) , their progeney PrajApathis , Maanasa puthrAs like NaaradhA , Sanath KumArA et al , SvAayambhuva Manu ( one of the great law givers) , MatsyAvathAram , et al .If BrahmA is the source of Knowledge (VedAs) as a result of Sri HayagrIva BhagavAn's blessings and initiation , then Sarasvahti is considered as manifestation of that Knowledge itself .She represents the union of power and intelligence from which organized creation arises . 2. She is worshipped as BrahmaNi in SandhYavandhanam . She is involed here as SandhyAdhi Devathai . In each of the SandhyAs , Sarasvathi is invoked at different directions to receive our salutations: Morning: Sarasvathyai Nama: ( North ) Noon : Sarsavathyai nama: ( West ) Evening : Sarasvathyai Nama: ( South ) The prefix of PraNavam goes before the vandhanams. 3. Sarasvathi is revered as Vaak in Rg Vedam and its AraNyakam ( AitrEya AraNyakam ): Hence Vaak (Divine Speech)is everything ( A.A :3.1.6) In Atharva Vedam , she appears as KamadhEnu because of Her role in giving divine speech , " the Triple Hymn "( Gayathri ), the Vedic meter of 24 syllables that houses the most sacred Gayathri Manthram , which we are reciting today 1008 times .This hymn to sandhyAs and Adityan is called Gayathri at dawn , Savithri at midday and Sarasvathi at Sunset . 4. Vardha Tantram (574) explains the significance of Her manthram : Aimm( Iymm ) .This bhIjAksharam "AI" represents Sarasvathi . The nasalization (imm) means the removing of pain from avidhyA . The purpose of doing the Japam of this Pancha PraNavam is for the acquiring of knowledge and wisdom , mastery over words and the power of speech . 5.There will be no RaamAyaNam without Sarasvathi . BrahmA says in Baala KhAndham to Sage VaalmIki : slOka yEvAsthvayam baddhO naathra kaarya vichAraNA macchandhAdhEva tE Brahman PRAVRUTTHEYAM SARASVATHI ( Srimadh RaamAyaNam : Bala KhANDam-canto2 .31) (Meaning) : Let the metrical commposition be conducive to your glory alone.You need not brood over this anymore. Through My will alone , has this speech ( sarasvathi) flowed from your lips . Here the reference is to the SlOkam , Maa nishAdha--", which spontaneously flowed from Sage Valmiki's lips, when he saw the painful death of one of the Krouncha Pakshi dampathis by a unfeeling hunter near his tapOvanam . 7. There will be no YathOkthakAri PerumAL , VeghA Sethu SthOthram or Kanchi VaradarAjan incarnating as the palan of BrahMA's Yajnam withourt Sarasvathi . She is the personification of the Vegavathi river , who flowed in fury over Her husband's insult and the Lord incarnated as the Sethu ( aNai or Dam ) to stop His daughter intent on destroying the Yajnam at Hasthigiri done by His son .First came ThiruvehhA EmperumAn ( YathOkthakaari) and next came Kaanchi VaradarAjan . Swami Sri Desikan salutes this Lord in VegA sethu sthuthi : yEkam Vegavathi madhyE Hasthi sailE cha dhrusyathE upAya pala bhAvEna svayam vyakatham param na: ( Slokam 1) Next Swami says , here stopped the flow of Sarasvathi: " yathra Saarasvatham srOthO visrAmayathi visrungalam ". That is why at this divya desam , Sarasvathi stands with anjali at the foot of the reclining Lord offering Kaimkaryam to Her father in law to overcome the apachAram . Without additional quotations from the sources , let me say that Sarasvathi Pooja is an important tradition . Lord HayagrIvan's small portion of sakthi ( sakthi lEsam ) provides the power for Vaak dEvi , DakshiNA mUrthy and Sage VyAsA : ---dEvI SarojAsana dharmapathnI ---spuranthi sarvE tava sakthi lEsai: ......Sri HayagrIva SthOthram : SlOkam 7 It is in this context, we have to understand Sri Anand's remarks .That will reconcile Swami Ranga PriyAs' observation about the sacredness and the importance of Sarasvathi in our Vaidhika SampradhAyam . 8. The Vedic Connotations of Sarasvathi are profound . AdiyEn will cover it in the next posting to be completed after a business trip tomorrow for two or three days . Daasan , Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan Bhaudhanya Samvathsaram , Kataka Maasam , Gayathri Japam day .