Language and imagination… the two things that separate human beings from animals! SARASWATI … Is the goddess who represents these! The Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, arts and music… The Goddess that rules the mind… Saraswati, is the one that enables it all…! According to mythologist Devdutt Patnaik, “Saraswati is the Goddess of fluid thoughts and words, an exclusively human Goddess, who grants humanity to humans!”
According to a lot of Vedic scholars, SARASWATI, the goddess wasn’t really attached to any male God! Unlike Lakshmi who was Lord Vishnu’s consort, and Durga, who was Lord Shiva’s consort… Saraswati, was the only trinity Goddess, who was no one’s!
She was by Herself…! Aloof, distant, wise… She lived in a higher intellectual place…! Perhaps, that also comes with being of supreme intelligence… By being able to reason and analyze and read everything and everyone beyond their material existence…! Basically, she didn’t need anyone… Or perhaps, just like today, even back then, men were simply too afraid to be with a woman, who was intellectually far, far superior!
Popular misconceptions link Goddess Saraswati to Lord Brahma – the Creator! But that’s just the societal need to attach every Woman to a Man… Every Goddess to a God! Saraswati, was Brahma’s first creation… Wisdom!
And when he created Her, he fell in love with his own creation because he couldn’t believe that he had created something so supreme! And once the reality of Her power and qualities dawned upon Him, He was no longer fascinated with Her… He was in awe of Her – She became His guide! Never His consort…!
However, like I said, society’s need to attach every Goddess to a God lead to Indian mythology, in various parts of India linking Saraswati to various God’s – their preferred Gods! Some people say she was Vishnu’s second wife, representing the balancer’s balance of wealth (Lakshmi) and intellect (Saraswati). Some say that she was the wife of Shiva’s son, Kartikeya (because of which he was proficient in arts and music) and some believe that she was Shiva’s other son, Ganesha’s consort… for He too was blessed with immense knowledge!
If you think about it, in each of these cases, people talk about the Gods, more than the Goddess. About how they were supreme because of Her companionship… But Saraswati, by Herself, is one of the least spoken about Goddesses from the Hindu Trinity! Possibly, because no one really understood Her… for to understand Her, you needed to have been wiser than Her. 🙂
When I decided to work on this series, re-imagining the three supreme Hindu Goddesses in modern day Avtaars… I knew Durga could be embodied by any modern-day woman – strong, powerful and confident!! But Saraswati… I could only think of as a wonderfully happy, independent, intelligent and artistic person… Free of material obligations or desires… living to learn and to teach… to explore the dimensions for the world around and the world within. A wonderfully talented bohemian soul…A happy traveler, a musician, an artist, a writer… with no attachments to anything but the desire to explore more.
Decoding Saraswati’s Style Quotient:
Traditional depictions of Saraswati, showcase her with a musical instrument (Veena) and a book in one hand. She’s also associated with white champa flowers which represent spring (because spring is when nature creates music) and a Goose (because a goose, it is said, can separate milk (truth) from water (falsehood)).
She’s always seen wearing a white saree, because white represents detachment.
The Modern Look:
In my interpretation of Saraswati in the modern day, I’ve tried to bring alive the bohemian, creative innocence in her.
She’s wearing a pristine white outfit (which is actually a georgette saree tied as a dress), with a flower crown (which I’ve DIY’d) and little white flowers around her wrist.
I’ve also added a ceramic bird to the flower crown (for the lack of access to a large goose :P)
Instead of the Veena, I’ve given her a modern Ukulele and a guitar…
and books of course, that represent language and knowledge.
The make-up for this look, is one of my favorite parts.
I wanted the make-up to incorporate spring flowers, a core element of Saraswati’s semiotics and wanted the look to be soft, pure and innocent.
There flowers that I’ve stuck on my face are real flowers, which I kept pressed in a book for 2-3 days and have stuck with eyelash glue. (Sneha, the make-up artist, managed to bring this to life, perfectly!!)
While each of us try to invoke Durga within us, and run after Lakshmi as our ultimate goal, it is Saraswati who enables us, empowers us and propels us…! Unfortunately, very few of us, manage to truly get her to stay 🙂
Hope you enjoyed reading this. Do let me know your thoughts in the commends below and do follow me on instagram: @pinkpeppercorn_sonal.
Photography: Sonalee Das
Makeup artist: Sneha
Props: Vaishnavi Kamath :*
Dream Catcher: Soul Works Mumbai
Location: The Lumber Bar
Styling, concept, writing, visualization: Sonal Agrawal (Me)