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Saraswati is strongly associated with flowing water in her role as a goddess of knowledge. She is depicted as a beautiful woman to embody the concept of knowledge as supremely alluring. She possesses four arms, and is usually shown wearing a spotless white sari and seated on a white lotus or riding a white swan.

According to writer Sailen Debnath, "Saraswati is the Goddess of learning; and the meaning of the goddess in association of all the symbols with her signifies that if a learner really understands and pursues the connotative and denotative meaning of the goddess, he or she can easily advance in acquiring knowledge. The realization of the Goddess makes the learner ready to embark on the world of knowledge and wisdom."[4] Debneth identifies seven primary characteristics and symbols of the goddess that relate to her role as a goddess of knowledge.

  • Saraswati is the goddess of learning, and not a god; the feminine aspect signifies creativity, as a woman can originate a human being in her womb.
  • The white colour of the goddess signifies spotless character and an immaculate mind.
  • She is seated on an inverted white lotus, meaning to be in search of the light of knowledge.
  • A white swan is the vehicle of the goddess, indicative of inquisitiveness.
  • The goddess is playing the vina; this signifies harmony of all mental strings, agencies and attitudes.
  • The goddess is worshipped with Palash, a red odourless flower; this symbol is indicative of being free from preconceptions.
  • Inkpot with pen and books as symbols.
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