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This article is about Saraswati, the Hindu goddess. There are separate articles about the Vedic Sarasvati River and Saraswati River, a small river in Haryana

In Hinduism, Saraswati (less frequently romanized as Sarasvati) is the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, science, speech, and all arts-- music, painting, dance and literature. In India today, Hindus still revere Sarasvati as a goddess who is a reflection of the greater Mother, or Devi, and female dynamic energy, or Shakti. Her festival is held in late January or early February and prayer, called puja, is conducted. Since she is the goddess of knowledge, students often present her their books and supplies before they begin classes and her image sometimes appears on school gates. She is also the central deity of Indian Classical Musicians. Her consort is Brahma.

Origins and context in Hinduism

Sarasvatī can be found in Vedic texts, such as Rig Veda, and in Puranic texts, such as Ramayana. She likely originated as a Vedic river goddess; the river which once shared her name no longer exists, but where the banks of these rivers are believed to have once been, the earliest writing in India has been found. As a water goddess, she symbolises fertility, and prosperity. In the Rig-Veda(6,61,7) Sarasvati is credited with killing the asura (demon) Vritra, who represents drought, darkness, and chaos. She is often seen as equivalent to the other Vedic goddesses like Vāk (divine word, also romanised as Vac), Savitri (Illumination) and Gayatri. In the Shakta tradition (worship of Shakti or Devī, the female aspect of the divinity), Sarasvati represents intelligence, consciousness and cosmic knowledge. In later Puranic literature Saraswati (Brahmī) becomes the consort of the creator god Brahma. Some texts place her as a foil to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth.

Goddess Saraswati is the first mighty goddess to be worshipped in the Hindu religion. She is considered the eldest to her two sisters i.e. goddesses Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, abundance, power, beauty and grace and the youngest of the three sisters being goddess Parvati, also depicted as goddesses Kali, Gauri, Nanda Devi (also a sacred mountain devoted to her in Uttaranchal), Durga, Annapurna and Tara in West Bengal and South India.

The Divine Mother Saraswati is the wife or consort of Lord Brahma, the creator. Therefore, she stands for creativity. Goddess Saraswati stands for knowledge, education, enlightenment, music, arts and power. She is worshipped as one of the three rocks, which are said to be the holy formations of the three goddess i.e. Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati at a pilgrimage shrine at Vaishno Devi in Kashmir.

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped during the Navaratri, Diwali (devoted mainly to goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh)and Basant Panchami. During Basant Panchmi, which is in either the end of January or starting of February, prayers and pujas are offered to her by children and people especially artists, musicians, scientists, doctors, lawyers and a million others from all fields.

In Pushkar, Rajasthan, a temple has been made in her name on a mountain higher than that of Lord Brahma's.

Saraswati in other cultures

Besides her role in Hinduism, she was also, like the Hindu goddess Tara, absorbed from Vedic culture into the Buddhist pantheon and came to China via the Chinese translations of the Sutra of Golden Light, which has a section devoted to her. Now largely forgotten in China, she is still worshipped in Japan under the name Benzaiten. Other names for her include Sarada, Sharada, Vani. The Tibetan Buddhist diety Yeshey Tsogyel is sometimes considered a manifestation of Saraswati.

Topics in Hinduism
Shruti (primary Scriptures): Vedas | Upanishads | Bhagavad Gita | Itihasa (Ramayana & Mahabharata) | Agamas
Smriti (other texts): Tantras | Sutras | Puranas | Brahma Sutras | Hatha Yoga Pradipika | Smritis | Tirukural | Yoga Sutra
Concepts: Avatar | Brahman | Dharma | Karma | Moksha | Maya | Ishta-Deva | Murti | Reincarnation | Samsara | Trimurti | Turiya
Schools & Systems: Schools of Hinduism | Early Hinduism | Samkhya | Nyaya | Vaisheshika | Yoga | Mimamsa | Vedanta | Tantra | Bhakti
Traditional Practices: Jyotish | Ayurveda
Rituals: Aarti | Bhajans | Darshan | Diksha | Mantras | Puja | Satsang | Stotras | Yajna
Gurus and Saints: Shankara | Ramanuja | Madhvacharya | Ramakrishna | Vivekananda | Sree Narayana Guru | Aurobindo | Ramana Maharshi | Sivananda | Chinmayananda | Sivaya Subramuniyaswami | Swaminarayan | A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Denominations: List of Hindu denominations
Vaishnavism | Saivism | Shaktism | Smartism | Agama Hindu Dharma | Contemporary Hindu movements | Survey of Hindu organisations

External links

de:Saraswati fr:Sarasvat (desse) ja:サラスヴァティー nn:Sarasvati sv:Sarasvati (gudom) zh:萨罗斯瓦蒂


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