Vasant Panchami, also known as Magh Shukla Panchami falls in the Hindu calendar month of Magh (January-February). ‘Vasant’ comes from the word ‘spring’ and this festival heralds the beginning of the spring season.
Vasant Panchami is the festival dedicated to Mata Saraswati, the Goddess of learning. It is the birthday of Goddess Saraswati and is a festival full of religious, seasonal and social significance. It is celebrated by Hindus all over the world with verve and great enthusiasm.
Yellow color is given special importance on this day. On Vasant Panchami, Goddess Saraswati is dressed in yellow garments and worshipped (with Puja, Havan etc.). Men and women try to wear yellow clothes on this day. Even the food is colored yellow by using saffron (kesar). Sweetmeats of yellowish hues are exchanged with relations and friends. There is also a custom of ancestor worship, known as ‘Pitri-Tarpan’ in many parts of India during Vasant Panchami.
On this memorable day, Lord Shiva burnt the god of love (kama), Cupid. The gods had sent Cupid to tempt the Lord while he was absorbed in Samadhi, in order to beget a powerful son who would be able to destroy the wicked demon, Tarakasura. Cupid discharged an arrow at Lord Shiva from behind a tree. Lord Shiva became very greatly enraged. He opened His third eye and reduced Cupid to ashes.
One should worship Ma Saraswati in the morning on this day. Ma Saraswati is believed to reside in the books and pens as well. Therefore, these articles too are worshipped on this day. The following widely popular Saraswati Vandana may be recited on this day:
या कुन्देन्दु तुषार हार धवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता |
या वीणावरदंड मंडितकरा या श्वेत पद्मासना ||
Salutations to the Supreme Goddess Saraswati, whose face is fair as a jasmine flower, luminescent like the moon and delicate as a snow flake; who is dressed in brilliant white (shubhra-) garments (vastraA-). She holds the musical instrument (vINA-) in her hands to bestow boons (varada.nDa-) to her disciples as she sits on her white (shveta-) lotus (padma-) throne (aasanA-). She is dressed in white – the symbol of purity – and rides on a white swan – symbolizing Sattva Guna or purity and discrimination.
Sree Saraswathi Namosthute
Shree saraswa | -thi namost ||
-huthe varadhe paradhevathe ||
Shree pathi gowri pathi guruguha vinuthe vidhiyuvathe || (Shree)
Vasanadhraya | Vivarjhitha ||
Varamuuni Vag | -veetha Moorthe ||
Vasavadhyakh | -illa neerjara ||
Varavitharana | Bahhukeerthe || (repeat)
Varavitharana | Bahhukeerthe [Da] ||
-raga sayutha-mukham burughe |
Adhbutha charanam burughe ||
Samsaara beedyaapahE |
Sakala Mantrakshara Guhe || (Shree)
O Sri Saraswati, Supreme Goddess, I pray to you. Your are adored by Lord Vishnu (Sripati), Lord Siva (Gowripati) and Lord Shanmukha and you are the consort of Lord Brahma.
You are the remover of three longing desires (to acquire land, wealth and women), worshipped by demigods and sages. You are the bestower of boons to all the gods and people including Lord Vishnu. You are of great fame and repute.
Your lotus-like face always wears a beautiful smile. Your feet are made from the beautiful lotus flower. You remove fear of the cycle of birth and death and hold the secret of all syllables in hymns.
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