You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : October 1999

Re: Goddess Sarasvati and Lord Hayagreeva

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Thu Oct 21 1999 - 11:58:08 PDT

Sri Vijayaraghavan wrote:
> With respect to the article above, I checked the meaning of "Devi SarojAsana 
> Dharma Patni" in Rama DesikAchAr's translation.  It is translated as Brahma 
> Patni (eventhough I personally wished to see the meaning interpreted by 
> you).  I know that you had once referred to Sri Ranga PriyA Swamigal for 
> this interpretation.  Do you have any other source corroborating this.

Dear Vijayaraghavan,

Sri Rama Desikachar is of course correct when he reads
"devI sarojAsana-dharma-patnI" as meaning the consort of
Brahma. "sarojAsana" is the one who resides on the lotus,
i.e., Brahma, and his dharma-patnI or wife is named Saraswati, 
as named in the Puranas, etc. Sri Desika writes that she 
and others who are reputed to be teachers of knowledge 
derives their greatness from Hayagriva alone.

I didn't mean to imply otherwise.  My idea is that when
*we* think of Saraswati as the Goddess of Knowledge, she
can be none other than a form of Lakshmi, and should not
be thought of as a lesser personality, such as the wife of
Brahma.

For example, my given name is Vachaspati. The name of
Lord Hayagriva is also Vachaspati. When we say we worship 
"Vachaspati", do we worship me, or do we worship Hayagriva?
Similarly, when we worship Saraswati, we are worshipping
the *original* goddess of all knowledge, Lakshmi herself,
and no one else.

Saraswati Devi is typically pictured with pustaka and aksha-mAla
and is clothed in all white.  Hayagriva similarly shines like
white crystal (Suddha-sphaTika) and similarly holds a book
and aksha-mAla in his hands. The Hayagriva Ashtottaram says
of this Lord "aksha-mAlA, jnAna-mudrA, yukta-hasto-varapradaH."
Furthermore, he is seated on a white lotus (puNDarIka-nishaNNa)
while holding a pustaka, as Desika himself describes. For every 
form of Vishnu, Lakshmi has an appropriate form. We know this 
from Sri Ramanuja's Saranagati Gadyam, where he describes Lakshmi 
as having "bhagavan-nArAyaNa-abhimatAnurUpa...".

Hayagriva is the source of the Vedas. The sound of the Vedic
speech is Saraswati, as attested to by the Vedas themselves. 
It is established convention that if the Lord is "sat", or 
True Being itself, Lakshmi is "sattA", the quality of being 
existent. Using this idea, if Saraswati represents the qualities 
of the Vedic speech, and Hayagriva is the source of the Vedas 
themselves, this leads me to believe Hayagriva-Saraswati 
represent Lakshmi-Narayana.

Furthermore, I have seen many orthodox Sri Vaishnavas keep 
pictures of Saraswati in their Perumaal sannidhi, while eschewing
those of all other so-called "anya-devatas". 

>From all this, and from my brief conversation with Sri Rangapriya
Swami, I can only conclude that the ultimate Goddess of Knowledge 
Saraswati is only a particularized form of Lakshmi.

Given that we have the good-fortune of vidvAns such as 
Sri Velukkudi Krishnan Swami and Sri N.S. Anantarangacharya Swami
within easy access of email, perhaps we should ask them to
confirm my reasoning. 

daasan,
Mani