Mother Sarasvati

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

One should offer respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, unto Nara-nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, the supermost human being, unto mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, and unto Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the author.
SB 1.2.4, Translation and Purport:

Before reciting this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the very means of conquest, one should offer respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, unto Nara-nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, the supermost human being, unto mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, and unto Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the author.

All the Vedic literatures and the Purāṇas are meant for conquering the darkest region of material existence. The living being is in the state of forgetfulness of his relation with God due to his being overly attracted to material sense gratification from time immemorial. His struggle for existence in the material world is perpetual, and it is not possible for him to get out of it by making plans. If he at all wants to conquer this perpetual struggle for existence, he must reestablish his eternal relation with God. And one who wants to adopt such remedial measures must take shelter of literatures such as the Vedas and the Purāṇas. Foolish people say that the Purāṇas have no connection with the Vedas. However, the Purāṇas are supplementary explanations of the Vedas intended for different types of men. All men are not equal. There are men who are conducted by the mode of goodness, others who are under the mode of passion and others who are under the mode of ignorance.

SB Canto 7

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has explained these words in a very interesting way as they can be interpreted from the side of Sarasvatī, the mother of learning.
SB 7.8.5, Purport:

Everyone is interested in his own family and in making his dynasty famous, but Prahlāda Mahārāja was so liberal that he made no distinction between one living entity and another. Therefore he was greater than the great prajāpatis who established their dynasties. The word stabdham means obstinate. A devotee does not care for the instructions of the asuras. When they give instructions, he remains silent. A devotee cares about the instructions of Kṛṣṇa, not those of demons or nondevotees. He does not give any respect to a demon, even though the demon be his father. Mac-chāsanodvṛttam: Prahlāda Mahārāja was disobedient to the orders of his demoniac father. Yama-kṣayam: every conditioned soul is under the control of Yamarāja, but Hiraṇyakaśipu said that he considered Prahlāda Mahārāja his deliverer, for Prahlāda would stop Hiraṇyakaśipu's repetition of birth and death. Because Prahlāda Mahārāja, being a great devotee, was better than any yogī, Hiraṇyakaśipu was to be brought among the society of bhakti-yogīs. Thus Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has explained these words in a very interesting way as they can be interpreted from the side of Sarasvatī, the mother of learning.

SB Canto 8

SB 8.13.17, Translation:

In the eighth manvantara, the greatly powerful Personality of Godhead Sārvabhauma will take birth. His father will be Devaguhya, and His mother will be Sarasvatī. He will take the kingdom away from Purandara (Lord Indra) and give it to Bali Mahārāja.

SB 8.18.16, Translation:

O King, Lord Brahmā offered a waterpot to the inexhaustible Supreme Personality of Godhead, the seven sages offered Him kuśa grass, and mother Sarasvatī gave Him a string of Rudrākṣa beads.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

It is stated in the Bhakti-ratnākara that Keśava Kāśmīrī was a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning.
CC Adi 16.25, Purport:

The Bhakti-ratnākara mentions Keśava Kāśmīrī and lists his predecessors in the disciplic succession of the Nimbārka-sampradāya: (1) Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, (2) Viśva Ācārya, (3) Puruṣottama, (4) Vilāsa, (5) Svarūpa, (6) Mādhava, (7) Balabhadra, (8) Padma, (9) Śyāma, (10) Gopāla, (11) Kṛpā, (12) Deva Ācārya, (13) Sundara Bhaṭṭa, (14) Padmanābha, (15) Upendra, (16) Rāmacandra, (17) Vāmana, (18) Kṛṣṇa, (19) Padmākara, (20) Śravaṇa, (21) Bhūri, (22) Mādhava, (23) Śyāma, (24) Gopāla, (25) Balabhadra, (26) Gopīnātha, (27) Keśava, (28) Gokula and (29) Keśava Kāśmīrī. It is stated in the Bhakti-ratnākara that Keśava Kāśmīrī was a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning. By her grace he was an extremely influential scholar, and he was the greatest champion among all the scholars in the four corners of the country. Therefore he got the title dig-vijayī, which means "one who has conquered everyone in all directions." He belonged to a very respectable brāhmaṇa family of Kashmir. Later, by the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he gave up the profession of winning championships and became a great devotee. He joined the Nimbārka-sampradāya, one of the Vaiṣṇava communities of the Vedic culture.

Keśava Kāśmīrī was a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as the master of the goddess of learning, has the right to speak sarcastically of her devotees.
CC Adi 16.38, Translation and Purport:

“Your poetry is so difficult that no one can understand it but you and mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning.

Replying to Keśava Kāśmīrī sarcastically, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu indirectly minimized the value of his poetry by saying, "Yes, your compositions are so nice that no one but you and your worshipable mother, the goddess of learning, can understand them." Keśava Kāśmīrī was a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as the master of the goddess of learning, has the right to speak sarcastically of her devotees. In other words, although Keśava Kāśmīrī was proud of being favored by the goddess of learning, he did not know that she is controlled by Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to the champion, Keśava Kāśmīrī, that just as he was greatly proud of being a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, so someone else, like Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, being favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, could become a śruti-dhara and thus memorize anything immediately simply by hearing it.
CC Adi 16.44, Purport:

In this connection, śruti-dhara is a very important word. Śruti means "hearing," and dhara means "one who can capture." Formerly, before the beginning of Kali-yuga, almost everyone, especially among the intelligent men, the brāhmaṇas, was a śruti-dhara. As soon as a student heard any of the Vedic wisdom from his master, he would remember it forever. There was no need to refer to books, and therefore there were no written books in those days. The spiritual master delivered the Vedic hymns and their explanations to the student, who would then remember them forever, without consulting books.

To become a śruti-dhara, one who can remember simply by hearing, is a great achievement for a student. In the Bhagavad-gītā (10.41) the Lord says:

yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ śrīmad ūrjitam eva vā
tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṁ mama tejo-’ṁśa-sambhavam

"Know that all opulent, beautiful and glorious creations spring from but a spark of My splendor."

As soon as we find anything extraordinary, we should understand that such an extraordinary manifestation is the special grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to the champion, Keśava Kāśmīrī, that just as he was greatly proud of being a favorite devotee of mother Sarasvatī, so someone else, like Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself, being favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, could become a śruti-dhara and thus memorize anything immediately simply by hearing it.

Mother Sarasvatī created this situation to favor the champion paṇḍita so that he might surrender unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
CC Adi 16.89, Translation and Purport:

“This mere boy has blocked my intelligence. I can therefore understand that mother Sarasvatī has become angry with me.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly said that all intelligence comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone's heart as the Paramātmā. The Paramātmā gave the paṇḍita the intelligence to understand that because he was proud of his learning and wanted to defeat even the Supreme Lord, by the will of the Lord and through the agency of mother Sarasvatī he had been defeated. One should not, therefore, be too proud of one's position. Even if one is a greatly learned scholar, if he commits an offense to the lotus feet of the Lord he will not be able to speak properly, in spite of his learning. In every respect, we are controlled. Our only duty, therefore, is to surrender always to the lotus feet of the Lord and not be falsely proud. Mother Sarasvatī created this situation to favor the champion paṇḍita so that he might surrender unto Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

CC Adi 16.90, Translation:

"The wonderful explanation the boy has given could not have been possible for a human being. Therefore mother Sarasvatī must have spoken personally through His mouth."

CC Adi 16.94, Translation:

"My dear sir, I do not know what is good composition and what is bad. But whatever I have spoken must be understood to have been spoken by mother Sarasvatī."

CC Adi 16.95, Translation:

When he heard this judgment from Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the paṇḍita sorrowfully wondered why mother Sarasvatī wanted to defeat him through a small boy.

CC Adi 16.105, Translation:

In this way both the poet and Caitanya Mahāprabhu went back to their homes, and at night the poet worshiped mother Sarasvatī.

CC Antya-lila

Fortunately, through your words, the goddess of learning, mother Sarasvatī, has tactfully offered her prayers to her master, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu."
CC Antya 5.135, Translation and Purport:

“You have written something irregular, not knowing the regulative principles, but the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī, has used your words to offer her prayers to the Supreme Lord.

Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī informed the Bengali poet, "Because of your ignorance and your leaning toward Māyāvāda philosophy, you cannot distinguish the difference between the Māyāvāda and Vaiṣṇava philosophies. Therefore the process you have adopted to praise Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Jagannātha does not follow the proper system; indeed, it is irregular and offensive. Fortunately, however, through your words, the goddess of learning, mother Sarasvatī, has tactfully offered her prayers to her master, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu."

CC Antya 5.136, Translation:

“Sometimes demons, and even Lord Indra, the King of heaven, chastised Kṛṣṇa, but mother Sarasvatī, taking advantage of their words, offered prayers to the Lord.

In this verse also, mother Sarasvatī offers prayers to Kṛṣṇa.
CC Antya 5.143, Translation and Purport:

“The demon Jarāsandha chastised Kṛṣṇa, saying, "You are the lowest of human beings. I shall not fight with You, for You killed Your own relatives."

In this verse also, mother Sarasvatī offers prayers to Kṛṣṇa. The word puruṣa-adhama refers to the Personality of Godhead, under whom all other persons remain, or, in other words, puruṣa-uttama, the best of all living beings. Similarly, the word bandhu-han means "the killer of māyā." In the conditioned state of life, one is closely related with māyā as a friend, but when one comes in contact with Kṛṣṇa one is freed from that relationship.

CC Antya 5.144, Translation:

Mother Sarasvatī takes "puruṣādhama" to mean "puruṣottama," "He to whom all men are subordinate."

By using the word "bandhu-han," mother Sarasvatī says that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the vanquisher of māyā.
CC Antya 5.145, Translation and Purport:

“Nescience, or māyā, may be called "bandhu" because she entangles everyone in the material world. Therefore by using the word "bandhu-han," mother Sarasvatī says that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the vanquisher of māyā.

Everyone is entangled in the illusory energy, but as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.14), mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te: (BG 7.14) as soon as one surrenders to Kṛṣṇa, he is freed from māyā. Therefore Kṛṣṇa may be called bandhu-han, the killer of māyā.

CC Antya 5.147, Translation:

“In that way, although your verse is blasphemous according to your meaning, mother Sarasvatī has taken advantage of it to offer prayers to the Lord.

CC Antya 5.154, Translation:

“Thus I have explained the meaning intended by mother Sarasvatī, the goddess of learning. It is your great fortune that you have described Lord Jagannātha and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in that way.

Lectures

Philosophy Discussions

He was crying and remembering the goddess of learning, that "I am so foolish, my dear mother Sarasvatī. You did not favor me, so I shall kill myself." With great lamentation he was going to die.
Philosophy Discussion on John Dewey:

Prabhupāda: So when he was brought to the girl, the girl held up one finger and he showed two fingers, and then the all the paṇḍitas, "Oh, the answer is given him. Your girl says eka brahma, 'Brahman is one.' " And he immediately answered (indistinct), "There is no two Brahma. Brahman is one." The girl also thought, "Yes, this boy is a genius." So in this way this foolish man was made her husband, and at night, when she came to understand that he was fool number one, she kicked him and asked him, "Get out of my room." So he became very insulted: "My wife has kicked me. I am so fool. So I shall make suicide by drowning in the water." He was crying and remembering the goddess of learning, that "I am so foolish, my dear mother Sarasvatī. You did not favor me, so I shall kill myself." With great lamentation he was going to die. At that time, Sarasvatī became very kind and she appeared, "Kālidāsa, why you are drowning this way?" "My mother, this is my position. I have been insulted by my wife because I am a fool." "All right, from henceforward you shall be very learned." "Oh, but I do not know..." "No, whatever you say, it will be all right." He got this benediction from mother Sarasvatī. He came back, then he was knocking the door. The wife said, "Who are you?" He replied, hastigrati vada viśeṣaṇa (?), "Somebody who can speak very learnedly." Then whatever he was replying, he became, by the grace of Sarasvatī, he became highly learned scholarly speaking.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1969 Conversations and Morning Walks

"How is that, that you can repeat? How is that?" "Oh, that is grace of mother Sarasvatī. Just like you can compose a hundred verses within a few minutes, I can, whatever you say, I can remember immediately."
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 14, 1969, Columbus, Ohio:

Prabhupāda: Dośa. In Sanskrit word it is called dvir-ukti-dośa. Dvi means two. Rukti means utterance. And dośa means fault.

Allen Ginsberg: Fault. Yes.

Prabhupāda: Fault. Yes. So dvir-ukti-dośa. So he was conscious. Then he said, "Well, I understand that you are a student of grammar. How do you detect this, this literary discrepancies?" "No. I am student. I am your student. I do not pose. I am not scholar, but I have heard this is told like that. From other scholars I have heard." "How could You remember? I cited one hundred verses and how do You remember the sixty-fourth verses?" "Oh, I can repeat the whole verses."

Allen Ginsberg: (laughs) Uh huh.

Prabhupāda: "How is that, that you can repeat? How is that?" "Oh, that is grace of mother Sarasvatī. Just like you can compose a hundred verses within a few minutes, I can, whatever you say, I can remember immediately." Formerly that was the system of understanding Vedas, śruti, simply by hearing. Once they hear from the spiritual master, they will remember. The memory was so sharp. Therefore this brahmacārī system is so nice. They can enhance their memorizing power, brahmacārī.

He was also great worshiper of mother Sarasvatī. Then he began to pray to Sarasvatī, "Mother Sarasvatī, by your grace I have become victorious in so many places. And what is this, that I am defeated by a boy who is a grammar student?"
Room Conversation with Allen Ginsberg -- May 14, 1969, Columbus, Ohio:

Prabhupāda: Yes. Vidya, the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. In our childhood we used to worship Sarasvatī: "Please, mother, give me pass this examination." That was our prayer. So other students, they laughed very loudly. They thought that "Caitanya has come out very victorious within a second." He said, "No. Stop." Then He stopped all these talkings, and... "So you are so... I have to talk with you. You are very learned." Ordinary formalities. Then he went away. And he was also great worshiper of mother Sarasvatī. Then he began to pray to Sarasvatī, "Mother Sarasvatī, by your grace I have become victorious in so many places. And what is this, that I am defeated by a boy who is a grammar student?" So he began to pray, and mother Sarasvatī informed her (him) that "He is God, my husband. So you speak means I speak. So how can I defeat my husband? That is not..." (knock at door) Come on. Come on. (someone enters) Yes, come. Yes. You can put there. (someone offers obeisances) Put there. All right. Put there. That's all. Very good. So then he further did not attempt to talk with Him. He went away, and the mother Sarasvatī advised him that "You surrender unto Him. That will be your nice role. Yes." So later on, he became a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, Keśava Kāśmīrī.

Facts about "Mother Sarasvati"
Compiled byMatea +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entrySeptember 6, 0010 JL +
Date of last entrySeptember 6, 0010 JL +
Total quotes22 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 4 +, CC: 15 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 1 +, Conv: 2 + and Let: 0 +