Krishna’s Boon to Sarasvati—The Reason why we Worship the Goddess of Learning on Vasant Panchami
On Tuesday, 16th February, 2021, ShriHari Mandir (Porbandar) is celebrating Vasant Panchamī (also known as ‘Māgha Śukla Panchamī’). ShriHari Mandir is situated within the vidyātīrtha (seat of education) that is Sandipani Vidyaniketan—established by Pujya Bhaishri in the famous port city of Porbandar, Gujarat.
When the Sun enters into the house of Pisces (Mīna Rāśī), Spring Season (Vasanta ṛtu) begins. However, the ‘festival of Spring’ (Vasantotsava) begins even earlier, from this Māgha Śukla Panchamī.
There has been special significance given to the worship of Mā Sarasvatī (the Goddess of Speech, Music and Learning) on this day of Māgha Śukla Panchamī, in the ninth canto of the Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam:
Communication commenced Today!
This day holds special significance for phonetics and the development of speech from the primordial praṇava (OM) sound which is eternally omnipresent in creation.
It is said that during the period of creation, this is the day when the tongue (which is the sensory organ of both taste (its field of knowledge) and speech (its field of action)), was first created and thus, communication through words commenced!
The various movements of the tongue within the mouth (touching the palette, teeth, etc) produce the various consonants and vowels from the seed sound of OM; and this allowed for languages, music and speech to be a form of self-expression—just as ornaments are all varied designs in the base metal of gold.
How did Worship of ShriHari endow Sarasvatī with ever-lasting worship?
In the Lord’s eternal abode of Goloka Dhāma, Śrī Kṛṣṇa advises Mā Saraswatī to enter into the service of the four-armed Lord Nārāyana (Lord of universal maintenance) who is verily a part of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and within whom all divine virtues are equally present.
As a boon for this, Śrī Kṛṣṇa assures Mā Sarasvatī that in every Universe (within this Multi-Universe Galaxy), on the day of Māgha Shukla Panchamī, She will be worshipped with great honour and glory on a large scale, from the day of his boon until the day of dissolution. Thus, on the auspicious occasion of commencing any form of learning, the Goddess of Learning (Mā Sarasvatī) is first revered and invoked.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa assures Mā Sarasvatī that due to the influence of His boon, from this moment until causal dissolution, in every period of time (kalp), every significant living being (human beings, manu gann, Gods, those desiring liberation, illustrious Munis, Vasu ,Yogi, Siddh, Naag, Gandharva, Rakshas, etc) shall all worship Her with utmost devotion in various different ways.
Everyone shall invoke you to enter into either a copper vessel (Kalaśa), or book, and shall then worship you as per Vedic injunctions through the mantras given in the Kāṇva Śākhā—which are a part of the Śukla Yajura Veda.
When one is about to commence any form of learning, one should offer to Mā Saraswatī the following pure (sattvik), white (śveta) items with love—
- Fresh butter
- Sesame seed ladoos
- White sugarcane
- A sweet dish made from jaggery
- rock-candy (misri)
- White-coloured sweet
- A salted dish made in clarified butter (ghee)
- Pure puffed rice
- All types of fried and cooked dishes
- Together with saffron, ginger and plum fruits
The Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam has a list of events illustrating how invoking Mā Sarasvatī has helped even our Ṛṣīs and scholars when they have found themselves in a situation where they have suddenly been dumbstruck, or unable to respond:
- Once, the Sanat Kumāras were asking Brahmājī a question about Knowledge of the Self (Brahm jñāna), and suddenly, Brahmājī went mute, unable to respond. That’s when Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifested from Goloka Dhāma, and told him to eulogise Mā Sarasvatī. When Brahmājī praised Mā Sarasvatī, he found his voice and was able to respond again.
- When the Goddess of Earth asked the eternal snake (ananta ṣeṣa-nāga) about the secret of the Universe, suddenly, ṣeṣa-nāga speech quietens. Then, through the instructions of Kaśyapjī, he praises Mā Sarasvatī and regains his speech.
- When Veda Vyāsajī asks Ṛṣī Vālmikījī about the purāna sutras, Ṛṣī Vālmikījī finds himself dumbstruck; however, upon eulogising Mā Sarasvatī, his speech returned.
Verses to worship Mā Sarasvatī:
- ।।श्रीं ह्रीं सरस्वत्यै स्वाहा। oṃ srīṃ hrīṃ sarasvatyai svāhā।
It is said that if one correctly, through self-restraint and regulations, does 400,000 jāpas of this verse, they are sure to attain Mā Sarasvatī’s eternal Grace
- ।।ॐ ऐँ ह्रीं श्रीं क्लीं सरस्वत्यै बुधजनणन्यै स्वाहा।। oṃ aiṃ hrīṃ srīṃ kliṃ sarasvatyai buddhajanaṇeya svāhā।।
It is said that if one does 500,000 jāpas of this verse, one attains all types of Knowledge; examples are—Yāgayavalkyajī; the Great poet—Kālīdāsajī
- ।।वाङ्ग्मे मनसि प्रतिष्ठिता मनो मे वाचि प्रतिष्ठितम्।। vāngmaya manasi prātiṣṭhām mano me vāchi prātiṣṭham।।
May Mā Sarasvatī reside in our hearts; may She reside on our tongues through our hearts; and by residing on our tongues, may we be able to eulogise Her in beautiful ways, speak beautiful words for Her, and worship Her. And may we please Lord ShriHari and our Guru through these very loving sentiments.
Scriptural references from this article provided by Rishi Shri Jitendrabhai Yagnik of Sandipani South India Parivaar
Report by Shivani Suchak & Nimisha Sadhu