Tag Archives: brahma

SARASWATI

SARASWATI

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*.

ABOUT GODDESS

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.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

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

ADVICE

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.

Love

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.

Finances

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.

Health

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.

CARDS

Saraswati in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

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 The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild,  Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Saraswati in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Saraswati in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

and as High-Priestess in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Saraswati  in The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr

Saraswati in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Saraswati in Goddesses Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Saraswati in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

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 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

Saraswati 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.

DURGA

With my special dedication to

Amitabh Ghosh

the Bengali Tiger 😉

DURGA

ABOUT GODDESS

Durga is a Hindu warrior goddess, an incarnation of feminine force of creation, preservation and destruction.

Her name means The Inaccessible.  According to myths she appeared when Hindu gods were exhausted by the war with demons led by Mahishasura (‘Buffalo’). He caused chaos and terror in the worlds and he could have been defeated neither by god nor man. A shiny orb propellant flames arose from the anger of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods. The light infiltrated three worlds, concentrated and took the feminine shape. The lady who introduced herself as the form of Brahma, the creator of all gods* had three eyes (left one was associated with the moon and desire, right one – with the sun and activity while the central one was connected with fire and wisdom) and ten or eight arms to be able to carry more weapons. Durga was riding a tiger** and started to slay the demons immediately with the deadly gifts from gods: a club, a loop, a lance, a bow, a disk, a sword, a trident and even a lightning.

When she annihilated all of the demons and stood in front of Mahishasura himself, he initially neglected her saying, How can a woman kill me who has already defeated gods? Durga laughed so mightily that she caused an earthquake and this made the demon realize how dangerous his enemy was. Mahishasura attacked her tiger which infuriated the goddess so much that she caught him with a lasso but he transformed into a lion. Durga beheaded him and yet a clever demon managed to turn into a man with a sword. When she tried to pierce him with her weapon, he took the shape of an elephant, when she cut his trunk down, he changed back to a buffalo and so lasted the duel until Durga’s patience ran out. She blinded him with the light emanating from her body, jumped close to the demon, pinned him to the wall with her trident and beheaded once and for all. Their duel is shown beautifully on this picture:

Durga fighting Mahisasura

According to a Hindu mythology the world is influenced by two forces: the Devs (deities) and the Asurs (demons) who are balanced and cannot win one another. Durga is born from the rage of Devs and their frustration that they cannot defeat the Asurs.  To show the nature of their war I’d like to quote this siteThis personification of cosmic energy is one of the most wonderful and the richest in meanings. Durga’s battle shows an eternal fight between wisdom and ignorance, truth and untruth, Dev’s noble activity maintaining the balance in the world and Asurs’ destructive ego. She defeats the last and the most powerful demon Mahishasura who attacks her under the form of buffalo representing the power of chaos. Durga must also face the  male charm which the Asurs use to seize her power and weapon and she keeps her female dignity and the ability of self-determination.

Durga is self-sufficient and independent from male Hindu gods (they did not create her therefore they have no power over her). She is considered to be an aspect of Goddess Mother and all the other Hindu goddesses are perceived as the emanation of Durga. It must be mentioned that the notion of energy is crucial in Hinduism and the main female energy is Shakti, the feminine element reflected in inspiration, passion, charisma, intensive activity and vitality. Shakti is always paired with Shiva, the male element, and these two create the balance and build the basis of the world. Durga is an emanation of Shakti along with Parvati, Kali and Uma. Durga herself appears in nine forms called Navdurga: Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri (you can see them here). She knows no fear, she is patient and she never loses the sense of humour even during the battle. Her name is called upon in the cases which seem to be lost.

The main celebration is famous Durga Puja, very popular especially in Bengal, India’s Himalayan regions, Bangladesh and Nepal in late September and October. The holiday lasts ten days because according to the myth the goddess was fighting demons that long. The altars are being built, the figures of Durga are being created, painted, decorated and carried around and finally drowned in the river. Read more about the festival here.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

When it comes to pictures she is usually portayed very dynamically while battling Mahishasura, presented in a side profile pose, riding a tiger and holding weapons in all her hands (in this form she is called Mahishasurmardhini – ‘Mahishasura’s Killer’).

However,  in sculptures and figures she is presented statically as a peaceful woman with a gentle and often smiling face.  She holds flower garlands, pearl necklaces, shells and the lotus flowers in her hands or she places fingers in mudras or symbolic gestures.  In this milder form she is called Maha Gauri (‘The Fair Lady’).

The animal mostly associated with her is tiger.

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

The card of Durga shows a woman who is independent, ambitious and courageous. She is often a boss or she runs her own business.When she wants to achieve something, she does not give up until she gets it and she is able to move heaven and earth for an important purpose. She can also be quarrelsome, requiring, intolerant to different opinions and stubborn. A workaholic. This card represents a boss, a soldier, a police officer, a judge, a social worker, a craftsman (according to one of the legends Durga was leading her own army against demons and after the victory she thanked the warriors by teaching them how to make jewellery).

Advice

The problem which you are inquiring about can be resolved by various means (as the proverb says ‘if they don’t let you in through the door, get in through the window’) just like the duel with Mahishasura shows.

Situation requires courage, intransigence, concentration and patience.

Key words: Transformation.  Solitude.  Counting on yourself only. Concentration. Independence. A success gained thanks to patience, ambition and determination.

Love

If you’re single: You have an independent nature and it is difficult for you to compromise. It is possible that your work means more than a relationship. Lack of trust to men caused by bad experiences or bringing up without a father. Men may feel respect to you but not necessairly attraction.

If you’re in a relationship: This card may show tension in a relationship, quarrels, claims, etc. Perhaps one of the partners is dominated by the other. Lack of communication. Transformation.

Finances:

It is a good time to start your own business or to change the job. If you do not have a job, this card suggests searching for something different than what you used to do. In your resume mention all your diplomas, certificates, skills and abilities even if you consider some of them to be less important, you need to use versatile methods.

Health

Beware of injuries and accidents. Too much stress. Lack of energy or too much energy. Possible imbalance in the body. A disease difficult to diagnose or a long and difficult therapy. With other alarming cards it can signify changes caused by multiplying cells. Endangered parts of the body: limbs, eyes and brain.

IMAGES

Durga in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthewss.

Durga in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Durga in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Based on English and Polish Wikipedia and the following pages:   http://www.indiaguide.pl/india/devi_durga_kali.html
http://hinduism.about.com/od/hindugoddesses/a/durga.htm
http://www.indif.com/nri/articles/article2.asp

*Fire is the male element required to perform an action but when incarnated in the body of a woman it creates peace and harmony.

** According to another version it was a lion.