Friday, February 12, 2016

Basant Panchami ~A festival celebrating the first day of Spring and the birthday of the Goddess of knowledge, Goddess Saraswati!

Basant Panchami also known as Vasant Panchami, Shri Panchami, Saraswati Panchami, Saraswati Puja is an Indian festival that celebrates the end of winters and the first day of Spring. It is also celebrated as the birthday of Goddess Saraswati who is the ruling deity of knowledge, wisdom, music, culture, enlightenment and arts. 

Celebrated on the fifth day of the Magh season of the Hindu calendar, hence the name "Panchami" in Hindi meaning "fifth" in English. Basant word comes from "Basanti" colour in Hindi which means "yellow" in English. "Basant/Vasant" means "Spring".


Spring or Basant/Vasant season is symbolized with yellow which is the colour of sunshine and associated with joy, happiness, intellect, energy, warmth and new harvest. The mustard fields are in full bloom during this time and are bright yellow!


Special puja (worship) is held in temples, at home, children are taught to write their first words, priests/brahmins are fed, ancestor worship (pitr-tarpan) is performed, educational institutions organize special puja for Goddess Sawaswati and people rejoice by wearing yellow clothes, eating yellow coloured sweets, singing, dancing and flying kites! 


Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on this day and her blessings sought to gain more knowledge, wisdom and prosperity. Saraswati Puja of West Bengal is specially famous for its pomp, joyous celebrations and a memorable experience. 



Saraswati Puja of West Bengal is very famous and a memorable event!

Apart from Goddess Saraswati, Lord Vishnu (the Lord of the World) and Lord Kamdev (the God of Love and Desire) are also worshipped on this day. It is believed that whatever we wish for from these deities comes true. So students ask for knowledge and people ask for success, prosperity and wisdom.

Basant Panchami day is also an Abujh Muhurat, i.e. the most auspicious Muhurat. It is believed that starting education on this day is very favorable for the native. Hence, it is believed to be a good time for Vidyarambh Sanskar. Starting education on this day makes a person intelligent and knowledgeable. Saraswati is the Goddess who represents knowledge and wisdom; hence, her blessings will also bring positive perception and this will increase wisdom as well. Goddess Saraswati is also considered as the mother of music and art. Therefore, before commencing any music or art education, she is always worshiped.


Each minute of this day is considered auspicious and there is no need to match birth stars if one gets married on this day. It is also a great day for throwing house warming (Griha Pravesh) ceremonies, starting a new business and other important tasks which are believed would be a sure shot success by the blessings of Goddess Saraswati!



The significance of the from of Goddess Saraswati that is worshipped on this day:


Goddess Saraswati

Goddess Saraswati is known by different names like Gayatri, Bani, Sharada, Hansavahini etc. 

-She is always shown clad in white. White is the colour symbolizing purity and new beginnings. 


-Her white sari with a golden border symbolizes a pure life with desires and sensitivity which can blossom creatively to lead to happiness in life.


-Goddess Saraswati has four hands which represent manas (mind, sense), buddhi (intellect, reasoning), citta (imagination, creativity) and ahamkara(self consciousness, ego).


-One hand holds a Tulasi Mala (rosary, garland) which symbolizes spiritualism.


-One hand holds the Vedas which symbolize wisdom and knowledge, form the basis of the 64 art forms. This symbolizes our rich culture and civilization.


-Two hands hold the musical instrument, Veena, earning her the name "Veenapani". Veena has several strings that when strung in combination make different types of music. This symbolizes all creative arts and sciences. Holding the instrument symbolizes expressing knowledge that creates harmony.


-She sits on a white lotus which again symbolizes purity, the discrimination for true knowledge, insight and wisdom.



-A white swan is often shown sitting at her feet. A swan or hans (in Hindi) is considered a sacred bird and believed that when served a mixture of milk and water is able to drink the milk alone. It, therefore, symbolizes the ability to discriminate between good and evil. Goddess Saraswati is often called "Hansavahini" which means "one who has a swan as her vehicle". The swan also symbolizes pure perfection, transcendence and moksha.


-A peacock (mayura, mor) is also sometimes shown near her feet. The peacock symbolizes colourful splendor, a celebration of dance and a devourer of snakes - the ability to destroy the poisonous serpent like essence of self into the radiant plumage of enlightenment.



A water body is sometimes shown in the background depicting her early history reference as a River Goddess.

-Sometimes a river or a flowing water body is also shown in the background which depicts her early history reference as a River Goddess.

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So go ahead, worship Goddess Saraswati, seek her blessings and may knowledge, wisdom, serenity and perfection define your life!


Have a very Happy and Blessed Basant Panchami and Saraswati Puja!






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