Dear children, this is for you:
You are familiar with this picture of the goddess Saraswathi , सरस्वती, on the bank of a river, adorned by a pure white silk sari with golden borders, holding a book and beads, playing music on Veena, a peacock by her side admiring her serene and calm face .This painting is by Raja Ravi Varma, which might be adoring your mini temple in home. Saraswathi is the Lord of learning, fountain of arts and culture and the symbol of supreme vedanthic wisdom. She is worshiped as Sharada ( the presiding deity in the Sringeri temple), Bharathi, Vani or vagdevi and Kalaivani (in Tamiz ).
You have also been taught the simple Stothram,
सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणि ।
विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतु मे सदा ॥
saraswathi namastubhyam varadé kāmarūpiṇi |
vidyārambham kariṣhyāmi, siddhirbhavatu mé sadā ||
O Saraswathī, my namskarams, humble prostrations for you, O Giver of boons, O Giver of form to desire (full-filler of desire) ,
I start my studies; may I achieve perfection. ( bless me to do well ).
saraswathi = O Saraswathī
namastubhyam = namaH tubhyam = salutations, for you. तुभ्यम् / tubhyam= to you
varadé= o giver (-dA/ -dā) of boons (vara)
-da (-dA /dā for feminine) suffix means giver of, like
jalada, ambuda (giver of jala/ambu=water, i.e. clouds)
vasu-dA / vasudā = giver of wealth = earth
kAmarUpiNi = o giver of form (rUpa / rūpa) to desires (kAma / kāma). This is a beautiful expression. दायिन् / dAyin giving. dAyini would have served the purpose. But
kAmarUpiNi is lovely.
vidyArambham = vidyA Arambham / vidyā ārambham = knowledge (studying) start
kariShyAmi / kariṣhyāmi = I will do
siddhirbhavatu = siddhiH bhavatu / siddhiḥ bhavatu = accomplishment, may
me = mine
sadA / sadā = always
या कुन्देन्दु तुषार हार धवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता
या वीणा वरदण्ड मण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ।
या ब्रह्माच्युत शङ्करप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा पूजिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ॥
Yaa Kunda-Indu Tushaara Haara Dhavalaa Yaa Shubhra-Vastra-Avrtaa
Yaa Veenaa Vara-Dannda Manndita-Karaa Yaa Shveta-Padmaasanaa |
Yaa Brahma-Acyuta Shangkara-Prabhrtibhir-Devaih Sadaa Puujitaa
Saa Maam Paatu Sarasvatii Bhagavatii Nihshessa-Jaaddya-Apahaa ||
1: (O Mother Saraswati), Who is fair as a Jasmine flower and Moon and White as Snow and Who is dressed in White Garments,
2: Whose Hands are Adorned by the Veena and Staff symbolizing Boon-Giving and Who is Seated on a White Lotus,
3: Who is always Adored by Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and the other deities,
4: Kindly Protect me, and Remove my Ignorance.
कुन्द / kunda jasmine flower- इन्दु / indu = Moon तुषार/ tuSAra= snow, dew, camphor हार/ hAra = garland धवल / dhavala = dazzling white.
शुभ्रा / zubhrA crystal वस्त्र / vastra = cloth आवृ / AvR = cover शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता = adoring zubhrA vastram
वर / vara = best मण्डित / maNDita = adorned कर / kara = hand वीणा वरदण्ड मण्डितकरा = the one with hands adorned with a great Veena and a staff
||दण्ड / daNDa = rod, staff, stick
श्वेत / zveta =white पद्मासन / padmAsana =positioned in a lotus =sitting in a lotus
प्रभृति / prabhRti= beginning with . Brahma-Acyuta Shangkara-Prabhrtibhir-Devaih= by Brahma, Vishnu, Sankara and other Devas Sadaa Puujitaa= always worshiped
Maam Paatu = Save me सा / sA = she मां/ mAM पातु / pAtu = Protect निःशेष /niHzeSa = complete, जाड्य / jADya= stupidity, ignorance, absence of intellect, dullness etc . अपह / apaha = removing Nihshessa-Jaaddya-Apahaa = the one who completely removes ignorance, illiteracy etc.
The name Saraswathi is derived from सरस् “saras” (anything flowing, water, pond etc) and “wathi” (meaning “she who has …”, similar to sowbaagyavahti, roopawathi), i.e. “she who has flow”. Now, knowledge is free flowing. One might be a great scholar; it has to flow from him to help others. Books are repositories of knowledge, but that has to flow into our head.
The words saritā (सरिता = river), sarovara (सरोवर = lake), sarī-sṛipa (सरी-सृप = reptiles), sarpa (सर्प = serpent) all have the same root – to flow. So, Saraswathi is symbol of knowledge, whose flow (or growth) is like a river or pond, supremely fascinating like a divine damsel. She is depicted as a lovely, fair Goddess with four arms, wearing a spotless white saree and seated on a white lotus. White, for us, is the shade of purity and everything about Saraswathi , is white, the colour of pure snow.
The श्वेतकमल or white lotus, which blooms at moon- rise is her seat . Moon is ‘zitAMzu’ शीतांशु, the one with white cool rays at the sight of whom the white lotus blooms. Saraswathi is ‘kundendhu thushara haara dhavaa’ and ‘ subravasthranghitha’ She wears white apparel and white garland and is ‘हंसवाह’ riding of hamsa, which again is snow-white in colour.
She is the embodiment of intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, eloquence and power.
You would have observed that Sarswathi doesn’t have any weapons . Annihilation is not her job. Knowledge is not to harm others. It is to help them. It is to help you and promote you to a better status. To purify your soul and elevate it to a high level. The ultimate aim of knowledge is to liberate the soul about which you will learn when you grow.
Calm,quite, pure, peaceful and a totally serene feeling you should have when you meditate on the Goddess whose physical form symbolizes pure knowledge, which is stainless.
Now, meditate on Goddess Saraswathy to help you in your studies. Studies knows no boundary. It can flow from the classroom, at home, in the play ground , from your parents and others at home and also from those outside. The Nature is a best friend and teacher.The animals, tress, birds, river, ocean all will teach you something or other.
Let your ambition to learn good things grow. Let Sarswathi Devi bless you for that to happen.