By Himanshu Guru: Saraswati Puja is being celebrated especially by students, teachers, artists and musicians across the country with fervor seeking blessing of the Goddess, who is the provider of knowledge, wisdom, and artistic talent. Today is an auspicious day for the kids, who are writing a letter for the first ever time.
Saraswati Puja, also known as Shree Panchami, falls on the fifth day of Hindu month of Magha each year. The occasion is also known as Vasan Panchami (equivalent to Valentine’s Day according to Hindu calendar). However, a large section of society used to observe the day worshipping Goddess Saraswati, one form of Shakti.
The students used to worship Goddess Saraswati on this day to get blessings for the studying endeavors for the whole year.
Devotees and students throng to different Saraswati temples as well as their educational, Musical institutions and Art schools across the country since early morning. Normally devotees left their shoes outside the Hall where worship of the Goddess goes on out of respect for the sanctity of the ceremony. They sit together for prayers after incense sticks and a ghee lantern are lit. The Goddess is attired with garlands off fresh flowers and the whole area is decorated with flowers. The idol of Goddess Saraswati is normally attired in white.
Following the main rituals performed by the priest, ‘Pushpanjai’ is offered to the Goddess where a basket of flowers is passed around and each participant held one while reciting the chants and prayers and finally all of them put it at the feet of the idol to sought divine blessings in return. Some even put the flowers in their textbooks for added luck. With one hand raised in greeting, Saraswati also plays the Saraswati veena, a stringed instrument. In her fourth hand, she holds a book. Saraswati rides on her sacred swan, a symbol of the ability to flow with pure energy and also to be inquisitive.
In USA, the Hindu Student Council of America held their annual Saraswati Puja, benefiting the charity Better World Books.