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The Secrets of Saraswati Puja

paramahamsa hariharananda Feb 14, 2024

This India, Bharata Varsha, is a land of the Sadhaka’s and for Sadhana. The Hindus of India believe that each dust particle commencing from Brahma to the log of Wood – The Divine. France, Germany, America etc. Western countries have excelled in Arts, Architecture, Trade and Science, Culture and Materialism, but the Hindus of India have monopolized the techniques of Soul-Culture and grown masters of the technique.

The body, the mind, the soul are the three things which are put together to make a being. The simultaneous development of all the above therefore is always desirable. When they offer Puja to a deity, they forget the fact of possessing a physical body or offering the Puja to a dead stature. In fact, they see the threefold aspects of body, mind, and soul of the deity first in his own body and then everywhere outside the world which leads them from commonsense to knowledge, knowledge to consciousness and from consciousness to super consciousness. And that develops the intelligence, the memory that purifies the body, mind & soul and leads him on the path of Supreme bliss with all calmness and tranquility.

Let us take the case of worship of 4 Statues. Please mark that the word, Maha – big has been prefixed namely, Mahamaya, Mahalaxmi, Mahakali & Maha Saraswati.

Now we come down to Saraswati Puja alone. To dilate the subject effectively we must touch the roles played by the other three deities named above. A look at Mahamaya Durga reveals three bodies: At the bottom a beast, a buffalo’s body, just above it that of human body half emerging out of the buffalo and the third one is that of Durga herself., placed closer to the man than the lion. The idea behind exhibiting these three bodies is that man has beastly propensities at the bottom, vacillating many thoughts above all – all placed closer together. Hindu religion admits of innumerable births of a man in various lower forms before one develops enough to attain human form. And knowledge dawns in man only when all the darkness of his ignorance are swallowed away by the light of knowledge & the man emerges pure as soul to realize the soul, which is the ultimate truth and the be all and end of all lives.

Put here Indriyanan, Manonath, etc. Durga statue reveals that the Universal mother has 10 hands with which She clasps 10 instruments to control the 10 Indriyas of man. Though we are rational beings, we are not completely free from beastly thoughts on one side and the noble thoughts of soul on the other. If we can put our ten handed conscience before us and practices Kriya Yoga as Guru for knowledge then all degrading propensities will be sublimated for the simultaneous development of body, mind, and soul. That is the inner sense, the significance of Durga Puja.

Coming to the worship of Mahalaxmi, we perform the Puja just before ten days after Durga Puja. To perform Mahalaxmi Puja, we take to Paddy for Mahalaxmi, because Mahlaxmi is Annamayee of Vogamayee i.e., made of food or made of tastes of various food articles, respectively.

As per Upanishad, Anna i.e. anything eatable, is also Brahma Taitariya proclaims “Annam Brahma iti Bjjanat”, meaning all eatables are also Brahma. Man is born out of food growers out of food, congregates out of food and goes to eternal life out of food. If man, does not eat, strengthen, semen, luster and for won’t form within him. The inner cover of Prana or breath is created out of his outer cover Annamaya Kosha out of food. Pranamaya Kosha in turn gives rise to the still inner kosha of the mind containing primarily all the ego factors based on darkness. We worship Mahakali for removal of all these undesirable characteristics.

Mahakali state reveals two opposite aspects. The mother is punishing the child with two of her hands and blessing with the two others at the same time. At times she is applying pressure on the head or showing the naked sword threatening to punish. The idea behind is to control the immoral desires of man that exhibits the existence of the Annamaya kosha, the Pranamaya kosha, the Monomaya kosha. Prana is always vacillating. The mind is always running down and out of the body. The mother punishes for correcting the child, for purifying the sinner, for deluging the child of all sins, and purifying him for his upward march, on the path of light and knowledge, so that man can see the one in many.

Beyond these koshas, when one controls all the senses because of worshiping Mahakali, one reaches the Vigyananaya Kosha. Saraswati is Chaturveda Ragini i.e. the melodious flower of all the 4 Vedas of the Hindus – Rik, Jajuh, Sam and Atharba. She converts all ignorance, all pseudo knowledge, all illusions, all delusions, all errors into one garland of Mahagyana i.e. Brahmagyana and therefore she is the master and soul of all knowledge.

This statue of Sarswati is simply wonderful. She has a white complexion i.e. the combination of all colors. She wears white garb, wears white ornaments, holds a white lotus in one hand, and a book & white pen in the other. She is sitting on a white lotus. She wears a white necklace around her neck & has a white flute in another hand. The whiteness pervades her carrier, the swan which is all white in color. Why is Mother Saraswati all white? Let us explain the significance of Pen and Book?

To reveal the truth, we must go back to the worship of paddy i.e. food for Mahalaxmi which gives rise to other inner koshas for coverings of human being. Food has 5 different properties. Each property reflects in the eaters’ character through the different senses to get rid of which we worship Mahalaxmi, the Adhisthartri Devi of all food. Here this food covers both the Khititattwa and the Apa tattwa. The ruler of Tej tattwa is Mahakali. Teja destroys the dirt of Khiti & Apa i.e. Teja destroys the uncontrolled propensities of the mind. So, the worship of Kali comes as she is self-willed standing for Monomaya kosha – Monomayee. Besides, the mind is propelled by breath – the Vyau. This Vayu is subtle. It is above sight and mind. The 5 senses of man cannot grasp it. Only knowledge touches it. Hence Vayu is the life force of the five senses and this Vayu tattwa is the Saraswati tattwa. As Vayu is above the senses. So also, Ma Saraswati is above all senses. She is graspable only through realization. According to the scriptures, man worship mother Saraswati only after embellishing her Book, Pen, inkpot, flute as her Mantras injunct. Earlier, the mode of Puja was strictly done as per the cannons of the Shastras but now this is done anywhere and everywhere with great deviations from the original concept. As a result, the present puja is just a ritualistic play and it encourages theft of flowers, and pilferage of fruits and vegetables and ultimately leads to dissentions, quarrels, discordancy even among neighbors. The truth behind has been forgotten. Because any puja whatsoever requires Jama, Niyama, Nistha, Asana, Pranayama, Bhutasudhi i.e. strictness in control of thoughts, observance of codified conduct rules, specific sitting poses, breath control & clarification of the body and mind, of one collects these materials, all obscenity, ignorance and Jiva Vaba vanishes, and mind is flooded with knowledge.

The scriptures hold:

Chaubatam Chalamchitam, Nischale Nischalo Bhabati.”

That means when the rate of breath increases the senses, and the mind are vacillated proportionately, but they function properly when the breath rate is minimum. If one is to earn proficiently in any disicipline or wants to arrive at a decision on a fix or manage an office full of problems, one is to withdraw the mind from all other riddles not connected with the main aim. If Kriya Yoga is adopted the breath-rate decreases and the mind settles down without jumping like that of a monkey. A calm mind goes by the name of intelligence for Bidya.

The mantra read while offering handfuls of flowers to Sarswati at the end of Puja reads:

“Biswarupe Bisalakhye Bidyam Devi Namastute.”

When the breath is calmed down by the practice of Kriya Yoga, the 3rd eye of knowledge opens. The man will realize all understanding Saraswati within oneself and see her wherever one looks. When every object in vision appears as Saraswati, that is the stage for Visalakhya – The opening of the 3rd eye everywhere.

Now let us come to her carrier, the Swan or Hamsa. The Jiva Sharira of man is Ham & the Atma Sharira is Sa. The conjunction of the gross body with the soul body is Hamsa. Man lives due to the light of the soul, breathes, grows, works due to the presence of the soul in every atom of the body. But man does not feel this fact. Man is immersed in Jiva Vab – Ego factor in short. If this ignorance, this ego is not removed, the worship of Saraswati is not possible when by practice the gross body joins the subtle body consciously. Hamsa forms on which sits Saraswati, the embodiment of knowledge. Hence that is the Swarup of Hamsa and not the Swan we see.

To repeat, Mahalaxmi is Rasa tattwa. Mahakali is Teja tattwa & MahaSaraswati is Vayu tattwa. Vayu has no Rupa, so that looks white. Saraswati is the embodiment of knowledge. Knowledge has no color. It reveals to Sadhaka alone. If a student or worker allows his mind to waver on a problem or acts on a problem not directly connected with the subject matter in hand, they can never perform their duty well. So, one should collect his mind and devote himself to the problems for solution and that is that one should know Chaturbeda. Ragini Saraswati: The root of Veda is knowing i.e. Vid – know. She is there in every human being, but she remains covered by the darkness of ignorance, by illusion, delusion & error.

Saraswati is the air that we breathe in our breaths. If we can still her in our incoming breath and outgoing breathes, the darkness of ignorance is dispelled and the Adhisthatri Devi of Bidya i.e. Saraswati starts manifesting.

Her Puspanjali Mantra says:

“Aum Vadrakalyee Namo Nityam Saraswatyee Namo Namah

Veda- Vedanya – Vedanta – Vidya Sthanevya Eba – Cha Swaha.”

 That means Ma Saraswati is the most powerful Kali, but she is Vadra Kali as against Katala Kali. Vadra Kali means she is calm, quiet in nature & does not like to show herself out. Hence though she is called Kali, her complexion is white. Only when one is very calm, sober, and peaceful, one becomes fit to offer one’s heart at her feet & bow her in reverence. Nomoh Nityam means remain always calm & merry full so that your wishing her becomes acceptable. She is Vedamayee i.e. Gyanamayee, she is Vedant that is beyond reach of knowledge & i.e. the Vigyana stage, she is atom i.e. Pragyana is worship able in all the Sthiti. She is Vedanga means in all 3 stages of Kala – time. Vidya Sthanevya means the spot from which all knowledge flows, we will have to seek that spot being extremely calm and offer our homage of soul to her so that we receive in return the golden points of all our deeds and thoughts:

OM Shanti:

“Toruna Sakala Mindordhi Lekhani Putakshriti

Sakala Bibhaba Sidye Pata Vakdevata Nah.”

She whose color is as soft white as that of the young moon, whom the weight of feeding pots keep humble, she who is seated on a white lotus. She whose hands are adorned by holding a pen always open to write on the book held, she who is capable of fulfilling whatever desires a worshipper can wish for, will kindly protect us.

Hari Om Tat Sat

From The Secrets & Significance of Idol Worship of the Hindus by Swami Hariharananda Giri