vande shAradAm.h

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 30 15:30:56 CDT 1998

>> The aShTottaram I have on shrI sarasvatI calls HER shivAnujA. Can
>> some on throw more light on this aspect, highlighting HER as the
>> sister of shiva (whose guru aspect was well explained by Rama's
>> post).
>There are lots of purANic sources for this. Especially, see Devi
>Bhagavatam, where Candika, the first Mother Goddess splits into three,
>called Mahakali, Mahalakshmi and Mahasarasvati. Each of these Goddesses
>turn give birth to a male child and a female child. Kali is the sister
>Vishnu, Lakshmi is the sister of Brahma and Sarasvati is the sister of
>There is also a Vedic mythological source for making Sarasvati the
>of Siva. In this story, Rudra springs up from tears, and becomes angry
>that Brahma, the Creator, feels lust for Sarasvati, whom Brahma himself
>has created. In this sense, Rudra and Sarasvati are both children of
>Brahma, hence siblings. The story goes on to say that Rudra plucks out
>of the heads of Brahma, out of his anger at the incestuous lust felt by
>the Creator.
>Needless to say, myth has multiple layers of meaning.

 The last mentioned story of Rudra's anger at BrahmA is told in a
 slightly different way in the Aitareya BrAhmaNa. Here Rudra shoots
 an arrow at PrajApati, the Creator (who transforms into BrahmA in
 the PurANas), who is in the form of a stag trying to mate with his
 own offspring. Also, the daughter here in the brAhmaNa is not called
 SarasvatI but by another name, probably UShA (dawn).

 Apart from the moral implications, the real meaning seems to be
 that Rudra is angry at the act of creation by PrajApati. Creation
 can be viewed as disturbing the natural state of bliss of the

 The shatarudrIya (Shri Rudram) which begins with "namaste rudra
 manyava uto ta iShave namaH| namaste astu dhanvane ..." seems to
 be addressing Rudra who has assumed this terrifying aspect of
 shooting the fiery arrow at PrajApati, thereby punishing him.
 This is my conjecture and  I am puzzled why BhaTTa BhAskara
 interprets it as a prayer to Rudra as the destroyer of tripura,
 although I agree this second interpretation also makes sense.
 In fact, Rudra as the destroyer of tripura in the mahAbhArata
 could be a transformation of Rudra as the punisher of PrajApati
 in the Vedas. Rudra as One who shot the arrow at the divine
 stag is indeed the basis for calling Him "mR^igavyAdha", the
 hunter of animals. The shrI Rudram also says "namo mR^igayubhyaH"
 to indicate this.

 Some scholars have given an astronomical interpretation to the
 story of Rudra's shooting the arrow at PrajApati the Creator as
 told in the Aitareya brAhmaNa. According to them the story describes
 the (creation?) of the constellation "mR^igashira" (one of the 27
 constellations in the Hindu zodiac), the constellation "rohiNI", and
 the dog-star, Sirius, called "mR^igavyAdha." (Incidentally, the
 dog-star, Sirius is the basis of the American saying "dog-days of
 August" when the summer heat is supposed to peak coinciding with
 the sighting of this star.)

 Finally, sarasvatI is extolled well in the R^ig Veda - the famous
 R^ik "pra No devI sarasvatI ..." which is customarily recited
 at the beginning (but after "gaNAnAm.h tvA gaNapatim.h") of any
 Vedic recitation is from the R^ig Veda. This R^ik and nine others
 are taught by AshvalAyana as granting perfect knowledge in the
 sarasvatI-rahasya-upaniShad. sarasvatI is also extolled in the
 R^ig Veda as the best of mothers, the best of rivers, and the
 best of Goddesses - "aMbitame nadItame devItame sarasvati..."

 sarasvatI is also identified with the Goddess shAradA of Kashmir.

 namaste sharade devi kAshmirapuravAsini |
 tvAmahaM prArthaye nityaM vidyAdAnaM cha dehi me||

 Salutations to You O Goddess shAradA, who dwell in Kashmir!
 I pray constantly that You grant me the gift of knowledge.


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Thanks for shrI Anand and shrI Vidyasankar for their informative


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