Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Sap Flows - Spring Awakening

From Incognita:

The sublime energy we revere as Sarasvati/Saraswati (do read the article so you can enjoy this post better - my post is among other things,  a response to some of her ideas and was perhaps a trigger for it) is portrayed as wild and willful in this article by Mrinal Pande with her playfully irreverent interpretation based on a plethora of details culled from mythology, folklore and her own deeply personal understanding.
I quote below from the article on the history of the deity.
"The verb behind the name Saraswati is the Sanskrit sru, signifying a constant and self-renewing flow of both pure water and also gyan or knowledge. A river with a name such as this was bound to merge and mutate with the Vedic goddess Vac, the creator of multiple streams of fluid thought. Thus Saraswati was born as a constantly purifying, fertilising force that lent a fluidity to languages and sustained all art forms."
Even as we associate her with movement and flow, equally can the goddess be calm, still and contemplative as in the unruffled waters of a lake on a calm day.
When you see her statue, poised in meditation you understand she is her own person.

Image taken from http://www.lotussculpture.com/ - dates back to 2008. 
Bronze sculpture from South India

And today she decided to make her demand for a post in her honor.  The call of The Muse has to be heeded so this post is neither about my Kashi experience nor the sequel to the diamond-and-date saga as promised to readers. But to be sure it contains teasers to both which you will spot.

Within our veins, in the waterways of our land, through the stems of plants, through cracks in rocks, through the moist breeze as it energizes the spaces between naked branches awaiting spring's awakening breath, the sap of life flows. Again sap held my attention as I sifted through my memories of Diamond Harbour's dates and the story I planned to share. Popular lore has it that Sarasvati and Lakshmi are rivals. My own understanding tells me though, that they flow in and out of each other and hold each other together in synergy.
I think of the date palm being tapped at the base of the crown  enabling the sap that emerges to collect in an earthen pot tied to the trunk just below.


I think of nature's dynamic, of food we draw energy from, food that sustains the body and the mind. The earthen pot (Lakshmi the earth goddess) receives the one that flows.
I recall the wood-nymph we encountered waiting for us under a tree, resting calmly on the earth's lap and waiting to be absorbed by her.
Photo - Kim Raikes

As I write this Kim looks at the picture and shares these thoughts.
"I have such wonderful memories of this encounter! You had seen her in the park at the time of Sarasvati puja in early Feb. and were hoping she would still be there when we arrived in May. Amazingly, she waited all that time for us. She seemed to be almost melting into the tree and the earth, an ephemeral spirit. I am still in awe of her gracious welcome and creative wisdom. And I am still thanking the unknown person who placed her by that tree, for others to experience her divine presence!"

Images of earthen pots with tender sap dripping into them bring me to what I am in the process of creating as an offering to celebrate Sarasvati's festival. You guessed it - Lakshmi in the form of kheer cooked with all those symbols of the goddess - rice, milk and sweet scented spices. I am in a fix whether to attribute the date palm sap I pour in, to Lakshmi or to Sarasvati. Meanwhile I see myself with ladle in hand stirring the pot and watching the rice grains soften and melt into the milk. I see myself in the image of Annapurna the Goddess of Kashi (Varanasi).
Without her shakti(feminine energy), the flowing sap and the freshly harvested rice can't come together as one , nor be served to sustain the universe.  She is the goddess of provision.I smile happily, with renewed understanding of the magical trio of Devis and their secret covenant with one another. They resonate with our Triple Spiral - the creators of this venture in 2012. Our energies and our contributions have always been interchangeable. When one of us goes into a state of meditation, another one takes over and sings and dances, while a third stirs the pot with a heady brew.
As the palm sap flows gently into the cooking pot, my understanding of these divine energies rises to another level.




No Lakshmi is not necessarily about "big things and big money", though she can deal with them on their terms. She is even more fundamentally about the life-giving essentials, the rice that Annapurna is the dispenser of! And Sarasvati is the wisdom that enables us to realize this interconnection.  Wisdom is still even as it flows - a paradox.

The article by Ms Pande quotes from Vac Sutra (Scroll down to  Rig Veda.X.125.6-8)
"
I move among the Gods, I hold them, sustain them… whosoever breathes, sees, hears or eats does so because of me… I create powerful creators and embed them with wisdom and sight… my powers overflow the universe..” 


Perhaps that is one of her of her manifestations - the power of expression for which devotees pray to her, the power to say it as it is! 


Does the reader still feel she has an edge over her sisters? I leave you to contemplate that one. To my mind she seems to contain them even as she is contained by them.

Meanwhile let the sap flow and wisdom awaken with the coming of spring!


Read also The Well Whisperer


Photos where not credited are by self.