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Re: Sarasvathi puja question

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Aug 14 1998 - 12:16:15 PDT

I thank Sri Ananta Padmanabhan (Anand), Sri Anbil Ramaswamy, 
and most of all Sri Sadagopan for their comments regarding
Sarasvati Devi.  To clarify, the question is not whether
paramaikAntins should perform sarasvatI pUjA, which would be 
a kAmyArtha rite.  Rather, I was curious as to who "sarasvatI"
is and how we should think about her.

The following is simply my understanding of what Sri Rangapriya
svAmi said, _not_ verbatim quotations. I don't want to wrongly
attribute anything to him.

I gathered that in the Vedas, which svAmi quoted, "sarasvatI"
is referred to often. This has also been pointed out in 
Sri Sadagopan's emails.  If such a name is defined as being
the "veda mAtA", we can only think of sarasvatI as a form
of Lakshmi.  It does not matter that other entities may be
known as sarasvatI -- these names derive from the ultimate
source, which is Lakshmi (who is an aspect of the Parabrahman).
This is much like "Siva" in the SvetASvatara upanishad can
only refer to the one Ultimate Reality, and not any other
limited creature.

With this in mind, and given the white vastram worn by
the goddess (most appropriate, as Hayavadana, on whose
lap she sits is also white [*]), sarasvatI
as worshipped by us in this form is none other than Lakshmi.
And if we worship thinking thus, we are not worshipping
anything less than the Ultimate.

[*] recall "bhagavan-nArAyaNa-abhimatAnurUpa-svarUpa-rUpa-
            guNa-vibhavaiSvarya..." of emberumaanaar's
            periya gadyam.

[In other words, though Rangapriya svAmi did not say this,
 Brahma's wife sarasvatI derives her reality from a higher
 source, and is not the same as the original sarasvatI 
 defined in the Vedas. I believe this is what Sri Sadagopan
 is getting at too.]

Finally, it seems that how we think during our worship is 
most important. If we think of the goddess wearing white,
named sarasvatI, as Lakshmi herself, eternally associated
with Sriman Narayana, and not as another, lesser deity,
also associated with some lesser divinity, I think we 
are worshipping correctly.