Tuesday, December 25, 2012

या कुन्देन्दु ... (yA kundendu ...)


I figured I better post another saraswati sloka and move on before it is navaratri again, so here goes:

या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रान्विता
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना ।
या ब्रह्माच्युतशन्करप्रभृतिभिर्देवै: सदा पूजिता
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती नि:शेषजाड्यापहा ॥

yA kundendutuSArahAradhavalA yA shubhravastrAnvitA
yA vINAvaradaNDamaNDitakarA yA shvetapadmAsanA |
yA brahmAcyutashankaraprabrutibirdevai sadA pUjitA
sa mAm pAtu sarasvatI bhagavatI ni:sheSajADyApahA ||

The gist of the sloka is the following. One who (या ) is as white as a Jasmine (कुन्द​) flower, the moon (इन्दु) and as dazzling (धवला) as a snow garland (तुषारहार), One who is dressed (अन्वित​) in pure white (शुभ्र) clothes (वस्त्र​). One whose two hands play the Veena (वीणा) and other two hands (करा) are poised to grant boons and punishments (वरदण्डमण्डित) as needed, One who is seated (आसन​) on a white (श्वेत) lotus (पद्म​). One who is always worshipped (सदा पूजिता) by Brahma (ब्रह्मा), Vishnu (अच्युत​), Shiva (शन्कर​) and all the Devas (र्देवै:). Protect me (सा मां पातु) Goddess Saraswati (सरस्वती भगवती) by removing all remaining (नि:शेष) obstacles and sluggishness (जाड्या).

I found these lovely explanations for the pose of the Goddess and why she is surrounded by the birds she is depicted with. I paraphrase:

Goddess Saraswati is often depicted as a beautiful, white -skinned goddess, dressed in pure white often seated on a  swan (carrier)  or on a white  lotus. She is mainly associated with the color white, which signifies the purity of true knowledge.She is not adorned heavily with jewels and gold, and is dressed modestly, representing her preference of knowledge over worldly material things. 

Saraswati depicted wearing white cloths. because the colour white is a symbol of the purity of true knowledge which she bestows on the seeker. Similarly, her association with the swan and the peacock too stress the wisdom aspect. The swan is said to have the ability to separate milk from water and drink milk only, which is a metaphor of the way a seeker has to continually discriminate between what is real and permanent and what is transient. The peacock's vanity at its own beautiful plumage is a reminder of how a true seeker of knowledge has to learn to detach himself from the body by understanding the transitory nature of physical appearance. 

She is generally  shown to have four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning: mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. Alternatively, these four arms also represent the 4 vedas, the sacred books of Hindus. She is shown to hold the following in her four hands:

 1 In First hand a  pustaka (sacred Vedas) , representing the universal, divine, eternal, and true knowledge as well as her perfection of the sciences and the scriptures.
 2. In Second hand a akshamala (garland of crystals to meditate), representing the power of meditation and spirituality.
 3. In Third hand a kamandalu (pot of sacred water), representing creative and purificatory powers, or the smooth flow of knowledge, like water, stored in a pot.
 4. In Fourth hand , a musical instrument (Veena) that represents her perfection of all arts and sciences.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful explanation. Cant find such a wonderful line by line explanation anywhere