Vasanta Panchami is observed on Magha Shukla Panchami, the fifth day in Magha month. This festival is a jubilant occasion in Basara Gnana Saraswati Temple in Andhra Pradesh.
Vidyarambham or Aksharabhyasam is the main ritual in Saraswati temple on Saraswati Panchami during which children between two and three or five years old are initiated into the world of knowledge (into letters).
Aksharabhyasam means ‘initiation of knowledge gaining. Basara Saraswati temple is one of the important venues where Vidyarambham is performed socially. On Basant Panchami, thousands of people visit the temple and initiate learning to their kids.
‘Sri Ganapathaye Namah is the Aksharabhyasam mantra written on sand or on rice and the child writes the mantra again and again for five times. After that ‘Om Saraswathyei Namah is the mantra which is written on the slate.
With Her grace, the mute, it is believed, have been able to speak and people have been blessed with the ability to write or compose poems. Musicians sing here and many even choose to perform here first. Instrumentalists have puja performed for their instruments here. Apart from art and culture, Goddess Saraswathi also showers Her blessings for the education of children.
Notebooks, pencils and pens are kept at the Devi's feet for blessings and then used by the students. A noticeboard asks the students to write their names, address and the roll number on a piece of paper and put it in the hundi after praying for success! It is believed the Goddess blesses them for good and positive results.
The moolavigraham enchants devotees as she is the embodiment of kindness itself. Her expression is so serene and calm even as She is majestic. She is seated on a white lotus in Padmasana, adorned by a pure white silk sari, has a book in Her lower left hand, Her lower right hand showing the chinmudra, Aksharamala in Her right upper hand, and Amrithakalasam in Her left upper hand. Both eyes are full of compassion.
Vasant Panchami is the festival dedicated to Saraswathi, the goddess of learning
Saraswathi Temple - Koothanoor (near Mayiladuthurai, TN)
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