Saraswati is always depicted as seated on a rock, playing a veena (musical instrument), wearing a white saree with a swan next to her. Saraswati means a flow. It is a flow of knowledge. When Saraswati is depicted as seated on a rock, it means that she is sitting on our head. Our backbone is the veena in her hands. The basis for the knowledge or Jnana is truth (satya). This is depicted by the white saree. The Jnana that is acquired through realization of truth leads to Brahmananda (bliss of Brahma). The swan signifies this ananda.
Thus the form of Saraswati signifies that she is the giver of knowledge (Jnana roopini). She is the basis not only for speech but also for the 64 kalas (arts). The movement of the sense organs and the thoughts in our mind are all her due to blessings only. Therefore not only students, but anyone who seeks good knowledge and good thoughts should take shelter in her.
She exists in the form of sound. As per the Puranas, Parashakti’s body parts became the 50 sounds or the 50 alphabets. All the languages in the world came from these 50 alphabets. These alphabets are her beejaksharas (seed letters). Beejaksharas are the minute sounds that explain about her.
The predominant beejaksharas in her worship are ‘Aim’ and ‘Vam’. Vam is the Amrita beeja. The word ‘Aim’ gives speech and knowledge. The story of Kalidasa is a great example of this. Kalidasa, the cowherd, would repeat the word ‘Aim, Aim’ to drive the cattle. Though he said it routinely, he was ultimately blessed with Devi’s compassion and he became one of the greatest poets.
- Bhaktimala Dec 1997 & Mar 1998