Last Updated: 9/7/2011 10:25:48 AM
Saraswati Puja 2012 date is 2 February. Sri Panchami popularly known as Saraswati Puja falls during the fifth lunar day of the light half of the month Magha.
On this day, Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, (who is also the bride of Vishnu), is to be worshipped with flowers, perfumes, food, and water, probably the day was originally dedicated to her. The same text, however, proceeds to direct, that pens, and ink, and books, should be reverenced upon this day; and that a festival should be observed in the honour of Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of learning—hence it is inferred, that by Sri, in the first part of the rubric, Saraswati also is intended, especially as Sri had various significations, one of which may be Saraswati,
Sri Panchami or Saraswati Puja is dated on the 28th of the January 2012
Saraswati, by the standard mythological authorities, is the wife of lord Brahma, and the goddess presiding over letters and arts.
The Vaishnavas of Bengal have a popular legend, that Sraraswati was the wife of Vishnu, as were also goddess Lakshmi and goddess Ganga. The ladies disagreed, Saraswati, like the other prototype of learned ladies, Minerva, being something of a termagant, and Vishnu, finding that one wife was as much as even a god could manage, transferred Saraswati to Brahma, and Ganga to Siva, and contented himself with Lakshmi alone. It is worthy of remark, that Saraswati is represented as of a white colour, without any superfluity of limbs, and not infrequently of a graceful figure wearing a slender crescent on her brow, and sitting on a lotus.
On the morning of the fifth lunar day of Magha, that is the day of Srarswati Puja the whole of the pens and inkstands, and the books, if not too numerous and bulky, are collected the pens, or reeds, cleaned, the inkstands scoured, and the books, wrapped up in new cloth, are arranged upon a platform or a sheet, and are strewn over with flowers and blades of young barley; no flowers except white are to be offered. Sometimes these are the sole objects of adoration; but a picture of goddess Saraswati stands, in general, immediately behind them.
After performing the necessary rites of ablution, Saraswati is to be meditated upon, and invited to the place of worship, with some such prayer as the following:
" May the glorious goddess of speech, she who is of a white complexion and graceful figure, wearing a digit of the moon upon her brow, and carrying an inkstand and a pen in her lotus-like hands,—may she, sitting on her lotus throne, be present for our protection, and for the attainment of honours and wealth."
Water is then to be offered for the washing of her feet; food for her refreshment; flowers, or more costly articles, as pearls and jewels, for her decoration; and three salutations are to be made to her with "the mantra, " reverence to Saraswati, reverence to Bhadrakali, reverence to the Vedas, to the Vedangas, to the Vedanta, and to all seats of learning." Of other mantras addressed to her, the following are given in the Matsya Purana "As Brahma, the great father of all, never, oh Saraswati lives without thee, so do thou ever be my benefactress." Or, "As the Vedas and all inspired writings, as all the sciences and the arts, are never, oh goddess! Independent of thee; so, by thy favour, may my wishes be fulfilled. In the forms of thy eight impersonations, Lakshmi, Medha, Dhari, Pushti, Gauri, Tushti, Prabha, and Dhriti, do thou, oh Saraswati! Be ever my protector."
There are some remarkable varieties regarding the seasons of this festival, in different parts of India, whether it be considered as dedicated to Saraswati or to Lakshmi. The Sri panchami, when applied to the former, is observed in Hindustan in Aswin (August-September), and when to the latter, in Margasirsha (October-November), as we shall have future occasion to notice, or the present, the fifth of Magha, is held to be the proper Sri panchami, and dedicated, not to Saraswati, but to Lakshmi There is, however, both in Upper India and in the Dekhan, a festival on the fifth of the light half of Magha, which is no doubt the original and ancient celebration,—the Vasanta Panchami, or the vernal feast of the fifth lunar day of Magha, marking the commencement of the season of Spring, and corresponding, curiously enough, with the specific date fixed for the beginning of Spring in the Roman calendar, the fifth of the ides of February.
After the Vasanta Panchami, Kama the god of love, and his bride Bati, pleasure, are to be worshipped with offerings of fruits and flowers. In general observance, however, Vishnu and Lakshmi now take their places, as there are no temples to Kamadeva; nor indeed are the celebrations, which probably once occurred at this season, very particularly observed. The day is retained in the calendars, and constitutes a nominal fixed point, from which festivals, which become conspicuous enough a few weeks afterwards, are still said to commence.
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