Area of Influence: The Hindu Goddess Saraswati is the patron deity of learning, wisdom, the arts and communication. She invented writing, the Sanskrit language and music.
As Sanskrit is also a sacred language, Sarasvati is also linked to gaining spiritual liberation through the practice of mantra (the repetition of sacred sounds.)
Meaning of Name: Saraswati’s is derived from the Sanskrit words sara meaning “essence” and swa translating as "self." Saraswati is also described as, the river of consciousness that enlivens creation, dispelling all darkness and ignorance. It is she that brings order out choas.
This Goddess is also the personification of an ancient river that has long since dried up. As a river Goddess Saraswati is also a part of an important triad of Goddesses Mother Ganges and Yamuna.
She is also known as Sarasvati.
Origins and Genealogy: One story about Saraswati's birth explains that when Brahma created the universe, it was a place of chaos. Brahma heard the voice of reason as Saraswati arose from his mouth/head.
He was so entranced by her beauty that he wanted her to be his wife. Saraswati however, had other ideas and tried to get away. The persistent Brahma grew new heads in each direction so there was no where she could hide.
Eventually she conceded to be his wife but continued to be independent and refused to comply with all of his demands. One day when Brahma told her she must arrive promptly for a fire ceremony she defied him and turned up late. In the meantime Brahma had become so angered at his wife that he asked the Gods to give him a new wife, Gayatri.
When Saraswati finally arrived, she was so furious that the Gods had granted Brahma’s request that she cursed them all.
The Hindu Goddess Saraswati is depicted wearing white, symbolising purity and higher wisdom.
Animals: her vehicle is a swan or a peacock
Plants: Like many Hindu deities she is often shown sitting on a Lotus. The colour of her lotus is white.
She is often shown with four arms, mirroring the four heads of Brahma. These reflect the four aspects of inner life; mind, intellect, ego and consciousness.
With one pair of hands she plays the veena (a lute like instrument).In the other hands she holds a book and mala beads.
One of the simple mantras dedicated to the hindu Goddess Saraswati is
Om Aim Saraswati Namah
It can be used to ask the Goddess to assist with studies. Aim is the seed mantra associated with this Goddess.
Festivals and Temples
Many Hindus hold a festival known as Vasant Panchami on the fifth day of spring. This normally falls at the end of January or the beginning of February according to the ancient calendar.
Depending on the area of India the Goddess is either dressed in yellow or white. Yellow foods and flowers are offered to this Goddess. Students have time off and take their books to the temples to ask Saraswati to bless their studies.
One of the most famous temples dedicated to this Goddess is the Gnana Saraswati Temple, Basar. Many pilgrims travel there with their young children before the start school. In a special ceremony known as "Akshara abhyasam," the children practice forming their letters. This ceremony is best performed on days considered auspicious in the Hindu calendar.
The archetype of the teacher/inventor's life path is to give knowledge and teach their students how to apply this knowledge wisely.
Saraswati is the inventor of language, the sciences and the arts in the Hindu tradition. She also represents higher spiritual knowledge. She has the ability to bring order out of chaos.
In its shadow aspect, the Teacher may manipulate and mislead their students by indoctrinating them with negative beliefs and destructive behaviour.
We also see this aspect in Saraswati, when the other Gods grant Brahma a new wife. She attempts to persuade the other Goddesses to walk out of the ceremony. When they refuse to accompany her the Hindu Goddess Saraswati curses them all.
This Goddess Archetype may relate to you if you love passing on wisdom and learning to others. You may actually be a teacher or trainer or just enjoy teaching your children. Perhaps like me you have your own website or blog. This is a great way of sharing information on subjects you are passionate about
The Teacher's wise counsel can also be called upon to help you see a way through any present difficulties or to help you to master a new skill.
Whilst the shadow aspect is a reminder that whenever we find ourselves in a teaching or mentoring role we must aim to be a positive role model, encouraging others to reach their full potential.
We must also be ready to acknowledge the point where the student's fresh perspective on a subject means they have gained a new insight or moved beyond what we are capable of teaching.