A Hindu goddess of learning, knowledge, intelligence, creativity, eloquence, education, craft, enlightement and cosmic order. Saraswati is shakti (female energy) of Brahma and a patroness of literature, art and music. She personifies an already dried out river of the same name and she is also revered in Buddhism as the guardian of Buddha’s teachings to whom adepts adress their requests for protection and help in understanding. The name Saraswati means literary She Who Has Flow*.
At the very beginning Saraswati was a personified the river of the same name but she soon became a separate goddess. There are various versions of her origins in mythology, she is believed to be either Durga or Shiva’s daughter or to come into existence from Vishnu’s left side of the body while he was asleep. Most of all she is venerated as a companion and female energy (shakti) of Brahma the Creator, one the Trimurti (trinity) of the most important gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) and therefore she belongs to the Tridevi i.e. their female counterparts (Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati).
Just like Sophia Saraswati is associated not only with academic knowledge but also with divine wisdom. She appears in important Hindu texts such as Puranas and Vedas where she is described as a deity who appreciates merits rather than form and teaches about superiority of the spiritual beauty over good looks. In a Hindu philosophy of Vedanta Saraswati is an embodiment of knowledge aspect in shakti, feminine force of life, and her worshippers believe she will help them to leave saṃsāra, the wheel of incarnation. She is also one of important figures of Buddhism both in India and in the Far East (China and Japan where she is identified as a Shinto goddess Benzaiten). She is believed to guard the teachings of Buddha and offers protection and help in understanding to the believers.
Main offering to Saraswati is honey, a symbol of absolute wisdom and the most important holiday celebrating her is Saraswati Puja (also called Vasant Panchami or Shree Panchami) which takes place on the first day of Spring, i.e. the fifth day of Magh, the time of late January and early February. Children are taught to write their first letters, special prayers to Saraswati are organised at schools and universities and the worshippers wear yellow clothes and treat themselves with yellow sweets. In Punjab this festival is known as ‘the Kite Festival’ because children fly kites as the signs of Spring and the beginning of the Holi season. Personally I am very much intrigued by the fact that during Saraswati Puja books and instruments are placed in front of the goddess’ statue or image and on this very day in the year they are not used because she is blessing them. Students also enjoy Saraswati Puja because there are no classes at schools and universities at that time. In southern India this holiday is celebrated on September – October. Saraswati’s most famous place of cult is an 8th century Shringeri Sharadamba Temple situated in Shringeri in Karnataka state.
Similarly to coins being the manifestation of Lakshmi, books and writings are considered to be Saraswati’s manifestation and therefore highly respected (if a book touches the ground or leg by accident, a special gesture called Pranāma is performed as an apology).
IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS
Saraswati is depicted as peaceful, serene and beautiful woman wearing a white saree representing her immaculate nature and clear mind (she sometimes is associated with yellow, the colour of the mustard plant which blooms at the time of Saraswati Puja festival in spring). She sits on a white lotus, a symbol of an absolute truth, experience and wisdom. Contrary to goddess Lakshmi she does not wear much jewellery and the one she has is simple to show clearly that she is not too fond of material goods. She usually has four arms representing either four Vedas or four aspects of human personality in the process of learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. In one hand she holds a book in the form of a scroll which is the symbol of universal, eternal and divine wisdom, in second one she holds mālā, crystal prayer beads, representing the power of contemplation and spirituality, in third one – a pot of water as a sign of creativity and purification and in the fourth one – a musical instrument similar to sitar called vina (veena) showing the perfection of music and arts. She is usually depicted near water which is a reference to the river from which she originates; her figure is reflected on the surface of water which shows her control over emotions and clear, peaceful mind, both are necessary to express oneself precisely.
Saraswati is accompanied by hansa (white swan), goose or peacock at her feet or behind her. Hansa is also her vahana, vehicle; it was believed that given the mixture of milk and water, the bird will only drink milk which symbolizes the ability to distinguish between the good and the evil. Swan is associated with soul, inspiration and higher levels in many cultures (it is connected to Celtic goddess Brigid who is also the goddess of perfectioning the craft and knowledge; her name means Exalted). Peacock is a symbol of majesty and dignity which is often attributed to a goddesses of high position (peacock is also the sacred animal of Anahita, another water goddess, who was worshipped in Persia and of Hera, a Hellen goddess of matrimony). In 1963 a peacock became India’s national emblem.
In positive meaning this card shows an intelligent, educated and well-read person who is good at self – expressing and is able to write down everything that mind dictates. A person of creative and fertile mind who does not need to make detailed plans because s/he trusts intuition. Someone who does not force things to happen but goes with the flow instead. Person who has an open mind, a fresh look at the matter and perceives it from a broad perspective.
In negative meaning this person is overwise and likes preaching what is right and wrong. This card also shows a talented person who does not develop knowledge nor talent due to laziness. A person who speaks faster than thinks.
Professions: scientist, lecturer, instructor, teacher, a person whose work involves the use of intellect and language, translator, commentator, artist, musician, writer, actor/actress
This card definitely suggests further learning, especially higher education.
Do not let ignorance enter your mind. Do not let yourself fall into mental laziness or lethargy.
Do not concentrate on the material world. If you do, you may be surprised when opening a beautifully wrapped gift box, you will find nothing inside the box.
You spend some time every day on beautifying your body. How often do you beautify your mind?
You provide your body with nutrients. What do you feed your mind with?
Mind and psyche need a good diet and workout just like your body. Do not neglect their needs.
Paying your attention to celebrity gossip websites or silly entertainment programmes is like junk food for your brain. If you keep your mind on such diet, it will not be growing nor developing.
Express your talents either by writing, painting, composing, singing or any other way. Reemember that the need of expressing what lies inside us is the driving force of our existence. Creativity can be expressed by the simplest and the cheapest means. Do not feel ashamed. Keep experimenting.
Time of improving. Wisdom. Speech. Music. Creation. Enlightement. Quality of mind.
If you are in the relationship: it is possible that you are the teacher in your relationship; you are the wiser who “should surrender” to a partner who is far behind in mental, spiritual and emotional development just like an older sibling to the younger. It is also possible that your partner preaches and admonishes you. In both cases it may cause frustration so to avoid unnecessary suffering be like a river. River does not hold grudges nor it does not stop, it simply flows ahead and overcomes all the obstacles.
If you are single: you demand a lot from the person whom you would like to form the relationship with. That is ok, indeed it makes no sense to be with someone just to be with someone. Do not get frustrated that you are alone, instead spend your free time and energy in a positive way on learning, creating and improving your skills. If you attend any classes aimed at developing your talent, it is probable that you will meet a like-minded person with similar interests.
Investment in the field of education will pay off. Help of a specialist or introducing new technologies is necessary at work. This card also informs that you need the job which guarantees intellectual and creative freedom. It also signifies an excellent subject knowledge and profound education.
Check the flow of fluids in your body regularly. A strong influence of mind on body. Music therapy. Endangered parts of the body: blood vessels especially those situated in head.
Saraswati in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews
Saraswati in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton
Saraswati in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr
and as High-Priestess in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr
Saraswati in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue
Saraswati in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason
Saraswati in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc
Saraswati as King of Cups in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano
Based on English Wikipedia and http://www.indiaguide.pl/india/brahma_i_saraswati.html .
* Flow both in the meaning of river flow and flow of thoughts, ideas, words etc.