{Letters to the Divine Within} Saraswati

And so here we are on the final day of Navaratri, in celebration of Saraswati. It took me a few days to really get into the groove of Saraswati and what she represents- in the simplest of terms, being in the own flow of your life, and fully embracing it. She has always been the hardest goddess of most of the traditions for me to connect with for a myriad of reasons, but the one I know I have the most to learn from.

In Hinduism, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. She is married to Brahma, having been born out of his forehead where he instantly fell in love with her and had to have her, though she was not too keen on the pairing.  Her story mirrors very much that of Athena in the Greek tradition in many ways, having been born of the forehead of their fathers and being the personification of knowledge and science.

The name Saraswati comes from saras (meaning "flow") and wati (meaning "she who has ..."), i.e., "she who has flow". Another common meaning found for her name is "essence of the self". Saraswati is the symbol of knowledge; its flow (or growth) is like a river, and knowledge is supremely alluring, like a beautiful woman. She is depicted as a beautiful fair goddess with four arms representing the 4 aspects of human nature (mind, ego, intellect, alertness), wearing a spotless white saree and seated on a white lotus with a white swan as her companion. Saraswati is the guardian of Earth. In Hinduism, Saraswati represents intelligence, consciousness, cosmic knowledge, creativity, education, enlightenment, music, the arts, eloquence and power. Hindus worship her not only for "academic knowledge", but for "divine knowledge" essential to achieve moksha- and essential for living a life completely in the flow.

The beautiful human form of Saraswati comes to the fore in this English translation of the Saraswati hymn:

"May Goddess Saraswati, who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon, and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops, who is adorned in radiant white attire, on whose beautiful arm rests the veena, and whose throne is a white lotus, who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me. May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance."

Sarawati is personification of one’s heart, mind, and thus, voice. By releasing your voice and allowing others to hear you, you are invoking Saraswati and allowing her music to flow through you.

My absolute favorite way of working with Saraswati is to tap into the rock and roll side of myself and start singing- every chance I get. I encourage you to do the same. What type of music really makes your heart sing, your body move and your soul connect to something bigger? Is it rock, country, opera, kirtan, pop? It can be anything, as long as it's music to YOUR ears. Now, start listening to it more, every chance you get, and most importantly SING ALONG. And if you can, DANCE along. A lot. Don't worry about who may see you or hear you, just do it.

You could even take this a step further. Start going to kareoke, join a musical group, attend dance classes or ecstatic dance weekly. Take voice or guitar lessons. The list could go on. Just ask yourself- What TURNS YOU ON? is it books? How about joining a reading group? Or signing up for the class you've always been interested in at your local community college.

The point is begin to see what MOVES you-and allow yourself to be in that flow as often as possible.

As for me, this is one of the toughest, so I know how confronting some of these exercises can be. I've always been a well put together, never get 'lost in the moment' type. Which is exactly why I have struggled with the anxiety and other ailments that I have over my life time. Whenever I start to feel like that is creeping in again, I get myself to ecstatic dance right away, and begin to play music in every waking moment that I can- and sing along as loud as possible to get myself back in the flow of my life.

But I didn't always know this. In 2009 when I arrived in Bali, I became ill within 24 hours of landing. There I was in a foreign land, knowing only the teacher of my massage program. I had kidney stones and a kidney infection- and no doctors save miles. My dear teacher Ellen Watson, she knew something was going on with me, but I was too scared to tell her. So before our anatomy lesson one afternoon, she had the entire group begin dancing to lovely music, very slowly, around the open-air classroom of our program. I could barely move, I was in so much pain. So I swayed in my spot, scared to get close to anyone for fear they would know something was wrong. At one point, Ellen came up behind me and moved my body for me, holding onto the exact spot where my back was spasming so that I could move the other parts of my body. She asked me to close my eyes, and just FEEL the music and let it move me. I did. I have no idea how long she danced me like that, but when I opened my eyes, I was crying on the floor in her arms, and 40 people were standing in a circle over me swaying, singing, chanting with the music, and for the first time in maybe my whole life, I felt like I was in the flow of life, connected and being held and moving with it, no longer against it.

For the first time in my life, I really truly heard THE Music.

That afternoon was the first time I accepted that I was in my Healing Crisis. I had fought it tooth and nail for almost a year, and finally, on that day, I surrendered to my path and let myself become immersed in the flow of what life had planned for me. I had no idea that it would be 6 more months before I finally came home to the US, to a completely new world and existence than I had ever known before. Finally ME.

And I did heal from those kidney stones a few days later after I met Wayan the healer- from Eat Pray Love fame. Turns out she had completed the same Esalen massage program I had a few years before and saw me after-hours one hot and rainy afternoon for a transformative 6 hours of my life. But that's a story for another day....

In what ways can you begin to tap into Saraswati and dive into the flow of your own life? Be sure to share in the comments below!


Letters to the Divine {Within} will focus on one god or goddess at a time from a variety of traditions: Hindu, Christianity, Jewish tradition, ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Celtic and more. The goal is to begin to tap into the variety of energies out there available to us through these stories, myths and legends to begin to tap into your own healing & transformation. You can use each of these myths as a guiding force for whatever is happening in your own life. This isn’t worship (unless you want it to be) or in any way meant to replace your already established religious views. These stories transcend time and the themes are repeated in every major tradition in their own way. My goal is to make them available to you so you can learn and grow from them.

For each entry, I will give provide the legend and myth, and then pose questions or other activities that may guide you in interacting with this being. Then you write a letter, poem, dance to this legend- anything that helps you in tapping into this energy.

And be sure to share each post in the comments what you did and how it worked for you!

Jennifer Blackstock