Goddess Saraswati

   Standing figure of Saraswati
  Standing figure of Saraswati

Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. She is considered the goddess of wisdom and learning, and the companion of Brahma, the creator of mankind and the entire universe.  It was with her knowledge that Brahma created the universe. She comes from central India, and is carved from a black stone, most likely gandara stone.

Saraswati is revered by the Jains and Buddhists. In Buddhism it is believed that she is responsible for upholding the teachings of Gautama Buddha, by offering protection and assistance to practitioners.

Benin cast bronze mudfish vessel   

She is depicted with her four arms, which represent the four aspects of human personality in learning, the mind, intellect, alertness, and ego. In her hands, she is holding the tools of academia, a book of prose, counting beads, musical instruments, and a mala of crystals, which represents the power of meditation and spirituality. The peacocks underneath her, serving as her mount, symbolize the teaching that one must not be too concerned with external appearance, but instead, be concerned with eternal truth.  

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