Hindus in Goa will celebrate the three-day long festival of Saraswati Pujan from October 5
Saraswati Devi Pujan is one of the most popular festivals of Hindu and is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu month Ashwin during Navratri
This year the three-day long festival will commence on Ashwin Shudh Saptami, ie Saturday, October 5 and will conclude on Shudh Mahanavami – Monday, October 7.
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and learning. She is also part of the Trinity Devi which also comprises of Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate the universe respectively.
Saraswati is a Sanskrit fusion of the words – ‘saras’ meaning pooling of water but also sometimes translated as speech, and ‘vati ‘ meaning she who possesses.
In the hymns in the book of Rigveda, she is believed to be the possessor of knowledge. Her importance grows in the Vedas and she is known by many names which include Brahmani (power of Brahma), Brahmi (goddess of sciences), Vani and Vachi (both referring to the flow of music, song, melodious speech).
She is known as Vidyadatri -goddess who provides knowledge, Veena vadini-goddess who plays veena, Pustakadharini, hansvahini and vagndevi (goddess of speech).The Goddess Sarawati is often depicted as a beautiful woman dressed in pure white, seated on white lotus, which symbolises light, knowledge, and truth. The four hands hold a book, mala, water pot, and veena. The book symbolises the Vedas representing universal, divine and true knowledge as well as all forms of learning. The pot represents the power to separate right and wrong while the veena represents all creative arts and sciences. The mala (necklace) represents the power of meditation, inner reflection, and spirituality.
According to Devi Mahatmya mythology in the Trinity (tridevi) – Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati, she destroyed Sumha and other assuras. She is part of another legend, Navshktis or the nine forms of shaktis.
In South India, the last three days of Navratri are celebrated as Saraswati Puja. In Goa and Maharashtra, Sarswati Pujan is celebrated in the bright half of the Hindu month of Ashwin fron Shudh Saptami till Navami.
Saraswati Pujan is celebrated in primary and secondary schools, colleges, educational institutions and musical sausthas. The festival includes avahan, pujan, and visarjan. On the day of aavhan, the idol is brought at the place of celebration and a cucumber is offered to her. This is then consumed as prasad. This ritual is called Saraswati Aavahan
On the first day of the pujan, the idol of Saraswati is seated in a decorated makhar and religious rituals are performed. This includes pooja, aarti, bhajan, offering of flowers, fruits and prayers, and distribution of tirth prasad. Religious discourses, kirtan performances, cultural and musical programmes are also held.
In some schools, instead of an idol, an image of the deity is used for the pujan and slates and books are kept near it. The day is considered as most the auspicious for the beginning of learning.
Artists also participate in the festival as Saraswati is the deity of all arts including music.
On the third day of the festival (Shudh Navami Tithi of Ashwin month) the idol is taken out in procession for immersion in water bodies like river or sea.
In some places, Saraswati Visarjan is performed on Vijayadashami or Dussehra. The festival is celebrated in Goa with great vigour, gaiety, and happiness.