Monday, January 23, 2012

Saraswati’s grace on Hinduism

For Hindus who prefer to remember Devi Saraswati only once a year, Basant Panchami, her birthday, is the best day for her remembrance. On her last birthday, we learned that the Devi holds a book and uses a swan as her vehicle. This year, we can go on to understand what these symbolize.

What is the title of the book that Saraswati holds? Graciously, the book does not have a title, for it represents the totality of all knowledge. It can be understood as the masterpiece from which the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Brahma Sutras, and the poems of the Bhakti Saints have been created and the Hindu books of the future will be created [1]. Because Saraswati holds a dynamic scripture with countless pages, she, out of her compassion on beings, has granted multiple philosophical viewpoints to Hinduism, along with the inclusiveness for more. Whenever a human realizes Brahman, more original information is acquired from the scripture that Saraswati holds and is added to the library of Hinduism [2]. It is due to her grace that Hinduism always has additional white space for seekers to write on.

Saraswati’s vehicle, the swan, teaches us how to access the knowledge that seekers from different eras have gifted us. Whenever we read a book, whether Hindu or not, or listen to a lecture, we are expected to absorb only the information that appears righteous and applicable, depending upon our location and era. In Hinduism, the ability of followers to separate out the useful information from the redundant [3] has minimized the harm from unintentional and deliberate misinterpretation of scriptures. This blessing of the swan discourages compulsive following of a philosophy and leads to adaptability — a unique stronghold of Hinduism.

[1] According to a viewpoint, the Vedas symbolize the totality of all knowledge. In this context, we can say that the Goddess holds the Vedas, generally attributed to Gayatri, a form of Saraswati.
[2] Note that Brahman does not change with time; only our approach to Brahman changes by her guidance.
[3] It is commonly said that if a swan is presented with a blend of milk and water, it drinks the milk and leaves the water behind.

1 comment:

Pinky Mazumder said...

Wonderful post! This would be a great read for all students.

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