5th day of the month of Magh
January 28, 2012
“India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.
Will Durant, The Case For India
In many religions throughout history women have been associated with wisdom and knowledge, which doesn’t explain why men have generally run the place, but may explain the state into which they’re run it.
The Greek goddess of wisdom was Athena. In the Gnostic tradition that honor belonged to Sophia, Mother of Creation, who is the root of our word sophistication. In Judaism it was Eve, not Adam, who ate first from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And in Christianity all the virtues, including Prudence are personified as women.
But in Hinduism, which influenced all of the above, the goddess of wisdom, arts, and learning is Saraswati. Saraswati is among other things the consort of Brahma, the god of creation.
In typical supermom style, Saraswati has four arms, all of which are full. Each arm symbolizes one of the four components of the human personality with regards to learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She gracefully juggles a sacred manuscript in one hand, a rosary in another, and with the other two she plays music of life and love on a stringed instrument known as a veena. She is usually pictured sitting atop a lotus flower, with a peacock or a swan by her feet.
On the fifth day of the fortnight after the new moon of Magh, Hindus celebrate Vasant Panchami, to worship the Goddess Saraswati. It falls in late January or early February.
On this day young schoolchildren learn their first words, in honor of the goddess of learning, knowledge and speech.
Saraswati is invoked as a muse by artists conducting creative endeavors. In olden times Saraswati was invoked prior to a play by theater managers who prayed for the quick and articulate tongues of their actors.
“India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.”