This month yogis around the world are celebrating Navrathri while seeking knowledge from their Gurus. ASK stands for Always Seek Knowledge. Yogis always seek knowledge as they advance in their life. At one point of their lives all yogis will start seeking the knowledge associated with wisdom and try to understand the purpose of living.
What they seek is, not just academic knowledge but divine knowledge. A knowledge with ego does not lead to path of wisdom. How to acquire knowledge that does not have ego? How to balance mind and body?
Saraswathi “Essence of self” “Symbol of Knowledge”
In Hindu Vedic astrology Saraswathi Yoga is related to education, development of the intellectual human being. To get the wisdom yoga one must follow Saraswathi. What is this mean? Saraswathi means “the essence of self”.
In Sanskrit Sara means “essence” Swa means “self”. Saraswathi is the Goddess who is worshipped by all who seek knowledge, wisdom and divinity. Saraswathi means consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, art, music, eloquence, power and education.
Generally, in all the images Devi Saraswati is generally depicted with four arms wearing a white sari and seated on a white lotus. She holds a book and a rosary in two hands, while the front two hands are engaged in the playing of a lute (veena). A swan is her vehicle and a peacock stands next to her.
What are all these gestures symbolizing?
- The lotus is a symbol of the Supreme Reality, and a white lotus also denotes supreme knowledge. By sitting on a lotus, Saraswati signifies that she is herself rooted in the supreme reality, and knowledge. The white color symbolizes purity and knowledge. The white sari that the Goddess is wearing denotes that She is the embodiment of pure knowledge.
- The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality. The mind (manas) is represented by the front right hand, the intellect (buddhi) by the front left hand, the conditioned consciousness by the rear left hand, and the ego by the rear right hand.
- The left side of the body symbolizes the qualities of the heart and the right side symbolizes activities of the mind and intellect. A book in the rear left hand signifies that knowledge acquired must be used with love and kindness to promote prosperity of mankind.
- The rosary signifies concentration, meditation, and contemplation, leading to samadhi, or union with God. A rosary in the rear right hand representing ego conveys that true knowledge acquired with love and devotion melts the ego and results in liberation (moksha) of the seeker from the bondage to the physical world.
- The Goddess is shown playing a musical instrument that is held in her front hands, which denote mind and intellect. This symbol conveys that the seeker must tune his mind and intellect to live in perfect harmony with the world. Such harmonious living enables the individual to utilize acquired knowledge for the welfare of all mankind.
- Two swans are depicted on the left side of the Goddess. A swan is said to have a sensitive beak that enables it to distinguish pure milk from a mixture of milk and water. A swan, therefore, symbolizes the power of discrimination, or the ability to discriminate between right and wrong or good and bad. Saraswathi uses the swan as her vehicle. This indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. Knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world.
- A peacock is sitting next to Saraswathi and is anxiously waiting to serve. It depicts unpredictable behavior as its moods can be influenced by the changes in the weather. Saraswathi is using a swan as a vehicle and not the peacock. This signifies that one should overcome fear, indecision, and fickleness to acquire true knowledge.
When the inner meaning of all these symbols makes sense to us, then we may be able to acquire balance of the mind and entire system. When we understand the essence of gaining wisdom by following Saraswathi we will get Saraswathi yoga that enhances our intelligence.
- Image credit: Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay (Free for commercial use)
Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: October 21, 2020