How do we define knowledge? How do we define the difference between academically gained knowledge and that of divine wisdom? How do we comprehend the supreme nature of that wisdom where its nature is to be realized and not to be put to material use?
The ancient scriptures present to us the nature of this divine wisdom and the realization of it in the worship of three forms of the supreme. Each form represents one aspect of the Trinity and the iconography of this form seldom changed through the times. It is therefore very evident that supreme wisdom is of a different kind and in this yuga we have been given the nature of it possibly in the form of sound, in the form of Vak(or the spoken word).
Hence, being blessed with divine wisdom renders us the all knowing, where we just know the answer to every question and our life is in the purest intellectual form where even illusion of the people or life around us falls meaninglessly in front of our realm. This is one definition of enlightenment.
The second form of being blessed, is with words of sweetness that take form when we express ourselves using the sacred form of sound in producing Vakya. The spoken word is so sweet as honey and so potent in energy that it can transform even stone to gold. This comes with the talent of stitching sound into a beautiful garland of words with wit and overpowering intellect that the world is silent and speechless over its composition.
The third form of blessing is when the self swoons to the higher level of awakening where everything is music and words spoken stem from thoughts so pure that there is no malice, there is no hurt in the sweetness of the chosen word to the world around us. And therefore sound matters, the given word matters, truth matters, and possibly pleasant delivery matters. Most pray for one of few things, to be either blessed with Goddess Saraswati seated on our tongue such that what ever comes out is honey sweet. Other pray for better concentration and improved intellect for a longer duration of time to Lord Vishnu in the form of Hayagriva and lastly those who have gone beyond the maya of living, and really want to know whats beyond in the unknown choose to worship Shiva Dakshinamurti to be blessed with supreme enlightenment.
And this is when iconography echoes all around us, the vision of divine wisdom takes shape.
Ya Devi Stuyate Nityam Vibhuhairvedaparagaih|
Same Vasatu Jihvagre Brahmarupa Saraswat||
O Goddess of great wisdom, who is praised by the intelligent, who has mastered the shastras, the consort of the creator himself, May you continue to reside on my tongue.
Shrii Saraswatii Namahstubhyam Varade Kaama Ruupini|
Twaam Aham Praarthane Devii Vidyaadaanam Cha Dehi Me||
To the Goddess Saraswati, who grants all the wishes of her devotees, I pray to you to bless me with enlightenment.
Sarasvathi Namastubhyam, Varade Kaamaroopini|
Vidyaarambham Karishyaami Siddhir Bhavatu Mey Sada||
Oh Mother, who blesses the world, I worship you at the start of my education. I bow to you to help me make this experience fruitful and bring success to my efforts.
Goddess Saraswati is depicted dressed all in white, on a lotus seat that symbolizes supreme pure wisdom and her vahana is a swan. She is occasionally associated with the color yellow, the color of the mustard flower that blooms in spring. She is depicted 4 armed which represents the four aspects of the human personality: mind, intellect, alertness and ego. She holds the veena, the scriptures in the form of a book, a garland of crystals or akshamala, and a kamandalu of water. She depicts not just the perfection of the arts but also the higher powers of meditation, creative energy and the rhythm in sound.
jnAna-Ananda-mayam devam nirmala-sphaTikAkRtim|
AdhAram sarvavidyAnAm hayagrIvam upAsmahe||
Hayagriva is a lesser known form of Lord Vishnu who is draped completely in white, horse headed and seated with his hand in vyakhyana mudra. He holds an akshamala and a book that depicts his form as a teacher. His face is always serene and peaceful.
He blesses his devotees with the power of remembrance and concentration to realize supreme wisdom.
Gurur Brahma Gurur Vishnu | Gurur Devo Mahesh Varaha||
Guru Shakshat Para Brahma|Tasmai Shri Guruve Namaha||
Guruve sarva lokaanaam Bhishaje bhava roginaam|
Nithyai sarvadhiyaanam Dakshinamurthaye namo namaha||
Lord Shiva is depicted teaching the Vedas to the Sanahadimunivars, the 6 great sages among whom Hayagriva is also seated. Lord Shiva is seen seated under a banyan tree facing south and draped in yellow. His right foot rests on the mythical form of apasmara purusha who signifies ego and ignorance and his left foot is folded on his lap. He holds a snake or a rosary in his hand and is sometimes depicted holding a bowl of fire in the other hand. He is either depicted in vyakhyana mudra or abhaya mudra or gyana mudra while the other hand holds a bundle of kusha grass indicating the sacred scriptures. Alternatively, he holds a veena, and is known as Veena Dakshinamurti.
Cutting across the entire pantheon of Gods that are housed in Hindu iconography, three forms of the supreme echo the iconography of divine wisdom. The purity in it, the evolution of the self through the experience of enlightenment and the sweetness of the words that come forth give us a brief hint of what potent powers lie deep within our being. Learning is one aspect which can be undone with time and can be forgotten, but divine wisdom once achieved is a state where there is no going back.
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