This year on January 22, 2018, students all over Nepal celebrate Shree Panchami – the birthday of goddess Saraswati. The festival also known as Basanta Panchami is also celebrated as Saraswati Puja. Last year, the festival was on February 1 (read last year’s report here.).
Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, learning, art, music and culture. The festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright half of the Nepali month of Magh.
Mainly the Hindu and Sikh communities of Nepal and eastern parts of India celebrate Saraswati Puja festival. In addition to worshiping Saraswati, the festival also symbolizes the start of the spring season in Nepal.
(Read more about 6 Seasons in Nepal)
The prayer of Saraswati:
One who is so fair like garland of Kunda flower(a white flower) and snow flakes, who has worn white apparel;whose hand is placed on the stem of the Veena,
who sits on white lotus; one who has always been worshiped by lords like Brahma, Vishnu and Shankar; I need blessings of that goddess Saraswati who completely takes away lethargy from within.
(Saraswoti Art by Anannaya)
This stotra is chanted while worshiping the goddess.
The Sanskrit verse “Saraswati Maya Drista” is usually taught to Nepali children at school or at home by their parents in belief that the goddess of education, Saraswati encourages them to do well in education. The poem was also included in the curriculum of grade 2 Nepali textbook. It is however removed from the current textbook.
sarasvatee maya drshta veenaapustakadhaarinee
hansavaahanasanyukta vidyaadaanan karotu me
prathaman bhaaratee naam dviteeyanch sarasvatee
trteeyan shaarada devee chaturth hansavaahinee
panchaman tu jaganmaata shashthan vaageeshvaree tatha
saptaman chaiv kaumaaree ashtaman varadaayinee
navaman buddhidaatree ch dashaman brahmachaarinee
ekaadashan chandraghanta dvaadashan bhuvaneshvaree
dvaadashai taani naamaani trisandhyan ya pathennarah
jivhaagre vasate tasy brahmaroopa sarasvatee
सरस्वती मया दृष्टा वीणापुस्तकधारिणी
हंसवाहनसंयुक्ता विद्यादानं करोतु मे
प्रथमं भारती नाम द्वितीयञ्च सरस्वती
तृतीयं शारदा देवी चतुर्थ हंसवाहिनी
पञ्चमं तु जगन्माता षष्ठं वागीश्वरी तथा
सप्तमं चैव कौमारी अष्टमं वरदायिनी
नवमं बुद्धिदात्री च दशमं ब्रह्मचारिणी
एकादशं चन्द्रघण्टा द्वादशं भुवनेश्वरी
द्वादशै तानि नामानि त्रिसन्ध्यं य पठेन्नरः
जिव्हाग्रे वसते तस्य ब्रह्मरूपा सरस्वती