Archetypes. Creativity. God/dess.
The God/dess archetype of Saraswatī represents creativity, refined beauty, applied knowledge, and wisdom.
Invoke her creative power in the form of speech, sacred word, music, art, and learning.
Sitting in meditation, along the banks of the Saraswatī River, the great Vedic rṣis (seers) mysteriously gleaned the wisdom of the universe, realized as sound vibration and compiled as the Veda (knowledge). Along the river's winding corridors the sages shared this wisdom in mantra, verse, and song. Thus the river became associated with sacred sound and the Vedic texts.
In the Vedas, the Saraswatī River offers healing and purification. Although the actual river dried up by the second millennium, BCE, it remained iconic in the Hindu texts and survived to assume an anthropomorphic character in the Purāna texts (compilations of Hindu Mythology).
A Vedic origin story tells of a creator deity, Prajāpati, who speaks the three realms into being. His manifesting energy is called Vāc, the creative power of the expressed word.
Throughout the Vedic texts, particularly the Brāhmanas, Vāc is associated with the primordial waters. Her all-encompassing powers forever flow with energy, nourishment and creativity. Together with the image of the river goddess, Vāc and Saraswatī crystalize into a vision of the creative power of sound vibration and speech which confirms and animates life. She is the Word of God in radiant form, akin to what John envisioned in his New Testament writing:
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was God and the Word was with God.
I John 1:1
THE MANIFESTING POWER
According to the Upanishads, the manifesting sound of the goddess is the primordial vibration: Om.
In later texts, the creator deity is called Brahma and Saraswatī is his consort.The following creation story, from the Matsya Purāna, depicts the creative dynamic between Brahma and Sarāswatī.
In the beginning there was formless, fluid, chaos. Brahma sought to bring order to the disorder. Out of his mouth the God/dess emerged as Saraswatī Vāc. Riding a swan and carrying her vīna (musical instrument), she came forth as the wisdom of the ages and the Veda (knowledge) of all things. She taught Brahma to think, imagine, and communicate. She showed him the creative potential that lay within the chaos.
Her song was the patterned pulsation that brought dynamic rhythm and harmony to the universe. At the sound of her mantras, the entire cosmos was filled with prāṇa (life force). All things became manifest from that cosmic sound: the earth and sky, sea and stars. Plants, animals, and humanity were born. Gods and demons expanded from the psyche. Days turned into night as the sun rose and set across the horizon. Seasons came and went under the waxing and waning moon. Brahma was the ever-unfolding creator. Saraswatī was his creative power.
Beautiful in her robes of white, God/dess was pure and radiant. Brahma wanted to make her his lover, but she turned him away. “Wisdom serves the spirit. It does not indulge the senses,” she reminded him.
But Brahma’s infatuation for the lovely goddess grew. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her. As she moved through the four directions, Brahma acquired four heads so he could gaze upon her beauty uninterrupted. Sarāswati tried to hide from him, taking the form of a cow. Brahma became a bull so he could make love to her. She then changed into a mare to escape his pursuit, but Brahma simply became a stallion. She turned herself into a bird in attempt to take flight and flee. Then she became a snake to slink into the grass. She shrunk into the form of a bee, so that she could slip into the bud of a flower. Each time she transformed, he followed her and became her male lover. Together, they gave birth to all living things, one by one.
THE ULTIMATE REALITY
Saraswatī is the originating shakti (creating power) for all names and forms of the manifest world. The entire universe unfolds through three successive stages of vāc.
The God/dess Saraswatī has been associated with the swan and the lotus, both emblems of purity and spiritual transcendence. She is the symbol of wisdom achieved through art, music and texts. Root syllables in her name sāra (essence) and sva (of the self) evince her persona as one who bestows knowledge of the essential nature of the Self. She is generally depicted with four arms, wearing a white sari, which is the color of pure knowledge. Carrying a mālā of pearls and the ancient Vedas, she presents the idea of life’s refined beauty as a means for Self-awareness.
Invoking the Creative Spirit of Saraswatī
I invoke the Creative Power through Sound: Vāc the shachi of Prajapati, who ignited the originating fires of manifestation...who caused light to spark out of darkness and catalyzed the first pulsation of spanda (vibration). I invoke the Creative Clarity of Saraswatī, who became embodied as all things in the manifest universe through the power of sacred sound.
I invoke the God/dess in all her forms as Shakti (the Infinite and Eternal Source of Creative Energy within me). May I know that manifesting power as an abundant wellspring, overflowing from my heart. May I allow my throat to be clear, free from all ego-limitations so that I can speak my soul’s quest into activation. May I awaken the deepest desires of my visionary heart through the energy of sound vibration and the creative power of my words.
Your thoughts and words have power.
God/dess Saraswatī invites you to awaken your creative power through sound activation.
Om Aim Saraswatyei Swaha
Soul Questions & Action Steps
About The Author
R.R. Shakti, PhD
Founding teacher of Inner Power Yoga®, Shakti is a Contemplative Mythologist, ritual facilitator, and writer who presents a Tantrik approach to personal empowerment and social action. Through contemplative story-telling and mind/body practices, she offers a vision of deep peace and radical freedom.
PSYCHE + SOUL