Basant Panchami

saraswati-greetings

!! ॐ श्री सरस्वत्यै नमः !!

Basant Panchami (also Vasant Panchami or Shree Panchami) is a Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. This festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the Indian month of Magha, (between the months of January and February in Gregorian calendar).

Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, is celebrated during the Vasant Panchami festival. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities, while her statues from clay are erected in schools and public squares. The color yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of knowledge and the vibrancy of life.

Vasant Panchami is a public holiday. Government offices, schools, colleges do not operate on the day. However, musicians and students celebrate the festival of the patron deity of letters and arts with overnight musical performances and uninterrupted study. It is considered as an auspicious day to start an academic  or artistic work and many educational institutions are founded on this day.

The Goddess Saraswati is the goddess of learning, knowledge and wisdom. She has four hands which denote her omnipresence and omnipotence. The two front arms indicate her activity in the physical world and the two back arms her activity in the spiritual world. The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality, the mind (manas),  the ego (ahankara),  the intellect (buddhi) and the conditioned consciousness (chitta). She carries a lotus and scriptures in two of her hands and she plays music on the veena (an ancient musical instrument) with her other two hands. She rides on a white swan. Her white dress is a symbol for purity. Her swan signifies her ability to discern the truth from illusion. Her seat on a lotus symbolizes her transcendent wisdom, and her seat on a peacock reminds us that a strong ego can be tamed by wisdom.


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