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Honouring the Goddess of Knowledge

Ramesh savaikar |NT Network

The three-day Goddess Saraswati Pujanotsav began in the State on Monday and will conclude today. The Hindu deity Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. She is worshipped throughout India, Nepal and Asian countries such as Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Tibet, and Myanmar.

Saraswati is part of the trinity (tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshami and Parvati. The earliest mention of Saraswati as a goddess is in Rigveda, and she has remained significant from the Vedic period right through modern times of the Hindu tradition and is also known as Mother of Vedas.

Some synonyms for Saraswati include Brahmani (power of Brahma), Brahmi (goddess of science), Bharadi (goddess of history), Vani and Vachi (both refer to the flow of music, melodious speech and eloquent speaking, respectively).

She is also known as Vidyadatri (goddess who provides knowledge). There are many avatars of Saraswati and Mahasaraswati is one form of Adishakti. The swan located next to her feet symbolises the ability to discriminate between good and evil. It is also symbol of spiritual perfection, transcendence and moksha. According to Hindu dharma shastra, the idol of Saraswati should be immersed in water bodies on shravan nakshtra muhurta which falls on vijayadashmi.

Vasant Panchami Saraswati Puja or Saraswati Jayanti is celebrated on the fifth day of Magha in north India on a large scale. In Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka, Saraswati Puja is celebrated in the Hindu month of Ashwin between the seventh, ninth or tenth day of the full moon fortnight. The festival begins with saraswati avahan on mahasptami, pujan on mahaashtami, mahnavmi and concludes on vijayadashmi.

The festival is celebrated with rituals, music and cultural programmes by educational institutions and social organisations. Teachers and students actively participate in Saraswati pujanotsav which dates back to pre-Portuguese rule in Goa.

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