Tag Archive: laksmi


Goddess Dharani

“Dharani’s themes are luck, abundance, wealth and beginnings. Her symbols are baskets (filled), basil (sacred plant), rice and seedlings.  In Indian mythology, Dharani is the wealth-providing, luck-bringing, abundant aspect of Lakshmi. This prosperity, which She freely offers to us when our storehouses grow scant, is potently portrayed in artistic renderings, which show Her with an overflowing basket of rice or seedlings.

Around this time of year, people in India celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights, which is the beginning of the Hindu new year. This festival also venerates Dharani in the hopes of getting the new year off to a really good start.

To invoke Dharani’s good fortune, wash your floors, car, shoes, pets, and/or clothing with basil water to rid yourself of any lingering bad luck. Since basil is Dharani’s sacred herb, it banishes any energy of which the Goddess doesn’t approve!

Light candles carved with your personal good-luck emblems to that the shadows in your life will be free. When the flam melts the image, Dharani’s magic for good fortune is released (if you like, anoint that with a little basil oil, too).

Finally, to bless anyone visiting your home or desk today, fill a basket with rice cakes, offering some to any passers-by. This way you share the wealth and allow the Goddess to bring Her prosperity to many more lives.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Bumi Devi @ Mother Earth” by Q. Arlene

While researching this Goddess, I found that She was an avatar of Lakshmi and apparently a minor Goddess.  “Dharani (also dharini), in Hinduism as mentioned in epic and Puranic texts, is a Goddess, the consort of Parasurama (the sixth avatar of Vishnu), and avatar of Goddess Laksmi.

In Buddhism, dharani is the collective name for a group of deities; twelve personifications of a particular type of mystic religious text used as a charm.” [1]

On Exoticindiaart.com, I found that while “Kamala is denotative of [Lakshmi’s] form as Lotus Goddess; Dharini [is] suggestive of Her immense power to bear, is denotative of the earth and thus of Her Bhoodevi form.” [2]

 

 

 

Sources:

Exoticindiaart.com, “Lakshmi – The Lotus Goddess“.

Lowchensaustralia.com, “Indian Goddesses – D“.

Themystica.org, “Dharani“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Biharlokmanch.org, “About Lakshmi and her various Avatars“.

Lotussculpture.com, “Lakshmi – The Hindu Goddess of Wealth“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

Goddess Phra Naret

“Phra Naret’s themes are water, wishes, abundance, wealth, prosperity, beauty and luck. Her symbols are candles, boats and water.  In Thailand (formerly Siam), Phra Naret is the Goddess of good fortune, prosperity and beauty. Having been born of water, She flows into today’s festivities, Loi Krathong, with fertility, abundance and wealth.

The charming festival of Loi Krathong includes the launching of small boats filled with candles, incense, coins and gardenias on a nearby river. According to tradition, should the candle stay lit until it flows out of sight, the launcher’s wish will come true.  You can re-create this by using a stream of hose water, a raft of popsicle sticks or plywood, and whatever tokens you want to give to Phra Naret to generate Her luck in manifesting your wish. Just make sure you choose biodegradable items, since you need to let the raft flow out of your site so the magic can release itself. Anyone finding the wish boat will also be blessed with a wish and a little of Phra Naret’s prosperity.

Drink plenty of fresh water to internalize Phra Naret’s positive attributes today, and wash your floors with plain water so that Her abundance and fertility will be absorbed into every part of your home.  If you have plants, remember to give them a little water today too, so they can grow with this Goddess’s profusion.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

According to mythologydictionary.com, Phra Naret is the name for Lakshmi in Thailand. [1]  All I could really find on the name Phra Naret was that She is one of the 345 listed agricultural and fertility Goddesses of Southeast Asia (Tho, p. 19 – 20).

 

 

Sources:

Mythologydictionary.com, “Thai Lore, Gods, Demigods, Heroes, Symbols, and Other Famous Mythological Characters: Phra Naret“.

Tho, Nguyen Ngoc. Goddess Beliefs in the Chinese Lingnan Area.

 

Suggested Links:

Graham, Walter Armstrong. Siam: a handbook of practical, commercial and political information.

Gray, Louis Herbert. The Mythology of All Races, Vol. 12.

Goddess Vasudhara

“Vasudhara” by Sundar Sinkhwal

“Vasudhara’s themes are religious devotion, charity, thankfulness and abundance. Her symbols are cows and golden items. In India, this golden-breasted earth Goddess provides us with enough abundance to be able to give back freely of what we receive. Vasushara’s golden color alludes to some solar attributes, including manifesting financial prosperity for those who call upon Her. In Her wealth-giving aspect, Vasudhara sometimes appears as a cow.

Around this date, many churches in the United States and Canada begin their annual fund-raising campaign by asking parishioners to give back a little of what the divine has given them.  While many New Age practitioners don’t belong to a church, this idea still holds merit and would please Vasudhara greatly. Donate a little money to a pagan defense fund, for example.  Put on something gold to draw the Goddess’s prosperity back to you, then buy some good magic books for your library. The proceeds indirectly ‘give back’ to the teachers whom you admire through royalties!

If your schedule allows, stop in at your favorite New Age store and volunteer an hour of your time to give back to the community. Write thank-you letters to people who have somehow touched your life deeply. Should any of these people live nearby, help them with chores or bring them a special dish for dinner.  These acts of kindness are a type of stewardship that reflects Vasushara’s spirit by blessing others.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

A Newari Representation of Vasudhara

From Wikipedia: “Vasudhārā whose name means ‘stream of gems’ in Sanskrit, is the Buddhist bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance. She is popular in many Buddhist countries and is a subject in Buddhist legends and art. Originally an Indian bodhisattva, Her popularity has spread to southern Buddhist countries. Her popularity, however, peaks in Nepal where She has a strong following among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and is thus a central figure in Newar Buddhism.  She is named Shiskar Apa in Lahul and Spiti.

The origin of Vasudhārā in Buddhism appears in the Buddhist text The Vasudhara Dharani.  According to a legend in the text known as ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra,’ an impoverished layman named Sucandra approaches the Buddha Shakyamuni requesting a way to obtain large amounts gold, grain, silver, and gems in order to feed his large family and engage in acts of charity with the surplus fortune. Shakyamuni, aware of a mantra about the bodhisattva Vasudhara that would suit his purposes, bestows Sucandra with an incantation and religious ritual that when followed would result in good fortune and prosperity brought on by Vasudhara Herself. Upon commencing the rituals and teaching them to others, Sucandra begins to prosper. Noticing his success, the monk Ananda asked Shakyamuni how he had obtained this fortune so quickly. Shakyamuni instructs Ananda to also practice the Vasudhara Dharani and ‘impart it to others ‘for the good of many’.’

Although ‘The Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ seems to contradict the Buddha’s renunciation of material possessions and earthly pleasures, Shakyamuni does not instruct the monk to recite the mantra for material benefit but instead he stresses that the mantra is for ‘the good of many’ and for ‘the happiness of many’.  Thus the mantra is meant more as means of alleviating suffering rather than obtaining wealth through Vasudhara, who not only grants physical wealth and abundance but also spiritual wealth and abundance. Click here to continue reading about Her legends from Taranatha.

Like the legend of the ‘Inquiry of the Layman Sucandra’ these legends are significant because they encourage both the lay and monastic worship of Vasudhara.  In addition, they stress the importance of charity, teaching worshippers to share in their good fortune rather than amassing it for themselves.

Vasudhara [Tib. Norgyun(ma)]

In Buddhist art, Vasudhara has a consistent iconography. She can easily be identified as a bodhisattva by the elaborate headdress and the extensive amount of jewelry she wears.  Her skin has a golden hue in bronze and painted images. This color is associated with precious metals and symbolizes opulence, fertility, and generosity in Buddhist iconography. Vasudhara is typically seated on a lotus flower base in the lalitasana, or royal pose, with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging of the flower base but resting on a small treasure.  She can, however, also be represented in a standing position.  When standing, Vasudhara has a full vase representing abundance underneath each foot.

Despite this consistency in Her representations, the number of Her arms may differ from image to image. In visual representations, Vasudhara can have as few as two arms and as many as six. The two-armed representations are more common in Tibetan art and Indian art, while six-armed representations are almost exclusive to Nepalese art.  Although the six-armed image originates in India, they are rare and only few examples have been found.

In Her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to Her. Most representations show Her holding a sheaf of corn in Her left hand, symbolizing an abundant harvest.  She may also be holding a gem or small treasure, a symbol of wealth. Representations with more arms, such as the six-armed Nepali representation, also depict Her holding a full vase and the Book of Wisdom. With Her free hands, Vasudhara performs mudras. A commonly seen mudra in paintings and figurines featuring Vasudhara is the varada mudra, also known as the charity mudra, which symbolizes the ‘pouring forth of divine blessings.’ Vasudhara is the subject of numerous bronzes and paintings. She is predominantly the central figure of bronze sculptures or painted mandalas. She may also, however, appear alongside Her consort, Vaiśravaṇa (Jambhala) the Buddhist God of Riches. Despite his status, She surpasses him in popularity and is more commonly the central figure of Her own mandalas.

Vasudhara is particularly popular in Nepali Buddhism among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. In this region she is a common household deity. This is known from the countless number of bronzes and paintings found representing Her. These images are small in size, typically 18 cm or smaller.  Because of their small size it is known that these images were primarily for private use, namely household veneration of the Goddess. Additionally, there is a cult dedicated to Her worship followed by the Buddhist Newars.  Followers of this cult believe that Her worship brings wealth and stability. Despite the strong following of this cult by the Buddhist Newars, unfortunately, it is now in decline.

As the Bodhisattva of abundance and prosperity, Her popularity in this region is due to the predominance of agriculture and trade essential to the economy of the Kathmandu Valley.  The Newars believe that Her veneration will generally result in good fortune.

One of the earliest Nepalese representations of Vasudhara is a pauhba (textile art depicting Hindu and Buddhist images on course cotton), dating back to 1015 C.E.  This pauhba is known as the Mandala of Vasudhara. The Goddess is the central image of this mandala, which depicts scenes of dedication, ritual initiation, festive music, and dance associated with Her worship. Its purpose is didactic (to teach). The mandala teaches the importance of worshipping Vasudhara primarily through the narrative of a non-believer whom She converted to belief.

In addition to Her popularity in Nepal, Vasudhara is also an important ‘wealth deity’ in Tibetan Buddhism.  Although popular in Tibet, Vasudhara does not assume as important of a role as She does in Nepalese Buddhism. In Tibet, the worship of Vasudhara is limited to mostly lay people as opposed to worship by both lay and monastic life. This is because Tibetan monastic life regards Vasudhara as a ‘benefactor of the laity’ and instead primarily engages in the worship of the Goddess Tara for all their needs.  This, however, does not mean that monastic life disregards Her completely. They do perform rites and rituals to the Goddess habitually but it is usually at the request of a patron.

The iconography of Vasudhara varies slightly in this region. In Tibetan art She appears more commonly with two arms. The six-armed representations, however, also exist and it is believed they filtered into Tibet through Nepal because of the late appearance of these images in manuscripts and art.  Unlike Nepalese art, Vasudhara rarely appears alone in Tibetan art. Instead She is paired with Jambhala or appears alongside other deities.  Despite these slight differences, most of Her iconography remains unchanged and Vasudhara can be easily recognized by Her attributes in most Buddhist art.

Vasudhara is often compared to the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. As Goddesses of wealth, both deities have a similar iconography and are worshipped for their role in an abundant harvest.  Both assume a golden hue in artistic representations, perform the same mudra, and hold similar objects. For example, Vasudhara and Lakshmi are often depicted holding gems or having pots of treasure under their feet. It is believed that the convention of depicting Vasudhara standing on vases originated from earlier representations of Lakshmi.  Furthermore, both Goddesses are often depicted paired with their respective consorts, Lakshmi alongside Vishnu and Vasudhara alongside Jambhala.” [1]

“Invite Vasudhara into your home, offer Her flowers and water, and recite Her mantra daily to invite wealth and abundance into your life. Her mantra is: OM SHRI VASUDHARA RATNA NIDHANA KASHETRI SOHA.” [2]

Sources:

Fsmegamall.com, “Bejeweled Vasudhara – Goddess of Wealth and Abundance“.

Wikipedia, “Vasudhara“.

 

Suggested Links:

Huntington, John C. & Dina Bangdel. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art, “125| Vasundhara“.

Isley, A. Krishna. Krishna76.deviantart.com, “Vasundhara in Vajrayana Buddhi“. (An excellent academic essay!)

News.richmond.edu, “Religion professor researches Buddhist goddesses of Tibet“.

Shaw, Miranda Eberle. Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Smithsonian Institution. Asia.si.edu, “Devi: The Great Goddess“.

Goddess Lakshmi

“Lakshmi’s themes are devotion, luck, wealth, relationships, prosperity, love, the harvest and autumn. Her symbols are a lotus, rice, coins and basil.  A favorite Goddess in the Hindu pantheon, Lakshmi brings devoted love into our lives, along with a little luck and extra pocket change to help things along. When called upon, Lakshmi opens the floodgates of heaven to meet our heart’s or budget’s needs.

The annual Lakshmi Puja festival celebrates Lakshmi and honors Her ongoing goodness, which manifests in an abundant autumn harvest.

If you are a merchant or store owner, it’s customary to appeal to Lakshmi today for the ongoing success of your business. You can do this by placing a few grains of rice, some basil, or a coin in your daily tally sheets. This neatly tucks Lakshmi’s fortunate nature into your finances.

For those wishing luck in love, gather a handful of rice cooked in basil water (the cooking process adds energy and emotional warmth). Sprinkle this on the walkway leading up to your home and your preferred vehicle, saying:

‘Lakshmi, let true love find its way to my home;
Let me carry luck with me wherever I roam.’

Keep a pinch of this in an airtight container and carry it with you into social situations. It will act as a charm to improve your chances of meeting potential mates.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “ancient India did not erect temples to this Goddess, for why try to contain the one who embodies Herself in all forms of wealth? Lakshmi is everywhere: in jewels, in coins, in rare shells, in every child born to welcoming parents, and particularly in cows. The well-known reverence for cows in Hindu India is based on the worship of this Goddess, called the Shakti of life-preserving Vishnu. Hindu philosophy defined male godhead as passive and abstract, distant and powerless, unless activated by the Goddess. In Vishnu’s case, his power to maintain and enrich life only functions when Lakshmi inspires it. Therefore it is thought good policy to bestow reverence on those embodiments of wealth-the cows who in some parts of India are simply called ‘lakshmi’ after their owner.

“Laksmi” by Hrana Janto

Some myths say that Lakshmi existed from all time, floating before creation on a lotus; for this She is called Padma (‘lotus-Goddess’), whose symbol became the sign for spiritual enlightenment throughout Asia. Some stories say that Lakshmi sprang up from the ocean when it was churned by the gods, emerging like a jewel in all Her beauty and power, covered with necklaces and pearls, crowned and braceleted, Her body fat and golden [Hhmm, kind of reminds me of someone else I know – Aphrodite or Venus perhaps?]. Many interpreters see the variant legends as recording Lakshmi’s preeminence in pre-Aryan India, where She was Goddess of the earth and its fructifying moisture, and Her later incorporation into Vedic theology when Her worshipers would not abandon their devotion to the lotus Goddess. Once established in the religious amalgam called Hinduism, Lakshmi grew to symbolize not only the wealth of the earth but of the soul as well, becoming a magnificent symbol of the delights of spiritual prosperity” (p. 190).

“Also called Mahalakshmi, She is said to bring good luck and is believed to protect Her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.  Representations of Lakshmi are also found in Jain monuments.

Lakshmi is called Shri or Thirumagal because She is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or Gunas, and also because She is the source of strength even to Vishnu. When Vishnu incarnated on earth as avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi incarnated as his consort. Sita (Rama’s wife), Radha (Krishna’s lover) and Rukmini and the other wives of Krishna are considered forms of Lakshmi.

Lakshmi is worshipped daily in Hindu homes and commercial establishments as the Goddess of wealth. She also enjoys worship as the consort of Vishnu in many temples. The festivals of Diwali and Kojagiri Purnima are celebrated in Her honor.” [1]

Gyan Rajhans breaks down and explains Her iconography and their symbolism:

“The Four Arms & Four Hands

In Goddess Lakshmi’s case upper left back hand represents Dharma (duty). The lower left frontal hand represents Artha (material wealth). The right lower frontal hand represents Kama (desire) and the upper back right hand representsMoksha (salvation).

Half open Lotus (Upper left hand)

In the upper left hand Goddess Lakshmi holds a half-blossomed lotus, which has a hundred petals. In philosophical terms, the number 100 represents the state of Sadhana. Notice that this lotus is basically red. It is not in full blossom. It has streaks of whiteness. The red in it represents Rajoguna, the functional aspect, and the white represents Satoguna, the purity aspect. In other words this symbolizes progress in both mundane and spiritual walks of life side by side.

Gold Coins (Lower left hand)

Invariably this hand of the Goddess is shown dropping gold coins on the ground, where we find an owl sitting. The dropping of coins represents prosperity in all directions, or total prosperity. The gold coins do not only represent money; they also symbolize prosperity at all levels.

Abhaya Mudra (Right lower hand)

Now we come across the right lower hand, which is held in Abhaya Mudra (the pose signifying assurance of freedom from fear). The Gita says fear is caused by unfulfilled desires. The ultimate gift of the Goddess is the blessing of deliverance from fears.

Lotus in The Right Upper Hand

This hand is holding a lotus, which is fully opened; a lotus with one thousand petals (in contrast to the upper left hand holding half open lotus having a hundred petals), which is synonymous with sahasra-ra-chakra (the highest point in the evolution of the Kundalini Shakti). This lotus has a red base, with a blue tinge. The red in it represents ‘Rajas‘ and the blue represents ‘Akasha‘ (space). They signify total evolution.

The Red Sari (dress)

Lakshmi is shown wearing a red sari. It is again the colour of Rajas, which means creative activity. The golden embroidery indicates plenty. This re-affirms the idea of prosperity in general. This is in keeping with Her being the Goddess of prosperity.

Sitting on Lotus

The Goddess is shown sitting on a lotus. This posture means ‘Live in the world, but do not be possessed by the world’. The lotus keeps smiling on surface of water. Its origin is in mud, deep under water but its flowering is above the water-surface. Detachment and evolution is the message of this poetic symbol.

The Owl

The owl sitting on the left side of Lakshmi, where gold coins are falling, represents darkness.

An owl, generally speaking, is a night bird. It is very clever. It can’t see clearly in the daytime.

It represents perversion of attitudes in material prosperity. Undue attachment to wealth shows ignorance (darkness) and disturbs the economic balance in society. If man does not keep his balance when he gets a lot of material resources, he is bound to become a nuisance to himself and to others around him.

Four Fair Elephants Pouring Water (From Golden Vessels)

In common pictures of Lakshmi, we see four whitish elephants pouring water drawn from the ocean on the Goddess. This water is contained in golden vessels. Those four elephants represent the four directions—North, South, East, and West. The white hue here means purity. Wisdom has been occasionally represented in Hindu mythology by the form of an elephant.
The symbol of four elephants pouring water from golden vessels on the Goddess suggests that the chain of Purushartha (endeavour), dharma, artha, kama and moksha has to be continuously strengthened with wisdom, purity and charity.

Thus, we see that the idol or picture of Goddess Lakshmi represents prosperity and activity for achievement of liberation and attainment of self-realization.” [2]

“Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and Her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:

  • Padma: lotus dweller
  • Kamala: lotus dweller
  • Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
  • Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
  • Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
  • Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
  • Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus

Her other names include:

  • Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
  • Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl

Her other names include: Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Samruddhi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, Shreya and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha (‘Mother of the Universe’) in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.” [3]

 

Lakshmi Chalisa is a forty verse prayer dedicated to Maha Lakshmi. Verses are usually dedicated to praise the goddess. The acts and deeds of Goddess Lakshmi are recalled in these verses to aid the devotee to meditate on virtuous and noble qualities.

 

 

I also really liked this video too.  This is Lakshmi Ashtottara Satha Nama Stotram – 108 names of Goddess Lakshmi Devi and is a Hindu devotional mantra.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Lakshmi”.

Rajhans, Gyan. Gyansrajhans.blogspot.com, “Ma Lakshmi’ Symbols explained“.

Wikipedia, “Lakshmi“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Andromeda. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. Pyramidcompany.com, “Who Is Goddess Lakshmi?

Blue, Nazarri. Order of the White Moon, “Lakshmi“.

Brockway, Laurie Sue. Goddessgift.com, “Lakshmi, Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune“.

Das, Subhamoy. Hinduism.about.com, “Lakshmi: Goddess of Wealth & Beauty!“.

Exotic India, “Lakshmi: The Lotus Goddess“.

Gil / Govinda. Myspace.com, “Symbolism of Lakshmi devi: Very Important!

Kumar, Nitin. Exoticindiaart.com, “Hindu Goddesses – Lakshmi and Saraswati“.

Omgan.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Worship“.

Pandit, Bansi. Koausa.org, “Goddess Lakshmi“.

Sai MahaLakshmi.com, “Goddess Lakshmi Maha Lakshmi“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Sri Lakshmi“.

 

Goddess Sarasvati

“Goddess Saraswati”

“Sarasvati’s themes are learning, wisdom and communication.  Her symbols are white flowers (especially Lotus), marigolds and swans. A Hindu Goddess of eloquence and intelligence, Sarasvati extends a refreshing drink from her well of knowledge to complete the month with aptitude. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati invented all sciences, arts and writing. In works of arts she is depicted as white-skinned and graceful, riding on a swan or sitting on an open lotus blossom.

Today is an excellent time to embark on any course of study or to reinforce your learning in a specific area. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati’s festival is held on or around this date. During the celebration, students gather in the Katmandu Valley (Nepal) bearing gifts for the Goddess, who visits here today. Traditional offerings at the temples include lotus and marigold blossoms and incense, while students often bring pens or books to invoke Sarasvati’s aid with their studies.

Adapting this a bit, try dabbing your personal tools or educational books with a little lotus oil, and burn any sweet-scented incense to improve your awareness (rosemary is a good choice).

To generate Sarasvati’s assistance in matters of communication, find a white flower and remove its petals. Place these in any moving water source, saying something like:

‘Sarasvati, let my words bear gentle beauty and truth
falling lightly on other’s ears
even as these petals to the water.’

Let the water (which also represents this Goddess) carry your wish.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Patricia Monaghan wrote: “As every Hindu god must have a Shakti, or enlivening female force, to function, so Brahma the creator needed Sarasvati for the world to come into being. She is not only the water Goddesses, one of the trinity that also includes Ganga and Yamuna, but She is also the Goddess of eloquence, which pours forth like a flooding river.

Inventor of all the arts and sciences, patron of all intellectual endeavors, Sarasvati is the very prototype of the female artist. She invented writing so that the songs She inspired could be recorded; She created music so the elegance of her being could be praised. In her identity as Vach, Goddess of speech, She caused all words to come into being, including religious writings. Sometimes it is said that She is the rival of Laksmi, Goddess of material wealth; if anyone has the favor of one Goddess, the other will turn away so that no one is ever blessed with both Sarasvati’s genius and Laksmi’s blessing” (p. 273).

Saraswati, known as Sraosha in Zoroastrianism is the guardian of earth. Sraosha (“obedience”) is also the wife and messenger of Ahura Mazda, and her role as the “Teacher of Daena”, Daena being the hypostasis of both “Conscience” and “Religion”. She also guides the souls of the deceased to find their way to the afterlife. Her symbolic animal is the peacock, whose crowing calls the pious to their religious duties. She is also called Druga for fighting off Drug (Drug, the name for female demon in ancient Veda, from the Sanskrit root druh “to be hostile”). The name Druga is made of Sanskrit dru or dur “with difficulty” and gā or jā (“come”, “go”). Saraswati is known as a guardian deity in Buddhism who upholds the teachings of Gautama Buddha by offering protection and assistance to practitioners. She is known in Burmese as Thurathadi or Tipitaka Medaw, Chinese as Biàncáitiān (辯才天), in Thai as Surasawadee (สุรัสวดี) and in Japanese as Benzaiten (弁才天/弁財天). In the East Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa: Saraswati is considered to be a daughter of Lord Shiva and Durga along with her sister Lakshmi and her brothers Ganesha and Karthikeya. [1]

It is believed that Goddess Saraswati endows human beings with the powers of speech, wisdom and learning. She has four hands representing four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. [2]

“Sarasvati is one of the many faces refelceted in the image of the Divine Mother.  Called the Goddess of the Word, Sarasvati means “the one who gives the essence (Sara) or our own Self (Swa).”  She is also known as the Goddess of Learning and is the consort (wife) of the Hindu God Brahma (the Creator).

Considered knowledge itself personified as a feminine deity, Sarasvati is closely identified with culture, language, speech, wisdom, intellect, creativity and inspiration.  She contains all forms within Her, pervades all creation and is the power of intellegence and thought.” [3]  She is the Goddess of eloquence, and words pour from Her like a sweetly flowing river. One myth of this Goddess is that She is a jealous rival of the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, and that pursuing wealth alone will assure that Sarasvati’s gifts will desert you.

“She holds in her four hands a vina instrument, an akshamala (prayer beads) in the right hand, and a pustaka (book) in the left, which represents the knowledge of all sciences. Holding the book or scriptures in one hand also indicates that this knowledge alone can bring us to the Truth. The vina shows the beauty of learning the fine arts. Playing her vina, she tunes the mind and intellect with her knowledge, and thus the seeker can be in harmony with the universe. The prayer beads represent all spiritual sciences, like meditation and japa (chanting the holy names of God), and, being held in the right hand, that it is more important than the secular knowledge contained in the book in her left hand. Her four arms represent her unrestricted power in the four directions. She also represents creativity, or the combination of power and intelligence, the basis of creativity.” [4]

The following popular ‘pranam mantra’ or Sanskrit prayer, Saraswati devotees utter with utmost devotion eulogizes the goddess of knowledge and arts:

Om Saraswati Mahabhagey, Vidye Kamala Lochaney |

Viswarupey Vishalakshmi, Vidyam Dehi Namohastutey ||
Jaya Jaya Devi, Charachara Sharey, Kuchayuga Shobhita, Mukta Haarey |
Vina Ranjita, Pustaka Hastey, Bhagavati Bharati Devi Namohastutey ||

The beautiful human form of Saraswati comes to the fore in this English translation of the Saraswati hymn:

“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.”
[5]

I had to throw this in.  Looking at the Hindu Sarasvati, Goddess of learning and the creative arts, She bears some striking resemblances to Brigit, as well as some important differences. Click here to read further in exploring  the image of Sarasvati as She appears in the Vedas and is developed in later Hinduism, compared images of  Brigit.

Sources:

Das, Subhamoy. About.com, “Saraswati: Goddess of Knowledge & Arts“.

Knapp, Stephen. Stephen-knapp.com, “Sarasvati, the Goddess of Learning“.

Prophet, Elizabeth & Mark L. Sacredwind.com, “Sarasvati“.

Wikipedia, “Saraswati“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Faerywillow. Thegoddesstree.com, “Sarasvati“.

Wood, Hilaire. Brigitsforge.co.uk, “Sarasvati, Brigit and the Sacred Word“.

Yarber, Angela. Feminismandreligion.com, “Painting Saraswati By Angela Yarber“.

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