Devee | Deviyaan
Taken from http://shaktisadhana.50megs.com/Newhomepage/shakti/saraswatidevi.html
Saraswatee Devee is the classic example of a goddess whose popularity has survived from Vaidik times to modern age. While many Vaidik goddesses such as Ushaa and Aranyani have simply disappeared in later Hindu tradition, Saraswatee Devee not only maintains her importance; she acquires additional attributes and her functions expand - from River goddess to goddess of Speech, Learning and Wisdom. She is always depicted as extremely beautiful, fair complexioned, with four arms, ever youthful and gracious looking, seating on a lotus flower by her swan and carrying a lute (Veenaa) in her two hands and a book and a rosary in her upper two hands. Her Veenaa's name is "Kachaapi". She is known as Brahmaanee, she is the Creator of the seven notes (Saat Sur).
There are a huge number of myths concerning Saraswatee. The Brahm Puraan says that the Devee created Saraswatee from her tongue, and from her shoulders the science of Love. Other Legend says that she sprung from the forehead of her father, Brahmaa, as did the Greek virgin goddess Athena who was born from her father, Zeusís head. As soon as Brahma looked at this beautiful woman, he desired her, even though she was his daughter. Saraswatee disliked the amorous attentions of this old god and kept dodging him, but whichever way she moved, Brahmaa grew a head in that direction to see her the better. As a result he grew four faces on four sides of his neck, and even a head on top of these four, so that she could not escape by moving upwards. But Saraswatee still eluded him.
Despite her association with the gods - particularly Brahmaa - Saraswatee Devee is never with Brahmaa. Rather, she is always described as being an independent woman and not obliging to the male gods. She stands alone.
There is a myth about her as how she purposely delayed her presence when Brahmaa Jee wanted to perform a major fire-sacrifice. Brahmaa and Saraswatee therefore never made any joint offerings to the Fire god as man and wife. Then he took a daughter of sage's daughter Gaayatree to act his wife and offer the Aaahuti in the Yagya. Despite much lore depicting Saraswatee as married to Brahmaa Jee, she never really behaved as his proper "consort". Most often, Saraswatee is depicting as living in a kind of self-imposed exile. Instead of channeling her devotion to her husband as prescribed by social norms (ie, as a good wife is above all a chaste wife), she uses her sexuality for the purposes other than providing for her husband's pleasure and bearing his children. Saraswatee instead sublimates her devotion and directly maintaining a social order via art and culture.
Saraswatee Devee's attributes come more from her own role as River goddess than her association with any particular Gods. The early Vaidik references make it clear that the Saraswatee River originated in heaven and flowed down to the Earth. She represents the ever flowing stream of celestial grace that purifies and fertilizes the Earth. Saraswati's earthly manifestation as a river is just a fractional revelation of her true being. This manifestation offers just the slightest hint of her awesome, heavenly, transcendent dimensions, and of reality in general.
Saraswati: The River and Water as Primordial Womb
In classical Hinduism, India herself is affirmed as the center of the world, the naval of the earth, and the special and sacred location of the Divine. Saraswatee River is an earliest example of the Hindu traditions of affirming the land itself as holy. Rivers with its waters began to assumed a sacred character especially in its religious ritual. The symbolism of water is rich and complex in the religious of the world, and among the many symbols of India endowed with spirituality, water is the most sacred, at once the purifier and the origin of the mystery. It is the real and imagined source of life . And the role of the water is clearly feminine.
Through this hymn (Rig Ved 10.125) we can see the association of Vaak and Water and an indication that waters are an aspect of Vaak. In Rig Ved 1.164.41-42, Vaak is the source of the primordial waters that form the subtle material matrix of creation.
Despite its constant reference in the Rig Ved, by the time of the Mahaabhaarat and the laws of Manu ( ca first to third centuries AD) Saraswatee had ceased to exist. Nothing is said in the Rig Ved of Saraswatee's disappearance. What is left are the Archeological evidences discovered all along the Ghaggar River, regarded by some as the ancient Saraswatee.
The three rivers - Saraswatee, Gangaa and Yamunaa used to meet at Prayaag (Allaahaabaad) long ago but now only Gangaa and Yamunaa are visible, while Saraswatee is only spiritually enlightened.
Many Scholars believe the disappearance of Saraswatee due to the the drying up of the River, which then lead to the migration of people eastwards towards Gangaa and Yamunaa and southwards from the Rann of Kutch and Pravar River valley along the Arabian Sea Coast. Another myth says of a curse.
Association With Different Deities
Association with Brahmaa Jee
(2) When Brahmaa undertakes the creation of the world through creative speech, the goddess Saraswatee is born in his mouth or tongue.
(3) Another legends tells the story of how Saraswatee sprang from the forehead of her father, Brahmaa. Brahmaa - when he saw the beauty of Saraswatee - desired her even though she was his daughter by logic. Saraswatee disliked the attention Brahma focused on her and tried to escape from him, but whichever way she moved, Brahmaa grew a head in that direction to see her better. Even when she moved upwards, Brahman grew another head on top. And despite Divine objection, he still married her. Vishnu and Shiv were so set against Brahmaa's marriage to Saraswatee that they uttered a curse that henceforth Brahmaa would cease to be worshipped as a God. In view of this, goddess Saraswatee is traditionally being worshiped in her own individual capacity, as the goddess of all knowledge and wisdom -without reference to her association with Brahmaa.
Association with Trimoorti (Shiv, Brahmaa and Vishnu)
Association with Vishnu/Prajaapati
Association with Krishn/Raadhaa
Legends About the Saraswatee River
(1) In the Vaaman Puraan (Chapter 40)
In due course, some saints reached the spot and were astonished to see the fate of such sacred waters. On hearing the tale of Saraswatee, the saints prayed and visualized the formation of Sangam (ie the confluence of the rivers Gangaa, Yamunaa and Saraswatee at Prayaag, Ilaahaabaad). When all the demons had bathed in the confluence, they had got rid of their evil doings and became purified.
In another version of this story, when Saraswatee carried Vashishth to Vishwaamitra, Vashishth invited all the Gods and drew into her stream the water from the Arunaa River. When the Gods assembled, the image of the Goddess was installed and later a temple (the Saraswatee Temple in Pehowaa) was founded on the site. With the merger of the Arunaa River into Saraswatee, the waters of the cursed Saraswatee become immortal and the blood, which was food for the evil spirits, was purged away.
(2) In Another Myth
(3) In Mahaabhaarat (Aadi Parv)
(4) In Mahaabhaarat (Shalya Parv 51)
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/03
Updated on 03/07/14