Basant Panchami is the occasion to welcome spring and invoke Goddess Saraswati to seek blessings of knowledge and wisdom.
There was a time in our country when an individual was not given respect on the basis of his looks, money, caste or status, the only parameter that brought a king on the feet of a commoner was his ‘wisdom’. Siddhartha became Buddha, not for his kingdom, but the knowledge he gained outside it.
In the land of 33 million devi-devatas, Saraswati is the deity of knowledge, wisdom and music. Basant Panchami is the day when her birth is celebrated and people welcome spring. The four arms of Goddess Saraswati represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She rides on a white goose (swan), known for its peculiar characteristic of separating water from milk, indicating that one should possess clear vision and knowledge to discriminate between the good and evil.
The day holds another important significance — the arrival of spring. Crops ripen, the mustard fields are in bloom and thus, on this day people prefer wearing yellow — in sync with the colour of progress and prosperity. Yellow is also the colour of planet Jupiter — lord of knowledge.
On the flip side, Saraswati Puja is mostly celebrated by children, which is surprising. I want to ask you all, why? Are children the only ones who need wisdom? Is knowledge only associated with degrees? Is it limited to books? Think about it.
Beyond everything, the most basic thing a human being requires is — intellect, wisdom and knowledge. The knowledge that he can take across to another incarnation. The consciousness cannot take anything else along with it — money, family, name etc., all it takes with itself is learning. Yet, for many of us, the importance of Saraswati Devi is until the University days.
Let us try and learn what the significance of four arms of Saraswati are, and what we can do with them:
MIND: The most basic entity for our survival. To clarify, I am not talking about brain here, mind and brain are very different. Our entire life is shaped by our mind. The choice is ours whether we become a monkey in the hands of life or are able to control it. The best way to work with our mind is throught meditation.
INTELLECT: Our life is made up of the choices we make, and when we look back we are either proud of the choices we made, or we sulk because of them. The intellect allows us to reason out and helps us in making the right choice, at the right time.
ALERTNESS: If one has the abovementioned two traits, he is in a good space but if he wants to be great then he needs alertness. What made Krishna a complete avatar — his alertness and awareness of being. He was aware of whatever was happening around him, including little details that everyone missed. The day we become alerted or self-aware of our body, mind and soul, we will know our ‘true existence’.
EGO: And when one has all qualities mentioned above, one needs to know the importance of this — ego — which is often misinterpreted and vaguely used. Ego is not always bad, it is how we use it that makes all the difference. When one has everything, it is important to know that nothing is you. You do not identify with anything and thus, you are the supreme: ‘The Supreme Consciousness’. The day you go beyond your ego, you achieve oneness.
I urge all of you to invoke Devi Saraswati on this day and show gratitude every day. Let us all donate books, pencils and other stationery to the less privileged, and let the power of knowledge spread to every being on this planet.
After all, the 2 and 1/2 inches of flesh inside our mouth can either be the cause of the most ferocious battles or be used to win the world. What do you want to use it for? Make sure, She always resides on your tongue and hopefully, the seeking doesn’t end!
The writer is a clinical hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner. You can reach him at MasterRishavofficial@gmail.com