Yester day was the Vasantha Panchami day also known as Magh Sukla panchami. The day the Godess of Learning, Saraswati or Sarada took birth. The day falling in Jan- Feb, every year heralds the advent of spring.
Many parents take this auspicious day to initiate their children into learning the alphabet.
There are several sanskrit slokas extolling Saraswati, which I have learnt through their recitation by my parents when I was young.Very recently I have learnt a song of Maharaja Swathi Tirunal, the 19th century Poet Composer and the scion of the erstwhile Travancoor kingdom, about Saraswathi. It is set to tune in the Raga Chaya Naat (vallabhi). by Dr.M. Bala Murali Krishna.I have learnt this song from Prince Rama Varma who is a descendant of Swathi Tirunal..
The Song in Sanskrit goes as follows.
“I hail thee Oh, Saraswathi, My Mother,
I hail thee Oh, Bhawani, Oh, Sarwani, you who are the harbinger and bestower of happiness to the three worlds.
You hold the Veena in one of your hands with which you create great music. In another you hold The Book ( Vedas and Upanishads), containing all knowledge..
You are the embodiment of all skills and learning, so the Gods and the humans alike bow to you.
You reside securely, in this mind of, me who is a servant of the lotus-like feet of Lord Padmanabha (Vishnu)
.I hail thhe , Oh, Saraswathi, my Mother. ‘
Saraswathi, is the consort of Lord Brahma, The Creator of the Universe.There are certain mythological stories in some Puranas about Her birth and Her alliance with Lord Brahma , which seem to be extrapolations. They seem to arise from the dilemmas that faced the innocent people in the ancient times. These are like, “Is there one God only at the beginning? If so, was the God a male or Female. Did he create his consort ? If he created his consort, doesn’t it amount to incest if he takes Her as his consort? etc.”
Such dilemmas existed in all cultures. Take for example the story of Pygmalion, the sculptor. ,the story of Electra and the story of Adam and Eve.
Talking of Pygmalion the English drama of that name by G.B.Shaw, comes to mind. The story is about an English professor, Dr. Higgins, who rues that the English language was getting corrupted by its native speakers.
He bids a wager with his friend Col. Pickering. The wager is that Dr. Higgins would teach a simple flowergirl. within a few months, to speak polished English and to deport herself like a Duchess.
He succeeds in his effort, but in this process antagonises her. Along the way, he develops love towards his protege, but is repulsed by her in preference to a callow youth to whom she takes a fancy, because he is more considerate to her than the professor.
This story was made into a Hollywood picture in 1964, titled, “My Fair Lady” . I used to have an LP record of the songs of that movie, when I was young, which I used to play loudly, to the annoyance of others in my house.