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Salutations to Saraswati and Hayagriva

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Tue Oct 19 1999 - 15:23:06 PDT

Dear Members,

This time of year we pray to Saraswati Devi and Lord Hayagriva
to bless us with wisdom and knowledge. Aside from the festive
aspects of Navaratri, such as assembling various dolls and
figures and constructing elaborate facades for the Navaratri golu
and inviting sumangalis over, we primarily celebrate the active presence 
of Lakshmi Thaayaar during this festival, culminating with the honoring 
of Her in the form of Saraswati Devi, the Goddess of all learning and 
speech.

Sri Sadagopan has written quite elaborately about the 
Vedic concept of Saraswati in previous years:

http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/feb96/0033.html
http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/aug98/0078.html
http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/aug98/0154.html
http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/aug98/0169.html

According to the understanding of some acharyas, as the 
presiding deity of all speech, Saraswati is appropriately 
the consort of Lord Hayagriva, and is not to be confused with the later
Puranic notion of a Saraswati being the wife of Brahma 
(sarojAsana-dharma-patnI). Accordingly, She is Lakshmi Herself;
if Hayagriva represents the essence of the Vedas, She is the 
sound of this essence, related inseparably to it.

Some take the following paasuram from Tirumazhisai Alvar's
Naanmukan Thiruvantaati to be a reference to this aspect
of Lakshmi-Saraswati:

  veRpenRu vEngadam paadinEn, vIdaakki
  niRkinREn ninRu ninaikkinREn, - kaRkinRa
  noolvalaiyil pattirundha noolaatti kELvanaar,
  kaalvalaiyil pattirundhEn kaaN. (40)

Here "noolaatti", the lady of the books, is taken to be 
a reference to the Goddess. (Alternatively, it also
means the lady spoken of by the books, i.e., Vedas).
Since noolaatti kELvanaar is identified with the Lord
of Venkatam, Saraswati is none other than a form of
Lakshmi.


On the ninth day of Navaratri, known as Mahanavami, there
is also what is known is "Ayudha pUja". I don't know if it
is universally celebrated -- members are requested to
clarify -- but on this day, all animals, equipment, etc.,
used in one's profession are ceremonially prayed for and 
blessed. 

I ask others to elaborate on how they celebrate these
festive days.

  praNo devi sarasvatI vAjebhir vajinIvatI |
  dhInAm avitRyavatu |

adiyEn raamaanuja daasan,
Mani