“Yaa Kundendu tushaara haara-dhavalaa, Yaa shubhra-vastra’avritaa
Yaa veena-vara-danda-manditakara, Yaa shweta padma’asana
Yaa brahma’achyuta shankara prabhritibhir, Devai-sadaa vandita
Saa Maam Paatu Saraswati Bhagavatee Nihshesha jaadya’apahaa”
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 Brahmavichaara Saara paramaam Aadhyaam Jagadvyapinim,
Veena Pustaka Dhaarineem Abhayadaam Jaadya’andhakaara’apahaam
Haste Sphaatika Maalikam Vidadhateem Padmasane Sansthitaam
Vande taam Parmeshwareem Bhagavateem Buddhipradaam Shardam”
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.
When I did the Puja at home today…a sudden image of my child hood comes….of new dress…chanting of mantras…food and the mandatory no study clause…..I look around to find the lost charm of my childhood spent among a lot of friends,cousins who gather around during this time to celebrate Saraswati Puja at home…..my mother cooking our favourite Kanika( Sweet Pulao), Dalma, Bandha Kobi Tarkari( Cabbage Curry), Tamato Khajuri Khata….I feel sad looking at the fragmented nuclear family of today.. Religion and festivities do bring people close to each other….
Vasant Panchamior Sree Panchami is a Hindu festival held on the fifth day of marking the start of Spring season. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of knowledge, music, art and culture. The words ‘Sree’ and ‘Basanta’ are significant to the festival. ‘Sree’ is beauty and the other name of ‘Saraswati’ and Basanta is spring season which brings beauty and pleasure to the Earth. Therefore it is a festival to welcome beauty through worship of the Goddess. The worship of Saraswati is prevalent since the age of the Vedas.
The first impression when we imagine Maa Saraswati is the image of her Clad in white, riding a white swan while playing a veena. In Her four hands She holds a stylus, a book and plays a veena (flute) with two. The stylus and the book signify learning and the veena, music. She is seated on a lotus which signifies beauty and heavenly origin. The swan is the vehicle of Maa Saraswati. White is the sign of her purity. She is the Goddess of music, poetry, learning and eloquence, indeed, of all the arts and sciences. Goddess Saraswati is worshiped for spiritual enlightenment, the greatest wealth to man. Hindu folklore puts the Learned on a higher pedestal than even the king.
The celebration brings back memories of my school days when we used to observe fasting since morning, wear new garments and propitiate the Goddess to bestow us with learning and eloquence. After ‘Puspanjali’ (handful of flowers) to the deity, we used to break our fast. In many educational institutions, Images of the deity built by traditional clay-modelers, are worshiped. The next day, the images are taken in procession to nearby tanks or rivers for immersion.
Students place their books and pen in front of the goddess to seek blessings on this auspicious day. The most significant part of the Saraswati Puja is, nobody touches books on that particular day. This signifies that the goddess is blessing the books placed in front of her that day. Eating vegetarian food is strictly followed on this day of Saraswati Puja. Young Kids in the family are asked to write for the first time in life, the alphabets by the priest / family elder. It suggests the first step being taken in the acquisition of Knowledge. The next day the children take back their books but stand before the goddess and read from them or write in them.
The offerings made to the goddess consist of fruits- most significant being a special preparation made with puffed rice, jaggery, ghee and black pepper known as “CHUDA GHASA”.
Chuda Ghasa and Dalma