When I kneel before Saraswati Devi, I pray for Her to send the waters down from heaven to break the mountain my ego built, which has hidden Her light from me.
I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist for most of my life, for various reasons. I’m autistic, with the common comorbid conditions of anxiety, OCD, and ADHD. I saw a number of psychologists and social workers before being referred at the tender age of about 8, to the doctor I still see now. His office is over an hour and a half away from where I live. Good help is hard to find.
When my head cracked open, I asked him about it. He looked over his glasses (as he is wont to do) and asked me a couple of vague questions, before simply shrugging at me and telling me that what I was experiencing was “within the range of normal.” You see, he told me, “mystical experiences are part of the human condition.” He told me that he’d had such experiences himself.
Of course, this was the same doctor who would excitedly ask for a reading when he saw my Tarot cards. Good help is hard to find, but it’s worth searching for.
While I was flailing around one afternoon for something to do, I hit upon the realization that the written material I’ve composed about My Lady Saraswati could and should really be organized into a devotional for use in my practice. Oops.
Worship of Saraswati Devi dates back to the early Vedic period in India (1500 BCE), where she was the presiding spirit of a sacred and possibly mythical river. The name of the river is believed to be derived from the proto-Indo-Iranian *sáras-vat-ī, which supposedly means “marshy” or “full of pools”. Another proposed etymology derives her name from the root *sar, which means “flow”. Though this latter theory has been widely repeated, it was apparently not favored by Manfred Mayrhofer, a linguist specializing in Sanskrit and Indo-Iranian languages.(1)
In modern worship, Saraswati’s origins as a river deity have been obscured. She is a deity of wisdom, and a patroness of learning and the arts. Modern commenters sometimes derive her name from Sanskrit Sāra and Sva, meaning of “essence of self-knowledge”. While not a historically valid etymology, it certainly captures Lady Saraswati’s character.
(1) Information taken from Wikipedia entry “Sarasvati River“
One of the founders of the Western Buddhist Order (now rebranded as Triratna) wrote a book called Meeting the Buddhas. In it he described the familiar Buddhist icons known as mandalas as maps of one’s inner life and priorities. He asked us, his readers, what would be at the center if we made our own mandala.
I wrote in a previous post here, that I would put My Lady at the center of my own mandala. It was a reflexive answer, unprompted by any thought. Of course she goes there! Where else would she go?
The answer of course, is that there is more than one Saraswati in my mandala. She has ended up in every quarter and corner of my mandala and my life. She is the mandala just as she is my life.
I give myself to you in perfect trust, as an offering with perfect love.
One of the founders of the Western Buddhist Order, now known as Triratna, posed a question to readers in his book, Meeting the Buddhas: if your life was a mandala, what would be at the center? Is it your family, your job, your faith…what?
The three years since I began a formal relationship with My Lady Saraswati have gone by very quickly. Yet I feel as though She has always been in my life. I’m fairly certain she actually has, but I’m honestly also convinced that these feelings have more to do with how She has radically reordered my priorities and claimed her place in the center of my life’s mandala.