Based on this brief purana, Sarasvati is my favorite goddess. She is the goddess of knowledge and “without worshiping her no one can be a learned person.” (Purana 1.2.1)
“Without literature and music,” the purana records a sage as saying, “a man is not more than an animal.” (Purana 1.2.2) As a writer and a painter, a lover of the arts, this feels true in the very center of me. What is it, I ask, that holds us apart from the other creatures of this world? Some would say that it is some indefinable thing given to us by God, a soul, immeasurable, unprovable, uncertain. This sage doesn’t ask me to believe in that which cannot be seen, but rather that what separates us from other things is our ability to read and to create art.
Sarasvati represents that with a book in one hand, and a lyre in two others. The goddess of all knowledge, carries with her the objects through which we gain knowledge of the world and of ourselves.
Image found here
I had a very difficult time when we tried to read the Rig Veda. It had little meaning for me because I didn’t know any of the background. All the characters were little more than names with no distinction for me that I could not help but flounder through the reading. So I was excited to jump into the Puranas instead. I was thinking of mythology as stories, and expecting a creation story. I suppose I got the creation of a god when the first line read “Brahmaji was born on the lotus that had arisen from the navel of eternal ommipresent Lord Narayan Vishnu.” (Purana 1.1.1)
From there the rest of the Purana was still confusing to me and I am still floundering, just outside my experience level. I think we’ve found what teachers would call my “zone of proximal development” the place where I can learn something new because the material is challenging, but not so challenging I can’t work it out.
I can’t wait to start!
The image is of Lord Brahma, described in this section as a four faced god judging the creatures, and deciding their next incarnation based on their deeds in this one. He hold the vedas to remind of the indestructibility of the truth, and the rosary to remind us to keep on saying the name of god. The bowl is coconut shell and holds water to symbolize a hassle free existence, and the lotus, rising from “the muck” is a reminder to be pure no matter where we come from. The image was acquired from I Love India.