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Updated on January 28, 2012

Seven Great Symbols

Evidence of the worship of the Goddess or Divine Mother is found in pre-historic caves going back to 30,000 years. Her image appears first in the archeological record. Images of male deities came later than the Goddess. Between 5th and 3rd millennia BC, her worship appeared in the Fertile Crescent in the Indus Valley of India. Jagat K. Motwani, Pd.D., author of the Sindu (Indus) Valley Civilization, writes about the archeological digs at Moonajodaro. The Mother Goddess figures were found at this site along with many other items.

Saraswati is an ancient goddess and river in India. She is the goddess of speech (vac) arts, music, letters, wisdom and knowledge. She is worshipped all over the world. India, Tibet and other countries revere her yearly at Saraswati Jayanti, which is January 28th this year. In modern times we are returning to her wisdom. The year 2012 is a very feminine year, within this feminine age. We will see more women elected as world leaders and the feminine consciousness, intuition and cooperative philosophy will become more and more important to our future. We walk on Mother Earth (Gaia, Bhumi) every day. She is the Mother who is always with us. Her wisdom comes from Saraswati Ma.

This is the blessing of Saraswati Ma, "May Goddess Saraswati, who is as white and bright as the jasmine flower, moon, dew and a garland of pearls, who dresses in white clothes and whose hand is adored with the finest Vina, who sits on a white lotus and is held in reverence by Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar (Shiva), protect me from evil and a dull intellect by kindling the light of knowledge." As you can see She is the River or Ocean of Consciousness, where divine knowledge vibrates continiously just like a river. What a great and beautiful Ocean!

Seven symbols of Saraswati show her greatness: the veena, the book, the rosary, the swan, the peacock, the white lotus and banana leaves.

The venna is her instrument, which requires great control and mastery over the strings. The veena symbolizes life itself. The strings symbolize feelings, emotions and sensibilities. She imparts knowledge in an artistic and skillfull manner and captures our hearts. She was never tied to any texts or scriptures but used the inner knowing (intuition) in accomplishing the greatest wisdom. The sitar player, Anounshka Shankar, is a modern woman who symbolizes the veena. She is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, who was the friend of the late George Harrison, one of the Beatles. She studied under her father, a master sitar player. She shows great mastery and control over the strings. She embodies one facet of Saraswati Ma: being connected with the music of life.

The book is another great symbol and tool of Saraswati Ma. Students and teachers alike use the book to gain knowledge. Saraswati loved teaching her wisdom to others. Vandana Shiva, the ecological activist, is a woman who is like the book. She teaches her ecological wisdom by travelling city to city, village to village, town to town. She uses divine knowledge and combines it with scientific knowledge to bring out the ancient Vedic Principles of Ecological Wisdom. She speaks the words and developes action to help save the environment from devastation.

The rosary is about concentrating on the mind of the Goddess or remembrances of the Supreme Being. Prayer beads are found in many traditions. With each bead you remember the Goddess. There is the connection to the guru, or spiritual teacher. Amma, the hugging saint of India, is a great spiritual master teacher. You can try to find holes in her wisdom, but it's impossible. Many say she is an incarnation of the Divine Mother. Although she denies she is an incarnation, her wisdom comes deep from within. She studied under no master and yet her wisdom is greater than many who have done so. Some say this is why she is an incarnation of the Mother. Her wisdom is pure love, the truest form of wisdom.

The swan is Saraswati's transport. The swan has great discrimination between what is real from what is not. Saraswati has the power of judgement to do the right thing. The symbol of the swan shows us how to "swim across the waters of life without being influenced." The woman who is like the swan is Hillary Rodham Clinton. In her role as Secretary of State, she is the chief diplomat who must listen to all parties fairly yet has to discriminate between what is right and wrong in each situation. She travels all over the Earth just like the swan.

The peacock is the symbol of wordly knowledge and fame and is located by Saraswati's feet, in most of her pictures. It is knowledge waiting to be used. Although worldly knowledge has its place, it's spiritual knowledge which is greater. The spiritual teacher, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, is someone who is like the peacock in that she is physically as beautiful as the peacock and knows how to reach worldly people with her beauty and grace, but she knows how to direct them to the true spiritual knowledge found through service to others.

The white lotus is white with a light-red tinge. White symbolizes purity and light-red symbolizes dignity and grace. These symbolize her truthful and righteous intellect. First Lady, Michelle Obama, does everything with dignity and grace. She deals with all kinds of people who visit the White House and yet can keep smiling through it all. One of her projects is promoting healthy eating and exercise. She tilled an organic garden at the White House along with her daughters. She is getting America moving again.

The banana leaves are another one of Saraswati's symbols. The trunk of the banana plant has multiple layers. It symbolizes "the finality or penetration into the depths." The spiritual person has many layers, just like the banana tree. Saraswati's knowledge has many layers of truth. Gargi, an ancient wise woman (Rishika), had this ability to question the great sages to find out the many layers of truth. She was one of the great sages of her age.

We all have the ability to become wise in some way. Saraswati has many aspects of knowledge from the sciences to the arts. She uses her intuition to find the real truth behind everything. All these women I wrote about had struggles in their lives but over came them from their inner wisdom. They did not reject any form of wisdom in order to solve problems. They kept going despite their challenges. These women are our role models in our challenges. Hillary and Michelle are the two most admired women in the world. Each of us personally knows a woman who is just like all the women I mentioned. This is the greatness of women. We have a sisterhood between us which is universal. Our shared experiences as women breaks down through all barriers of social class/caste, race and ethnic differences. In the coming year of 2012, our sisterly wisdom will be very important. We are the modern wise women who will bring great change to the world. The Dalai Lama believes it will be womankind who will save us all. Not surprising, after all, it's the Mother Shakti Energy which prevades the Universe. It is the feminine principle which is responsible for all the social progress of humanity. Look for 2012 as the year of the Woman and Saraswati Ma!




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      radhapriestess 6 years ago

      Thanks and I do blogs twice a month around 15th and the lst on the Divine Feminine: goddesses, Vedic Ecology, female leaders and saints, social concerns of women & girls and comparative religion.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      I was exposed to all these wonderful goddesses at home as a child but, to get a refresher course in it...was awesome!


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      radhapriestess 6 years ago

      Thanks for commenting. I went to Catholic School as a child and had to attend Mass every day, so I understand what you are saying. Kali does have her virtues, too. When you are going after your inner demons, she is the one you want. The goddess aspects are also found in every woman and that is why I used some well-known women we know as examples of her aspects.

    • nityanandagaurang profile image

      nityanandagaurang 6 years ago

      during basant panchmi in india student worship Goddess saraswati so that he give blessing to them,radhapriestess,you have described Goddess Saraswati very nicely

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 6 years ago from Nepal

      When I was in school every year on the day of Saraswati Jayanti, we were made to worship Saraswati. I hated this ritual. (maybe because I did not understand the greatness of world mother)

      As I grew older I developed deep faith in Hindu religion and philosophy. Kali is terrible form of World Mother, where as saraswati is the pure form.

      This is wonderfully written article. You have given reference to Indus valley and the history of Goddess Worship. Thanks for sharing.