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Prayer To Goddess Saraswati From Rig Veda – Meaning Explanation

The particular prayer to Goddess Saraswati is 11th mantra in the 43rd sukta of the 5th mandala of the Rig Veda. There are 17 mantras in this sukta and these are used in the Vedic ritual of Aponaptriya associated with Soma Yaga, purported to bring rain.

नो दिवो बृहतः पर्व तादा सरस्वती यजता गन्तु यज्ञम्।

हवं देवी जुजुषाणा घृताची शग्मां नो वाचमुशती शृणोतु॥ RV 5.43.11

नः – our दिवः – from the luminous (higher) region बृहतः पर्व तात् –from the
great mountain/atmosphere/clouds ** गन्तु – come सरस्वती – Sarasvati यजता – the one who is worship worthy (गन्तु ) – come यज्ञम् – Yajna/act of worship
हवम् – our invite/call  देवी – Goddess जुजुषाणा – listening to the hymns of praise घृताची – the one.

May the worship-worthy Sarasvati arrive at our yajna from the luminous heavens, from the mountains or the clouds. May she desire to listen to our supplication and shower rain. (meaning as per Sri Sayanacharya’s commentary)

About this mantra the Rigvidhana of Shaunaka states: “He who wakes early, purifies himself and chants this mantra becomes intelligent and eloquent.”

The seer of the mantra is Atri and the Goddess is Maa Saraswati.

The mantra says that Sarasvati comes flowing from the mountains. Rivers facilitate

irrigation, thereby agriculture and food production. Thus the mantra — that refer to food and water — clearly adore and sing the glory of the river Sarasvati.

Scholars are of the view that the Vedic civilization blossomed and flourished on the banks of the Sarasvati River before it dried up due to tectonic shift. Going by this view, Mother Sarasvati is the source of the Vedas and the knowledge-centric spiritual civilisation that prospered on her banks. In the Puranas as well as in contemporary times Sarasvati is regarded as the presiding deity of knowledge. Being the Mother that facilitated the manifestation of the Vedas, the fountainhead of all knowledge, she emerged in this role of divinity of knowledge, as the civilization moved forward.

The river is a powerful symbol of knowledge and its expression. The perennial flow of the river may be taken to signify the eternally relevant Dharmic and spiritual knowledge. The flow may also indicate the need for knowledge to be dynamic for it to be relevant.

The river Sarasvati and its flow may also be taken to signify service to others paropakaraya vahanti nadyah. Inspired by Mother Sarasvati, may our knowledge, words, and deeds be in the service of others.

In his commentary on the Yoga Sutras (1.12), Maharishi Vyasa presents the concept of Cittanadi or the mind-river. A river never stops flowing; so too is the flow of thoughts in the mind. He also points out that the Citta-nadi could flow towards auspiciousness (vahati kalyanaya) or towards negativity (vahati papaya). May the river Goddess Sarasvati, the benevolent deity, make our Cittanadi flow ever towards auspiciousness alone.