Basant Panchami

Basant means Spring and Panchami means the fifth day.

The above Spring Festival is celebrated during February on the fifth day of the waxing moon as a celebration of the onset of Spring. Yellow mustard flowers start to bloom, therefore the day denotes fertility. Yellow is also the color of the Sun. The Deities in the temples and women wear shades of yellow on this day. One offers yellow flowers, fresh shoots of sprouting grass symbolizing new life and growth.

Many new projects begin, weddings take place, and one enjoys the strains of the Vasanta Raga…

Baisaakhi is devoted to Mother Saraswati and people pray for knowledge.

Books are placed at Mother Saraswati’s feet for blessing.

On this day, Mother Saraswati manifests in the form of utterances of people, that come to pass. 

Mother Saraswati holds a pen in one hand: The power to communicate through the written word. The Gayatri Mantra is one of the most well-known invocations to Mother. The Vedas that She holds in Her hand, summon the spirit of brilliant knowledge. 

Mother’s white saree speaks of Her purity. Her carriage is the swan.

The swan is able to separate water from milk. Great Saints in the Hindu tradition are addressed as ‘Param Hans’ meaning a great Swan. The reason? Because great sages are able to separate good from bad, truth from falsehood and illusion, true knowledge from ignorance…

Mother Saraswati is called Veena Vaadini. She plays an instrument called Veena which has seven strings. The number seven is mostly associated with the seven charkas.

On either side of the veena there are two hollow rounds.

Maybe those hollow globes save one from drowning in the ocean of Samsara.

The parsaad offered to the Goddess are nutrients that increase the potential of the brain. The parsaad (food offering) consists of Misri (sugar) nuts, cardammon, nodes of the bamboo shoot (banslochan) and lotus seeds.

The rosary made of tulsi seeds makes one consistent in the pursuit of knowledge and spirituality.

For the puja of Mother Saraswati: The youngest girl applies a teeka on everyone’s forehead. The other devotees then sprinkle water, and other auspicious offerings on Mother Saraswati. Aarti is performed. Parsaad for devotees consists of a few bers, a laddoo, a paan… and good will and cheer.