This “Panchami” is also known as Saraswati Day, because it is believed that on this day the Goddess was born. As Diwali is to Shri Lakshmi and Navaratri is to Shri Durga, Vasant Panchami is to Shri Saraswati, the Goddess of art, creativity, knowledge and learning. She represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is the Mother of the Vedas, and chants to Her often begin and end Vedic lessons.
Saraswati literally means “the flowing one”. In the Rigveda it is said She represents a river and the deity presiding over it. In later mythology, Shri Saraswati was identified with Vach or Speech. The “flowing one” in an allegorical sense may mean speech also – perfect speech which denotes intelligence.
On this Vasant Panchami day, Lord Brahma is said to have created His consort Goddess Saraswati, infused speech into Her and bestowed the Veena in Her hands. She was thus named as Veena Vandini (veena player) and Vani Dayyani (recipient of speech). As the spouse of Brahma and the Goddess of wisdom and eloquence, She is known by various names such as Veenapani (holding the veena), Sharada (giver of essence), Vagisvari (mistress of speech), Brahmi (wife of Brahma) and Mahavidya (knowledge supreme).
The colour yellow is given special importance on Vasant Panchami. On this day, Shri Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped. Books, articles, instruments of music and arts are placed before Her. In the evening after the Puja is over, the idol is immersed in the sea with serenity.
In all educational institutions of music, arts and science in India, Saraswati Puja is observed with great reverence. Saraswati Puja is also performed during the Navaratri or Dusshera. In India, Hindus prefer to wear yellow clothes on this holy day. Sweets of yellowish hues are distributed among relatives and friends.
Children are taught their first words on this day, for it is considered an auspicious day to begin to learn how to read and write.
Vasant means “spring”, and Vasant Panchami heralds springtime in India, a time of renewal and creativity of life in nature.
This is a unique concert with both traditional Chinese music and classical Indian dance inspired by the symbolism of the lotus and phoenix, not to be missed by the Asian arts connoisseur.
Versatile musicians of the Sydney Sizhu Ensemble led by Tony Wheeler, and Indian classical dancer Vimala Sarma, celebrate Chinese New Year in a unique concert featuring Chinese traditional music and classical Indian dances inspired by the symbolism of the lotus and phoenix. The lotus is a symbol of purity and beauty in both Chinese and Indian cultures. This show provides an opportunity for Sydney Chinese traditional music-lovers to hear Chen Hong Yu, an inspirational vocal artist. The Indian classical dances featured include pieces performed by Vimala in the recent dance festival in Chennai.
Date: Saturday 23 February 2008
Time: 7.30 pm
Location: Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Macquarie Street, Sydney
Cost: $35.00 plus booking fee
Bookings/Information: Tickets from www.moshtix.com.au, 1300 GET TIX (438 849) or on your mobile www.moshtix.mobi and all moshtix outlets.
The following is a beautiful talk by Baba Mama, Shri Mataji’s beloved brother who brought the creative arts, especially music, to the forefront in Sahaja Yoga. He encouraged and inspired Sahaja Yogis to greater and greater creative heights.
You believe that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and all-pervading. In fact, you believe that He is in every atom. As natural corollary of this belief, you must also know that God knows what you want or what your need is. If the first proposition is true, then second proposition has to be true. It would follow, therefore, that those who know that God is omnipotent and all-pervading are bound to accept that God is all-knowledgeable and therefore is aware of all your problems.
In spite of this fact, we always go to God with certain expectations. Expectations can be of various types, but are basically self-centred or are pertaining to people or relations you are attached to, and then you pray to God that He should grant you a particular relief, or a job promotion, or some benefit to you or your near ones, etc. When you go with this frame of mind, then most of the time you are disappointed. Hypothetically speaking, if your expectations are symbolised in A and what you get is, let us say, B; then A minus B is your disappointment. And then you have to attribute this disappointment to someone. The pessimists will attribute it to their bad luck and will always curse themselves for not being worthy of God’s favour.
The optimists will straight away blame God Himself, and they say that this God is not good and that we should shift to some other God. In this way you keep on shifting from God to God, but disappointment is always there. This may even make you anti-God and an atheist, ultimately. Now take a case where you do not go to God with any expectations. Therefore, the expectations are zero, and let us say that you get B as the reward. Therefore, B minus zero is B which is always surplus.
You should also distinguish between your expectations and desires, and pure desires. Pure desire is always for the benefit of the other, and therefore you are entitled to carry pure desires to the Divinity. I once remember, I was travelling with Shri Mataji from Sydney to Canberra, and it was very hot and the air-conditioning of the car was thoroughly inadequate. Shri Mataji was sweating and I was fanning Her with a newspaper, but I somehow felt that the heat was oppressive and that the weather should give some respite to Her. Reading my mind, She asked me a question as to what I was thinking, to which I told Her frankly that I was unable to see Her suffer because of heat. So She told me that I should make a pure desire and the weather would change. So I closed my eyes and made a pure desire that the weather should change.
Within five minutes, dark clouds gathered from nowhere and it started raining, and the intensity of heat was thus reduced and Shri Mataji said, “See, if you make a pure desire then it will always be fulfilled.”
Coming back to expectations, I may mention here that once you are connected to your Divinity through your Self Realisation, you should feel assured that you have been admitted into the Kingdom of God, that you are His subject and therefore He is duty-bound to look after you, irrespective of what you expect of Him. So please do not expect… Only pray to Shri Mataji that She should make you what She wants you to be.
Baba Mama, 1999
A Cultural Evening of Meditation, Music and Dance will be held at Richmond near Sydney. The program will include meditation through realisation, a recorded talk by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (the founder of Sahaja Yoga), a performance by the world music group, “Music of Joy”, and a special dance performance by Sandeep Bodhanker and students.
Please come along and enjoy a wonderful evening of music, dance and joyful meditation.
Date: Saturday 6 October 2007
Time: 7.00 pm
Venue: Richmond School of Arts (opposite library)
Corner March and West Market Sts