You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : August 1998

Goddess Sarasvahti In our SampradhAyam : part 1

From: Sadagopan (
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
  ( 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 .