Saraswati Avahan- Invoking Goddess Saraswati
Saraswati Avahan is a day dedicated to Goddess SaraswatiSaraswati
The name Saraswati is a combination of two Sanskrit words... on which people invoke the goddess by performing specific rituals and Puja It is a prayer ritual performed to make offerings, honoring, evoking or worshipping gods. The ceremony can also be performed to pay homage to the beloved ones who are deaddedicated to her to seek her blessings. The term ‘Avahan’ itself means invoking. The rituals are performed during Navratri. The day is observed on the seventh day during the bright lunar fortnight in the month of Ashwin, which corresponds with September-October month of Gregorian calendar.
An idol of Saraswati is placed in a clean and decorated worshipping arena. A member of the family washes the feet of the idol to show respect and gratitude. Flowers, sandalwood paste and vermillion are used for her decoration. This ritual is known as ‘alankaram’. People may also offer new clothes, jewelry and incense sticks.
Devotees chant the following Mantra A group of sacred words chanted in order to gain something, be it materialistic pleasures or peaceful mindto invoke the goddess :
“Agachchha Deva-Deveshi Tejomayi Saraswati, Kriyamana Maya Pujam, Grihana Sura-Vandite, Shri Saraswati-Devim Avahayami”
Another ritual called ‘naivedyam’ is performed according to which devotees prepare special food offerings for the day. The color white is associated with the goddess so people also prepare food items and sweets which are white in color. Hymns and devotional songs are sung in Saraswati’s praise. Some people may even opt for fasting for the day and visit temples dedicated to the goddess. They meditate and follow a simple routine for the day like getting up early in the morning and sleeping on the floor rather than on a bed.
After all the rituals have been performed, the food offerings are distributed among the guests and family members as prasadam. People also prefer performing charity on the day and feed poor people. Money and clothes can also be donated to the needy. Other items like books, stationery items and school bags can be given to the poor school going children and help them attain education.
As Saraswati is the Goddess of art, music, knowledge and wisdom, invoking her on this day helps the devotees earn all such qualities. She helps her worshippers climb the ladder of success and also lead a hurdle-free life. She guards the people who worship her with utmost devotion and keep difficulties at bay from their lives. Attaining spiritual knowledge is also one of the boons of praying to Saraswati.