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saraswathi

saraswati is the consort of lord brahma, the creator. she is the goddess of music and knowledgegoddess saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, fair-skinned woman dressed in pure white often seated on a white lotus. she is associated with the colour white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge. she is also associated with the yellow of the mustard flowers that bloom at the time of her festival in the spring. she is not adorned heavily with jewels and gold like the goddess lakshmi, but is dressed austerely--perhaps representing her preference of knowledge over worldly material things. she is generally shown to have four arms, holding:-

a book, which is the sacred vedas, representing the universal, divine, eternal, true knowledge and her perfection of all the sciences and the scriptures.

a mala of white pearls, representing the power of meditation and spirituality.

a pot of sacred water, representing creative and purificatory powers.

the musical instrument called the veena, representing her perfection of all arts and sciences.

a white swan is often besides her feet. the sacred swan, if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone. the swan thus symbolizes discrimation between the good and the bad or the eternal and the evanescent. due to her association with the swan, goddess saraswati is also referred to as hamsa-vahini, which means "she who has a swan as her vehicle". she is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her early origins as a water goddess. the swan and her association with the lotus also point to her ancient origin.

sometimes a peacock is shown beside the goddess. the peacock represents arrogance and pride over its beauty, and by having a peacock as her mount, the goddess teaches us not to be proud of external appearances and be wise to know the eternal truth.


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