Updated: Jul 15
Saraswati is both a flowing river and a beautiful Goddess, represented in Hindu mythology as the divine consort of Lord Brahma: the Creator of the Universe. Since knowledge is necessary for creation and growth, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma. She is The Flowing One ~ Sarasvati means “the one who gives the essence (Sara) of our own Self (Swa).”
For this month's yoga sequence and mythology: Saraswati Ma is our muse. Through this Goddess we reflect upon the essence of self, the part of us that can only be that and nothing else. Connecting with our inner selves requires discipline, perseverance and creative energy; these are the qualities that Saraswati helps us bring forth.
“Considered knowledge itself personified as a feminine deity, Sarasvati is closely identified with culture, language, speech, wisdom, intellect, creativity and inspiration. She contains all forms within Her, pervades all creation and is the power of intellegence and thought.” Each of her four arms symbolise the four elements of inner life which include mind, intellect, ego, and Consciousness. In one hand she holds the Vedas - the oldest of the sacred texts, representing Truth or knowledge. In another hand she holds a mala - prayer beads that she constantly turns and prays on without interruption - this is her dedication to personal study, sadhana or discipline. In her other hands she holds the veena, a stringed instrument which serves to remind us to tune our heart and mind to live in harmony with those around us.
The white of her sari, the lotus on which she sits as well as her white swan all represent purity. All untouched by the muddy waters in which they reside; metaphors for the negative influences which often surrounds us and taint our pure thought. The Swan, or hamsa in Sanskrit, is said to have a beak that is sensitive enough to distinguish milk from water when the two are mixed together! The swan’s ability to be discerning is known as viveka, an essential quality on the spiritual path. Viveka or discrimination allows us to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, as well as what is valuable versus that which is useless. Let’s not forget the peacock, whose vivid colours speak of both beauty and dance! While it’s wonderful to let our hair down, we can’t let ourselves get caught up in vanity and indecision, these two need to be reigned in! As we move into the season of Christmas , I believe we all need a bit of Saraswati magic! Class numbers inevitably dwindle as we find excuses to forgo that which keeps us sane! She is the perfect muse to keep us honest; whether you yoga or whatever other personal sadhana/disciplines and practices you might have up until November, when they fall by the wayside in favour of…consumerism?! Whether you consume of media, food or material goods, we usually forgo our inner peace at Christmas.
It’s so easy to let ourselves fall prey to the pull of external pressure and pursuits, so we can call on Saraswati’s qualities to remain discipline, steadfast and do our best to keep the peace when we’re in the company of friends and family that we find challenging.
Join us for our final Full Moon Ritual of 2022 where we’ll sink into restorative yoga while hearing how Saraswati came to be in the universe. We’ll then bathe in the beauty and power of sound, quite fitting for this Goddess who also represents the arts.
Saraswati will also be the focus of my vinyasa flow classes, helping me (and hopefully you too) to stay on track, connected and committed to being our best selves no matter what this crazy time of year throws at us!
Aum Shreem Bhreem Saraswathaye Namaha ~ Salutations to Goddess Saraswati