USING YOUR GIFTS & SARASWATI MA
Saraswati Jayanti, February 4, 2014
Happy Saraswati Jayanti! February 4th is the Appearance Day of Saraswati Ma, goddess of the arts, music, wisdom, knowledge, the heart and intuition, and the sciences.
Saraswati Ma is within you. As a form of the Divine Mother, She is always within your heart and soul. When you use your intuition, creative abilities, social and emotional intelligence and problem solving abilities, She is right there for you. She is a very down-to-earth and practical goddess. She is about the every day reality of real people's lives. She is not the kind of goddess who is in a fashion show or beauty pageant. She is about inner qualities and inner beauty. You are more likely to see Her at a musical concert, a university, a science experiment or helping someone solving problems at your work site.
Here is Her most well known prayer of protection, "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."
Saraswati Ma has seven great symbols which represent aspects of Herself. We all have these aspects to some degree, but some individuals have developed these aspects more fully than others. Her symbols are: the vina, the book, the rosary, the peacock, the white-lotus and banana leaves.
When most people think of Saraswati Ma, they think of Her vina. One time I saw a master vina player at the Hosmer Library in Minneapolis. Not many people can play it well. It is similar to the European lute in appearance. The lute was the predecessor to the guitar. The person that I know, who is a master musician, is Dexter Raghunanan. He is like the qualities of the symbol of the vina. He plays the tabla in a masterful way. He understands the abilities of each singer or instrumentalist and brings out the best in each performer. With a light touch he soulfully tailors each beat for the performers he accompanies. Every great musician is like Dexter. We all can be like him when we bring out the best in others we interact with in life.
The book is a symbol of wisdom, knowledge and creativity. My dear friend, Pandit Jagmohan Persaud, is like the book. He creatively sings and brings out the knowledge of Hindu scriptures, making it real, relevant and interesting for the person on the street at yagnas and other gatherings. Those ancient stories have great practicality for our lives. He knows how to present them in a real way. When we live our values, we are like a master of the book.
The rosary is another symbol of Saraswati. These beads are used to honor and remember the Goddess Herself. Naveeta Maharaj, wife of Pandit Munelal, is like the rosary because she is so much like the Goddess Herself. Her outstanding, beautiful voice and keyboard playing make you think of Saraswati Ma. She is also a compassionate person and a great mother of two wonderfully talented girls.
The swan is the transport of Saraswati Ma. This bird has great discrimination between what is real and what is not. The swan is a symbol of great judgment in doing what is right. My guru, Pandit Munelal Maharaj, is a very creative singer and teacher who has great discrimination on the spiritual path. He lives a very environmental and healthy life style, showing great judgment and wisdom in every day life.
The peacock is the symbol of worldly knowledge and fame. It has its place, but spiritual knowledge is greater. Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Senior Rabbi at Temple Israel in Minneapolis, is a great spiritual teacher who appreciates how to navigate worldly knowledge and combine it with spiritual truths. She gave a great discourse on the greatness of Joseph in the Old Testament and how he was able to use his intuition and worldly knowledge in a spiritual way to help others.
The white lotus with a light-red tinge is such a beautiful flower. It symbolizes purity, dignity and grace. Deepa Ram-Souza is a person who is such a great, graceful and dignified dancer on the dance floor and in real life, too. She knows how to make the best of every situation in life in a creative and artsy way.
The banana leaves symbolize the multiple layers and depths of life. Pandit Lynette Sukanaman teaches Hindu at Vishnu Mandir in Minneapolis, besides doing kathas and pujas. When she does her discourses, she goes to the depths with many layers to reveal the wisdom underneath the surface of life.
May we always use our natural, intellectual and creative abilities to help ourselves and others in our lives. Saraswati inspires that creative, intuitive thought which makes all your dreams come true in reality. All great activists use their intuition, intellect and creative abilities to be a thermostat for change in the world. Their inspiration comes directly from the Divine Mother, Saraswati Ma.
JAI SHRI SARASWATI MA! JAI SHRI CREATIVITY! JAI SHRI THERMOSTAT!