HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

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Sarswati In Ved

Sarswati In Ved
Photo: Saraswati In Ved :  

In Ved, Saraswati is, plainly and clearly, the goddess of the Word, the goddess of a divine Inspiration. Saraswati is not only the goddess of Inspiration, she is at one and the same time one of the seven rivers of the early Aryan world. Saraswati means, “she of the stream, the flowing movement”, and is therefore a natural name both for a river and for the goddess of inspiration. It is believed that Aryans set their civilization on the banks of river Saraswati. River Saraswati was mentioned in Vedas more than 50 times where as river Ganges was mentioned only once. Saraswati is important not only in herself but by her connections. The place of Saraswati as one of the seven rivers is clear. She is the current which comes from the Truth-principle, from the 'Ritam' or 'Mahas', and we actually find this principle spoken of in the Veda,—as the Great Water, "maho arnas"[Rig Ved 1.3.12],—an expression which gives us at once the origin of the later term, "Mahas",—or sometimes "mahan arnavah". 

Saraswati is not only connected with other rivers but with other goddesses who are plainly psychological symbols and especially with Bharati and Ila. In the later Puranic forms of worship Saraswati is the goddess of speech, of learning and of poetry and Bharati is one of her names, but in the Ved Bharati and Saraswati are different deities. Bharati is also called Mahi, the Large, Great or Vast. The three, Ila, Mahi or Bharati and Saraswati are associated together in a constant formula in those hymns of invocation in which the gods are called by Agni to the Sacrifice.

Ila sarasvati mahi, tisro devir mayobhuvah ;
barhih sidantvasridhah.

"May Ila, Saraswati and Mahi, three goddesses who give birth to the bliss, take their place on the sacrificial seat, they who stumble not," or “who come not to hurt” or “do no hurt.” The epithet probably means, in whom there is no false movement with its evil consequences, duritam, no stumbling into pitfalls of sin and error. The formula is expanded in Hymn 110 of the tenth Mandala:

A no yajnam˙ bharati tuyam etu, ila manusvad iha cetayanti ;
Tisro devir barhir edam syonam , sarasvati svapasah sadantu.

"May Bharati come speeding to our sacrifice and Ila hither awakening our consciousness (or, knowledge or perceptions) in human wise, and Saraswati,—three goddesses sit on this blissful seat, doing well the Work."

It is clear that these three goddesses have closely connected functions akin to the inspirational power of Saraswati. Saraswati is the Word, the inspiration, that comes from the Ritam, the Truth-consciousness. Bharati and Ila must also be different forms of the same Word or knowledge. In the eighth hymn of Madhuchchhandas there is a Rik in which Bharati is mentioned under the name of Mahi.

Evahyasya sunrta , virapsi gomati mahi ;
pakva  sakha na dasuse.

"Thus Mahi for Indra full of the rays, overflowing in her abundance, in her nature a happy truth, becomes as if a ripe branch for the giver of the sacrifice."    

Mahi is full of the rays of this Surya; she carries in her this illumination. Moreover she is "sunrta" , she is the word of a blissful Truth, even as it has been said of Saraswati that she is the impeller of happy truths, "codayitri sunrtanam". Finally, she is "virapsi", large or breaking out into abundance, a word which recalls to us that the Truth is also a Largeness, "rtam brhat". And in another hymn, (Rig Ved 1.22.10), she is described as "varutri dhisana", a widely covering or embracing Thought-power. Mahi, then, is the luminous vastness of the Truth, she represents the Largeness, 'brhat', of the superconscient in us containing in itself the Truth, 'rtam'. She is, therefore, for the sacrificer like a branch covered with ripe fruit.

Ila is also the word of the truth; her name has become identical in a later confusion with the idea of speech. As Saraswati is an awakener of the consciousness to right thinkings or right states of mind, "cetanti sumatinam", so also Ila comes to the sacrifice awakening the consciousness to knowledge, "cetayanti". She is full of energy, "suvira", and brings knowledge. She also is connected with Surya, the Sun, as when Agni, the Will is invoked (Rig Ved 5.4.4) to labour by the rays of the Sun, Lord of the true Light, being of one mind with Ila, "ilaya sajosa yatamano rasmibhih suryasya". She is the mother of the Rays, the herds of the Sun. Her name means she who seeks and attains and it contains the same association of ideas as the words Ritam and Rishi. Ila may therefore well be the vision of the seer which attains the truth. As Saraswati represents the truth-audition, 'sruti', which gives the inspired word, so Ila represents 'drshti', the truth vision. If so, since 'drshti' and 'sruti' are the two powers of the Rishi, the Kavi, the Seer of the Truth, we can understand the close connection of Ila and Saraswati. Bharati or Mahi is the largeness of the Truth consciousness which, dawning on man’s limited mind, brings with it the two sister Puissances. We can also understand how these fine and living distinctions came afterwards to be neglected as the Vedic knowledge declined and Bharati, Saraswati, Ila melted into one.   

These are few hymns from Rig Ved as a prayer to Saraswati :  

पावका नः सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती | 
यज्ञं वष्टु धियावसुः || 
[Rig Ved 1.3.10]    

"Saraswati is the purifier, Giver of plenty and opulent life, who is rich in thought and intelligence."

चोदयित्री सून्र्तानां चेतन्ती सुमतीनाम | 
यज्ञं दधे सरस्वती || 
[Rig Ved 1.3.11]    

"She blesses one with good speech, She brings good thoughts to mind, And let Her bless this yajna."

महो अर्णः सरस्वती पर चेतयति केतुना | 
धियो विश्वा वि राजति ||  
[Rig Ved 1.3.12]  

"Oh Saraswati, please awaken the truth in me, By helping me perceive consciousness, And illuminate my entire thought."   

पर णो देवी सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती | 
धीनामवित्र्यवतु || 
[Rig Ved 6.61.4]   

"Oh Saraswati, be pleased, To give me plenty and opulent life, And become the protector of our thoughts."    

"Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"
In Ved, Saraswati is, plainly and clearly, the goddess of the Word, the goddess of a divine Inspiration. Saraswati is not only the goddess of Inspiration, she is at one and the same time one of the seven rivers of theearly Aryan world. Saraswati means, “she of the stream, the flowing movement”, and is therefore a natural name both for a river and for the goddess of inspiration. It is believed that Aryans set their civilization on the banks of river Saraswati. River Saraswati was mentioned in Vedas more than 50 times where as river Ganges was mentioned only once. Saraswati is important not only in herself but by her connections. The place of Saraswati as one of the seven rivers is clear. She is the current which comes from the Truth-principle, from the ‘Ritam’ or ‘Mahas’, and we actually find this principle spoken of in the Veda,—as the Great Water, “maho arnas”[Rig Ved 1.3.12],—an expression which gives us at once the origin of the later term, “Mahas”,—or sometimes “mahan arnavah”.

Saraswati is not only connected with other rivers but with other goddesses who are plainly psychological symbols and especially with Bharati and Ila. In the later Puranic forms of worship Saraswati is the goddess of speech, of learning and of poetry and Bharati is one of her names, but in the Ved Bharati and Saraswati are different deities. Bharati is also called Mahi, the Large, Great or Vast. The three, Ila, Mahi or Bharati and Saraswati are associated together in a constant formula in those hymns of invocation in which the gods are called by Agni to the Sacrifice.

Ila sarasvati mahi, tisro devir mayobhuvah ;
barhih sidantvasridhah.

“May Ila, Saraswati and Mahi, three goddesses who give birth to the bliss, take their place on the sacrificial seat, they who stumble not,” or “who come not to hurt” or “do no hurt.” The epithet probably means, in whom there is no false movement with its evil consequences, duritam, no stumbling into pitfalls of sin and error. The formula is expanded in Hymn 110 of the tenth Mandala:

A no yajnam˙ bharati tuyam etu, ila manusvad iha cetayanti ;
Tisro devir barhir edam syonam , sarasvati svapasah sadantu.

“May Bharati come speeding to our sacrifice and Ila hither awakening our consciousness (or, knowledge or perceptions) in human wise, and Saraswati,—three goddesses sit on this blissful seat, doing well the Work.”

It is clear that these three goddesses have closely connected functions akin to the inspirational power of Saraswati. Saraswati is the Word, the inspiration, that comes from the Ritam, the Truth-consciousness. Bharati and Ila must also be different forms of the same Word or knowledge. In the eighth hymn of Madhuchchhandas there is a Rik in which Bharati is mentioned under the name of Mahi.

Evahyasya sunrta , virapsi gomati mahi ;
pakva sakha na dasuse.

“Thus Mahi for Indra full of the rays, overflowing in her abundance, in her nature a happy truth, becomes as if a ripe branch for the giver of the sacrifice.”

Mahi is full of the rays of this Surya; she carries in her this illumination. Moreover she is “sunrta” , she is the word of a blissful Truth, even as it has been said of Saraswati that she is the impeller of happy truths, “codayitri sunrtanam”. Finally, she is “virapsi”, large or breaking out into abundance, a word which recalls to us that the Truth is also a Largeness, “rtam brhat”. And in another hymn, (Rig Ved 1.22.10), she is described as “varutri dhisana”, a widely covering or embracing Thought-power. Mahi, then, is the luminous vastness of the Truth, she represents the Largeness, ‘brhat’, of the superconscient in us containing in itself the Truth, ‘rtam’. She is, therefore, for the sacrificer like a branch covered with ripe fruit.

Ila is also the word of the truth; her name has become identical in a later confusion with the idea of speech. As Saraswati is an awakener of the consciousness to right thinkings or right states of mind, “cetanti sumatinam”, so also Ila comes to the sacrifice awakening the consciousness to knowledge, “cetayanti”. She is full of energy, “suvira”, and brings knowledge. She also is connected with Surya, the Sun, as when Agni, the Will is invoked (Rig Ved 5.4.4) to labour by the rays of the Sun, Lord of the true Light, being of one mind with Ila, “ilaya sajosa yatamano rasmibhih suryasya”. She is the mother of the Rays, the herds of the Sun. Her name means she who seeks and attains and it contains the same association of ideas as the words Ritam and Rishi. Ila may therefore well be the vision of the seer which attains the truth. As Saraswati represents the truth-audition, ‘sruti’, which gives the inspired word, so Ila represents ‘drshti’, the truth vision. If so, since ‘drshti’ and ‘sruti’ are the two powers of the Rishi, the Kavi, the Seer of the Truth, we can understand the close connection of Ila and Saraswati. Bharati or Mahi is the largeness of the Truth consciousness which, dawning on man’s limited mind, brings with it the two sister Puissances. We can also understand how these fine and living distinctions came afterwards to be neglected as the Vedic knowledge declined and Bharati, Saraswati, Ila melted into one.

These are few hymns from Rig Ved as a prayer to Saraswati :

पावका नः सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती |
यज्ञं वष्टु धियावसुः ||
[Rig Ved 1.3.10]

“Saraswati is the purifier, Giver of plenty and opulent life, who is rich in thought and intelligence.”

चोदयित्री सून्र्तानां चेतन्ती सुमतीनाम |
यज्ञं दधे सरस्वती ||
[Rig Ved 1.3.11]

“She blesses one with good speech, She brings good thoughts to mind, And let Her bless this yajna.”

महो अर्णः सरस्वती पर चेतयति केतुना |
धियो विश्वा वि राजति ||
[Rig Ved 1.3.12]

“Oh Saraswati, please awaken the truth in me, By helping me perceive consciousness, And illuminate my entire thought.”

पर णो देवी सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती |
धीनामवित्र्यवतु ||
[Rig Ved 6.61.4]

“Oh Saraswati, be pleased, To give me plenty and opulent life, And become the protector of our thoughts.”

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This entry was posted on November 30, 2014 by in RIGVED, SARASWATI, VEDAS and tagged , .

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