Monday, April 12, 2010

Saraswati's River


Love is Saraswati's river
flowing through our lands.

She will feed the rice fields,
She will accept our woven offerings.

She will bear our ashes
and the fires of Kintamani
to the sea.

Formless, she neither takes nor gives;
we impose these significances
upon the flowers we cast in her.

From birth to death,
Saraswati's river

sustains us to the sea.

I Made Warini

In my previous post, I posed the question "how would we live, if rivers were also Goddesses?", and this poem from Bali came to mind.

The Balinese begin each day with an offering. I can't speak about beauty without making my own offering to Saraswati , the Hindu Goddess of the arts, truth., and language.

She is often shown bearing writing tools and a musical instrument, tools for inspiration and truth speaking, which are inseparable. As the embodiment of speech, Saraswati is present wherever speech exists, but She represents the best in human culture: poetry, literature, sacred rituals, and truth-speaking between individuals. Even today, when a new baby arrives, grandmothers make a five pointed star - called "Saraswati-sign" - on the newborn's tongue with honey. The tongue, the organ of speech, is thus "hitched to Saraswati's star" early.

When I was in Ubud, the Arts Capital of Bali, every morning and at twilight I beheld the stately procession of 5 white geese making their way up the busy street I lived on,. In the evening, heading back to whatever rice paddy they called home, they would make their return. Although people on motor scooters often went around them if they could, I was amazed at the utterly un-Western patience with which Balinese motorists followed behind the geese. They did not honk at them (although the geese certainly honked their own mysterious way up the street), nor did the Balinese try to shoo them out of the way.

"Sacred to Saraswati", explained my friend Nyoman.

"The Sanskrit word sara means "essence" and swa means "self." Thus Saraswati means "the essence of the self." Goddess Saraswati is worshipped by all persons interested in knowledge, especially students, teachers, scholars, and scientists.

Two swans are depicted on the left side of the Goddess. A swan is said to have a sensitive beak that enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. A swan symbolizes the power of discrimination. Saraswati uses the swan as Her carrier. This indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. Knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world."

- Bansi Pandit


Gail said...

I study and honor Goddesses as representations of the Sacred Feminine aspect of the Divine. Thank you for the info on Saraswati, a beautiful story. How would we live if all language represented truth?

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great story, love reading about the sacred feminine!

Gail said...

I was gifted with a lovely book on Hindu Goddesses. After reading your blog I read the history of Saraswati and believe that you have been blessed by Her eloquence.
Blessed BE!!! Gail