• Who You Gonna Run to? Saraswati: Her Magic of Wealth and Power, YOGA INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2016

    Posted in Articles by Eric Shaw


    These days, “The Goddess” is all the rage.

    One of the goddesses we love to rage about is Saraswati.  

    This has tons to do with her particular portfolio:  she is the express ruler of wisdom, the arts and music.

    Like most goddesses, she’s drop-dead gorgeous (which adds to her deep charisma!).

    But who is Saraswati really?

    In this article, you’ll get the down-low on her name, her myth, and the philosophies that make her significant in the Indian pantheon.

    First, her name.

    Saraswati’s name has a great number of meanings—as do most Sanskrit terms!

    One of her names comes from an Indian creation myth that tells us about the first thing to evolve in the universe: an all-encompassing Golden Egg (Hiranyagarbha).

    In this myth, Hiranyagarbha divides  into the gods Saraswati and Brahma–who then become water and breath.

    Saraswati is the water part, because saras means, “anything flowing or fluid.” From this, Saraswati gets the title, “she who flows like water.”

    But it gets deeper than this.

    Her association with water is an association with wealth.

    In Sanskrit, there is a term that combines both meanings: rayi means both “water” and “wealth.”

    Like Lakshmi, and many other Hindu goddesses, Saraswati ends up standing for wealth in the Hindu pantheon.

    Of course, Saraswati is already a goddess of wisdom (as I said above) and it’s common for goddesses in all traditions to symbolize both wisdom and wealth. This is because the insight of women traditionally guided their families to fortune-making decisions.

    Wise wives and mothers were given homage in both East and West. We see it exampled in the Bible’s Sophia, the representative of feminine wisdom referenced in Proverbs 9:1-6:

    Wisdom [sophia] has built her house;
        she has set up[a] its seven pillars.
    She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
        she has also set her table.
    She has sent out her servants, and she calls
        from the highest point of the city,
        “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
    To those who have no sense she says,
        “Come, eat my food
        and drink the wine I have mixed.
    Leave your simple ways and you will live;
        walk in the way of insight.

    Saraswati also means “she who has speech,” because saras means “speech,” too.

    Think of the water-like flow of your thoughts, or the wisdom-flow of a mature person’s conversation.

    Saraswati’s identity, in this case, partly evolved from that of an older goddess called Vac (vac being the old Indo-European root of our word, “voice”).

    In the Vedas, India’s first sacred texts (c. 1800–800 BCE), Vac was a goddess of speech.

    She was important because the agni hotraor “fire ritual,” which was central to Vedic culture, depended on mantras being spoken very precisely in the Vedic language (which later became the sacred argot of Sanskrit).

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