Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Sap Flows - Spring Awakening

From Incognita:

The sublime energy we revere as Sarasvati/Saraswati (do read the article so you can enjoy this post better - my post is among other things,  a response to some of her ideas and was perhaps  triggered by it) is portrayed as wild and willful in this article by Mrinal Pande with her playfully irreverent interpretation based on a plethora of details culled from mythology, folklore and her own deeply personal understanding.
I quote below from the article on the history of the deity.
"The verb behind the name Saraswati is the Sanskrit sru, signifying a constant and self-renewing flow of both pure water and also gyan or knowledge. A river with a name such as this was bound to merge and mutate with the Vedic goddess Vac, the creator of multiple streams of fluid thought. Thus Saraswati was born as a constantly purifying, fertilising force that lent a fluidity to languages and sustained all art forms."
Even as we associate her with movement and flow, equally can the goddess be calm, still and contemplative as in the unruffled waters of a lake on a calm day.
When you see her statue, poised in meditation you understand she is her own person.

Image taken from - dates back to 2008. 
Bronze sculpture from South India

And today she decided to make her demand for a post in her honor.  The call of The Muse has to be heeded so this post is neither about my Kashi experience nor the sequel to the diamond-and-date saga as promised to readers. But to be sure it contains teasers to both which you will spot.

Within our veins, in the waterways of our land, through the stems of plants, through cracks in rocks, through the moist breeze as it energizes the spaces between naked branches awaiting spring's awakening breath, the sap of life flows. Again sap held my attention as I sifted through my memories of Diamond Harbour's dates and the story I planned to share. Popular lore has it that Sarasvati and Lakshmi are rivals. My own understanding tells me though, that they flow in and out of each other and hold each other together in synergy.
I think of the date palm being tapped at the base of the crown  enabling the sap that emerges to collect in an earthen pot tied to the trunk just below.

I think of nature's dynamic, of food we draw energy from, food that sustains the body and the mind. The earthen pot (Lakshmi the earth goddess) receives the one that flows.
I recall the wood-nymph we encountered waiting for us under a tree, resting calmly on the earth's lap and waiting to be absorbed by her.
Photo - Kim Raikes

As I write this Kim looks at the picture and shares these thoughts.
"I have such wonderful memories of this encounter! You had seen her in the park at the time of Sarasvati puja in early Feb. and were hoping she would still be there when we arrived in May. Amazingly, she waited all that time for us. She seemed to be almost melting into the tree and the earth, an ephemeral spirit. I am still in awe of her gracious welcome and creative wisdom. And I am still thanking the unknown person who placed her by that tree, for others to experience her divine presence!"

Images of earthen pots with tender sap dripping into them bring me to what I am in the process of creating as an offering to celebrate Sarasvati's festival. You guessed it - Lakshmi in the form of kheer cooked with all those symbols of the goddess - rice, milk and sweet scented spices. I am in a fix whether to attribute the date palm sap I pour in, to Lakshmi or to Sarasvati. Meanwhile I see myself with ladle in hand stirring the pot and watching the rice grains soften and melt into the milk. I see myself in the image of Annapurna the Goddess of Kashi (Varanasi).
Without her shakti(feminine energy), the flowing sap and the freshly harvested rice can't come together as one , nor be served to sustain the universe.  She is the goddess of provision.I smile happily, with renewed understanding of the magical trio of Devis and their secret covenant with one another. They resonate with our Triple Spiral - the creators of this venture in 2012. Our energies and our contributions have always been interchangeable. When one of us goes into a state of meditation, another one takes over and sings and dances, while a third stirs the pot with a heady brew.
As the palm sap flows gently into the cooking pot, my understanding of these divine energies rises to another level.

No Lakshmi is not necessarily about "big things and big money", though she can deal with them on their terms. She is even more fundamentally about the life-giving essentials, the rice that Annapurna is the dispenser of! And Sarasvati is the wisdom that enables us to realize this interconnection.  Wisdom is still even as it flows - a paradox.

The article by Ms Pande quotes from Vac Sutra (Scroll down to  Rig Veda.X.125.6-8)
I move among the Gods, I hold them, sustain them… whosoever breathes, sees, hears or eats does so because of me… I create powerful creators and embed them with wisdom and sight… my powers overflow the universe..” 

Perhaps that is one of her of her manifestations - the power of expression for which devotees pray to her, the power to say it as it is! 

Does the reader still feel she has an edge over her sisters? I leave you to contemplate that one. To my mind she seems to contain them even as she is contained by them.

Meanwhile let the sap flow and wisdom awaken with the coming of spring!

Read also The Well Whisperer

Photos where not credited are by self.


  1. I like this connection of fluidity with the energies of Sarasvati and Lakshmi. There is an interchange between the forces of education and art on the one hand, and the provisions of health, life and salvation on the other. The underground rivers which flow between them nourish not just our creativity, but also our souls. I think Sarasvati and Lakshmi have coordinated their powers in such a way that we are sustained in our search for the essence of the divine.

    1. Don't leave their third partner out :)
      Welcome back to your own space Kim!

  2. They all symbolize the life's various energies. No one can be superior or rival to the other and I loved the feel of Saraswati taking forms of expression within me. Yes, they all blend together to create the sap of life.

    1. Poetic and insightful as always. Welcome back! Glad the post spoke to you Maitreyee :)

  3. I never thought about the etymology of the word Saraswati and had laid a prosaic understanding of wisdom in a very narrow sense on her. This post makes me think. Wisdom has to flow; if it is stuck it stagnates. Life/breath/blood/sap all flows because they don't hold back. There is power in that.

    What I am not able to comprehend yet is how can wisdom be also still? Can you write some more on this?

    1. What happens when you reach that point of understanding? It is a still point within the turbulence. It is that perfection that she contains within her - something we only strive towards. Still and stagnant are twp different concepts. One is about the perfect balance, the other is about extinction. Not sure I am coming through. The yogi holds a pose indefinitely - that moment is eternity - but the yogi is not dead. He can move again at will. Thanks for the question. Thanks for going deep. Your comment is wonderfully insightful!

    2. I understand it in a way. There is stillness in perfection, but it is a "reaching to", an ideal that has not yet arrived . And I get how it is not stagnant. This is a powerful imagery. I need to sit on it more like that kheer shakti.

    3. I am grappling with it too - I sit with it at times, but it is really difficult to sit still :)

  4. I do think of Annapurna as the completion of this trio; her bit of rice from Varanasi is still in the ladle of her image here in my home altar, as if it was distilled from this interaction of flowing wisdom and provision

    1. I love that distilled essence poised in her ladle

  5. Its a stroke of ancient genius to have equated a flowing river to Knowledge .
    Knowledge can never be rooted or stagnant , it has to keep flowing towards the ultimate realisation , which again, we are told, is something Dynamic not static.

    The perspicacious leap from river to sap to the kheer left me speechless . Love your vision , Mayalakshmi ! May Durga-Lakshmi-Saraswathi ever be your Friends .

    1. Wow - the way you have expressed this Vidya. You have taken my journey towards understanding these forces, to a new level. Thank you for letting your stream of wisdom pour its energies to help my quest. Thank you for your blessings!
      Lots of Love

  6. Am still trying to absorb all these juxtapositions and expression of something that used to be nebulous in my mind. Feeling at home here.

    1. Welcome to the space Kusum ji. So happy you feel at home. Look forward to hearing more from you. I believe we are all interconnected as we journey through the process of articulation.

  7. Am still trying to absorb all these juxtapositions and expression of something that used to be nebulous in my mind. Feeling at home here.