Feminine Wisdom of Creation

Saraswati Painting by Durgada Krishnappa
Saraswati  by Durgada Krishnappa

Saraswati, the Wise and Flowing One

In the beginning there was chaos. The Universe was in a formless, fluid state. “How do I bring order to this chaos?” asked Brahma. “With Knowledge,” replied Devi as she emerged from Brahma’s mouth riding a swan as the Goddess Saraswati, holding sacred texts in one hand and a stringed instrument in the other.

Under Saraswati’s tutelage Brahma acquired the ability to sense, think, comprehend and communicate. He began looking upon chaos with eyes of wisdom and thus saw the beautiful possibilities that lay before him. Brahma discovered the melody of mantras in the cacophony of chaos.

With Saraswati’s Wisdom, Brahma Learned How to Create the World 

The sound of mantras filled the Universe with vital energy and everything began to form: the sky dotted with stars rose to form the heavens; the sea sank into the abyss below, the earth stood in between. The sun rose and set, the moon waxed and waned, the tide flowed and ebbed. Seasons changed, seeds germinated, plants bloomed and withered to the new rhythms of life.

Saraswati was the first being in Brahma’s world. And Brahma began to look upon her with eyes of desire. Brahma could not control his desire and his infatuation for the lovely Goddess grew. He gave himself four heads facing every direction so that he could always be able to feast his eyes on Saraswati.

Saraswati moved away from Brahma, taking the form of a cow. Brahma turned into a bull and followed her. Then Saraswati changed into a mare and Brahma gave chase as a horse. Every time Saraswati turned into a bird or a beast, Brahma followed her as the corresponding male animal, thus giving life to all the creatures on earth.

Saraswati is commonly shown seated on a white swan, flowing calmly down the river of life. She is the Goddess of creativity, wisdom and the arts.

Saraswati on Swan
Saraswati on Swan

Creating the World

In honor of the Creative new moon in airy Gemini tomorrow, I’d like to share one of my favorite creation myths. This one is from the Hindu tradition:

Hindu God Vishnu
Hindu God Vishnu

Before this time and this universe began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness in the void.  A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. This great blue God slept and was watched over by the mighty serpent. Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed. Then, from the depths of the waters, a humming sound began; Ohm. The sound of Ohm grew and spread, filling the ocean with throbbing, pulsing energy. 

Night ended, and Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, a magnificent lotus flower grew out of Vishnu’s navel. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited Vishnu’s command. 

Vishnu said, ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed and Vishnu ordered him to create the world. A wind swept over the ocean and Vishnu vanished, along with his serpent protector.

Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean. 

Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies. 

The earth was bare, so Brahma created flowers, trees, grasses and plants of all shapes and sizes. And he created all kinds of animals to live on the land; birds, insects, mammals and fish. The world was soon rumbling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma’s creation.

It is said that this Universe will continue to exist until Vishnu closes his eyes to sleep again.