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Dr. Bidhan Datta
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How The Goddess Saraswati Appeared

Writer: Dr. Bidhan Datta Category: প্রবন্ধ (Essay) Edition: Dhaboman - Eid 2017

 (The anecdote based on Vedas)

 Dr. Bidhan Datta (born 15th March 1949) is a poet of repute and is an illustrious figure in the literary world in India. His field of interst is VEDA and The great poet MICHAEL MADHUSUDAN DATTA.

I remember that we used to prepare one month before the scheduled date for worshiping Saraswati (Goddess of learning) in our village as well as in the school & colleges. I suffered a lot from my elder brother, who used to rebuke me for my untimely arrangement for Saraswati Puja, leaving behind the daily studies. However, one query used to flash in my mind that why we worship Saraswati. A beautiful idol with a lute in hand, swan & lotus on her feet, that was the indication of Saraswati deity. We must know about the mystery of appearance of Saraswati deity.

Vedas came into existence approximately more than six thousand years back. Vedas are not a articular scripture of Sanatan Dharma (Eternal Religion). It would not be hyperbole to designate Vedas as a bookshop rather a library. Various portions of Vedas were composed at various times. Hence, the scholars think in fact, the fixed period of composition of Vedas should not be ascertained. But many scholars think that Vedas were composed on 6000BCE or more. The word Saraswati is found to be mentioned in the Vedas. Sayanacharya mentioned the word Saraswati in his scripture as a River. The glory of Saraswati Tirtha (Place of pilgrimage, named as Saraswati ) described in the Mahabharata as a river. Balarama was advised to go to Saraswati Tirtha for the expiation of the sin of murdering the king Lomaharshan. In addition, who worshiped Saraswati, they became the possessor of learning, knowledge & enormous wealth. This Saraswati bestowed child to the woman without any issue. She converted a miser to a generous one. She showed the way to cultivator about cultivation using intelligence. She bellowed conscious to the human being. Again, she destroys the inefficient rather idle person, but she makes a gift of attainment of the desired result to the industrious person. But who is this Saraswati?

There is no description about her physic. There is no lotus, no swan, and no one deity. Subsequently, we received all the truth through this deity. In which manner, Vedas narrated about Saraswati, this deity is the hint of that. The river has become Saraswati. The river is as such flowing, the origin of which is the mountain, The Ocean is her conclusion, she flows in her own rhythm. This Saraswati is dynamic, similar to the rhythm of literature & dance, she is flowing in a zigzag manner passing through the village town & cities towards the ocean. In harmony with her dance are arising rhythms, note & music. She has bestowed conscious & wisdom to the contemplative person, the cornfield has been flooded by her stream of water, the cultivator got grains. Flowing Saraswati in hundred & thousand streams, have done the human welfare within the hundred & thousand languages. That is why the Vedic saints addressed Saraswati as “Ambitame Naditame Devitame” [You are the mother, you are the river, and you are Goddess]. They worshiped Saraswati as a Goddess. During the post­Vedic era, the Ganges River was as glorious, during Vedic era Saraswati River had similar glory. In the Rig Veda, the name of Ganges was found only once but Saraswati River was repeatedly mentioned. Fifty­ seven names of Bagdevi Saraswati (Goddess of learning Saraswati) were found in the first chapter of a scripture of Nirghantu. Besides that, there are different names for different places. Among one of them is Saraswati. This fast moving river is designated as Mother Saraswati to some, Goddess Saraswati to somebody. For building up the humankind in a graceful manner the saints fabricated idol with white apparel decked with a lute in hand. With the harmony with her dance created rhythms, note & music, the motion came through the swan, lotus indicated her exultation. Which bright deity with white apparel has become our Goddess Saraswati. Actually, she was life ­giver, knowledge giver, fast moving river Saraswati, during the Vedic era. The Vedic hold this Saraswati River in great esteem. There is a detailed description of Saraswati Tirtha (place of pilgrimage) in Mahabharata. Saraswati River was a highly sacred river of ancient India.

Saraswati Tirtha was a special place of pilgrimage of the ancient Aryans. Balarama murdered the king Lomharshan in rage; hence, he had to go to Saraswati Tirtha for the expiation of sin. In which appearance we observe Goddess Saraswati now that description is not found in Vedas. About the proficiency of the word, Saraswati is narrated in the scripture of Nirghantu as, “Satterasun Sarah, Gadya Padyadirupena prasaran masyastiti”. Being obsequious to this rule Saraswati was considered as Goddess. Hence, Saraswati River was worshiped sometimes as Goddess, sometimes is adorable as a river. For the welfare of humankind bestowal of Goddess Saraswati is incomparable. That Saraswati River is being extinct at present due to Nature’s law, yet she remains & will remain in the heart of human being as Goddess.

We have hymns or prayers of Saraswati in five verses in Vedas in total. Adoration of Saraswati is also found in Rig Veda. Again, it is found in the seventh chapter, Saraswati is hymned as the fast-flowing river. It is said there that the origin of Saraswati, the superior among the rivers, was the mountain. On both the banks of Saraswati River, there were pasturelands, where milch cows & herbivorous cattle used to graze. Both side banks of the Saraswati River were the delightful habitation of plants & creepers. The king Nahush had an appeal to Saraswati that there should not be a scarcity of milk & curd during his oblation of fire. Goddess Saraswati confirmed him in his dream, “On both the banks of banks of mine there are pasture­lands, where many milch cows graze. They drink my water when feeling thirsty. Hence there will not be any scarcity of milk & curds for your oblation.” Goddess Saraswati kept her promises to the king Nahush. The villages, towns & cities through which the Saraswati River flowed, there was no scarcity of food materials, no affliction, no mental agony; there was the pleasure of motion, the jubilation of creation. The annotators said, “Tatra Saraswatityetasyamnadibat Devatabachcha Nogama Bhavanti” that means etymology of the word Saraswati is like River also as Goddess, again she is in the form of Goddess Saraswati River.

In the Vedas, within the verse of stream, she was placed on the seat of Goddess as Saraswati River in the name of Bagdevi. This Bagdevi blesses every worshiper by her cool shade of affection. She offers the opportunity to the sacrificer to become successful. She is also a motion; she is the giver of inspiration of sincere works & graceful intelligence. She is a vast ocean of wisdom; by her soft touch, everyone regains consciousness. Unimaginable is her bestowal, incomparable her affection. Yajmana (The clients of the priest) also fulfill their desires with various ways of worshipping & adoration in the bank of Saraswati River. Millions of human being & dwellers of the animal world are seeking shelter from this protector Goddess like huge tree affording shelter. Who made the opportunity for us to become the possessor of worldly & divine wealth, who else is she other than Goddess Saraswati. The pure environment of the adjacent region of Saraswati River makes the humankind dynamic. By her incomparable benediction, she bestows child to the childless person, also she makes someone the possessor of enormous wealth. She cannot endure the reproach about the Gods. There is an evidence of that. The slanderer of Gods the son of Twasta died in a very critical situation in the water of Saraswati River. She could not tolerate slanderers of Gods. Mother Saraswati flowed in thousand of streams through various regions of various languages.

Now let us consider how the humankind created the history & how they placed the Nature on the throne of God according to their necessity. Some writer through his own vision gave wrong interpretations to the society as justice as injustice & truth as untruth. During the subsequent years, the humankind adopting those interpretations composed new history. At every moment, the human being with their new thoughts painted with various colors on those events of history and millions of peoples with weak mentality built up various religious sets carrying those events in the line of religion.
During mythological ages, the history of the events was flowing in various ways, uniting various characters with various characters. In the beginning of creation, Brahma created nine spiritual sons; thereafter he created one spiritual daughter. He named that daughter as Shatarupaa. Brahma married that daughter. The son born out of her womb was named as Manu. Again, it was noticed that another mythologist wrote Shatarupaa got married to Manu. After marriage, Manu & Shatarupaa asked Brahma, “Oh father! In which way we will give you service?” Brahma advised them, “you produce subjects through copulation.” Again, we observe in some other Purana (Mythology) that Saraswati, the daughter of Shiva as a wife of Brahma. Once more, we observe in some other Purana that Vishnu born out of paternity of Kashyap & womb of Aadi. Vishnu had two wives Laksmi & Saraswati. Also according to some mythologists, Saraswati was unmarried. However, the researchers who introduced various anecdotes of the mythological era that was highly scientific.

The common people are not afraid of anybody. However, their weakness is about the religion. If they are frightened about religion, they can turn any impossible tasks into possible one. An emaciated & lazy person may become a man of action. If the religious anecdote is narrated to them, they will become the possessor of the great activities. Once, the king Nahush performed an extensive oblation of fire. When the fire of the oblation was extinguished, the soil became cool. From that cool soil, a most pretty woman appeared. Brahma named her as Shitala and advised her to sow out leguminous seeds of pulse descending on earth on the spring season. The pox will be eradicated if the oil extracted from those seeds is smeared on the body. Godhead’s advice in the pretext of religion was scientific in nature so that the humankind could be absorbed in agricultural activities. Cultivation of the leguminous seeds began on earth and that oil extracted from the seeds became a great remedy against Pox. Similarly, mythological ascetics created the Goddess of learning. The ancient saints used to devise various means in order to make the peoples restraint & meditative. Still now, we have maintained the same tradition. Worshiping the Gods & Goddesses, we could get the opportunity to place our lives in the sacred environment. We are going on worshiping so many Gods & Goddesses e.g. from Goddess Saraswati to Mather Shitala, Agni, Pavan, Surya, Chandra, Indra, Varuna, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar etc. This is a continuous stream. That is why we are fully afraid in the name of religion. Hence, even today, we have become stable in the worshiping & adoration as directed by our ancient ascetics & Yogi Persons. We learned to worship Goddess Saraswati in place of River Saraswati, as indicated by our ancient saints & Yogis. They were omniscient. Hence, they began propagating about worshipping of the Gods & Goddesses in order to well organize & well restrain the humankind. That succession still today has become impervious absolute truth of Vedas to us.
We are going on arranging for Saraswati Puja with due reverence still today. With this adoration, we can perceive the divine touch, heavenly sound & divine savor. The saint­ like hermit boys perceived that for acquiring the genuine knowledge, they would have to earn knowledge from Nature. Accordingly, they transformed the River Saraswati into Goddess Saraswati. Among this adoration, various streams of mentality are flowing in various motions. During this worshiping, it appears in our heart about reverence, devotion, affection, intimacy, compassion, love, brotherhood. A shrine of a great union, a trysting place is created. That is why we are going on worshiping Mather Saraswati years after years in a hymn of a great union. It is unfortunate that this Saraswati River is now disappeared altogether in the desert of Rajputana (Rajasthan). Among the rivers mentioned in the seventh chapter of Vedas, Saraswati River was the most ancient river. Huge Ocean of wisdom was created by the compassion of this Goddess. Alike the river flowing in hundred & thousand streams, Goddess Saraswati too flowing in this world in hundreds & thousands streams. Hence, because of her so much glories, the Vedic Aryans placed Saraswati River in the seat of Gods.
Is that why today she is Goddess Saraswati?