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Hinduism is a religion in which there are many deities, each worshipped for a different reason. Lord Brahma is the creator of the universe, Lord Vishnu is the nurturer and Lord Shiva is the destroyer of negative energies, making place for positive energies. These three gods, who are believed to be the supreme gods in Hinduism, are collectively known as the Holy Trinity. Similarly, the three goddesses, Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Parvati, help the Holy Trinity.
Goddess Saraswati, one of the Tridevis (other two being Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Parvati), is worshipped as the goddess of literature, art and music. She is the prime goddess for learning in India as well as Nepal and among all the Hindus. All the gods in Hinduism are depicted with a mount. Goddess Saraswati is similarly depicted with a swan.
While in some cases the gods are shown riding the mounts that are associated with them, the vahanas are not necessarily for riding. These vahanas are the symbolic representation of the qualities which the deities possess, or represent what qualities are dear to the gods.
''Prathamam Bharti Naam, Dwitiyam Cha Sarawati, Treetiyam Sharda Devi Chaturtham Hansavahini''
This is a shloka which discusses the various names of Goddess Saraswati. It translates to:
"Your first name is Bharati, and the second is Saraswati, the third name is Sharda and the fourth is Hansavahini."
Hansavahini here means the one whose vahana or mount is a swan. A swan is considered as an intelligent bird, which is known for its ability to differentiate between gems and stones. This symbolises the ability to differentiate between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad, and the harmful and the beneficial. The goddess appreciates such qualities of her devotees and even bestows them with these qualities when she is pleased by their prayers.
What The Swan Represents
The white colour of the swan represents peace; the goddess blesses her devotees with peace and tranquillity. The white colour is dear to her; it helps one concentrate. That is why students are often advised to wear white clothes while studying. Even while meditating, white colour clothing is often suggested.
All the qualities which are associated with peace, such as love and forgiveness, are dear to the goddess. She appreciates those who spread love and who forgive others easily.
How And For What Is The Goddess Worshipped
The goddess of wisdom blesses her devotees with wisdom and knowledge. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped at the beginning of every occasion related to literature and art. She is the prime deity for artists, musicians and especially for the students.
There are various mantras which are often chanted by the devotees according to their wishes they seek from the goddess. Mantras such as those for concentration, for wakening of the mind, for mental growth and for knowledge are used to please the goddess.
Any day can be chosen to offer prayers to the goddess. She is offered white flowers, white clothes, sandalwood paste, incense sticks, betel leaves, durva grass, coconut, etc. Many people also worship their musical instruments as a way of showing respect to the goddess.
Prayers offered to Goddess Saraswati bring auspiciousness in the house and help in the professional growth of a person.
Never forget to invoke Lord Ganesha before offering prayers to Goddess Saraswati.