“May Goddess Saraswati, who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon,
and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops;
who is adorned in radiant white attire,
on whose beautiful arm rests the veena,
and whose throne is a white lotus;
who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me.
May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance.”
Hymn to the Goddess Saraswati
As the Hindu Goddess of knowledge, learning, and the creative arts, the Goddess Saraswati empowers the mind and all processes related to it. She is speech, understanding, insight, research, wisdom, music, education – the Shakti of all that enhances, elevates, and enables the mind. Her power extends through the spoken word and all subtle speech. Her influence reachs the highest spiritual realms and grounds into the practical and includes the power of discernment. Saraswati is the Shakti, creative power, of Brahma, the creator of the universe.
Her name means “the one who gives the essence (Sara) of our own selves (Swa)” and also “the flowing one”.
Saraswati is frequently depicted with four arms, a carved stringed instrument called a veena (an Indian lute), a book, and a mala or rosary. She is surrounded by swans and a peacock. The sari that She wears is usually white as is the lotus that She sits upon to remind us of Her purity.
Shakti Goddesses with four arms usually represent the influence within the practical, physical world and also within the spiritual world. Saraswati’s four arms denote Her omnipresence and omnipotence. In Her rear hand (above), She holds the mala or rosary. The mala symbolizes Saraswati’s connection with mantra, focus, meditation, and the idea that the love and devotion of mantra can unite us with Goddess/God. The book is the representation of the Ancient Vedas, the earliest Indian scriptures.
Vasant Panchami, birthday of the Goddess Saraswati, is the first of the Spring festivals/season and actually culminates in 40 days with the celebration of Holi. Vasant means Spring and Panchami means the fifth day which according to the Hindu calendar happens to occur in early February and is February 10 for 2019.
I will be doing a free Mantra and Meditation Circle on 2/10/19 through MotherHouse Goddess Temple – sign up here!
The most auspicious time of Saraswati’s day is the time between sunrise and midday. This is the time that puja (ritual worship) is performed, followed by honoring Saraswati through prayers and hymns, called stotra or stotram in Sanskrit. Yellow is usually the chosen color for Vasant Panchami, symbolic of the yellow blossoms of the mustard flower and the ripening of crops.
Yellow is carried through the entire festival from the color of saris that are worn to the food being “colored” with saffron and turmeric. Statues of Saraswati are adorned with yellow flowers and garlands and since she is the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge, schools and educational institutes create special programs for her on this day.
In some areas close to the Ganges river, statues of Saraswati are carried and immersed into the holy waters of the Ganges. Since Saraswati is an ancient river Goddess, the ritual immersion of statue and devotees carries special meaning on the Goddess’ birthday.
In the Sikh community, Vasant Panchami is celebrated as a kite festival!
Ways that we can celebrate Saraswati and begin to welcome her into our lives for the next 40 days (and hopefully longer!) are to light a white or yellow candle, buy flowers (white or yellow) and place them next to an image of her, and listen to the Saraswati stotrams, mantras, and music. Time spent learning something new or reading a book is also a completely appropriate way to honor this Goddess of Knowledge on her birthday.
Through Saraswati’s mantras, we invoke wisdom, creativity, communication, intuition, enhanced memory, and the ability to speak our truth. Her mantras activate the throat chakra and this is a good point of focus when chanting.
OM AIM SARASWATYEI NAMAHA
OM, I bow to the flowing one whose essence is wisdom and the power to manifest
This mantra is considered to be a foundational mantra for Saraswati and includes her bija mantra (seed mantra), AIM, which may be chanted alone to invoke the Goddess and her wisdom. Chant this 108 times before undertaking a new creative project and continue to chant as you are moving through the process.
The bija mantras are also called the Shakti Mantras and are used to align with individual Shakti energies. The seed sound for Saraswati represents the energy of sound.
AIM (pronounced aym or i’m)
As OM is the force of the universe, AIM provides the form of the universe and is considered to be the feminine counterpart to OM. AIM represents Adya Shakti, the Cosmic Mother and is specifically the seed sound for the Goddess Saraswati.
Saraswati is the Goddess of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Sacred Speech. Use this mantra to facilitate artistic urges, creative manifestation, communication, learning, research, wisdom practices, study, and education.
Aim is the seed mantra of Sarasvati, the Goddess of knowledge and speech, the consort of Lord Brahma, the Creator in the Hindu trinity of great Gods. As such, Aim aids us in learning, art, expression and communication and is good for promoting learning and education generally.
Aim is also the mantra of the guru and helps us access all higher knowledge. It can be used to call or to invoke wisdom and understanding. It indicates motivation, direction and will-power. It can orient us toward whatever we are seeking. It increases concentration of mind and awakens our higher intelligence (Buddhi). Relative to other mantras, Aim is often used to direct our awareness or intention to the deity, to function as our call to draw in the higher knowledge so the mantra can work.
In terms of Ayurveda, Aim strengthens the voice and the vocal chords. It helps open the lungs and clear the senses. Astrologically, Aim connects to the planet Mercury and to some extent the Moon, both planets that govern speech and expression. For Vastu, Aim will bring creativity and learning into the dwelling, particularly for studies, libraries and classrooms.
TODAY: Chant AIM, softly, gently, powerfully, however it feels right to you. AIMMMMMM. How does it feel? Can you chant it 108 times? This is the essence of Saraswati … can you feel her?
Likhita Japa is a Writing Mantra Practice. Instead of chanting or while chanting, you write the mantra in your journal, on a mandala, or (as pictured) in the Shakti Coloring Book!
Use different pens, different colors. You can even just use a blank journal or dedicate a journal just to Likhita Japa with different mantras filling the page.
Repeat the mantra internally or out loud as you write to affirm the energy.
For the Saraswati picture, I chose her main mantra: OM Aim Saraswatyei Namaha
I find the practice calming, peaceful, and powerful. Make it a ritual or part of your morning practices. Use the same pen and journal or image. Keep them on or near your altar. Wash your before beginning. Light some incense. Approach it with divine intention.
Tell me how you find the practice!
Get your Shakti Coloring Book through Amazon!
Wishing you all the blessings of Saraswati, this special Goddess!
Want to learn more? Join my 40 Days of Saraswati online course – now with a Spring special!
Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound by Dr. David Frawley
Awakening Shakti – the Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga by Sally Kempton
Shakti Mantras – Tapping into the Great Goddess Energy Within by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
Shakti – Realm of the Divine Mother by Vanamali
Shakti Coloring Book by Ekabhumi Charles Ellik