Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
During Navaratri we perform Saraswati Pooja on Mahanavami day. Sri Maha Saraswati is the sister of Paramasiva. Parvati Devi is the sister of Maha Vishnu. The matted locks, the crescent, three eyes and the form of pure crystal of Paramasiva are mentioned in Veda. In the knowledge-bestowing Dakshinamurthi form of Paramasiva, book in his hand is also mentioned. Veda says that the same Sadasiva murthi is the master or lord of all vidyas (branches of knowledge). All these characteristics apply to Saraswati Devi also. The book, garland of crystal, white colour, crescent moon, matted locks, three eyes and blessing of Gnana are all common to Parameswara and Saraswati. Desire, which agitates the mind, is the obstacle to Gnana, which brings clarity. The third eye, which burns Kama (Manmatha), helps attainment of Gnana. The form of Surya, though very brilliant, increases heat. The moonlight gives light and also cools down the heat. The growing crescent moon indicates the developing Gnana. The crystal indicates absence of blemish.
Hence all these characteristics apply equally to Iswara, the lord of Vidyas and Saraswati Devi, the embodiment of Vidyas. There is another name, Sarada, for Saraswati (Vani) Devi, who grants clarity without dualities. Just as there is Kamakoti Peetham in Kanchipuram, of ‘Nagareshu Kanchi (Kanchi of all cities) fame’ in the South, Sri Sarada Peetham is situated in Kashmir area, the lofty ‘face’ of Bharata Devi. The Sri Matham in Kanchi, belonging to Kamakoti Peetham is also called Sarada Matham.
In the ‘Sarad’ (autumn) season, Sri Bharata bhumi shines without dualities, with peace and light. In the months of Panguni (Phalguna) and Chitrai (Chaitra), the heat in places like Delhi, Kashi, Prayag etc. is found to be many times more intense than what is felt in our parts (South). In those places in the North, the cold in the month of Margazhi (Margasirsha) is also many times more than in our parts. In the months of Vaikasi (Vaisakha) and Aani (Jyeshtha), there is heavy and continuous rainfall in the central provinces holding the Vindhya mountains and in the Coorg and Malayala provinces holding the Sahya mountains. But in the Asvayuja Sukla Paksha at the beginning of Sarad season, spread in all provinces of Bharata khanda like Kashmir, Hastinapur, Kashi, Kolkata, Kanchi, Coorg, Kanyakumari etc., the whole country gives the appearance of Vidyaadhidevata (Goddess of Vidyas) with no difference among provinces in climate and with all areas equally enjoying white clouds, comfortable sunlight and the moonlight of autumn after dusk.
When the exterior world is clear, if we make the mind also clear, there will be unity in the external atmosphere and internal mind and we can obtain the blessings of Devi easily. For example, we have seen our elders chanting ‘Hari Narayana’ in the morning after getting up from bed, while in the evening, meditating on Siva in Siva temples and outer pyols of homes with bhasma (vibhuti) smeared all over, while the doors in Vishnu temples remain closed. Paramasiva carries out creation, protection and destruction of the worlds. Here in lieu of destruction if we go by the Vedic connotation that it is the state in which the the beginningless universe merges in its cause, all moving and non-moving objects merge in the form of Siva at the close of the manifestation of the universe, just as all sense organs merge their powers in the state of actionlessness during sleep. Like at the time of close of the universe, heat ceases at the close of daytime every day; sounds fall silent; animals and birds return to their pens and nests. This is the time of the dominance of the form of Siva. Those who desire the great bliss on the bird of mind getting to rest, find it natural and easy to merge their minds in Siva when the outer nature is returning to rest. This is the reason for our elders to merge in the form of Siva in the evening dusk time. Is it not natural and easy for a sailor in the sea to sail westward when the wind blows from east? Similarly it is but natural for all devotees to worship Saraswati Devi and obtain Gnana and clarity, when the world around has reached balance, white colour, peace and clarity and it is Saraswati Devi, whose form represents all these qualities.
Procedure of Worship of Sri Saraswati
“Namaskritya jagatpujyam Saradam visadaprabham|
“Pranavasanasamrudham tadarthadvana nischitam|
One should do the invoking of the Devi thus on the day of Moola star, perform brief Puja, followed again by short Puja on the day of Purvashadha star. On the day of Mahanavami with Uthrashadha star, having prepared Mahanaivedyam, Puja should be performed with Asanam, Padyam, Argyam, Achamaniyam, Madhuparkam, Panchamrita snanam, vastra yugmam (two cloths of white silk), Upaveetam, Abharanam (jewels), kumkumam, anjanam (collyrium), chandanam (sandal paste), akshata, flower garland, dhupam, deepam, naivedyam, tambulam, camphor, harthi, pushpanjali, circumambulation, prostration. All these upacharas are to be done chanting the verses given in Kalpam and then Prarthana (prayer) is to be done. Before performing Sarvangapuja and Ashottara nama archana, eight types of flowers- Arka (Erukku), Champaka (senbagam), Punnaga (Punnai), Nandiyavattai, Patali (padiri), Brihati (kandankattiri), Karavira (arali), Drona (tumbai) - should be offered chanting the eight names: 1.Saraswatyai namah; 2.Bharatyai namah; 3.Vagdevatayai namah; 4.Matrikayai namah 5.Hamsasanayai namah; 6.Chaturmukhapriyayai namah; 7.Vedasastrartha tatvagnayai namah; 8.Sakala vidyadhidevatayai namah.
Prarthana should be made at the end chanting the following verse and others from Kalpam:
“Chaturdasasu vidyasu ramathe ya Saraswati|
Paramatma, who is totally formless, takes such divine forms only for the purpose of residing in the minds of devotees during times of meditation. As molten ghee, when exposed to cold, becomes white and solid, the formless Paramatma assumes white colour and form owing to the coolness of love of devotees. Further one should meditate in the heart while worshipping Saraswati Devi that the sounds of the 51 letters of the alphabet from ‘A’ to ‘Ksha’ have indeed created her form.
After performing Puja this way on Mahanavami day and offering Annabali, one should ask Devi to return to her usual place on the day of Sravana star and start reading the books. If one keeps silent from the day of Moola star upto Uthrashadha star and starts reading on the day of Sravana star, one will obtain great proficiency of speech and reap the fruit of knowledge.
“Vimalapati Kamalakuti Pustakarudrakshasthahastaputi|
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA
Translated by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
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