Sarasvatī and Her Sacred Day, Vasantapañcamī

devi poetry sri vidya teachings Jan 25, 2024

{Read the full post below and then, please enjoy this short practice above wading into the flow of pulsation and perhaps touch the Inspiring Essence of Sarasvatī. This practice is an appropriate practice for Vasantapañcamī.}

अम्बि॑तमे॒ नदी॑तमे॒ देवि॑तमे॒ सर॑स्वति । अ॒प्र॒श॒स्ता इ॑व स्मसि॒ प्रश॑स्तिमम्ब नस्कृधि ॥

ambitame nadītame devitame sarasvati |

apraśastā iva smasi praśastim amba nas kṛdhi ||

Sarasvatī, best of mothers, best of rivers, best of goddesses, we are, as it were, of no repute; grant us, mother, distinction.” 

Riverine Sarasvatī

Rising from the winds,

Riverine Sarasvatī

exalted by Your own light

everything is born from

Your unassailability.

Cascading into mists,

dripping wisdom from the peaks

to the plains, to rise again in your endless

birthing of creativity.

You give life through Silence.

~ Mā Umā-Pārvatī

from her second book of poetry, Journey to Oḍḍiyāṇa, Poems, songs, musings - a short guide for the weary traveler.

Vasantapañcamī and Sarasvatī

In the vibrant tapestry of seasons, Śrī Vidyā, like Ayurveda, recognizes six seasons and six corresponding tastes. Vasant, usually translated as spring, is the emerging of the spring season, which stabilizes and blossoms by the vernal equinox. Vasantapañcamī, the 5th lunar day of the bright moon in the Vedic month of Māgha (February), is roughly halfway between Makara-Saṅkrānti (Winter Solstice) and the vernal equinox. At this midpoint, the ripening that will be the full blossoming of spring's vibrancy, fertility, and motility signifies when the winds and waters of renewal heighten to overflow like a swelling river, bringing rejuvenation, renewal, and verdant life. Vasantapañcamī  2024 falls between February 13th and 14th, depending on your location.

Traditionally associated with the color yellow, as the northern Indian fields bloom with the brightness of mustard flowers, and in the West, the ubiquitous forsythia heralding warmer and longer days comes to mind. A deeper vibrational meaning of Vasant is revealed as we look at the frequency and tone of the individual Sanskrit akṣaras that comprise the word Vasant, which unveils a gold-yellow spectrum of light. This light enters tradition as dressing up in yellow and honoring the earth with yellow colors to celebrate this auspicious day.

The yellow-gold light frequency is associated with the energy of the bīja śrīṁ, which is the power of returning us to our divine Consciousness.

The tradition of wearing yellow during sādhanā on this day may arise from the blossoming of the golden flowers along the ancient Sarasvatī River that was fed in the spring by the Himalayan glacial melt during the epochs when the Vedas and Upanishads were recorded. Legend says that many rishis had their ashrams along this river before it became hidden underground. Perhaps because the early Vedic civilization was located on this vital river, the association of wisdom, learning, and Sarasvatī arose to mark this calendrical point of renewal. However, there is a more profound understanding of Sarasvatī that needs to be understood or told.

All seasons are associated with tastes, spring being the astringent taste that propels the old, stagnant, and accumulating energies of wetness and heaviness of winter to become fluid, and dissolve to nourish the soil for new growth and expansion. Spring is the blossoming state of mind that opens and turns to its innate inner divinity and outwardly sees the source of its longings and wonderment.

Vasant is the becoming and eventual full blossoming of hearts to beauty and fullness.

This brings renewal and the delight and emptiness needed for learning and knowledge to descend and flow into the world.

Curiosity and creativity, which need the safe and complete expression of playfulness and eagerness, splash and flow from the inchoate winter hidden caverns of gestation to birth and growth.

Spring is when we see what the dormant winter soil has gestated through the sprouting shoots. A sprout bursts from the seed yet remains inseparable. It extends the essence of the source, expanding it and increasing it. As the shoot finds light and nurturing waters, it eventually blossoms. In the same way, freshness, life, and curiosity blossom into wisdom from the initial shoots of life and renewal that the earth absorbs on this day if we nurture it with sādhanā and presence.

Those of us who have encountered and integrated the sādhanā of Sarasvatī know well that She is not just the flow of the rivers but, to paraphrase Aurobindo, she is Inspiration.

I would say She is the Inspiring Essence, the breath itself and its reciprocal outgoing exhale, the fresh winds of wisdom and growth.

Sara means flow, and svatī is the essence of the Self. Therefore, She manifests and localizes states of wisdom and knowledge as the Inspiration and essence of the Self as the world.

How does She do that? As speech foremost. Speech is the growth of the pulsations of vibration. In Śrī Vidyā, Trika Śaivism and Vedānta, four stages of sound are closely and meticulously analyzed, with the fourth and most material level being speech itself, which is born of the pure vibration of Consciousness, undiluted and unfettered itself.

The pulsation begins with sphoṭa, which, usually translated as throb, also means that which confers or carries meaning. This first pulsing of light as will force is born from the reflexivity of the Oneness of Consciousness*. It is called Vimarśa - the light that touches and reflects Consciousness within its light. 

Vimarśa is the desire to show this light to the Oneness.

This is desire on a meta-level, a volition born from wisdom and completeness. The initial flash of light as a will to show Consciousness eventually expresses as speech to convey Consciousness. This is the "secret" behind Sarasvatī as the matrix  and giver of  speech.

Pañcamī means five and signifies wholeness and fullness. The human body and our world reveal an organic construction of fives - including five senses, five sensory faculties, and five elements that comprise the body and our world. In Śrī Vidyā, there are five modes of Consciousness and a fivefold structure of revealing this Consciousness into our dualistic world. This is done through creating, sustaining, dissolving, concealing, and revealing. We see that Consciousness unfolds itself to the human perception through pentads. This moon phase (the pañcamī tithi) is considered very auspicious, shining the composite of this five fold fullness.

The video included here is a short practice for you to wade into the flow of this pulsation and perhaps touch the Inspiring Essence Herself. Enjoy!

I hope that you enjoyed this journey into a deeper understanding of Sarasvatī and Her sacred day, Vasantapañcamī. I am happy to embark on this new endeavor in these Lost Forest Notes, periodic unfoldings of the philosophy and deeper meanings of Śrī Vidyā and its sādhanā.

Mā Umā-Pārvatī


*If you are interested in learning more about the reflexivity of the Oneness of Consciousness, you may be interested to read Prakāśa-Vimarśa – Consciousness & Its Reflective Radiance, which explores the power and practice of focused or prolonged contemplation (also commonly understood only as visualization). It is both philosophical and practical in nature, and will support and inspire any level of practitioner.