A couple of weeks ago our boys celebrated Saraswati Pooja, which is another important festival in Nepal.
Saraswati is for me the most fascinating of the Hindu goddesses.
She is known as the goddess of knowledge, but she is also goddess of music, art, speech, wisdom and learning. This is all embodied by the powerful symbolism of her figurative representation.
Saraswati represents action and reality. Her four arms symbolize the mind, the intellect, the creativity and the ego. In turn, the four items they hold have figurative meaning.
The book symbolizes the universal, divine and true knowledge as well as all forms of learning. The mālā (similar to a rosary) stands for the power of meditation, inner reflection and spirituality, while the water pot for the purifying power to separate right from wrong and the essence from the inessential: that is the power that leads to knowledge and sets free.
Last but not least, it’s the most known symbol associated to Saraswati: the musical instrument called veena, which of course represents all creative arts and sciences.
Another powerful meaning behind the gesture of her holding this instrument is that expressing knowledge creates harmony. With this symbol and Saraswati in general, it’s also associated the love for and the rhythm of music: the expression of all feelings and emotions through speech or music.
In the Nepali tradition, she actually holds only three of them in her hands: the veena, the book and the male. She seats on a white lotus, symbolic for the purity and the power of knowledge, and her vehicle is a white Swan, as the ability to distinguish the good from the bad.
On Saraswati Puja kids are taken to temples to learn to write and to read for the first time as this day is considered the best moment to start learning something new. On this day students worship books, pens and notepads as tools to learn, while musicians worship their instruments.
They all worship the goddess for her blessing as source of knowledge, art and education.
Every morning he wakes up very early to study before going to school and then he leaves at 6 am to go to Birgunj to follow his classes. His grade is not in Parwanipur and so he cycles to the next big city, only a few kilometres away. Despite he hasn’t been able to physically go to school due to the pandemic, he has been studying hard and he has just passed 11th grade with the highest mark. We are so proud of him!
When I was there, he was telling me how grateful he was very grateful for the opportunity to carry on with his studies thanks to Our Sansar. He really believes that going to school is a privilege that must be honoured: that is why he looks after the other boys when they do their homework, so that they can appreciate too.
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