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Goddess Saraswati: Names, Festival & Symbols

Goddess Saraswati is known by several other names, some of which include Sarada meaning giver of essence, Brahmi meaning wife of Brahma, Mahavidya meaning the epitome of supreme knowledge, Bharati meaning eloquence, Maha-vidya - transcendent knowledge, Arya - noble one, Maha-vani - the transcendent word, Kamadhenu - like the wish-fulfilling cow, Dhaneshvari -the divinity of wealth and Vagishvari - mistress of speechVasant Panchami, which is the fifth day of spring, is dedicated to her. It is celebrated with great ardour in temples, homes and educational institutes alike. Goddess Saraswati is not only worshipped by Hindu, but is also a revered in Buddhism and Jainism. She is worshipped widely all over India, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar.

She is generally depicted as a graceful woman with snow-white skin, wearing pure white and sometimes yellow clothes. She is associated with the white colour. White in the Vedas represents the purity of spiritual knowledge. She is commonly depicted with four hands, which denote her omnipresence and omnipotence. She is often seated on a white lotus, which symbolizes that she is founded in the experience of the Absolute Truth. Sometimes, she is depicted as seated upon a white swan, which marks her transcendence over the imperfections of the physical world. This is the reason she is also sometimes known as Hamsa-vahini, which means "she who has a swan as her vehicle."

She holds the sacred Vedas: Symbolizing her knowledge as well as her impeccable understanding of the scriptures. A necklace of white pearls symbolizes the power of meditation and spirituality. A pot of sacred water epitomizes her creative purifying, and nourishing attributes and Her Veena, a Sitar like musical instrument, her mastery of all fine arts and sciences

Goddess Saraswati is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her earlier history as a water goddess. She is dressed modestly, wearing a white saree that represents her as the embodiment of pure knowledge, and minimal jewelry. This represents her preference for possessing knowledge over materialistic worldly possessions.

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