Vasant Panchami

  • Date: Monday, 22 January 2018
  • Event: Vasant Panchami

 

विक्रम सम्वत् 2074   माघ शुक्ल पंचमी                                     22nd January 2018

Vasant Panchmi

 

 

Yaa Kundedu tushaara haaradhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha 

Yaa Veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana

Yaa Brahmaachyutha shankara prabhritibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswatee Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa

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.

Vasant Panchami is a festival that worships Goddess Saraswati as well as it signifies the beginning of Vasant Ritu (spring season). On this day Goddess Saraswati is worshipped in various names and fames - the Goddess of Learning, the deity of Gayatri, the fountain of fine arts and science, and the symbol of supreme vedantic knowledge.

The image of Goddess Saraswati depicts her sitting on a vehicle that symbolizes her supreme power. The white swan of Saraswati symbolizes Satwa Guna (purity and discrimination), the lotus of Lakshmi the Rajas Guna and the tiger of Durga the Tamas Guna. Saraswati is shown possessing four hands and plays "Veena", an Indian string musical instrument.

LEGENDS

In the Vedas, Saraswati was a water deity and was revered for purifying, fertilizing and enriching powers. The next stage in Saraswati's mythological history was her identification with the holy rituals performed on the banks of river Saraswati. She is said to have invented Sanskrit, known as the mother of all languages, of scriptures and scholarship. It is also believed that it was her who discovered soma or amrita.

According to the Matsya Purana, Saraswati evolved from the mouth of Brahma. Such was her beauty and grace that Brahma pursued her. As she fled in different directions a head appeared and so Brahma is attributed with five heads. She was the most unique creation of Brahma. The moon and the lotus associated with Saraswati are both symbols of eternal womanhood.

Some of the many mythological stories connected with Saraswati have interesting sociological interpretations. The gods and the demons by the mutual agreement decided to churn the ocean for the Amrit or the elixir of life. Mainak Mountain was used as the churning rod and Basuki - a python, as the churning rope. When Lakshmi appeared with the Amrit kumbha both wanted the elixir. Saraswati with her exquisite beauty lured away the asuras or the demons. As the gods were drinking the Amrit, Rahu and Ketu, two asuras saw them and slipped with the Gods. As they drank the Amrit which would make them immoral like the gods, Vishnu detected them. He immediately cut off their heads. The two enraged asuras, swallowed the sun and moon but could not retain them as their throats where cut. This led to the origin of solar and lunar eclipse. Saraswati, who was instrumental in helping the Gods to be immortal, was established in the heaven as the Goddess Saraswati.

The Gods and the Gandharvas both wanted the Soma Ras. It was again Saraswati who with her beauty and grace lured and so exhausted the Gandharvas that they could not acquire the Soma Ras naturally went to the gods.

Rituals of Saraswati Puja

On the day of Vasant panchami or Saraswati Puja not only students pray to the Goddess but everyone invoke the blessings of the goddess Saraswati for success in learning, arts and crafts. Throughout India Saraswati Puja is celebrated in schools, colleges as well as at homes. In all educational institutions of music, arts and science, Saraswati Puja is observed with great reverence.

Puja rituals

The idol is in white, symbolizing purity. The sari of the Deity is white or yellow dyed in the natural dye made from "Shiuli" flowers.

The place where the idol is kept for the puja is decorated with Rangoli and the design of a fish is considered auspicious. A flat low stool make of wood is covered with yello cloth and the idol is placed on it, facing East.

Then, the face of the idol remains covered till the priest begins chanting the mantras at the commencement of the puja.

A green coconut is placed on an earthen pot with a red checked cotton cloth called "Gamocha".

The actual puja flowers are used but the most significant is the Pal ash or flame of the forest and marigold flowers.

Students place their books and pen in front of the goddess seeking blessings.

The offerings to the goddess are mainly fruits--most significant are Berries from the wild plum tree. Other fruits include tapioca. Sweets must include puffed rice & jaggery Family members bathe early and dress in yellow attire and assemble in front of the Goddess. The earthen pot is tied with a string which will be untied only on the next day by the priest before the immersion ceremony. A havan is done by the priest using special wood, ghee, joss sticks and incense. There absence of a burnt smell signifies the success of the puja. A diya or lamp is also kept lit along with the prasad. A handful of flowers particularly marigolds and flame of the forest is given to each devotee to offer to the goddess as "pushpanjali". The offering is done in batches of devotees who repeat mantras after the priest. Aarti is performed by the priest in the morning and again in the evening. This is done in batches of devotees who repeat mantras after the priest.

Aarti is performed by the priest in the morning and again in the evening. This is done while chanting Sanskrit slokas and accompanied by the blowing of conch shells and the beating of drums. The lit lamp used during the Aarti is passed around for each devotee to warm his/her hand and touch their heads. Nobody touches books on that day. This signifies that the goddess is blessing the books placed in front of her.

Celebration of Saraswati Puja

Goddess Saraswati is worshipped for spiritual enlightenment, the greatest wealth to man. The goddess is a favorite of religious and spiritual leaders. She encompasses Learning, Wisdom and the Fine Arts.

On Vasant Panchmi day all get up early in the morning, take bath and worship the sun, Mother Ganga, the Deity of the sacred river Ganges, and the earth. Men, women and girls wear yellow clothes. The yellow colour is a sign of auspiciousness and spirituality. It represents the ripening of the spring crops. Even the food is coloured yellow by using saffron. All the folk get together and sing songs connected with spring. Indeed, yellow colour is given special importance on this day. The goddess Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped by men and women attired in yellow.

In some traditional homes sweetmeats of yellowish hues are exchanged with relatives and friends. Kesari halwa and Kesari sweet rice are the favorites in North India. A dash of saffron is added to the sweetmeats to get a yellow tinge. Many people visit temple to offer halwa or sweet rice to the Gods. Some people feed Brahmans on this day. Pitri-Tarpan (ancestor worship) is performed on this day and some worship Kamdev, the god of love and The Goddess of Learning.

Saraswati Mantras

Place a picture before yourself of Goddess Saraswati, concentrate on her holy form and chant the Mantras.

Yaa Kundedu tushaara haaradhavalaa, Yaa shubhravastraavritha 

Yaa Veenavara dandamanditakara, Yaa shwetha padmaasana

Yaa Brahmaachyutha shankara prabhritibhir Devaisadaa Vanditha

Saa Maam Paatu Saraswatee Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadyaapahaa

 

Many 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."

Shuklaam Brahmvichaar Saar Paramaadyaam Jagadvyaapineem Veennaa Pushtak

Dhaarinneebhamay Daam Jaad Yaapandhkaaraapahaam.

Haste Sfatik Maalikaam Vidhateem Paramaasane Sansthitaam Vande Taam

Parameshwareem Bhagwateem Buddhi Pradaam Shaaradaam.

I pray to Bhagwati Saraswati who has a fair complexion, who is the first and foremost divine energy, who is present in the world in the form of knowledge, who wields a Veenaa, Vedas, Sfatik rosary in her hands and one of whose hands is raised in blessing. She is capable of removing ignorance and bestowing intelligence.

Saraswati Namasthubhyam,

Varadey Kaamarupinee!

Vidhyarambham Karishyami,

Sidhir bhavathu mey sada!

Oh! Goddess, Saraswati, may humble prostrations unto Thee, who are the fulfiller of all my wishes. I start my studies with the request that thou will bestow Thy blessings on me.

Saraswati Mahabhage

Vidye Kamalalochane

Vishwaroope Vishaalaakshi

Vidyam dehi namosthuthe

O, the great Goddess Saraswati, the lotus-eyed personified knowledge... O, large-eyed Goddess, taking the form of the whole universe, thou shower me with all the powers and glories of all knowledge that exist."

"Om Aim Kleeng Saum Saraswatiya Namaha"

This mantra makes a person a learned scholar and he attains high proficiency in education. This mantra should be recited at all morning pujas.

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