It was the darkest moment with nothingness spread around when the universe had not been born.
While meditating on creation before its process was begun, Sattavaguna – sublime nature, emerged in Brahma’s mind. I wish to create something, Brahma thought and from there was born a lustrous being, Saraswati, known as Brahmani, consort of the creator.
She was pure and gorgeous radiating Sattva – goodness. She became the first creation of the creator. Her glow purer than anything, she spread her wisdom in all directions.
It was only when the charm of this goddess was revealed that Brahma realized how extraordinary his creation was. Brahma wanted to captivate this ocean of knowledge but the more he pursued, the farther she went.
The goddess changed its form from one being to another to hide from the lustful glances of Brahma. She became Shatarupa, the one taking many forms.
In one of the forms she transformed into a river. On the soil of the earth the milky waters of the river goddess flowed with pride. Civilizations flourished on her banks. Rig-Veda sang in her praise in the hymn of praise of rivers along with the great rivers Sindhu and Sarayu, calling it the best mother, best river, best goddess.
“Saraswati may we drain that breast of your, which is exhaustless, source of pleasure, by which you feed all choicest things, which is wealth giver, treasure finder and free bestower” reads the ancient scripture.
She is consciousness, wisdom and knowledge. She does not possess any material weapon but she is the controller of minds.
Ragas are her offspring, with her music flowing like river in the veins of the universe.
Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Indra, devas possessed an enchanting potion, Somras; the elixir of life. They wanted it to be hidden from Asuras; the demons. Hence they entrusted this duty to the clan of Gandharvas. They were the celestial beings, demigods born from the fragrance of flowers.
Vishvavasu was guarding this precious potion. But as greed corrupted his mind he could not control the desire to consume it and hence took it away. Two Gandharvas were appointed to keep it hidden from devas. On realization of the same Indra pleaded before Saraswati to bring Soma back.
The goddess then appeared in the garden of Gandharvas in her divine attire. Her serene eyes were blissfully closed as she started playing veena.
With the first sound of the string the instrument produced a divine raga. One raga after the other and the skies mesmerized in the holy music. Sound was flowing like saras in the cosmos.
Gandharvas saw the goddess in white creating magic with her veena. They listened to the holy ragas and looked at the goddess in awe.
Time passed but for the Gandharvas listening to the goddess the moment stopped.
But soon her gentle hands took off from the string and the magic stopped. Gandharvas wanted to experience the blissful state again, hence Vishvavasu pleaded Saraswati to grant the knowledge of this divine music to his clan.
Saraswati agreed to do so under one condition. She demanded that Soma, the elixir of life has to be given back to devas and it is only then that she would teach them the art of creating ragas.
Gandharvas could give away anything for such an experience. Hence Somaras came back to devas while Gandharvas became the master musicians by the wisdom of the goddess.
She as Jyotiswarupa, is the illuminating light and as saras the flow and svara the sound becoming Saraswati.
The Vedas call her Pavaka, for she stretches her arms and carves her path as river, eliminating drought.
She is the goddess of purity, she as a river sustained civilizations, but she as a symbol holds a greater cosmic truth. Appearing first as Vak, speech, she gave form to the formless, an expression to imagination. Universe is formless without speech. She became the beginning.
She flowed as language on earth and travelled as wisdom in space.
As the quest for more continued through ages, the river dried up on the surface and the hymns became an ancient myth. She now flows beneath the sands as wisdom flows in our minds, unnoticed.