A Vedic prayer for concentration to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom who is revered around the world in many names. She is Saraswati in Indonesia and Cambodia, Surasawadee in Thailand, Thurathadi in Burma, Benzaiten in Japan, Biàncáitiān in China, and Yang-chen-ma or the ‘melodious lady’ in Tibet. The Celts and their druids called her Brighid, the Goddess of the White Swan and Poetry. She was Athena to the ancient Greeks and Minerva to the Romans of yore, while the Egyptians called her Seshat.

The Vedas which flourished on the banks of the river Saraswati hail her as the best of Mothers, best of rivers, and the best of Goddesses. This invocation and the Medha-suktam is an example of how the ancient allegories use symbolism to interlink natural phenomena to divinity, and finally assimilate various aspects of nature into the concept of the divine, thereby mapping everything in the natural world to the Universe. Just like the flowing river is hailed as a manifestation of the goddess, the verse projects Saraswati’s vehicle the Swan from a symbol of discrimination into Hamsa, a symbol of the Universal Soul.

Pranams to the Goddess who personifies the essence of art and literature and is an allegory for the light of wisdom that illuminates and edifies the human spirit.