Here Comes The Spring…

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 ॥ या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना।

या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा ॥

This is the Saraswati Vandana we sing every year on the auspicious occasion of Saraswati Puja. “Saraswati” is the Goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. The name Saraswati came from “saras” (meaning “flow”) and “wati” (meaning “a woman”). So, Saraswati is a symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman. She is depicted as beautiful Goddess with four arms, wearing spotless white saree and seated on a large white lotus sorrounded by swan and peacocks. She is also known as “Sharada” (meaning “autumnal”), “Vani” and “Vagdevi” (both meaning “speech”). Saraswati holds a special place in the minds of Hindu students, as she is the goddess of learning.

Name it a tradition or a student lucky day, one is not supposed to study on Saraswati Puja. Now, who needs a better reason to cast aside books for one day have fun and roam around without being asked or questioned?? Placing all the books of my most dreaded subjects (Maths and Physics) and the pen which I would use during the final examination beside the idol was the first thing I used to do on this day! I used to take part in this puja so actively.  I remember praying and chanting the mantras with my grandfather with all my heart on this day as it meant a lot to me! The only wish I wanted “Maa” to grant me was to pass me in “MATHS“  (ofcourse in other subjects too!!) We were strictly refrained from touching the books or any study material till the day was over! Next day, I used to collect them, pray a small prayer (actually reminding “Maa” that she should have now filled the power of knowledge in me) and then started studying vigorously. After all, final exams always used to be just few days away and I had to make up for one day of my lost time you know 😉

I remember everyone wearing basanti (yellow) color clothes on this special day. Reason: yellow being the favourite color of Saraswati maa, apart from white, and the rich yellow signifiies the onset of Basant Ritu. Most of the flowers, fruits and sweets which were offered to Saraswati maa were either yellow or white in color. It’s not uncommon seeing unmarried and adolescent girls ageing 4-19 years wearing some or other shade of yellow sarees! Apart from the rituals involving the puja, the very sight of cute little school girls decked up looking like cute dolls in sarees (which most of the times are unmanageable) hopping around the streets and lanes, eating the “prasad”, is such a delight to watch 😀

There are lots of good memories related to Saraswati Puja and my small little town. The aura, the chirping of birds, the blooming flowers, the smell of the aam ka manjar (mango flowers) and the knock of the spring season its amazing. Oh.. it seems to be a decade since I have felt and celebrated it the original way… Hope, I will visit and feel the warmth of this special puja soon in the coming years again!

देखो यह बसन्त मसतानी
आ गई है ऋतुओ की रानी…

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