Basant Panchami 2021: Date, time and significance for 'Saraswati puja'
Students usually fast till the pushpanjali or offerings to Goddess Saraswati, while homes are decorated with marigold flowers and rangoli
Basant Panchami or Vasant Panchami is a Hindu festival heralding spring. On the occasion of Basant Panchami, people also worship Goddess Saraswati to get enlightenment and knowledge. Basant Panchami is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright half of the Hindu month of Magha, which usually falls in late January or February.
According to Drikpanchang, Vasant Panchami muhurat will start at 6.59 am on 16 February and go on till 12.35 pm. The Panchami tithi starts at 3.36 am on 16 February and ends on 5.46 am on 17 February.
The day is also known as Shri Panchami and Saraswati Panchami. According to Drikpanchang, Saraswati Puja is also a ritual of initiation education to children is known as Akshar-Abhyasam or Vidya-Arambham/Praasana.
Devotees wake up early in the morning of Basant Panchami, have a bath, wear sarees or other clothes in shades of yellow or white. Students usually fast till the pushpanjali or offerings to Goddess Saraswati. Homes are decorated with marigold flowers and rangoli.
According to Hindu mythology, Brahma created the universe and impressed with his own creation decided to see it with his own eyes. Brahma set out on a journey to see his creation but was disappointed with the complete silence. He had an idea and took some water in his kamandal and sprinkled it in the air. A deity emerged from a tree with a harp in her hand and was requested to play something. The deity obliged to bless the people of the Earth with her voice, filling the planet with music. She came to be known as Saraswati or Veena Vadini.
The goddess is depicted as a white saree-clad woman who is seated on a white lotus and holding a veena. Her mount is the white swan or hamsa. The word Saraswati is derived from 'saras' that is flow in watery pools and the suffix 'wati' which means possessor. Thus, Goddess Saraswati is the embodiment of the perennial flow of knowledge.
The swan, which is the carrier of Saraswati is supposed to possess incredible power of discrimination between real and unreal, right and wrong.
While in Bengal she is popularly known as Saraswati, Sharada, Bagdevi and Veenapani, in Telegu, she is known as Chaduvula and in Kannada, Sharadamba. Outside India, Saraswati is known as Thurathadi in Mayanmar, Biàncáitin in China and Benzaiten in Japan.
According to Hindu scriptures, Saraswati is also a part of the three main goddesses or tridevi. The other two are Lakshmi and Parvati. The goddess of learning, arts and cultural fulfilment, she symbolises universal intelligence, consciousness and knowledge. Manu is considered to be the son of Brahma and Saraswati. The Manusmriti was penned by him and contains moral laws about how to behave.