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:-
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
pot of sacred water, representing creative and purificatory
the musical instrument called the veena, representing her
perfection of all arts and sciences.
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.
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.