Monday, 11 June 2012

Where is Saraswati?

                                                     
Where is Saraswati? for those who do not know about whom I am referring to, Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of knowledge. Ancient scriptures quote that Saraswati had descended on earth as a mighty Rigvedic river several years ago. However this river has no place in modern geography, geologists are still trying to found out whether such a river existed and if it did where did it go? Few claim that the river flows in India and some believes it flows in Afghanistan, hair splitting speculation continues.

Shifting focus to vedic scriptures, Goddess Saraswati was created by Lord Brahma from his mind and hence she is also known as "Manasputri". She is considered to be the epitome of education, knowledge and wisdom. She is commonly picturised holding a veena, vedas (holy scriptures) and a crystal mala (representing meditation).

                                                 

Education in ancient India was predominantly the the Gurukul system where the student would live with a Guru (teacher) till he/she learns all the sciences of life ( this closely resembles current residential school system). Classes were dealt with hands on learning and oral learning style. It is widely believed that when River Saraswati was flowing during vedic times, gurukul students would learn only on the banks of the river. When the student genuinely learnt, white lotuses would bloom in the river, but when the student only rattled what he has mugged up the flowers would wilt away.


Over due course of time student and teachers became only interested in mugging subjects.Students became parrot heads (in indian context parrot heads are those who can only repeat what they have learnt by heart like a parrot). All became parrot heads. Years rolled on, and a young boy  named Yagnavalkya enrolled in a gurukul. He was a curious student. He always questioned his teacher to clear his doubts. This irked his teacher and he commanded Yagnavalkya to vomit out all the knowledge he had gained from his teacher. He instantly tickled the back of the throat and threw up all his knowledge  as digested food. His fellow classmates became patridge birds and consumed the the digested knowledge (metaphor for knowledge in its simplified form without the complexities of the whole but the simplicity of parts)because it was knowledge and they were eager to receive the same. Young Yagnavalkya left gurukul and went in search of a true teacher, he couldn't find any. He looked up at the Sun (God Surya) and realised that the Sun has witnessed everything in this world.

                                              

He asked the Sun whether the he could be his teacher, the Sun obliged in one condition that Yagnavalkya should be able to catch him. So Yagnavalkya ran to the east to catch the rising sun, but the sun after rising moved to the west. But in the west the sun had set and Yagnavalkya did not know where to find the sun. This went on for a few days. Yagnavalkya prayed " Oh my teacher is always running. What do I do?" The Sun God replied " Just wait, every morning just sit in one place and pay attention to all I throw light on. The more attention you pay, the more you will want to know. You will find out all the answers yourself which is the best way to get answers. Teachers can only help you discover, ultimately the responsibility is on you. Saraswati will never chase you, you must chase Saraswasti "said the sun. Yagnavalkya learnt a lot but he was not satisfied as the sun did not shine in the night. Lord Vishnu seeing the little one's plight took form of a horse named Hayagriva.

                                                             Hayagriva

He came to him in the night and spent the night talking to Yagnavalkya. He learnt from Hayagriva over several nights. Hayagriva was pleased with his student and granted him a boon. Yagnavalkya thought for a minute and said " I want River Saraswati to flow once again". "So be it" said Hayagriva, but River Saraswati will flow invisibly thorough every student like you who is curious and eager to learn.

Despite the fact that teachers have a revered position in the Indian society one has to realize that a teacher has value only when there is someone who is ready to learn. A true teacher has to nourish a student's mind. The age old adage quotes " When the student is ready the Master will appear", but today's quote " A Master cannot appear if he doesn't have a student". The biggest eye wash to a teacher who is a giver of knowledge is walking in to an empty class. All the Saraswati's has disappeared .

                                                             

13 comments:

  1. Head on thought process!!! Well presented!!!

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  2. Luv'd it :) Saraswathi ji, pls alwys be wth me..!!

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    1. Thank you Ma'am, Saraswati Devi is always with u :)

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  3. Very interesting blog.. good attempt!

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  4. Nice one!!! Good read! Keep writing :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. Profound Truth! Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Thanks a lot for the information.Madam,can u explain the meaning of the first figure of the blog?I have been exploring,searching the significance of this figure since a very long time.

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