4/14/11

Goddess of the Week: Sarasvati

Painting of the Goddess Saraswati by Raja Ravi...Image via WikipediaLindsay, a very talented writer, needs a positive and inspiring creative muse. Let me tell you, folks, this was hard because there are a lot of goddesses dedicated to creativity, which only goes to show that creativity is as vital and basic to human survival as the sun and the moon. Still, one must choose, and I choose the Hindu goddess of language, art and learning, Sarasvati.

Sarasvati invented the Sanskrit alphabet. At first, the gods were totally unimpressed. "What's the point," they said, "when we can just remember stuff." But then they all got middle-aged and were like, "What the heck was I supposed to buy at the grocery store?"

"Duh!" she said, "Write it down."

At first, everyone was all happy again, but then the novelty wore off and they were all, "Gee, couldn't you get us something more fun to read out by the pool?"

So she invented prose and then poetry--which actually started out as dirty limericks for the gods--and then, of course, to really get the party going, she invented music.

Pertinent fact: Sarasvati started out as a river, so she really understands the concept of flow, which, of course, is so crucial to creativity. At some point, as an artist, you need to stop observing and judging and just jump in the water and let the river take you where it wants you to go. That takes a lot of trust, faith and courage. It also takes perseverance because rivers take detours and you will feel tempted to follow those detours. Personally, I'm ok with that because my detours inform my creative process. But if they don't inform yours, your creativity may stagnate. Even then, however, at least you'll be in the water. It's when you get out of the river, it's when you become a bystander in your own life that your creative process, and everything else, falls apart. So remember: stay in the river and trust to its flow.

Channel this goddess: when embarking on a creative journey; when your art feels stagnant, when you are going to the grocery store.

Need a goddess? I got goddesses! Post a comment explaining what you need or want a goddess to help you out with. Then, check back in a week or two and see what you got!
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24 comments:

Jess said...

Another beautiful post! I think that every day is a work of art in and of itself- some days its about the art of patience, sometimes its about the art of finding things, sometimes it's the art of cramming and endless amount of children's toys into storage containers which are much too small... It's all art! With this goddess on her side, I know your friend will find the inspiration she needs in an unexpected place! :)

claire said...

I learned a lot here about Sarasvati. I knew that students in India pray to her before exams. But she is so much more than that. A river, she gave the Alphabet, wow...
Thank you. Lovely.

Joanne said...

I like the idea of the river, flowing always, taking us around the bend, over the falls of creativity. That's what it feels like sometimes.

And now I've got a Bobby Darin tune in my mind, Up the Lazy River ...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

"when you become a bystander in your own life that your creative process, and everything else, falls apart."

so true

altadenahiker said...

You always delight and amaze me. And now I'll get all pruny because you've advised us to stay in the pool.

Desiree said...

Funny and deep. A goddess for us all--

Petrea Burchard said...

Some days you tread water, some days you do the butterfly. But yeah, as long as you stay in.

Margaret, I love learning about these goddesses. This is great stuff.

Star said...

An extra specially beautiful and helpful post, thank you. Just jumping into the water, just getting over the fear of the blank page, the first few words are always the hardest. Avoiding stagnating detours isn't easy, either, but my Ph.D. dissertation advisor (!Cosmos bless you, Dr. Eunice Howe at the University of Southern California!) had an iron-clad remedy for that: writing a very very detailed table-of-contents style road map before starting the actual writing. It's as boring as heck, and some tweaking does take place as you go along, but--personal experience speaking here--it really does help one avoid those temptations to detour, or to go into too much detail not pertinent to the argument on hand. And your reader/editor/listener will bless you. You'll bless yourself, too, because you'll see holes in your documentation/ideas far enough in advance of the deadline to avoid stomach-churning urgent e-mails and faxes.

Shell Sherree said...

I'm rather partial to dog paddling. Thank you for your wisdom, dear Margaret.

Tony Van Helsing said...

I still don't need a god or goddess but I like your version of the inventon of Sanskrit.

... daisy... said...

Lindsay... can we share her? :-)

Margaret said...

Jess: I definitely know about the art of cramming children's toys. Once I had a dream that I was walking on a sea of Legos. Very painful.

Star: I, too, find that it's nice to know where the river is ultimately headed, but if I'm over prepared then my fiction gets stale. It's a balance

Susan Campisi said...

I love all your goddesses. I need to get back in that river. Thanks for the gentle (and wise and funny) push.

Daisy said...

It helps to have a big inner tube to lay in while floating down the river! I'll think of you Margaret, when our summer "tubing" folks get wet again...and about being a bystander or a passionate lover of life.

Stacey @ Entropified said...

So many good (and funny) things in this post. Especially loved, "At some point, as an artist, you need to stop observing and judging and just jump in the water and let the river take you where it wants you to go."

Najma Velshi said...

Thanks Jean-I enjoyed reading that. My early work was inspired by Indian Classical music-I have a couple of pieces with the tanpura, the instrument held by Sarasvati.

Beth said...

I love the idea of a goddess of grocery lists. Now that's a truly practical goddess!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

SHE'S PERFECT!!!!! I just got back into town and am thrilled to find my goddess waiting for me! I'm going to link to this if you don't mind for my post tomorrow:) Thanks Margaret, you are amazing!!!

Shanna said...

That was really great advice about staying in the river.
Another wise and wonderful post.

Jen Daiker said...

This is so cute! I found you over at Lindsay's blog and what a great blog! I love that you choose Goddesses who best describe what someone needs! That's fabulous!

My creative muse is Julie Andrews, she is the peanut butter to my jelly ;)

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautifully said. "Stay in the river ...."

Margaret said...

Lindsay: I'm so glad you approve! Of course, feel free to link to it. I would love that.

Jen: So glad you found me. Thanks for the visit.

Jess said...

I've wanted to make children's books for years, but I've always been to afraid of failure to try. I'm getting over that fear now, and I was wondering if you have a goddess who might be able to help me out. I'm coming out of a dark time in my life, and I'm pleased to announce that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train! I can't even begin to post what I'm going through, but let's just say I need a lot of help and I think one of the ways I can help myself is to chase my dreams even if I'm sure that I don't know what I'm doing. Thanks in advance for adding me to the queue!

devonellington said...

Hmm, my current (deadlined) manuscript is not flowing as smoothly as planned. I think I'll tap into Saravasti for some assistance. Thank you!