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Hamsa or Swan – the Vahana or Vehicle of Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi

Hamsa, or White Swan, is the Vahana (vehicle) of Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi. In Hinduism, Lord Brahma performs the act of creation and Goddess Saraswati is the Goddess of art and learning. Hamsa is considered to have the capacity to separate milk from a mixture of milk and water. This particular capacity of making fine distinctions is an essential requisite of creation. Therefore Lord Brahma is shown as riding on a Swan.

Goddess Saraswati also has Hamsa as her Vahana. Here again the Swan’s capacity to make fine distinctions is symbolically used – creative power, knowledge, inner realization and outer glorification of the Lord are all products of the discriminative power. 

Writing on the subject Swamini Saradapriyananda finds more hidden symbolisms in using Swan as a Vahana:

‘Hamsa’ is an abbreviation of the twin terms “Aha Sah”: (I am He). The creation is a manifestation of the Lord moving in time space continuum. Everything in creation moves incessantly declaring ‘I am HE.’ …the whole creation is proclaiming the great truth that, all that is seen and heard is ‘HE.’ This is Brahma on Hamsa. He who understands this becomes enlightened and released from the bonds of matter.

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