Posted by: Prem Piyush | February 14, 2005

Saraswati Puja – Then and Now


सरस्वती नमस्तुभ्यं
वरदे कामरुपिणीं ।
विद्यारांभ्य करिष्यामि
सिद्धिरभवतु मे सदा ।।

(Salutations to you, Goddess saraswati,
Who fulfils all our desires;
I am commencing my pursuit of knowledge,
Let me always be successful in this endeavour)

Saraswati Puja will finish today evening as per our vedic customs. Everything went nicely as usual.

In childhood to me this puja used to be the waiting day for eating ber (a plum) apart from puja celebrations. For small girls it’s the day of moving around puja pandals wearing saaris or new dresses. I can’t write more about them but I can represent the guys better. From childhood we have been made understand that one should not eat ber (a plum) until Saraswati puja finishes. I am lucky to read in govt. schools, where I got enough chance for pranks. So before puja, when we used to see the plum trees beside the road, we waited them grow from flowers to small berries to plums and wait for the saraswati puja day. If some guy among us eats the forbidden fruit; we used to tell him their knowledge will be lost because he eat it before puja. Now I look into the matter; this forbidding reason was correct, taking unripe sour fruits are prime cause of cold and cough during the cold season. Once puja is finished we used to throw pebbles on ber trees to get the bers. After saraswati puja, the matter of ripening of fruits was not important. After the pebbles are thrown, there are chances that many a time the ripe, yellow, big bers will fall near to nalla (drain) or inside the boundary walls of the tree owner. The difficult situation really! Either you have to take some bold step there or pity on yourself. Even when I was in Navodaya, I used to roam around Maranga fields for the well known ber trees after puja and bring back pocketful of bers. Inside hostel, I was in good demand among guys until my pocket is empty. But in my hostel our demand for celebrating saraswati puja in form of idol was denied. Now I think this was a good decision by our principal that time. Later on in new building location, when idol worship was allowed in my school, not lucky enough, one of my junior faced an accident. I know not much about it but feel that the worship must not be made a gala event with fanfare in school campuses.

Now the same bers when brought in good quantity in my home, hardly I have that urge to take them. The day apart from home worshipping with small idol, I will read more on the day. I have personal collection of few saraswati bhajans and mantras to chant on evening. But I miss this one, if you know, please tell me, I am writing the partly known lines from my memory may be with mistakes:

श्वेत वसन तन देवी तव सेवि पद
होयछि सुफल मन —————-
स्फटिका के माला पोथी वीणा —-कर धारी
होयछि सुफल मन —————-

I will try to write others known bhajans, mantras in my later posts. Maa saraswati, the consort of Brahma is the goddess of learning, music and art and craft. But unfortunately you will find quiet less number of popular bhajans and songs in the market devoted to her. When I was searching for the songs related to her prayer in Music World, Bangalore I got only one of such kind. It’s “Saraswati Upasana by Veena Sahasrabuddhe” released by Sony Music vol I . I have no idea about other volumes but it’s a good album worth collecting especially if you have interest in classical music as well as devotional songs; it works as a tranquilizer.

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