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Saraswati, The Hindu Goddess of Wealth

Just as the Ancient Greeks had their muses, who inspired music and the arts, Hindus are inspired by Saraswati (also commonly spelled Sarasvati).  Still widely worshipped through statues and figures, Saraswati is possibly the oldest goddess in the world that can still claim devotees today.  Saraswati in Sanskrit translates to “flowing water,” and it is through her that the thoughts of human beings are allowed to flow, and they are inspired to action.

Despite the fact that Saraswati’s husband, Brahma (the Hindu Creator God of the Trimurti), is very rarely worshipped today, shrines and statues of Saraswati persist in nearly every Hindu town and village around the world.  As the source of creativity, wisdom, artistry, music, writing, scientific discovery and more, it is no surprise that she is quite possibly the most prayed-to Hindu goddess.  A broken link with the Hindu goddess Saraswati is often said to be the cause of things such as “writer’s block” or when the “cat has your tongue.”  Saraswati also is arguably more popular today than her mother, Durga, her sister Lakshmi, and brothers Ganesha and Karthikeya.

The Vedas continue to praise her–and it is said that Saraswati is the mother of the Vedas, the oldest sacred writing of the Hindu religion.  Artists and scientists today still claim that moments of divine inspiration, given from Saraswati, are the reasons that miraculous thoughts suddenly appeared in their heads–through dreams or otherwise.

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Many Hindu musicians chant to statues of Saraswati, and some bow to their musical instruments before playing them.  Some Hindu children pray to Saraswati for help with their homework, for which Saraswati can offer intellectual insight.  Even a keynote speaker or presenter may invoke a statue of Sarasvati, asking her to “dance on his tongue” before stepping in front of an audience.

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When crafted, sculptures of Saraswati show her dressed in white.  This symbolizes the pure radiance and illuminating quality of her to instill great thoughts in others.  A white swan called hamsa may also be present near the feet of Saraswati in statue or art, symbolizing the animal that is her vehicle. On occasion, sculptures of Saraswati will show her as yellow instead of white. Often, though dressed well, she is not lavishly adorned with embellishments, showing her transcendence over worldly fashion and materialism.

Typically, Saraswati statues show her as having four hands, one of which  holds a book that symbolizes her command over knowledge of intellectual subjects ranging from science to philosophy. Statues of Saraswati also show her holding a rosary in one of her four hands, proving that she is a Hindu goddess who is a source for spirituality.  Saraswati’s third and fourth hands hold a guitar-like instrument called a veena, which shows her as the source of the primeval sound energy that forms the entire cosmos.  Some depictions of Saraswati in the Devi Mahatmya, where Saraswati is part of a goddess trinity involving Kali and Lakshmi, show her with eight arms.  In these statues of Saraswati, she holds a bell, trident, conch, ploughshare, and more.


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Saraswati Statues

 


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