Glory Of Maa Saraswati
Vasant Panchami, also known as Magh Shukla Panchami falls in the Hindu calendar month of Magh (January-February). ‘Vasant’ comes from the word ‘spring’ and this festival heralds the beginning of the spring season. Vasant Panchami is the festival dedicated to Mata Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. It is the birthday of Goddess Saraswati and is a festival full of religious, seasonal and social significance. It is celebrated by Hindus all over the world with verve and great enthusiasm. Yellow color is given special importance on this day. On Vasant Panchami, Goddess Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped (with Puja, Havan etc.). Men and women try to wear yellow clothes on this day. Even the food is colored yellow by using saffron (kesar). Sweetmeats of yellowish hues are exchanged with relations and friends. There is also a custom of ancestor worship, known as ‘Pitri-Tarpan’ in many parts of India during Vasant Panchami. On this memorable day, Lord Shiva burnt the god of love (kama), Cupid. The gods had sent Cupid to tempt the Lord while he was absorbed in Samadhi, in order to beget a powerful son who would be able to destroy the wicked demon, Tarakasura. Cupid discharged an arrow at Lord Shiva from behind a tree. Lord Shiva became very greatly enraged. He opened His third eye and reduced Cupid to ashes.
One should worship Ma Saraswati in the morning on this day. Ma Saraswati is believed to reside in the books and pens as well. Therefore, these articles too are worshipped on this day. The following widely popular Saraswati Vandana may be recited on this day:
या कुन्देन्दु तुषार हार धवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता |
या वीणावरदंड मंडितकरा या श्वेत पद्मासना ||
Salutations to the Supreme Goddess Saraswati, whose face is fair as a jasmine flower, luminescent like the moon and delicate as a snow flake; who is dressed in brilliant white (shubhra-) garments (vastraa-). She holds the musical instrument (vina-) in her hands to bestow boons (varada.nda-) to her disciples as she sits on her white (shveta-) lotus (padma-) throne (aasana-). She is dressed in white – the symbol of purity – and rides on a white swan – symbolizing Sattva Guna or purity and discrimination.