सरस्वती

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यन्त्रोपारोपितकोशांशः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

कल्पद्रुमः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


सरस्वती, स्त्री, (सरो नीरं तद्बत् रसो वास्त्यस्या इति । सरस् + मतुप् । मस्य वः । तसौ मत्वर्थ इति भत्वान्न वदकार्य्यम् ।) नदी । (यथा, महाभारते । १ । २१४ । ३ । “ते तया तैश्च सा वीरैः पतिभिः सह पञ्चभिः । बभूव परमप्रीता नागैरिव सरस्वती ॥”) बाणी । (यथा, रघुः । १५ । ४६ । “उच्चचार पुरस्तस्य गूढरूपा सरस्वती ॥”) स्त्रीरत्नम् । गौः । नदीभेदः । मनुपत्नी । इति पयेत् ॥ * ॥ अस्य पूरश्चरणं दशलक्षजपः । तथा च । “दशलक्षं जपेन्मन्त्रं दशांशं जुहुयात्ततः । पुण्डरीकैः पयोऽभ्यक्तैस्तिलैस्त्रिमधुरान्वितः ॥” इति ॥ * ॥ मन्त्रान्तरम् । “हृदयान्ते भगवति वदशब्दयुगं ततः । वाग्देविवह्निजायान्तं वाग्भवाद्यं समुच्चरेत् ॥”

अमरकोशः[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


सरस्वती स्त्री।

सरस्वती

समानार्थक:ब्राह्मी,भारती,भाषा,गिर्,वाच्,वाणी,सरस्वती

1।6।1।1।7

ब्राह्मी तु भारती भाषा गीर्वाग्वाणी सरस्वती। व्याहार उक्तिर्लपितं भाषितं वचनं वचः॥

अवयव : वचनम्

पदार्थ-विभागः : , पौरुषेयः

सरस्वती स्त्री।

नदी

समानार्थक:नदी,सरित्,तरङ्गिणी,शैवलिनी,तटिनी,ह्रादिनी,धुनी,स्रोतस्विनी,द्वीपवती,स्रवन्ती,निम्नगा,आपगा,कूलङ्कषा,निर्झरिणी,रोधोवक्रा,सरस्वती,भोगवती,सिन्धु,वाहिनी

1।10।30।3।4

तरङ्गिणी शैवलिनी तटिनी ह्रादिनी धुनी। स्रोतस्वती द्वीपवती स्रवन्ती निम्नगापगा॥ कूलङ्कषा निर्झरिणी रोधोवक्रा सरस्वती।

 : देवगङ्गा, नरकस्थ_नदी, गङ्गा, यमुना, नर्मदा, गौरीविवाहे_कन्यादानोदकाज्जातनदी, कार्तवीर्यावतारित_नदी, शतद्रुः, पापमोचिनी, नदविशेषः, कृत्रिमस्वल्पनदी, शरावती_नदी, वेत्रवती_नदी, चन्द्रभागा_नदी, सरस्वती_नदी, कावेरी_नदी, नदीसङ्गमः, नदीभेदः

पदार्थ-विभागः : , द्रव्यम्, पृथ्वी, अचलनिर्जीवः, स्थानम्, प्राकृतिकस्थानम्

सरस्वती स्त्री।

सरस्वती_नदी

समानार्थक:सरस्वती

1।10।34।2।4

शोणो हिरण्यवाहः स्यात्कुल्याल्पा कृत्रिमा सरित्. शरावती वेत्रवती चन्द्रभागा सरस्वती॥

पदार्थ-विभागः : , द्रव्यम्, पृथ्वी, अचलनिर्जीवः, स्थानम्, प्राकृतिकस्थानम्

Apte[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


सरस्वती [sarasvatī], 1 N. of the goddess of speech and learning, and represented as the wife of Brahman; परस्पर- विरोधिन्योरेकसंश्रयदुर्लभम् । संगतं श्रीसरस्वत्योर्भूतये$स्तु सदा सताम् ॥ V.5.24.

Speech, voice, words; इति देहविमुक्तये स्थितां रतिमाकाशभवा सरस्वती ... अन्वकम्पयत् Ku.4.39,43; R. 15.46.

N. of a river (which is lost in the sands of the great desert).

A river in general.

A cow; ŚB. on MS.1.3.49; Vāj.8.43.

An excellent woman.

N. of Durgā.

N. of a female divinity peculiar to the Buddhists.

The Soma plant.

The plant called ज्योतिष्मती.

Monier-Williams[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


सरस्वती/ सरस्--वती f. See. ( अती) s.v.

सरस्वती f. (of सरस्वत्See. under सरस्)a region abounding in pools and lakes MBh. i , 7745

सरस्वती f. N. of a river (celebrated in RV. and held to be a goddess whose identity is much disputed ; most authorities hold that the name -S सरस्वतीis identical with the Avestan Haraquaiti river in Afghanistan , but that it usually means the Indus in the RV. , and only occasionally the small sacred rivers in मध्य-देश[see below] ; the river-goddess has seven sisters and is herself sevenfold , she is called the mother of streams , the best of mothers , of rivers , and of goddesses ; the ऋषिs always recognize the connection of the goddess with the river , and invoke her to descend from the sky , to bestow vitality , renown , and riches ; elsewhere she is described as moving along a golden path and as destroying वृत्रetc. ; as a goddess she is often connected with other deities e.g. with पूषन्, इन्द्र, the मरुत्s and the अश्विन्s Page1182,3 ; in the आप्रीhymns she forms a triad with the sacrificial goddesses इडाand भारती; accord. to a myth told in the VS. xix , 12 , -S सरस्वतीthrough speech [ वाचा] communicated vigour to इन्द्र; in the ब्राह्मणs she is identified with वाच्, " Speech " , and in later times becomes goddess of eloquence See. below) RV. etc.

सरस्वती f. N. of a well-known small river (held very sacred by the Hindus ; identified with the modern Sursooty , and formerly marking with the दृषद्वतीone of the boundaries of the region आर्य-देषand of the sacred district called ब्रह्मा-वर्त[see Mn. ii , 17 ] in RV. vii , 95 , 2 , this river is represented as flowing into the sea , although later legends make it disappear underground and join the Ganges and Jumna at Allahabad ; See. त्रि-वेणी, प्रयाग) ib.

सरस्वती f. N. of various rivers ( esp. of rivers which in sacredness are equal to -S सरस्वतीand which are three accord. to AV. vi , 101 , and seven accord. to MBh. ix , 2188 )

सरस्वती f. any river Naigh. i , 13

सरस्वती f. N. of the goddess of eloquence and learning(See. above ; she is opposed to श्रीor लक्ष्मी[See. Vikr. v , 24 ] , and sometimes considered as the daughter and also wife of ब्रह्मा, the proper wife of that god being rather सावित्रिor गायत्री; she is also identified with दुर्गा, or even with the wife of विष्णुand of मनु, and held to be the daughter of दक्ष) Mn. MBh. etc.

सरस्वती f. speech or the power of speech , eloquence , learning wisdom MBh. Ka1v. etc.

सरस्वती f. a celestial or oracular voice Ka1lid. Katha1s. Ra1jat.

सरस्वती f. a cow VS. viii , 43

सरस्वती f. an excellent woman(= स्त्री-रत्न) L.

सरस्वती f. N. of various plants (Cardiospermum Halicacabum , Egle Marmelos , Ruta Graveolens etc. ) L.

सरस्वती f. N. of a two-year-old girl representing दुर्गाat her festival L.

सरस्वती f. of a poetess Cat.

सरस्वती f. of various other women ( esp. of the wives of दधीच, शंकरा-चार्य, मण्डनमिश्रetc. ) ib.

सरस्वती f. of one of the ten mendicant orders traced back to शंकराचार्य(whose members add the word सरस्वतीto their names).

सरस्वती etc. See. p. 1182 , col. 2.

Purana index[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


(I)--(वाक् Devi1); विश्वरूपा, a mind-born daughter of ब्रह्मा who began to love her. Being criticised by his sons for it, he gave up his body in shame. Presented पृथु with a wreath, and was offered a wreath of pearls by विश्वकर्मन्. Gave away a string of beads to the Lord. Gave वीण to कुमार; a Mother goddess. फलकम्:F2:  Br. III. १०. ४७; ३५. ४४. IV. 7. ७२; १९. ७०, ७३; २०. १०१; ३६. १९; ४०. 8;फलकम्:/F The Goddess of Learning; फलकम्:F3:  M. 1. 2;फलकम्:/F enshrined in the faces of ब्रह्मा, फलकम्:F4:  Ib. १३. ५२;फलकम्:/F गायत्रा फलकम्:F5:  Ib. २४६. ५७;फलकम्:/F in the २३र्द् Kalpa; constitutes ३२ aks2aras; is प्रकृति and गौली, फलकम्:F6:  वा. २३. ३८;फलकम्:/F source of all worlds; फलकम्:F7:  Ib. २३. ५४-5;फलकम्:/F of four feet. फलकम्:F8:  Ib. २३. ८८;फलकम्:/F Presented to Skanda a great वीर. फलकम्:F9:  Ib. ७२. ४५.फलकम्:/F ^1 भा. I. २४; III. १२, २८ and ३३; IV. १५. १६. VIII. 8. १६; Br. II. २६. ४५, M. 3. ३२. १७१. ३३; २६०. ४४.
(II)--(महानदी) R. in भारतवर्ष of ब्रह्मावर्त, in कुरुक्षेत्र. Here ऊर्वशी enjoyed water sports with her companions when पुरूरवस् found her a second time. फलकम्:F1:  भा. I. 4. १५; IV. १९. 1; V. १९. १८; IX. १४. ३३. II. 9. ४४; Br. II. १२. १६; वा. ४५. ९५; ५५. ४३; १०८. ५९, ७८; १०९. २१;फलकम्:/F The ब्रह्मनदी; on its banks व्यास composed the भारत, and his hermitage was on the western bank. Here he heard the भागवत from नारद. फलकम्:F2:  भा. I. 4. २७; 7. 2.फलकम्:/F Here परशुराम had his अवभृत bath. फलकम्:F3:  Ib. IX. १६. २३.फलकम्:/F On its banks was the अम्बिकावन. फलकम्:F4:  Ib. X. ३४. 2 and 4.फलकम्:/F Here sages practised तपस्। At its source पृथु performed a hundred अश्वमेधस्। फलकम्:F5:  Ib. IV. १४. ३६; १६. २४.फलकम्:/F Lies on the way from द्वारका to हास्तिनपुर. Flows west at प्रभास; was made to flow back towards a desert where अम्बरीष performed sacrifices. फलकम्:F6:  Ib. X. ७१. २२; IX. ३०. 6; IX. 4. २२.फलकम्:/F When the sages per- [page३-554+ ४०] formed यज्ञ on its bank, a question arose as to who was the superior god in the world. भृगु, the son of ब्रह्मा was deputed to find this out. फलकम्:F7:  Ib. X. ८९. 1-2.फलकम्:/F Here are eleven places sacred to त्रीत, उशनस्, Manu and others. Vidura had his ablu- tions in all of them. फलकम्:F8:  भा. III: 1. २१-22.फलकम्:/F कृष्ण sat under an अश्वत्त tree on its banks preparing to leave off mortal coil and asked Uddhava to go to बदरी. फलकम्:F9:  Ib. III. 4. 3-8.फलकम्:/F On its banks Kardama performed austeri- ties for १०,000 years. Its banks filled with hermitages, one was Kardama's. In it देवहूती bathed. फलकम्:F१०:  Ib. III. २१. 6; २२. २७. २३. २५. २४: 9:फलकम्:/F Visited by Bala- राम. फलकम्:F११:  Ib. X. ७८. १८-19.फलकम्:/F परीक्षित् came to hear Dharma at the place where the R. flows East, complaining to Earth on the advent of Kali. फलकम्:F१२:  Ib. I. १६. ३७.फलकम्:/F Defined. फलकम्:F१३:  VIII. 4. २३-4.फलकम्:/F From the हिमालयस्; fit for श्राद्ध offerings; फलकम्:F१४:  Br. II. १६: २४: २७; III. १३. ६९; १४. ८३; Vi. III. १४. १८.फलकम्:/F a holy river; फलकम्:F१५:  M. 7. 3.फलकम्:/F sacred to पितृस्; flows from the slopes of the हेमकूट hill; फलकम्:F१६:  Ib. २२. २३.फलकम्:/F flows through कुरुक्षेत्र; फलकम्:F१७:  Ib. १२१: ६४-5; १८६. १०; २२९. 3.फलकम्:/F scene of talk between Garga and Atri. फलकम्:F१८:  Ib. २३९. १८.फलकम्:/F sacred to देवमात; फलकम्:F१९:  Ib. १३. ४४;फलकम्:/F in the chariot of त्रिपुरारि. फलकम्:F२०:  Ib. ११४. २०; १३३. २४.फलकम्:/F
(III)--a R. in शाल्मलिद्वीप. भा. V. २०. १०.
(IV)--the mother of सार्वभौम--Hari. भा. VIII. १३. १७.
(V)--a wife of पूर्णमास; sons, Viraja and Parvasa. Br. II. ११. १२; वा. २८. १०. [page३-555+ २५]
(VI)--a wife of दधीचि. Br. III. 1. ९४; वा. ६५. ९१.
(VII)--a Laukikya Apsaras. Br. III. 7. १०.
(VIII)--a वर्णशक्ति; worships कामाक्षी. Br. IV. ३९. १४; ४४. ५७ and ७१.
(IX)--the mother of Danu and Diti by आदित्य. M. १७१. ५७.
(X)--a Mt. in the हिमालयस्. वा. २३. १६८.
(XI)--the wife of हव्यवाहन. वा. २९. १४.
(XII)--the name of a तीर्थ। वा. ७७. ६७.
(XIII)--the wife of Ranti. वा. ९९. १२९.

Purana Encyclopedia[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Sarasvatī : f.: sg, (pl. 6. 10. 35; 9. 37. 3; 9. 44. 18; 12. 255. 39; 13. 75. 12): Name of a river (in some events conceived as a woman); also called Bhogavatī (3. 25. 20).


A. Location:

(1) Listed by Saṁjaya among the rivers of the Bhāratavarṣa; people used its water for drinking 6. 10. 13;

(2) In the north (udīcyām) 3. 88. 1; on the top of Himavant (prasthe himavataḥ śubhe) 9. 4. 49; Balarāma saw on the Himavant mountain (9. 53. 9), the source of Sarasvatī at Plakṣaprasravaṇa (prabhavaṁ ca sarasvatyāḥ plakṣaprasravaṇaṁ balaḥ (dṛṣṭvā)) 9. 53. 11; Sarasvatī's origin in an ant-hill near a Plakṣa tree (plakṣād devī sṛtā rājan mahāpuṇyā sarasvatī//tatrābhiṣekaṁ kurvīta valmīkān niḥsṛte jale) 3. 82. 5-6; flowing from Himavant (haimavatī) 9. 43. 51;

(3) Rises in the lake of Brahman (prasṛtāsi mahābhāge saraso brahmaṇaḥ purā) 9. 50. 19; 9. 41. 29;

(4) The Bāhlīka country was disregarded by Gaṅgā, Yamunā and Sarasvatī (gaṅgayā ca tiraskṛtāḥ/sarasvatyā yamunayā) 8. 30. 10;

(5) Nakula in his march towards the west of Khāṇḍavaprastha (khāṇḍavaprasthāt pratīcīm abhito diśam 2. 29. 2) conquered people who lived along Sarasvatī (ye cāśritya sarasvatīm/vartayanti) 2. 29. 9; one of the rivers visited by the Pāṇḍavas in their westward march (yayuḥ…paścimāṁ diśam); on its bank is the Kāmyaka forest (sarasvatīkūle) 3. 6. 2-3;

(6) Flowing through Kurukṣetra (tatra (i. e. kurukṣetre) … sarasvatyām) 3. 81. 3, 92-93; 3. 129. 21-22; 3. 130. 3; flowing through Samantapañcaka 9. 43. 51; Kurukṣetra to the south of Sarasvatī and to the north of Dṛṣadvatī 3. 81. 175; lake Dvaitavana near Sarasvatī 3. 174. 21.


B. Description: Auspicious (śivā) 3. 179. 15; 13. 134. 22; holy (puṇyā) 3. 129. 20; 3. 130. 3; 9. 37. 17; 9. 38. 27; 9. 43. 51; 13. 134. 15; very holy (supuṇyā) 6. 10. 35; (mahāpuṇyā) 3. 82. 5; most holy (puṇyatamā) 13. 134. 22; brings holiness (to visitors) (puṇyavahā) 3. 88. 2; holy among all rivers (sarvanadīṣu puṇyā) 9. 53. 35; has holy tīrthas on it (puṇyatīrthā) 3. 179. 14; having hundreds of tīrthas on it (tīrthaśatopetā) 9. 38. 27; having waters of all tīrthas (sarvatīrthodakair yutā) 13. 134. 12; purifying (pāvanā) 6. 7. 45; sinless (anaghā) 9. 42. 11; highly fortunate (mahābhāgā) 9. 37. 24; 9. 50. 19, 22, 23; (bhagavatī) 9. 37. 26; as though the sacrificial ground of gods (āyāgabhūtām iva devatānām) 3. 174. 24; divine (devī) 9. 43. 51; (divyā) 3. 130. 3; having heavenly water (divyatoyā) 9. 37. 25; 9. 44. 18; excellent river, best or first among rivers (saricchreṣṭhā) 3. 82. 5; 9. 36. 36, 38, 44, 47; 9. 37. 11, 14, 23, 24; 9. 40. 33; 9. 41. 19, 23; 9. 42. 12, 13; 9. 43. 51; 9. 50. 19; 13. 134. 22; (saritāṁ śreṣṭhā) 9. 37. 18, 19; 9. 41. 12, 20; 9. 42. 8; (saridvarā) 9. 36. 51; 13. 134. 14; (saritāṁ varā) 9. 36. 52; 9. 41. 27, 39; 9. 50. 11; 13. 134. 19; (nadīnām uttamā) 3. 82. 5; 13. 134. 15; (prathamā sarvasaritām) 13. 134. 15; shining (śubhā) 9. 50. 23; 13. 139. 26; bhāminī 9. 41. 13; beautiful (varavarṇinī) 9. 50. 20; pleasing to look at (priyadarśanā) 9. 50. 20; red (aruṇā) 9. 4. 49; always bringing happiness to people (lokasukhāvahā sadā) 9. 53. 35; great river (mahānadī) 9. 36. 53; 9. 39. 7 (not named); 9. 42. 20; 9. 50. 10, 18, 24; 12. 335. 46; full of lakes (hradinī) 3. 88. 2; has placid water (prasannasalilā) 3. 179. 15; (as a woman) whose eyes were like a lotus (puṇḍarīkanibhekṣaṇā) 9. 41. 17; its banks wide like sky (ākāśanīkāśataṭā) 3. 179. 14; having a garland of forests (vanamālinī) 3. 88. 2; full of nīpa and nīvāra (on its banks) (nīpanīvārasaṁkulā) 3. 179. 14; flowing rapidly (śīghragāminī) 9. 37. 20; 9. 41. 23; (vegayuktā) 9. 37. 13; (oghavatī) 3. 130. 3; flowing to the sea (sāgaragāminī) 13. 134. 15; (sāgaragamā) 13. 134. 21; liked by Yakṣas, Gandharvas and great sages (yakṣagandharvamaharṣikāntā) 3. 174. 24; resorted to by hosts of Brāhmaṇas (viprasaṁghair niṣevitā) 9. 38. 27; worshipped by the sages (pūjyamānā munigaṇaiḥ) 9. 37. 23; worshipped by good people at all times (sarasvatī nadī sadbhiḥ satataṁ pārtha pūjitā) 3. 88. 9; thronged by people to whom she is the sole resort (ekaśaraṇāvṛtā) 3. 129. 20; famous in the three worlds (triṣu lokeṣu viśrutā) 9. 43. 51; 6. 7. 47; versed in the knowledge of the duties of women (strīdharmakuśalā) 13. 134. 19; all the rivers listed by Saṁjaya are described as mothers of the universe and very strong (viśvasya mātaraḥ sarvāḥ sarvāś caiva mahābalāḥ) 6. 10. 35 (also see the next section


C. ).


C. Characteristics:

(1) Sarasvatī appears and disappears again at various places (dṛśyādṛśyā ca bhavati tatra tatra sarasvatī) 6. 7. 47; the trees growing on the banks of Sarasvatī are (sarasvatītīraruhaiḥ…śobhitam): Badara, Iṅguda, Kāśmarya, Plakṣa, Aśvattha, Vibhītaka, Panasa, Palāśa, Karīra, Pīlu, Bandhana, Syandana, Bilva, Āmrātaka, and Pārijāta; there are also on its bank forests of Parūṣaka (parūṣakavanaiś caiva) and groves of Atimuktaka (atimuktakaṣaṇḍaiś ca) 9. 36. 58-60; auspicious Śāla forests grow on its banks (śiveṣu/sarasvatīśālavaneṣu teṣu) 3. 26. 1; the big Mahāśaṅkha tree is on its bank 9. 36. 20; the forests on its bank are inhabited by the righteous who have controlled their self and who wear bark garments and have matted hair and also by hosts of perfected sages (bhogavatīm upetya dhṛtātmanāṁ cīrajaṭādharāṇām tasmin vane dharmabhṛtāṁ nivāse/dadarśa siddharṣigaṇān anekān) 3. 25. 20; cf. 3. 26. 1; (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 3. 24. 20: bhogavatīṁ sarasvatīṁ nadīm); always pleasing to Dadhīca (mama prīyakarī cāpi satataṁ) 9. 50. 20; Śūdras and hosts of Ābhīras took resort on Sarasvatī and lived on fish (śūdrābhīragaṇāś caiva ye cāśritya sarasvatīm/ vartayanti ca ye matsyaiḥ) 2. 29. 9; there is no pleasure, there are no virtues which are equal to the residence on Sarasvatī (sarasvatīvāsa samā kuto ratiḥ sarasvatīvāsasamāḥ kuto guṇāḥ) 9. 53. 34; Sarasvatī disappears in the desert at Vinaśana, but appears again at Camasa, Śivodbheda and Nāgodbheda 3. 80. 118; (13. 139. 26); the Siddhas know, due to the wetness of plants and earth, the presence of Sarasvatī there though not seen (snigdhatvād oṣadhīnāṁ ca bhūmeś ca janamejaya/ jānanti siddhā rājendra naṣṭām api sarasvatīm//) 9. 34. 81; at Camasodbheda all ocean going rivers turn to her (yatrainām abhyavartanta divyāḥ puṇyāḥ samudragāḥ) 3. 130. 5.


D. Holiness:

(1) Vaiśaṁpāyana told Janamejaya the holiness of the Tīrthavaṁśa of Sarasvatī (here in particular of the Aujasatīrtha 9. 45. 92) 9. 45. 88; Sarasvatī and the tīrthas on Sarasvatī are holier than Kurukṣetra (puṇyam āhuḥ kurukṣetraṁ kurukṣetrāt sarasvatīm/sarasvatyāś ca tīrthāni) 3. 81. 125; by the favour of sage Dadhīca, Sarasvatī was to be at all times holiest among the other holy rivers (puṇyābhyaś ca saridbhyas tvaṁ sadā puṇyatamā śubhe/bhaviṣyasi mahābhāge matprasādāt sarasvati) 9. 50. 23; (9. 53. 35);

(2) By bathing in the river Sarasvatī one washes off one's sins (dhūtapāpmā bhaviṣyasi) 3. 129. 20; by bathing in Sarasvatī one rides in a vimāna (sarasvatyām upaspṛśya vimānastho virājate) 3. 82. 139; by visiting Sarasvatī people have gone to heaven; those who have done evil acts if they visit Sarasvatī they never grieve in this or the other world (sarasvatīṁ prāpya janāḥ suduṣkṛtāḥ/sadā na śocanti paratra ceha ca//) 9. 53. 34-35; according to the Gāthās sung by Yayāti (12. 148. 8) if one bathes and drinks water at Pṛthūdaka on Sarasvatī one does not have to worry about death in near future (naiva śvomaraṇaṁ tapet) 12. 148. 10; this was also told by Ruṣaṅgu to his sons 9. 38. 29; by visiting Sarasvatī and by satisfying there gods and manes one rejoices undoubtedly in the worlds of Sarasvatī (sārasvateṣu lokeṣu modate nātra saṁśayaḥ) 3. 82. 59; by bathing at the tīrtha on Sarasvatī gods, Gandharvas, Apsarases, Dvaipāyana, Śuka, Kṛṣṇa, Yakṣas and many others became perfected in Yoga (yogasiddhāḥ) 9. 48. 18-20; one should live on Sarasvatī for a month 3. 81. 3;

(3) By bathing at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Sarasvatī one gets the fruit of an Aśvamedha and goes to heaven 3. 82. 34; by visiting the place where Sarasvatī meets the ocean (sarasvatyāḥ sāgarasya ca saṁgame) one gets the fruit of gifting a thousand cows and shining always with lustre like that of fire he is glorified in heaven (svargaloke mahīyate/dīpyamāno 'gnivan nityaṁ prabhayā); living there for three nights one should satisfy manes and gods; he thereby shines like the moon (prabhāsate yathā somaḥ…) and gets the reward of an Aśvamedha 3. 80. 79-80; at the confluence of Sarasvatī (the other river is not named) people worship Janārdana; Brahmā and other gods, as well as sages and Siddhas and Cāraṇas, visit it on the fourteenth day of the bright half of Caitra 3. 80, 130; it is recommended that one should live at Kurukṣetra on Sarasvatī for a month (tatra (kurukṣetre) sarasvatyāṁ māsaṁ vaset) 3. 81. 3;

(4) There are many tīrthas on Sarasvatī 5. 154. 33; 9. 34. 33; all these tīrthas are holy 3. 81. 125; their holiness described in the Śalyaparvan (śalyaparvaṇi…sarasvatyāś ca tīrthānāṁ puṇyatā parikīrtitā) 1. 2. 174-175; these tīrthas are: Śaśayāna 3. 80. 120-121; a tīrtha sacred to Arantuka, chief of Yakṣas 3. 81. 42; Śrīkuñja 3. 81. 91; Naimiṣakuñja 3. 81. 92; Devītīrtha at the confluence of Sarasvatī and Aruṇā 3. 81. 131; Vinaśana 3. 130. 3; Camasodbheda 3. 130. 5; Janamejaya asked Vaiśaṁpāyana to tell him the origin, the merits, the reward of visiting them, and how one achieves successful completion of visiting the tīrthas on Sarasvatī (sārasvatānāṁ tīrthānāṁ guṇotpattiṁ vadasva me/phalaṁ ca dvipadāṁ śreṣṭha karmanirvṛttim eva ca// 9. 34. 33: Nī. on Bom. Ed. 9. 35. 38: karmanirvṛttiṁ tīrthayātrāvidhisiddhim); Vaiśaṁpāyana's account includes Prabhāsa 9. 34. 36; Camasodbheda 9. 34. 78; Subhūmika 9. 36. 3; Gargasrotas 9. 36. 14, 16; Śaṅkhatīrtha 9. 36. 24; Auśanasa 9. 38. 16, also called Kapālamocana 9. 38. 20; Pṛthūdaka 9. 38. 25-26; a tīrtha not named 9. 38. 33; 9. 39. 6, 10, 23, 30;

(5) The region deserted by Sarasvatī would be bereft of holiness (apuṇya eṣa bhavatu deśaś tyaktas tvayā śubhe) 13. 139. 26; cows act like Sarasvatīs (pl.) in delivering persons from the remainder of their actions (?), in freeing them from the body and in the obtainment of bliss (śeṣotsarge karmabhir dehamokṣe sarasvatyaḥ śreyasi saṁpravṛttāḥ) 13. 75. 12 (But Nī. on Bom. Ed. 13. 76. 12: (gāvaḥ) kṣayarogādinivṛttau dehamokṣe ca karmabhiḥ pañcagavyādibhiḥ sevitāḥ satyaḥ sarasvatyo nadya iva śreyase saṁpravṛttāḥ); one should live on the rivers Sarasvatī and Dṛṣadvatī worshipping them, doing one's studies and bathing in all places (sarasvatīdṛṣadvatyau sevamāno 'nusaṁcareḥ/svādhyāyaśīlaḥ sthāneṣu sarveṣu samupaspṛśeḥ) 12. 148. 12; but sage Parāśara told to king Janaka that, more than with waters of the rivers, one should bathe one's body with austerities (i. e. one should practise austerities) at all holy places like Sarasvatī, Naimiṣa, Puṣkara and the rest (adbhyo bhūyaḥ plāvyaṁ tapasā vai śarīram/sarasvatīnaimiṣapuṣkareṣu ye cāpy anye puṇyadeśāḥ pṛthivyām) 12. 286. 37;

(6) Sarasvatī suited for sacrifices: (i) The fire-altar of Prajāpati was on holy Sarasvatī (sarasvatīm imāṁ puṇyāṁ paśya…vedī prajāpater eṣā) 3. 129. 20, 22; (ii) Many sages, divine sages, and royal sages had offered sacrifices on Sarasvatī (iha sārasvatair yajñair iṣṭavantaḥ surarṣayaḥ/ṛṣayaś caiva kaunteya tathā rājarṣayo 'pi ca) 3. 129. 21; (iii) Formerly Vālakhilya sages offered sacrifices on Ṣarasvatī 3. 88. 9; (iv) Sarasvatī is listed by Mārkaṇḍeya among the rivers which are called mothers of the sacrificial hearths (i. e. on the banks of which sacrifices were performed) 3. 212. 21 (for citation and Nī. see Kapilā );

(7) Sarasvatī also mentioned among the holy places by visiting which the high-souled ones who have observed vows (mahātmāno dhṛtavratāḥ) assume heavenly form and, becoming auspicious, wearing heavenly garlands and rich in holy perfume, they go to the world of cows (? te tatra modanti gavāṁ vimāne 13. 105. 44) 13. 105. 48 (for citation see Karatoyinī );

(8) According to Tulādhāra, however, all rivers are equal in point of holiness to Sarasvatī (sarvā nadyaḥ sarasvatyaḥ) 12. 255. 39.


E. Epic events:

(1) The Pāṇḍavas, at the beginning of their forest life, lived on the banks of Sarasvatī, Yamunā and Gaṅgā; they next saw the Kāmyaka forest on the bank of Sarasvatī and lived there 3. 6. 3-4;

(2) The Pāṇḍavas saw in Dvaitavana the river Bhogavatī (= Sarasvatī) (manoramāṁ bhogavatīm upetya…tasmin vane (i. e. in Dvaitavana)) 3. 25. 20; they sported in the Śāla forests on the bank of Sarasvatī 3. 26. 1; the Pāṇḍavas left Dvaitavana and went to Kāmyaka on the bank of Sarasvatī (yayau sarasvatītīre kāmyakaṁ nāma kānanam) 3. 37. 37;

(3) Shown by Lomaśa to the Pāṇḍavas 3. 130. 3; after crossing the desert they reached Sarasvatī in order to live in Dvaitavana 3. 174. 21; seeing them settled in Dvaitavana ascetics came to them 3. 174. 22; the Pāṇḍavas were happy roaming along the river Sarasvatī 3. 174. 24; they spent the most holy autumnal Kārtika full moon night while living on the bank of Sarasvatī (teṣām puṇyatamā rātriḥ parvasaṁdhau sma śāradī/ tatraiva vasatām āsīt kārtikī janamejaya//) 3. 179. 16;

(4) Rāma Jāmadagnya, along with Ambā and other ascetics, went to Kurukṣetra to meet Bhīṣma and stayed near Sarasvatī (nyaviśanta tataḥ sarve parigṛhya sarasvatīm) 5. 177. 24;

(5) After the fall of Karṇa, the Kṣatriyas fighting on the side of the Kauravas went to Sarasvatī flowing near Himavant, and bathed, and drank her water; they felt refreshed and returned for the battle (aruṇāṁ sarasvatīṁ prāpya papuḥ sasnuś ca tojjalam) 9. 4. 49;

(6) Balarāma decided to go on a pilgrimage to visit the tīrthas on Sarasvatī as he waw not prepared to watch the destruction of those born in the Kuru family (tasmād yāsyāmi tīrthāni sarasvatyā niṣevitum / na hi śakṣyāmi kauravyān naśyamānān upekṣitum) 5. 154. 33; ha set out on the Maitra nakṣatra; from the ocean he started his pilgrimage upstream on the river (pratisrotaḥ sarasvatyāḥ; sarasvatīṁ pratisrotaḥ samudrād abhijagmivān) 9. 34. 12, 17-18; Balarāma gave to Brāhmaṇas large dakṣiṇās at the excellent tīrthas on Sarasvatī 9. 34. 29-32; the tīrthas and other places visited by Balarāma were Prabhāsa 9. 34. 36; Camasodbheda 9. 34. 78-79; Udapāna 9. 34. 80; 9. 35. 1-2; 52-53; Vinaśana where Sarasvatī disappeared 9. 36. 1-3; Subhūmika 9. 36. 3-9; Gandharvatīrtha 9. 36. 10-14; Gragasrotas 9. 36. 14-19; Śaṅkhatīrtha where he saw the big tree Mahāśaṅkha 9. 36. 19-26; Dvaitavana, from where he went along the southern bank of Sarasvatī (tataḥ prāyād balo rājan dakṣiṇena sarasvatīm) 9. 36. 26-28; Nāgadhanavan, from where he went towards the east (prāyāt prācīṁ diśam) 9. 36. 29-32; Naimiṣeya kuñja from where hte eastward flowing Sarasvatī again returned to the west (yatra bhūyo nivavṛte prāṅmukhā vai sarasvatī) 9. 36. 35; bhūyaḥ pratīcyabhimukhī susrāva saritāṁ varā) 9. 36. 52; 9. 36. 34-56; Saptasārasvata 9. 36. 57-63; 9. 38. 1-3; Auśanasa (Kapālamocana) 9. 38. 4, 7, 21; Āśrama of Ruṣaṅgu 9. 38. 21; Pṛthūdaka 9. 38. 23, 30; a tīrtha (not named) 9. 38. 33; 9. 39. 6, 10, 23, 30-31; Balarāma gave there many kinds of gifts to Brāhmaṇas nad honoured them 9. 39. 30-31; Āśrama of Baka 9. 39. 32; 9. 40. 28-29; Yāyāta 9. 40. 29; Vasiṣṭhāpavāha 9. 40. 35; Blarāma bathed there (upaspṛśya) and gave various gifts and from there went to Somasya tīrtham 9. 42. 38; Aujasa, where Balarāma bathed (snātvā, spṛṣṭvā), worshipped Skanda, gave gold, garments and ornaments to Brāhmaṇas and was happy and pleased 9. 45. 92-94; Kaubera forest 9. 46. 22-24, 28; Badarapācana 9. 46. 29; 9. 47. 1, 61; Indratīrtha 9. 47. 61;/ 9. 48. 1, 5-6; Rāmatīrtha 9. 48. 6, 9-10; Yamunātīrtha 9. 48. 10, 15; Ādityatīrtha 9. 48. 16, 20; 9. 49. 65; Somasya tīrtham 9. 49. 65; 9. 50. 2; tīrtha of sage Sārasvata 9. 50. 2, 51; tīrtha of Vṛddhakanyā 9. 50. 51; 9. 51. 24; Balarāma mounted Himavant and saw Plakṣaprasravaṇa tīrtha at the source of Sarasvatī (prabhavaṁ ca sarasvatyāḥ plakṣaprasravaṇaṁ balaḥ) 9. 53. 9-11; from there he went to Kārapacana 9. 53. 11-12; at Plakṣaprasravaṇa he heard about the destruction in the battle; so he descended from the mountain Himavant and wnet to hte place where the duel between Bhīma and Duryodhana was to take place; he was deligted to look at Sarasvatī again and again 9. 53. 33, 36-37; before leaving the place Balarāma sang two stanzas praising the qualities of Sarasvatī and describing her holiness 9. 53. 34-35;

(7) The prowess (prabhāva) of Sarasvatī was narrated by Vaiśaṁpāyana to Janamejaya 9. 43. 1 (reference to Adhyāyas 9. 39-42);

(8) The Pāṇḍavas and Duryodhana selected a place which had no ditches near a tīrtha called Svayana to the south of Sarasvatī (dakṣiṇena sarasvatyāḥ svayanaṁ tīrtham uttamam | tasmin deśe tv aniriṇe tatra yuddham arocayan //) 9. 54. 13 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 9. 55. 18: aniriṇe aṇūṣare);

(9) After the mutual destruction of the Yādavas, Arjuna established Yauyudhāni, son of Sātyaki(n), in the region of Sarasvatī (yauyudhānīm sarasvatyāṁ putraṁ sātyakinaḥ priyam/nyaveśayata) 16. 8. 69;

(10) Sixteen thousand wives of Vāsudeva (Kṛṣṇa) enterd the river Sarasvatī (nyamajjanta sarasvatyām); they then became the Apsarases and returned to Vāsudeva 18. 5. 21.


F. Past and Mythological events:

(1) King Matināra performed a sacrificial session lasting for twelve years on the bank of Sarasvatī; after the satra was over, Sarasvatī chose Matināra for her husband; a son was born to Sarasvatī, Taṁsu by name; this is recorded in a stanza describing lineage (atrānuvaṁśo bhavati/taṁsuṁ sarasvatī putraṁ matinārād ajījanat) 1. 90. 25-28);

(2) Describing past events in Kṛṣṇa's life Arjuna said that in a satra lasting for twelve years on Sarasvatī Kṛṣṇa discarded his upper garment, became thin, having stretched veins (apakṛṣṭottarāsaṅgaḥ kṛśo dhamanisaṁtataḥ/āsīḥ kṛṣṇa sarasvatyāṁ satre dvādaśavārṣike//) 3. 13, 13 (Nī. on 3. 12. 14; apakṛṣṭottarāsaṅgaḥ tyaktottarīyavastraḥ);

(3) Sarasvatī is one of the seven forms assumed by Gaṅgā on the mountain Hiraṇyaśṛṅga (6. 7. 40); these forms became famous as seven Gaṅgās in the three worlds 6. 7. 44-45, 47;

(4) Trita fell down at night in a well which was not far away from Sarasvatī 9. 35. 24-25; when Trita requested gods to rescue him from the well, Sarasvatī, full of waves, leapt up and threw Trita out of the well (tatra cormimatī rājann utpapāta sarasvatī/tayotkṣiptas tritas tasthau) 9. 35, 46;

(5) Sarasvatī, in bygone days, disappeared due to her hatred for Śūdras and Ābhīras; the place where she disappeared was named by sages Vinaśana tīrtha (śūdrābhīrān prati dveṣād yatra naṣṭā sarasvatī…tasmāt tad ṛṣayo nityaṁ prāhur vinaśaneti ha//) 9. 36. 1-2;

(6) Sarasvatī, flowing towards the east, returned from a certain tīrtha to the west out of her regard for the sages living in the Naimiṣa forest; formerly, in the Kṛta age, many sages from the Naimiṣa forest, after completing satra of twelve years, flocked to Sarasvatī for pilgrimage (tīrthakāraṇāt); on account of their large numbers the tīrthas on the south bank of Sarasvatī appeared like cities (ṛṣīṇāṁ bahulatvāt tu sarasvatyā viśāṁ pate/tīrthāni nagarāyante kūle vai dakṣiṇe tadā//); these sages resorted to the bank of Sarasvatī as far as the Samantapañcaka on account of their love for tīrthas (tīrthalobhāt); due to the fires of their agnīhotras the river shone (aśobhata saricchreṣṭhā); the sages, dwelling near Sarasvatī, beautified the river as do gods the Ganges (śobhayantaḥ saricchreṣṭhām gaṅgām iva divaukasaḥ); when other sages arrived there to perform a satra they found no place in Kurukṣetra; then Sarasvatī showed herself to the despondent sages (tatas tam ṛṣisaṁghātaṁ nirāśaṁ cintayānvitam/darśayām āsa rājendra teṣām arthe sarasvatī); the river created for them many bowers, returned (tataḥ kuñjān bahūn kṛtvā saṁnivṛttā saridvarā), and again flowed towards the west thinking “I shall not render the arrival of the sages futile; now I shall go my way”; this is a great wonder that the river performed (bhūyaḥ pratīcyabhimukhī susrāva saritāṁ varā//amoghā gamanaṁ (amoghāgamanam ?) kṛtvā teṣāṁ bhūyo vrajāmy aham/ity adbhutaṁ mahac cakre tato rājan mahānadī) 9. 36. 35-53;

(7) When Maṅkaṇaka, who was observing chastity (kaumārabrahmacāriṇaḥ) saw by chance a woman taking bath in Sarasvatī his seed fell into water; when it was collected in a jar by the sage, the seed got divided into seven parts; from it were born seven seers, from whom sprang the Maruts (tatrarṣayaḥ sapta jātā jajñire marutāṁ gaṇāḥ/…evam ete samutpannā marutāṁ janayiṣṇavaḥ) 9. 37. 29-32 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 9. 38. 37 (eteṣāṁ tapasā maruto 'dityām utpannā iti kalpāntaraviṣayo 'yam arthaḥ);

(8) The Brāhmaṇa Ruṣaṅgu, when he decided to give up his body in old age, asked his sons to carry him to Pṛthūdaka, a tīrtha on Sarasvatī; when he was carried to the river by his sons, he took bath there (āplutaḥ) and, knowing the qualities of the tīrtha, told his sons: “one who gives up his body on the northern bank of Sarasvatī will not have to worry about iminent death” (nainaṁ śvomaraṇaṁ tapet) 9. 38. 24-29, (9) Baka Dālbhya, when insulted by Dhṛtarāṣṭra, son of Vicitravīrya (9. 40. 1; probably different from the son of Ambikā and the father of the Kauravas), kindled fire at a desolate tīrtha on Sarasvatī (avakīrṇe sarasvatyās tīrthe prajvālya pāvakam 9. 40. 12; Nī., however, who reads avākīrṇam takes it as the name of a tīrtha: avākīrṇaṁ nāma dālbhyasevitaṁ tīrthaṁ jagāma Bom. Ed. 9. 41. 1) and started giving offerings of flesh of dead animals; as a result the kingdom of Dhṛtarāṣṭra began to waste away; he was therefore advised to propitiate Baka in a bower in the water of Sarasvatī (apāṁ kuñje sarasvatyās taṁ prasādaya pārthiva) and request Baka to forgive him for his fault 9. 40. 10-21; (also see No. 27 below);

(10) For the sacrifice of Yayāti, son of Nahuṣa, Sarasvatī brought in her currents clarified butter and milk (ghṛtaṁ payaś ca susrāva); in that sacrifice, Sarasvatī fulfilled the wishes of Brāhmaṇas by producing many juices (?) in accordance with their wishes (yatra yatra hi yo vipro yān yān kāmān abhīpsati/ tatra tatra saricchreṣṭhā sasarja subahūn rasān) 9. 40. 30, 33;

(11) Viśvāmitra practised severe austerities on an excellent tīrtha (not named) of Sarasvatī and became a Brāhmaṇa 9. 39. 23, 28-29; the āśrama of Vasiṣṭha was at Sthāṇutīrtha on the eastern bank of Sarasvatī and that of Viśvāmitra on the western bank; at the tīrtha Vasiṣṭhāpavāha, Viśvāmitra was able to displace Vasiṣṭha with the help of severe austerities (vasiṣṭhaṁ cālayām āsa tapasogreṇa) 9. 41. 4, 8; Viśvāmitra wanted Sarasvatī to bring Vasiṣṭha to him swiftly so that he could kill him (Vasiṣṭha); Viśvāmitra therefore thought of Sarasvatī; she appeared before him, trembling with fear, and asked him what she might do for him; Viśvāmitra told the river what he wanted her to do; hearing that Sarasvatī was pained; she just stood there all the while shaking with fear; Viśvāmitra asked her again to bring Vasiṣṭha quickly to him; she was worried what to do as she was afraid of the curses of both the sages; she went to Vasiṣṭha and informed him what Viśvāmitra's desire was; Vasiṣṭha saw her pale and lean and told her to carry him to Viśvāmitra and save herself from the latter's curse; hearing that Sarasvatī reflected on what she might do which would turn out beneficial to Vasiṣṭha as he had been merciful to her; when she saw on the other bank Viśvāmitra engaged in giving offerings she thought that to be the right moment to act swiftly (sarasvaty abhyacintayat/idam antaram ity eva 9. 41. 26-27); she washed away a part of her bank on the side of Vasiṣṭha so that he was carried on her current to the āśrama of Viśvāmitra; while he was being thus carried Vasiṣṭha praised Sarasvatī (Sarasvatī's praise 9. 41. 29-31); Sarasvatī informed Viśvāmitra that she had brought Vasiṣṭha; Viśvāmitra began to look for a weapon to kill Vasiṣṭha; being afraid of the sin of killing a Brāhmaṇa Sarasvatī carried Vasiṣṭha back to the eastern bank (brahmahatyābhayān nadī/apovāha vasiṣṭhaṁ tu prācīṁ diśam atandritā 9. 41. 34); she thus did what both the sages asked her to do, but Viśvāmitra was deceived; enraged, he cursed the river to flow with blood; as a result Sarasvatī flew with water mixed with blood for a year; the sages, gods, Gandharvas and Apsarases were excessively pained to see Sarasvatī in that condition; this is how the tīrtha Vasiṣṭhāpavāha came into existance 9. 41. 11-39; when Sarasvatī carried blood with water in her current, Rākṣasas came there and were happy to drink blood from the river water; once, some sages, while visiting the tīrthas, came to Vasiṣṭhāpavāha they saw the Rākṣasas drinking blood from the river; they decided to do something to save the river; they invited Sarasvatī and found out from her the cause of the disturbed condition of the tīrtha (kāraṇaṁ brūhi kalyāṇi kimarthaṁ te hrado hy ayam/evam ākulatāṁ yātaḥ 9. 42. 9); on hearing the cause, they decided to free the river from the curse; by their mere word Sarasvatī returned to her normal condition and her water was as placid as before (teṣāṁ tu vacanād eva prakṛtisthā sarasvatī/prasannasalilā jajñe yathā pūrvam tathaiva hi 9. 42. 13); the excellent river shone as before; since the river water was normal again the Rākṣasas were afflicted by hunger and they requested the sages to relieve them from that condition; the sages praised the river and urged her to relieve the Rākṣasas from their condition; knowing what the sages wanted Sarasvatī brought to her current the river Aruṇā (aruṇām ānayām āsa svāṁ tanum); bathing in that river the Rākṣasas abandoned their bodies and went to heaven 9. 42. 1-25;

(12) While Dadhīca was giving offerings to gods on the bank of Sarasvatī (tasya tarpayato devān sarasvatyām 9. 50. 8), the Apsaras Alambusā, sent by Indra to disturb the austerities of Dadhīca, approached him; seeing her divine form the seed of Dadhīca spilled into water of Sarasvatī; the river held it in her womb as she desired to have a son and also because the seed might not be wasted (kukṣau cāpy adadhat… tad retaḥ…putrahetor mahānadī 9. 50. 10; na vināśam idaṁ gacchet tvatteja iti niścayāt 9. 50. 14); when Sarasvatī delivered the child at proper time she took him to Dadhīca; seeing Dadhīca seated in the assembly of sages she handed over the child to him saying it was his son whom she bore out of her devotion to the sage (brahmarṣe tava putro 'yaṁ tvadbhaktyā dhārito mayā 9. 50. 12); Dadhīca accepted the child and was very much delighted; he then gave the following boon to Sarasvatī: “all gods, manes, Gandharvas and Apsarases will be satisfied when they receive offerings of your water (tṛptiṁ yāsyanti subhage tarpyamāṇās tavāmbhasā 9. 50. 17); the sage then praised the great river (9. 50. 19-20); he declared that this her son will be known as Sārasvata after the mother's name (tavaiva nāmnā prathitaḥ putras te lokabhāvanaḥ 9. 50. 21); he also declared that by his grace Sarasvatī would be the holiest of all holy rivers (puṇyābhyaś ca saridbhyas tvaṁ sadā puṇyatamā śubhe/ bhaviṣyasi mahābhāge matprasādāt sarasvati 9. 50. 23); when praised by the sage and having received a boon from him Sarasvatī went away taking her son with her 9. 50. 5-24;

(13) Once there was drought lasting for twelve years; when Sārasvata, like other people, wanted to leave the place and go elsewhere in search of food, Sarasvatī told him not to leave the place; she assured him to provide food to him in the form of excellent fish; Sārasvata therefore lived there; he ate the food offered by the river and preserved the Vedas 9. 50. 36-38;

(14) Bharata, son of Duḥṣyanta and Śakuntalā, bound twenty horses for sacrifice on the bank of Sarasvatī (sarasvatīṁ viṁśatiṁ ca) 12. 29. 41;

(15) Gārgya satisfied Śiva by offering a mental sacrifice on the bank of Sarasvatī (sarsvatyās taṭe tuṣṭo manoyajñena pāṇḍava); Śiva then gave him wonderful knowledge of time (kālajñānaṁ mamādbhutam), a thousand sons, equal to Gārgya, versed in the exposition of Brahman (tulyaṁ mama sahasraṁ tu sutānāṁ brahmavādinām), and very long life to him and to his sons 13. 18. 25-26;

(16) Nahuṣa invited Agastya, who was then on the bank of Sarasvatī, to come to him and draw his carriage (vāhanāyājuhāva saḥ/drutaṁ sarasvatīkūlāt) 13. 103. 12;

(17) Utathya, angered at the abduction of his wife by Varuṇa, began to drink up water everywhere, compelled the ocean to recede and asked Sarasvatī: “Be invisible in a desert land; when deserted by you let the land be unholy” (adṛśyā gaccha bhīru tvaṁ sarasvati maruṁ prati/apuṇya eṣa bhavatu deśas tyaktas tvayā śubhe) 13. 139. 25-26;

(18) Sarasvatī was one of the rivers seen by Mārkaṇḍeya in the belly of the Bāla (3. 186. 83 = Nārāyaṇa 3. 187. 3) 3. 186. 96;

(19) Janamejaya asked Vaiśaṁpāyana the origin of the Saptasārasvata tīrtha; Vaiśaṁpāyana then began the narration of a past event in which Sarasvatī, when invited for a sacrifice at different places, appeared there under different names 9. 37. 1, 3-4; (i) When Pitāmaha (Brahmadeva) thought of Sarasvatī she first appeared as Suprabhā at Puṣkara to make the sacrifice of Pitāmaha on this earth highly fruitful (mahāphalaḥ); Sarasvatī thus showed her respect for Pitāmaha (pitāmahaṁ mānayantīm) 9. 37. 11-14; (ii) When Sarasvatī was thought of by the sages performing a satra at Naimiṣa forest she appeard there as Kāñcanākṣī to help the sages (sahāyārthaṁ mahātmanām); she was honoured by the sages (pūjitā) 9. 37. 15-18; (iii) When she appeared for the sacrifice of Gaya among the people of Gayā (gayeṣu), sages called her Viśālā 9. 37. 20; (iv) In the sacrifice of Auddālaki in the northern Kosalas when she was thought of by Auddālaka the river appeared there for him (ājagāma saricchreṭhā taṁ deśam ṛṣikāraṇāt) under the name Manohradā (Mānasahradā in 9. 37. 4) since she was carried there by the sages through the agency of their mind (sā hi tair manasā hṛtā); the river was honoured there by the sages (pūjyamānā munigaṇaiḥ) 9. 37. 21-23; (v) In the Ṛṣabhadvīpa the river appeared with the name Suveṇu 9. 37. 24; (vi) In the sacrifice of Kuru at Kurukṣetra. when invoked by Vasiṣṭha, the river Sarasvatī appeared with the name Oghavatī 9. 37. 24-25; (vii) In the sacrifice of Dakṣa at Gaṅgādvāra the river appeared as Vimalodā 9. 37. 26 (Vimalodakā 9. 37. 4); when Brahman offered a sacrifice again he called the river back on the Himavant mountain; the tīrtha where all the seven forms of the river got united became famous as Saptasārasvata 9. 37. 2628;

(20) When the chariot of Śiva was got ready for his fight with Asuras fighting from the Tripuras the Mahānadīs became its hind parts (jaṅghās tasya mahānadīḥ) 8. 24. 69 (Sarasvatī could be one of these ‘big rivers’; but cf. the next);

(21) Sarasvatī was the parirathya (?) of Śiva's chariot 8. 24. 75 (however, according to Nī. on Bom. Ed. 8. 34. 34, sarasvatī here means speech: parirathyā pracāramārgaḥ/ sarasvatī vāgdevīkalpitaḥ śabdamātraśarīra ity arthaḥ);

(22) When Hari resorted to another body with the head of a horse for the rescue of the Vedas, Gaṅgā and Sarasvatī became his two eyebrows (gaṅgā sarasvatī puṇyā bhruvāv āstāṁ mahānadī) 12. 335. 46;

(23) The gods, led by Brahman, took with them Skanda and went to Himavant and the river Sarasvatī for his consecration as the general of their army 9. 43. 50-52; they consecrated Skanda at Sthāṇutīrtha on Sarasvatī 9. 41. 6-7; gods consecrated Skanda as their general with the holy waters of Sarasvatī having heavenly waters (sarasvatībhiḥ puṇyābhir divyatoyābhir eva tu/abhyaṣiñcan kumāraṁ vai) 9. 44. 18-19;

(24) Dakṣa told gods that the emaciated Soma (moon) would grow again after bathing in the excellent tīrtha on Sarasvatī (sarasvatyā vare tīrthe unmajjan śaśalakṣaṇaḥ/punar vardhiṣyate devāḥ); Soma then proceeded to the great tīrtha Prabāsa on Sarasvatī 9. 34. 67, 69;

(25) Sthāṇu (Śiva) offered a sacrifice and honoured Sarasvatī and then established Sthāṇutīrtha on the river 9. 41. 8;

(26) When Indra was pursued by the head of Namuci, Pitāmaha (Brahman) asked Indra to offer a sacrifice and to bathe in Aruṇā; Indra then offered a sacrifice in the Kuñja of Sarasvatī and bathed in Aruṇā (sarasvatyāḥ kuñje…iṣṭvā…aruṇāyām upāspṛśat) 9. 42. 34-35;

(27) At the tīrtha (not named) situated near the āśrama of Baka Dālbhya on the river Sarasvatī (9. 39. 32; 9. 40. 1) Bṛhaspati gave offerings of flesh for the prosperity of gods and the decline of Asuras (asurāṇām abhāvāya bhāvāya ca divaukasām) 9. 40. 26-27;

(28) Sarasvatī was one of the rivers whom Umā wanted to consult on strīdharma before expounding it to Śiva as these rivers were well-versed in it; Umā thereby wanted to honour the rivers; the rivers appointed Gaṅgā to speak on their behalf to Umā 13. 134. 13, 19-22, 25.


G. Importance:

(1) One of the rivers who wait upon Varuṇa in his Sabhā (upāsate mahātmānam) 2. 9. 19, 22;

(2) Mentioned twice in the Daivata-Ṛṣi-Vaṁśa recited by Bhīṣma 13. 151. 14, 22, (2).


H. Simile: Draupadī having five Pāṇḍavas as her husbands was very happy with them and they with Draupadī as is Sarasvatī with the Nāgas (babhūva paramaprītā nāgair iva sarasvatī) 1. 205. 3 (Nī. on 1. 213. 3: nāgair gajaiḥ; he, however, adds: sarasvatī bahusaroyuktā vanasthalī/sā hi gajair yuktānyaiś chettum aśakyā/tayā ca gajā balinaḥ/evaṁ te mitho vṛddhihetavaḥ). [See Bhogavatī^2 ]


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Mahabharata Cultural Index[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Sarasvatī : f.: sg, (pl. 6. 10. 35; 9. 37. 3; 9. 44. 18; 12. 255. 39; 13. 75. 12): Name of a river (in some events conceived as a woman); also called Bhogavatī (3. 25. 20).


A. Location:

(1) Listed by Saṁjaya among the rivers of the Bhāratavarṣa; people used its water for drinking 6. 10. 13;

(2) In the north (udīcyām) 3. 88. 1; on the top of Himavant (prasthe himavataḥ śubhe) 9. 4. 49; Balarāma saw on the Himavant mountain (9. 53. 9), the source of Sarasvatī at Plakṣaprasravaṇa (prabhavaṁ ca sarasvatyāḥ plakṣaprasravaṇaṁ balaḥ (dṛṣṭvā)) 9. 53. 11; Sarasvatī's origin in an ant-hill near a Plakṣa tree (plakṣād devī sṛtā rājan mahāpuṇyā sarasvatī//tatrābhiṣekaṁ kurvīta valmīkān niḥsṛte jale) 3. 82. 5-6; flowing from Himavant (haimavatī) 9. 43. 51;

(3) Rises in the lake of Brahman (prasṛtāsi mahābhāge saraso brahmaṇaḥ purā) 9. 50. 19; 9. 41. 29;

(4) The Bāhlīka country was disregarded by Gaṅgā, Yamunā and Sarasvatī (gaṅgayā ca tiraskṛtāḥ/sarasvatyā yamunayā) 8. 30. 10;

(5) Nakula in his march towards the west of Khāṇḍavaprastha (khāṇḍavaprasthāt pratīcīm abhito diśam 2. 29. 2) conquered people who lived along Sarasvatī (ye cāśritya sarasvatīm/vartayanti) 2. 29. 9; one of the rivers visited by the Pāṇḍavas in their westward march (yayuḥ…paścimāṁ diśam); on its bank is the Kāmyaka forest (sarasvatīkūle) 3. 6. 2-3;

(6) Flowing through Kurukṣetra (tatra (i. e. kurukṣetre) … sarasvatyām) 3. 81. 3, 92-93; 3. 129. 21-22; 3. 130. 3; flowing through Samantapañcaka 9. 43. 51; Kurukṣetra to the south of Sarasvatī and to the north of Dṛṣadvatī 3. 81. 175; lake Dvaitavana near Sarasvatī 3. 174. 21.


B. Description: Auspicious (śivā) 3. 179. 15; 13. 134. 22; holy (puṇyā) 3. 129. 20; 3. 130. 3; 9. 37. 17; 9. 38. 27; 9. 43. 51; 13. 134. 15; very holy (supuṇyā) 6. 10. 35; (mahāpuṇyā) 3. 82. 5; most holy (puṇyatamā) 13. 134. 22; brings holiness (to visitors) (puṇyavahā) 3. 88. 2; holy among all rivers (sarvanadīṣu puṇyā) 9. 53. 35; has holy tīrthas on it (puṇyatīrthā) 3. 179. 14; having hundreds of tīrthas on it (tīrthaśatopetā) 9. 38. 27; having waters of all tīrthas (sarvatīrthodakair yutā) 13. 134. 12; purifying (pāvanā) 6. 7. 45; sinless (anaghā) 9. 42. 11; highly fortunate (mahābhāgā) 9. 37. 24; 9. 50. 19, 22, 23; (bhagavatī) 9. 37. 26; as though the sacrificial ground of gods (āyāgabhūtām iva devatānām) 3. 174. 24; divine (devī) 9. 43. 51; (divyā) 3. 130. 3; having heavenly water (divyatoyā) 9. 37. 25; 9. 44. 18; excellent river, best or first among rivers (saricchreṣṭhā) 3. 82. 5; 9. 36. 36, 38, 44, 47; 9. 37. 11, 14, 23, 24; 9. 40. 33; 9. 41. 19, 23; 9. 42. 12, 13; 9. 43. 51; 9. 50. 19; 13. 134. 22; (saritāṁ śreṣṭhā) 9. 37. 18, 19; 9. 41. 12, 20; 9. 42. 8; (saridvarā) 9. 36. 51; 13. 134. 14; (saritāṁ varā) 9. 36. 52; 9. 41. 27, 39; 9. 50. 11; 13. 134. 19; (nadīnām uttamā) 3. 82. 5; 13. 134. 15; (prathamā sarvasaritām) 13. 134. 15; shining (śubhā) 9. 50. 23; 13. 139. 26; bhāminī 9. 41. 13; beautiful (varavarṇinī) 9. 50. 20; pleasing to look at (priyadarśanā) 9. 50. 20; red (aruṇā) 9. 4. 49; always bringing happiness to people (lokasukhāvahā sadā) 9. 53. 35; great river (mahānadī) 9. 36. 53; 9. 39. 7 (not named); 9. 42. 20; 9. 50. 10, 18, 24; 12. 335. 46; full of lakes (hradinī) 3. 88. 2; has placid water (prasannasalilā) 3. 179. 15; (as a woman) whose eyes were like a lotus (puṇḍarīkanibhekṣaṇā) 9. 41. 17; its banks wide like sky (ākāśanīkāśataṭā) 3. 179. 14; having a garland of forests (vanamālinī) 3. 88. 2; full of nīpa and nīvāra (on its banks) (nīpanīvārasaṁkulā) 3. 179. 14; flowing rapidly (śīghragāminī) 9. 37. 20; 9. 41. 23; (vegayuktā) 9. 37. 13; (oghavatī) 3. 130. 3; flowing to the sea (sāgaragāminī) 13. 134. 15; (sāgaragamā) 13. 134. 21; liked by Yakṣas, Gandharvas and great sages (yakṣagandharvamaharṣikāntā) 3. 174. 24; resorted to by hosts of Brāhmaṇas (viprasaṁghair niṣevitā) 9. 38. 27; worshipped by the sages (pūjyamānā munigaṇaiḥ) 9. 37. 23; worshipped by good people at all times (sarasvatī nadī sadbhiḥ satataṁ pārtha pūjitā) 3. 88. 9; thronged by people to whom she is the sole resort (ekaśaraṇāvṛtā) 3. 129. 20; famous in the three worlds (triṣu lokeṣu viśrutā) 9. 43. 51; 6. 7. 47; versed in the knowledge of the duties of women (strīdharmakuśalā) 13. 134. 19; all the rivers listed by Saṁjaya are described as mothers of the universe and very strong (viśvasya mātaraḥ sarvāḥ sarvāś caiva mahābalāḥ) 6. 10. 35 (also see the next section


C. ).


C. Characteristics:

(1) Sarasvatī appears and disappears again at various places (dṛśyādṛśyā ca bhavati tatra tatra sarasvatī) 6. 7. 47; the trees growing on the banks of Sarasvatī are (sarasvatītīraruhaiḥ…śobhitam): Badara, Iṅguda, Kāśmarya, Plakṣa, Aśvattha, Vibhītaka, Panasa, Palāśa, Karīra, Pīlu, Bandhana, Syandana, Bilva, Āmrātaka, and Pārijāta; there are also on its bank forests of Parūṣaka (parūṣakavanaiś caiva) and groves of Atimuktaka (atimuktakaṣaṇḍaiś ca) 9. 36. 58-60; auspicious Śāla forests grow on its banks (śiveṣu/sarasvatīśālavaneṣu teṣu) 3. 26. 1; the big Mahāśaṅkha tree is on its bank 9. 36. 20; the forests on its bank are inhabited by the righteous who have controlled their self and who wear bark garments and have matted hair and also by hosts of perfected sages (bhogavatīm upetya dhṛtātmanāṁ cīrajaṭādharāṇām tasmin vane dharmabhṛtāṁ nivāse/dadarśa siddharṣigaṇān anekān) 3. 25. 20; cf. 3. 26. 1; (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 3. 24. 20: bhogavatīṁ sarasvatīṁ nadīm); always pleasing to Dadhīca (mama prīyakarī cāpi satataṁ) 9. 50. 20; Śūdras and hosts of Ābhīras took resort on Sarasvatī and lived on fish (śūdrābhīragaṇāś caiva ye cāśritya sarasvatīm/ vartayanti ca ye matsyaiḥ) 2. 29. 9; there is no pleasure, there are no virtues which are equal to the residence on Sarasvatī (sarasvatīvāsa samā kuto ratiḥ sarasvatīvāsasamāḥ kuto guṇāḥ) 9. 53. 34; Sarasvatī disappears in the desert at Vinaśana, but appears again at Camasa, Śivodbheda and Nāgodbheda 3. 80. 118; (13. 139. 26); the Siddhas know, due to the wetness of plants and earth, the presence of Sarasvatī there though not seen (snigdhatvād oṣadhīnāṁ ca bhūmeś ca janamejaya/ jānanti siddhā rājendra naṣṭām api sarasvatīm//) 9. 34. 81; at Camasodbheda all ocean going rivers turn to her (yatrainām abhyavartanta divyāḥ puṇyāḥ samudragāḥ) 3. 130. 5.


D. Holiness:

(1) Vaiśaṁpāyana told Janamejaya the holiness of the Tīrthavaṁśa of Sarasvatī (here in particular of the Aujasatīrtha 9. 45. 92) 9. 45. 88; Sarasvatī and the tīrthas on Sarasvatī are holier than Kurukṣetra (puṇyam āhuḥ kurukṣetraṁ kurukṣetrāt sarasvatīm/sarasvatyāś ca tīrthāni) 3. 81. 125; by the favour of sage Dadhīca, Sarasvatī was to be at all times holiest among the other holy rivers (puṇyābhyaś ca saridbhyas tvaṁ sadā puṇyatamā śubhe/bhaviṣyasi mahābhāge matprasādāt sarasvati) 9. 50. 23; (9. 53. 35);

(2) By bathing in the river Sarasvatī one washes off one's sins (dhūtapāpmā bhaviṣyasi) 3. 129. 20; by bathing in Sarasvatī one rides in a vimāna (sarasvatyām upaspṛśya vimānastho virājate) 3. 82. 139; by visiting Sarasvatī people have gone to heaven; those who have done evil acts if they visit Sarasvatī they never grieve in this or the other world (sarasvatīṁ prāpya janāḥ suduṣkṛtāḥ/sadā na śocanti paratra ceha ca//) 9. 53. 34-35; according to the Gāthās sung by Yayāti (12. 148. 8) if one bathes and drinks water at Pṛthūdaka on Sarasvatī one does not have to worry about death in near future (naiva śvomaraṇaṁ tapet) 12. 148. 10; this was also told by Ruṣaṅgu to his sons 9. 38. 29; by visiting Sarasvatī and by satisfying there gods and manes one rejoices undoubtedly in the worlds of Sarasvatī (sārasvateṣu lokeṣu modate nātra saṁśayaḥ) 3. 82. 59; by bathing at the tīrtha on Sarasvatī gods, Gandharvas, Apsarases, Dvaipāyana, Śuka, Kṛṣṇa, Yakṣas and many others became perfected in Yoga (yogasiddhāḥ) 9. 48. 18-20; one should live on Sarasvatī for a month 3. 81. 3;

(3) By bathing at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Sarasvatī one gets the fruit of an Aśvamedha and goes to heaven 3. 82. 34; by visiting the place where Sarasvatī meets the ocean (sarasvatyāḥ sāgarasya ca saṁgame) one gets the fruit of gifting a thousand cows and shining always with lustre like that of fire he is glorified in heaven (svargaloke mahīyate/dīpyamāno 'gnivan nityaṁ prabhayā); living there for three nights one should satisfy manes and gods; he thereby shines like the moon (prabhāsate yathā somaḥ…) and gets the reward of an Aśvamedha 3. 80. 79-80; at the confluence of Sarasvatī (the other river is not named) people worship Janārdana; Brahmā and other gods, as well as sages and Siddhas and Cāraṇas, visit it on the fourteenth day of the bright half of Caitra 3. 80, 130; it is recommended that one should live at Kurukṣetra on Sarasvatī for a month (tatra (kurukṣetre) sarasvatyāṁ māsaṁ vaset) 3. 81. 3;

(4) There are many tīrthas on Sarasvatī 5. 154. 33; 9. 34. 33; all these tīrthas are holy 3. 81. 125; their holiness described in the Śalyaparvan (śalyaparvaṇi…sarasvatyāś ca tīrthānāṁ puṇyatā parikīrtitā) 1. 2. 174-175; these tīrthas are: Śaśayāna 3. 80. 120-121; a tīrtha sacred to Arantuka, chief of Yakṣas 3. 81. 42; Śrīkuñja 3. 81. 91; Naimiṣakuñja 3. 81. 92; Devītīrtha at the confluence of Sarasvatī and Aruṇā 3. 81. 131; Vinaśana 3. 130. 3; Camasodbheda 3. 130. 5; Janamejaya asked Vaiśaṁpāyana to tell him the origin, the merits, the reward of visiting them, and how one achieves successful completion of visiting the tīrthas on Sarasvatī (sārasvatānāṁ tīrthānāṁ guṇotpattiṁ vadasva me/phalaṁ ca dvipadāṁ śreṣṭha karmanirvṛttim eva ca// 9. 34. 33: Nī. on Bom. Ed. 9. 35. 38: karmanirvṛttiṁ tīrthayātrāvidhisiddhim); Vaiśaṁpāyana's account includes Prabhāsa 9. 34. 36; Camasodbheda 9. 34. 78; Subhūmika 9. 36. 3; Gargasrotas 9. 36. 14, 16; Śaṅkhatīrtha 9. 36. 24; Auśanasa 9. 38. 16, also called Kapālamocana 9. 38. 20; Pṛthūdaka 9. 38. 25-26; a tīrtha not named 9. 38. 33; 9. 39. 6, 10, 23, 30;

(5) The region deserted by Sarasvatī would be bereft of holiness (apuṇya eṣa bhavatu deśaś tyaktas tvayā śubhe) 13. 139. 26; cows act like Sarasvatīs (pl.) in delivering persons from the remainder of their actions (?), in freeing them from the body and in the obtainment of bliss (śeṣotsarge karmabhir dehamokṣe sarasvatyaḥ śreyasi saṁpravṛttāḥ) 13. 75. 12 (But Nī. on Bom. Ed. 13. 76. 12: (gāvaḥ) kṣayarogādinivṛttau dehamokṣe ca karmabhiḥ pañcagavyādibhiḥ sevitāḥ satyaḥ sarasvatyo nadya iva śreyase saṁpravṛttāḥ); one should live on the rivers Sarasvatī and Dṛṣadvatī worshipping them, doing one's studies and bathing in all places (sarasvatīdṛṣadvatyau sevamāno 'nusaṁcareḥ/svādhyāyaśīlaḥ sthāneṣu sarveṣu samupaspṛśeḥ) 12. 148. 12; but sage Parāśara told to king Janaka that, more than with waters of the rivers, one should bathe one's body with austerities (i. e. one should practise austerities) at all holy places like Sarasvatī, Naimiṣa, Puṣkara and the rest (adbhyo bhūyaḥ plāvyaṁ tapasā vai śarīram/sarasvatīnaimiṣapuṣkareṣu ye cāpy anye puṇyadeśāḥ pṛthivyām) 12. 286. 37;

(6) Sarasvatī suited for sacrifices: (i) The fire-altar of Prajāpati was on holy Sarasvatī (sarasvatīm imāṁ puṇyāṁ paśya…vedī prajāpater eṣā) 3. 129. 20, 22; (ii) Many sages, divine sages, and royal sages had offered sacrifices on Sarasvatī (iha sārasvatair yajñair iṣṭavantaḥ surarṣayaḥ/ṛṣayaś caiva kaunteya tathā rājarṣayo 'pi ca) 3. 129. 21; (iii) Formerly Vālakhilya sages offered sacrifices on Ṣarasvatī 3. 88. 9; (iv) Sarasvatī is listed by Mārkaṇḍeya among the rivers which are called mothers of the sacrificial hearths (i. e. on the banks of which sacrifices were performed) 3. 212. 21 (for citation and Nī. see Kapilā );

(7) Sarasvatī also mentioned among the holy places by visiting which the high-souled ones who have observed vows (mahātmāno dhṛtavratāḥ) assume heavenly form and, becoming auspicious, wearing heavenly garlands and rich in holy perfume, they go to the world of cows (? te tatra modanti gavāṁ vimāne 13. 105. 44) 13. 105. 48 (for citation see Karatoyinī );

(8) According to Tulādhāra, however, all rivers are equal in point of holiness to Sarasvatī (sarvā nadyaḥ sarasvatyaḥ) 12. 255. 39.


E. Epic events:

(1) The Pāṇḍavas, at the beginning of their forest life, lived on the banks of Sarasvatī, Yamunā and Gaṅgā; they next saw the Kāmyaka forest on the bank of Sarasvatī and lived there 3. 6. 3-4;

(2) The Pāṇḍavas saw in Dvaitavana the river Bhogavatī (= Sarasvatī) (manoramāṁ bhogavatīm upetya…tasmin vane (i. e. in Dvaitavana)) 3. 25. 20; they sported in the Śāla forests on the bank of Sarasvatī 3. 26. 1; the Pāṇḍavas left Dvaitavana and went to Kāmyaka on the bank of Sarasvatī (yayau sarasvatītīre kāmyakaṁ nāma kānanam) 3. 37. 37;

(3) Shown by Lomaśa to the Pāṇḍavas 3. 130. 3; after crossing the desert they reached Sarasvatī in order to live in Dvaitavana 3. 174. 21; seeing them settled in Dvaitavana ascetics came to them 3. 174. 22; the Pāṇḍavas were happy roaming along the river Sarasvatī 3. 174. 24; they spent the most holy autumnal Kārtika full moon night while living on the bank of Sarasvatī (teṣām puṇyatamā rātriḥ parvasaṁdhau sma śāradī/ tatraiva vasatām āsīt kārtikī janamejaya//) 3. 179. 16;

(4) Rāma Jāmadagnya, along with Ambā and other ascetics, went to Kurukṣetra to meet Bhīṣma and stayed near Sarasvatī (nyaviśanta tataḥ sarve parigṛhya sarasvatīm) 5. 177. 24;

(5) After the fall of Karṇa, the Kṣatriyas fighting on the side of the Kauravas went to Sarasvatī flowing near Himavant, and bathed, and drank her water; they felt refreshed and returned for the battle (aruṇāṁ sarasvatīṁ prāpya papuḥ sasnuś ca tojjalam) 9. 4. 49;

(6) Balarāma decided to go on a pilgrimage to visit the tīrthas on Sarasvatī as he waw not prepared to watch the destruction of those born in the Kuru family (tasmād yāsyāmi tīrthāni sarasvatyā niṣevitum / na hi śakṣyāmi kauravyān naśyamānān upekṣitum) 5. 154. 33; ha set out on the Maitra nakṣatra; from the ocean he started his pilgrimage upstream on the river (pratisrotaḥ sarasvatyāḥ; sarasvatīṁ pratisrotaḥ samudrād abhijagmivān) 9. 34. 12, 17-18; Balarāma gave to Brāhmaṇas large dakṣiṇās at the excellent tīrthas on Sarasvatī 9. 34. 29-32; the tīrthas and other places visited by Balarāma were Prabhāsa 9. 34. 36; Camasodbheda 9. 34. 78-79; Udapāna 9. 34. 80; 9. 35. 1-2; 52-53; Vinaśana where Sarasvatī disappeared 9. 36. 1-3; Subhūmika 9. 36. 3-9; Gandharvatīrtha 9. 36. 10-14; Gragasrotas 9. 36. 14-19; Śaṅkhatīrtha where he saw the big tree Mahāśaṅkha 9. 36. 19-26; Dvaitavana, from where he went along the southern bank of Sarasvatī (tataḥ prāyād balo rājan dakṣiṇena sarasvatīm) 9. 36. 26-28; Nāgadhanavan, from where he went towards the east (prāyāt prācīṁ diśam) 9. 36. 29-32; Naimiṣeya kuñja from where hte eastward flowing Sarasvatī again returned to the west (yatra bhūyo nivavṛte prāṅmukhā vai sarasvatī) 9. 36. 35; bhūyaḥ pratīcyabhimukhī susrāva saritāṁ varā) 9. 36. 52; 9. 36. 34-56; Saptasārasvata 9. 36. 57-63; 9. 38. 1-3; Auśanasa (Kapālamocana) 9. 38. 4, 7, 21; Āśrama of Ruṣaṅgu 9. 38. 21; Pṛthūdaka 9. 38. 23, 30; a tīrtha (not named) 9. 38. 33; 9. 39. 6, 10, 23, 30-31; Balarāma gave there many kinds of gifts to Brāhmaṇas nad honoured them 9. 39. 30-31; Āśrama of Baka 9. 39. 32; 9. 40. 28-29; Yāyāta 9. 40. 29; Vasiṣṭhāpavāha 9. 40. 35; Blarāma bathed there (upaspṛśya) and gave various gifts and from there went to Somasya tīrtham 9. 42. 38; Aujasa, where Balarāma bathed (snātvā, spṛṣṭvā), worshipped Skanda, gave gold, garments and ornaments to Brāhmaṇas and was happy and pleased 9. 45. 92-94; Kaubera forest 9. 46. 22-24, 28; Badarapācana 9. 46. 29; 9. 47. 1, 61; Indratīrtha 9. 47. 61;/ 9. 48. 1, 5-6; Rāmatīrtha 9. 48. 6, 9-10; Yamunātīrtha 9. 48. 10, 15; Ādityatīrtha 9. 48. 16, 20; 9. 49. 65; Somasya tīrtham 9. 49. 65; 9. 50. 2; tīrtha of sage Sārasvata 9. 50. 2, 51; tīrtha of Vṛddhakanyā 9. 50. 51; 9. 51. 24; Balarāma mounted Himavant and saw Plakṣaprasravaṇa tīrtha at the source of Sarasvatī (prabhavaṁ ca sarasvatyāḥ plakṣaprasravaṇaṁ balaḥ) 9. 53. 9-11; from there he went to Kārapacana 9. 53. 11-12; at Plakṣaprasravaṇa he heard about the destruction in the battle; so he descended from the mountain Himavant and wnet to hte place where the duel between Bhīma and Duryodhana was to take place; he was deligted to look at Sarasvatī again and again 9. 53. 33, 36-37; before leaving the place Balarāma sang two stanzas praising the qualities of Sarasvatī and describing her holiness 9. 53. 34-35;

(7) The prowess (prabhāva) of Sarasvatī was narrated by Vaiśaṁpāyana to Janamejaya 9. 43. 1 (reference to Adhyāyas 9. 39-42);

(8) The Pāṇḍavas and Duryodhana selected a place which had no ditches near a tīrtha called Svayana to the south of Sarasvatī (dakṣiṇena sarasvatyāḥ svayanaṁ tīrtham uttamam | tasmin deśe tv aniriṇe tatra yuddham arocayan //) 9. 54. 13 (Nī., however, on Bom. Ed. 9. 55. 18: aniriṇe aṇūṣare);

(9) After the mutual destruction of the Yādavas, Arjuna established Yauyudhāni, son of Sātyaki(n), in the region of Sarasvatī (yauyudhānīm sarasvatyāṁ putraṁ sātyakinaḥ priyam/nyaveśayata) 16. 8. 69;

(10) Sixteen thousand wives of Vāsudeva (Kṛṣṇa) enterd the river Sarasvatī (nyamajjanta sarasvatyām); they then became the Apsarases and returned to Vāsudeva 18. 5. 21.


F. Past and Mythological events:

(1) King Matināra performed a sacrificial session lasting for twelve years on the bank of Sarasvatī; after the satra was over, Sarasvatī chose Matināra for her husband; a son was born to Sarasvatī, Taṁsu by name; this is recorded in a stanza describing lineage (atrānuvaṁśo bhavati/taṁsuṁ sarasvatī putraṁ matinārād ajījanat) 1. 90. 25-28);

(2) Describing past events in Kṛṣṇa's life Arjuna said that in a satra lasting for twelve years on Sarasvatī Kṛṣṇa discarded his upper garment, became thin, having stretched veins (apakṛṣṭottarāsaṅgaḥ kṛśo dhamanisaṁtataḥ/āsīḥ kṛṣṇa sarasvatyāṁ satre dvādaśavārṣike//) 3. 13, 13 (Nī. on 3. 12. 14; apakṛṣṭottarāsaṅgaḥ tyaktottarīyavastraḥ);

(3) Sarasvatī is one of the seven forms assumed by Gaṅgā on the mountain Hiraṇyaśṛṅga (6. 7. 40); these forms became famous as seven Gaṅgās in the three worlds 6. 7. 44-45, 47;

(4) Trita fell down at night in a well which was not far away from Sarasvatī 9. 35. 24-25; when Trita requested gods to rescue him from the well, Sarasvatī, full of waves, leapt up and threw Trita out of the well (tatra cormimatī rājann utpapāta sarasvatī/tayotkṣiptas tritas tasthau) 9. 35, 46;

(5) Sarasvatī, in bygone days, disappeared due to her hatred for Śūdras and Ābhīras; the place where she disappeared was named by sages Vinaśana tīrtha (śūdrābhīrān prati dveṣād yatra naṣṭā sarasvatī…tasmāt tad ṛṣayo nityaṁ prāhur vinaśaneti ha//) 9. 36. 1-2;

(6) Sarasvatī, flowing towards the east, returned from a certain tīrtha to the west out of her regard for the sages living in the Naimiṣa forest; formerly, in the Kṛta age, many sages from the Naimiṣa forest, after completing satra of twelve years, flocked to Sarasvatī for pilgrimage (tīrthakāraṇāt); on account of their large numbers the tīrthas on the south bank of Sarasvatī appeared like cities (ṛṣīṇāṁ bahulatvāt tu sarasvatyā viśāṁ pate/tīrthāni nagarāyante kūle vai dakṣiṇe tadā//); these sages resorted to the bank of Sarasvatī as far as the Samantapañcaka on account of their love for tīrthas (tīrthalobhāt); due to the fires of their agnīhotras the river shone (aśobhata saricchreṣṭhā); the sages, dwelling near Sarasvatī, beautified the river as do gods the Ganges (śobhayantaḥ saricchreṣṭhām gaṅgām iva divaukasaḥ); when other sages arrived there to perform a satra they found no place in Kurukṣetra; then Sarasvatī showed herself to the despondent sages (tatas tam ṛṣisaṁghātaṁ nirāśaṁ cintayānvitam/darśayām āsa rājendra teṣām arthe sarasvatī); the river created for them many bowers, returned (tataḥ kuñjān bahūn kṛtvā saṁnivṛttā saridvarā), and again flowed towards the west thinking “I shall not render the arrival of the sages futile; now I shall go my way”; this is a great wonder that the river performed (bhūyaḥ pratīcyabhimukhī susrāva saritāṁ varā//amoghā gamanaṁ (amoghāgamanam ?) kṛtvā teṣāṁ bhūyo vrajāmy aham/ity adbhutaṁ mahac cakre tato rājan mahānadī) 9. 36. 35-53;

(7) When Maṅkaṇaka, who was observing chastity (kaumārabrahmacāriṇaḥ) saw by chance a woman taking bath in Sarasvatī his seed fell into water; when it was collected in a jar by the sage, the seed got divided into seven parts; from it were born seven seers, from whom sprang the Maruts (tatrarṣayaḥ sapta jātā jajñire marutāṁ gaṇāḥ/…evam ete samutpannā marutāṁ janayiṣṇavaḥ) 9. 37. 29-32 (Nī. on Bom. Ed. 9. 38. 37 (eteṣāṁ tapasā maruto 'dityām utpannā iti kalpāntaraviṣayo 'yam arthaḥ);

(8) The Brāhmaṇa Ruṣaṅgu, when he decided to give up his body in old age, asked his sons to carry him to Pṛthūdaka, a tīrtha on Sarasvatī; when he was carried to the river by his sons, he took bath there (āplutaḥ) and, knowing the qualities of the tīrtha, told his sons: “one who gives up his body on the northern bank of Sarasvatī will not have to worry about iminent death” (nainaṁ śvomaraṇaṁ tapet) 9. 38. 24-29, (9) Baka Dālbhya, when insulted by Dhṛtarāṣṭra, son of Vicitravīrya (9. 40. 1; probably different from the son of Ambikā and the father of the Kauravas), kindled fire at a desolate tīrtha on Sarasvatī (avakīrṇe sarasvatyās tīrthe prajvālya pāvakam 9. 40. 12; Nī., however, who reads avākīrṇam takes it as the name of a tīrtha: avākīrṇaṁ nāma dālbhyasevitaṁ tīrthaṁ jagāma Bom. Ed. 9. 41. 1) and started giving offerings of flesh of dead animals; as a result the kingdom of Dhṛtarāṣṭra began to waste away; he was therefore advised to propitiate Baka in a bower in the water of Sarasvatī (apāṁ kuñje sarasvatyās taṁ prasādaya pārthiva) and request Baka to forgive him for his fault 9. 40. 10-21; (also see No. 27 below);

(10) For the sacrifice of Yayāti, son of Nahuṣa, Sarasvatī brought in her currents clarified butter and milk (ghṛtaṁ payaś ca susrāva); in that sacrifice, Sarasvatī fulfilled the wishes of Brāhmaṇas by producing many juices (?) in accordance with their wishes (yatra yatra hi yo vipro yān yān kāmān abhīpsati/ tatra tatra saricchreṣṭhā sasarja subahūn rasān) 9. 40. 30, 33;

(11) Viśvāmitra practised severe austerities on an excellent tīrtha (not named) of Sarasvatī and became a Brāhmaṇa 9. 39. 23, 28-29; the āśrama of Vasiṣṭha was at Sthāṇutīrtha on the eastern bank of Sarasvatī and that of Viśvāmitra on the western bank; at the tīrtha Vasiṣṭhāpavāha, Viśvāmitra was able to displace Vasiṣṭha with the help of severe austerities (vasiṣṭhaṁ cālayām āsa tapasogreṇa) 9. 41. 4, 8; Viśvāmitra wanted Sarasvatī to bring Vasiṣṭha to him swiftly so that he could kill him (Vasiṣṭha); Viśvāmitra therefore thought of Sarasvatī; she appeared before him, trembling with fear, and asked him what she might do for him; Viśvāmitra told the river what he wanted her to do; hearing that Sarasvatī was pained; she just stood there all the while shaking with fear; Viśvāmitra asked her again to bring Vasiṣṭha quickly to him; she was worried what to do as she was afraid of the curses of both the sages; she went to Vasiṣṭha and informed him what Viśvāmitra's desire was; Vasiṣṭha saw her pale and lean and told her to carry him to Viśvāmitra and save herself from the latter's curse; hearing that Sarasvatī reflected on what she might do which would turn out beneficial to Vasiṣṭha as he had been merciful to her; when she saw on the other bank Viśvāmitra engaged in giving offerings she thought that to be the right moment to act swiftly (sarasvaty abhyacintayat/idam antaram ity eva 9. 41. 26-27); she washed away a part of her bank on the side of Vasiṣṭha so that he was carried on her current to the āśrama of Viśvāmitra; while he was being thus carried Vasiṣṭha praised Sarasvatī (Sarasvatī's praise 9. 41. 29-31); Sarasvatī informed Viśvāmitra that she had brought Vasiṣṭha; Viśvāmitra began to look for a weapon to kill Vasiṣṭha; being afraid of the sin of killing a Brāhmaṇa Sarasvatī carried Vasiṣṭha back to the eastern bank (brahmahatyābhayān nadī/apovāha vasiṣṭhaṁ tu prācīṁ diśam atandritā 9. 41. 34); she thus did what both the sages asked her to do, but Viśvāmitra was deceived; enraged, he cursed the river to flow with blood; as a result Sarasvatī flew with water mixed with blood for a year; the sages, gods, Gandharvas and Apsarases were excessively pained to see Sarasvatī in that condition; this is how the tīrtha Vasiṣṭhāpavāha came into existance 9. 41. 11-39; when Sarasvatī carried blood with water in her current, Rākṣasas came there and were happy to drink blood from the river water; once, some sages, while visiting the tīrthas, came to Vasiṣṭhāpavāha they saw the Rākṣasas drinking blood from the river; they decided to do something to save the river; they invited Sarasvatī and found out from her the cause of the disturbed condition of the tīrtha (kāraṇaṁ brūhi kalyāṇi kimarthaṁ te hrado hy ayam/evam ākulatāṁ yātaḥ 9. 42. 9); on hearing the cause, they decided to free the river from the curse; by their mere word Sarasvatī returned to her normal condition and her water was as placid as before (teṣāṁ tu vacanād eva prakṛtisthā sarasvatī/prasannasalilā jajñe yathā pūrvam tathaiva hi 9. 42. 13); the excellent river shone as before; since the river water was normal again the Rākṣasas were afflicted by hunger and they requested the sages to relieve them from that condition; the sages praised the river and urged her to relieve the Rākṣasas from their condition; knowing what the sages wanted Sarasvatī brought to her current the river Aruṇā (aruṇām ānayām āsa svāṁ tanum); bathing in that river the Rākṣasas abandoned their bodies and went to heaven 9. 42. 1-25;

(12) While Dadhīca was giving offerings to gods on the bank of Sarasvatī (tasya tarpayato devān sarasvatyām 9. 50. 8), the Apsaras Alambusā, sent by Indra to disturb the austerities of Dadhīca, approached him; seeing her divine form the seed of Dadhīca spilled into water of Sarasvatī; the river held it in her womb as she desired to have a son and also because the seed might not be wasted (kukṣau cāpy adadhat… tad retaḥ…putrahetor mahānadī 9. 50. 10; na vināśam idaṁ gacchet tvatteja iti niścayāt 9. 50. 14); when Sarasvatī delivered the child at proper time she took him to Dadhīca; seeing Dadhīca seated in the assembly of sages she handed over the child to him saying it was his son whom she bore out of her devotion to the sage (brahmarṣe tava putro 'yaṁ tvadbhaktyā dhārito mayā 9. 50. 12); Dadhīca accepted the child and was very much delighted; he then gave the following boon to Sarasvatī: “all gods, manes, Gandharvas and Apsarases will be satisfied when they receive offerings of your water (tṛptiṁ yāsyanti subhage tarpyamāṇās tavāmbhasā 9. 50. 17); the sage then praised the great river (9. 50. 19-20); he declared that this her son will be known as Sārasvata after the mother's name (tavaiva nāmnā prathitaḥ putras te lokabhāvanaḥ 9. 50. 21); he also declared that by his grace Sarasvatī would be the holiest of all holy rivers (puṇyābhyaś ca saridbhyas tvaṁ sadā puṇyatamā śubhe/ bhaviṣyasi mahābhāge matprasādāt sarasvati 9. 50. 23); when praised by the sage and having received a boon from him Sarasvatī went away taking her son with her 9. 50. 5-24;

(13) Once there was drought lasting for twelve years; when Sārasvata, like other people, wanted to leave the place and go elsewhere in search of food, Sarasvatī told him not to leave the place; she assured him to provide food to him in the form of excellent fish; Sārasvata therefore lived there; he ate the food offered by the river and preserved the Vedas 9. 50. 36-38;

(14) Bharata, son of Duḥṣyanta and Śakuntalā, bound twenty horses for sacrifice on the bank of Sarasvatī (sarasvatīṁ viṁśatiṁ ca) 12. 29. 41;

(15) Gārgya satisfied Śiva by offering a mental sacrifice on the bank of Sarasvatī (sarsvatyās taṭe tuṣṭo manoyajñena pāṇḍava); Śiva then gave him wonderful knowledge of time (kālajñānaṁ mamādbhutam), a thousand sons, equal to Gārgya, versed in the exposition of Brahman (tulyaṁ mama sahasraṁ tu sutānāṁ brahmavādinām), and very long life to him and to his sons 13. 18. 25-26;

(16) Nahuṣa invited Agastya, who was then on the bank of Sarasvatī, to come to him and draw his carriage (vāhanāyājuhāva saḥ/drutaṁ sarasvatīkūlāt) 13. 103. 12;

(17) Utathya, angered at the abduction of his wife by Varuṇa, began to drink up water everywhere, compelled the ocean to recede and asked Sarasvatī: “Be invisible in a desert land; when deserted by you let the land be unholy” (adṛśyā gaccha bhīru tvaṁ sarasvati maruṁ prati/apuṇya eṣa bhavatu deśas tyaktas tvayā śubhe) 13. 139. 25-26;

(18) Sarasvatī was one of the rivers seen by Mārkaṇḍeya in the belly of the Bāla (3. 186. 83 = Nārāyaṇa 3. 187. 3) 3. 186. 96;

(19) Janamejaya asked Vaiśaṁpāyana the origin of the Saptasārasvata tīrtha; Vaiśaṁpāyana then began the narration of a past event in which Sarasvatī, when invited for a sacrifice at different places, appeared there under different names 9. 37. 1, 3-4; (i) When Pitāmaha (Brahmadeva) thought of Sarasvatī she first appeared as Suprabhā at Puṣkara to make the sacrifice of Pitāmaha on this earth highly fruitful (mahāphalaḥ); Sarasvatī thus showed her respect for Pitāmaha (pitāmahaṁ mānayantīm) 9. 37. 11-14; (ii) When Sarasvatī was thought of by the sages performing a satra at Naimiṣa forest she appeard there as Kāñcanākṣī to help the sages (sahāyārthaṁ mahātmanām); she was honoured by the sages (pūjitā) 9. 37. 15-18; (iii) When she appeared for the sacrifice of Gaya among the people of Gayā (gayeṣu), sages called her Viśālā 9. 37. 20; (iv) In the sacrifice of Auddālaki in the northern Kosalas when she was thought of by Auddālaka the river appeared there for him (ājagāma saricchreṭhā taṁ deśam ṛṣikāraṇāt) under the name Manohradā (Mānasahradā in 9. 37. 4) since she was carried there by the sages through the agency of their mind (sā hi tair manasā hṛtā); the river was honoured there by the sages (pūjyamānā munigaṇaiḥ) 9. 37. 21-23; (v) In the Ṛṣabhadvīpa the river appeared with the name Suveṇu 9. 37. 24; (vi) In the sacrifice of Kuru at Kurukṣetra. when invoked by Vasiṣṭha, the river Sarasvatī appeared with the name Oghavatī 9. 37. 24-25; (vii) In the sacrifice of Dakṣa at Gaṅgādvāra the river appeared as Vimalodā 9. 37. 26 (Vimalodakā 9. 37. 4); when Brahman offered a sacrifice again he called the river back on the Himavant mountain; the tīrtha where all the seven forms of the river got united became famous as Saptasārasvata 9. 37. 2628;

(20) When the chariot of Śiva was got ready for his fight with Asuras fighting from the Tripuras the Mahānadīs became its hind parts (jaṅghās tasya mahānadīḥ) 8. 24. 69 (Sarasvatī could be one of these ‘big rivers’; but cf. the next);

(21) Sarasvatī was the parirathya (?) of Śiva's chariot 8. 24. 75 (however, according to Nī. on Bom. Ed. 8. 34. 34, sarasvatī here means speech: parirathyā pracāramārgaḥ/ sarasvatī vāgdevīkalpitaḥ śabdamātraśarīra ity arthaḥ);

(22) When Hari resorted to another body with the head of a horse for the rescue of the Vedas, Gaṅgā and Sarasvatī became his two eyebrows (gaṅgā sarasvatī puṇyā bhruvāv āstāṁ mahānadī) 12. 335. 46;

(23) The gods, led by Brahman, took with them Skanda and went to Himavant and the river Sarasvatī for his consecration as the general of their army 9. 43. 50-52; they consecrated Skanda at Sthāṇutīrtha on Sarasvatī 9. 41. 6-7; gods consecrated Skanda as their general with the holy waters of Sarasvatī having heavenly waters (sarasvatībhiḥ puṇyābhir divyatoyābhir eva tu/abhyaṣiñcan kumāraṁ vai) 9. 44. 18-19;

(24) Dakṣa told gods that the emaciated Soma (moon) would grow again after bathing in the excellent tīrtha on Sarasvatī (sarasvatyā vare tīrthe unmajjan śaśalakṣaṇaḥ/punar vardhiṣyate devāḥ); Soma then proceeded to the great tīrtha Prabāsa on Sarasvatī 9. 34. 67, 69;

(25) Sthāṇu (Śiva) offered a sacrifice and honoured Sarasvatī and then established Sthāṇutīrtha on the river 9. 41. 8;

(26) When Indra was pursued by the head of Namuci, Pitāmaha (Brahman) asked Indra to offer a sacrifice and to bathe in Aruṇā; Indra then offered a sacrifice in the Kuñja of Sarasvatī and bathed in Aruṇā (sarasvatyāḥ kuñje…iṣṭvā…aruṇāyām upāspṛśat) 9. 42. 34-35;

(27) At the tīrtha (not named) situated near the āśrama of Baka Dālbhya on the river Sarasvatī (9. 39. 32; 9. 40. 1) Bṛhaspati gave offerings of flesh for the prosperity of gods and the decline of Asuras (asurāṇām abhāvāya bhāvāya ca divaukasām) 9. 40. 26-27;

(28) Sarasvatī was one of the rivers whom Umā wanted to consult on strīdharma before expounding it to Śiva as these rivers were well-versed in it; Umā thereby wanted to honour the rivers; the rivers appointed Gaṅgā to speak on their behalf to Umā 13. 134. 13, 19-22, 25.


G. Importance:

(1) One of the rivers who wait upon Varuṇa in his Sabhā (upāsate mahātmānam) 2. 9. 19, 22;

(2) Mentioned twice in the Daivata-Ṛṣi-Vaṁśa recited by Bhīṣma 13. 151. 14, 22, (2).


H. Simile: Draupadī having five Pāṇḍavas as her husbands was very happy with them and they with Draupadī as is Sarasvatī with the Nāgas (babhūva paramaprītā nāgair iva sarasvatī) 1. 205. 3 (Nī. on 1. 213. 3: nāgair gajaiḥ; he, however, adds: sarasvatī bahusaroyuktā vanasthalī/sā hi gajair yuktānyaiś chettum aśakyā/tayā ca gajā balinaḥ/evaṁ te mitho vṛddhihetavaḥ). [See Bhogavatī^2 ]


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Vedic Index of Names and Subjects[सम्पाद्यताम्]

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पृष्ठभागोऽयं यन्त्रेण केनचित् काले काले मार्जयित्वा यथास्रोतः परिवर्तयिष्यते। तेन मा भूदत्र शोधनसम्भ्रमः। सज्जनैः मूलमेव शोध्यताम्।


Sarasvatī[१] is the name of a river frequently mentioned in the Rigveda and later. In many passages[२] of the later texts it is certain the river meant is the modern Sarasvatī, which loses itself in the sands of Patiala (see Vinaśana). Even Roth[३] admits that this river is intended in some passages of the Rigveda. With the Dṛṣadvatī[४] it formed the western boundary of Brahmāvarta (see Madhyadeśa). It is the holy stream of early Vedic India. The Sūtras[५] mention sacrifices held on its banks as of great importance and sanctity.

In many other passages of the Rigveda,[६] and even later,[७] Roth held that another river, the Sindhu (Indus), was really meant: only thus could it be explained why the Sarasvatī is called the ‘foremost of rivers’ (nadītamā),[८] is said to go to the ocean,[९] and is referred to as a large river, on the banks of which many kings,[१०] and, indeed, the five tribes, were located.[११] This view is accepted by Zimmer[१२] and others.[१३]

On the other hand, Lassen[१४] and Max Müller[१५] maintain the identity of the Vedic Sarasvatī with the later Sarasvatī.[१६] The latter is of opinion that in Vedic times the Sarasvatī was as large a stream as the Sutlej, and that it actually reached the sea either after union with the Indus or not, being the ‘iron citadel,’ as the last boundary on the west, a frontier of the Panjab against the rest of India. There is no conclusive evidence of there having been any great change in the size or course of the Sarasvatī, though it would be impossible to deny that the river may easily have diminished in size. But there are strong reasons to accept the identification of the later and the earlier Sarasvatī throughout. The insistence on the divine character of the river is been in the very hymn[१७] which refers to it as the support of the five tribes, and corresponds well with its later sacredness. Moreover, that hymn alludes to the Pārāvatas, a people shown by the later evidence of the Pañcaviṃśa Brāhmaṇa[१८] to have been in the east, a very long way from their original home, if Sarasvatī means the Indus. Again, the Pūrus, who were settled on the Sarasvatī,[१९] could with great difficulty be located in the far west. Moreover, the five tribes might easily be held to be on the Sarasvatī, when they were, as they seem to have been, the western neighbours of the Bharatas in Kurukṣetra, and the Sarasvatī could easily be regarded as the boundary of the Panjab in that sense. Again, the ‘seven rivers’ in one passage[२०] clearly designate a district: it is most probable that they are not the five rivers with the Indus and the Kubhā (Cabul river), but the five rivers, the Indus and the Sarasvatī. Nor is it difficult to see why the river is said to flow to the sea: either the Vedic poet had never followed the course of the river to its end, or the river did actually penetrate the desert either completely or for a long distance, and only in the Brāhmaṇa period was its disappear- ance in the desert found out. It is said, indeed, in the Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā[२१] that the five rivers go to the Sarasvatī, but this passage is not only late (as the use of the word Deśa shows), but it does not say that the five rivers meant are those of the Panjab. Moreover, the passage has neither a parallel in the other Saṃhitās, nor can it possibly be regarded as an early production; if it is late it must refer to the later Sarasvatī.

Hillebrandt,[२२] on the whole, adopts this view of the Sarasvatī,[२३] but he also sees in it, besides the designation of a mythical stream, the later Vaitaraṇī,[२४] as well as the name of the Arghandab in Arachosia.[२५] This opinion depends essentially on his theory that the sixth Maṇḍala of the Rigveda places the scene of its action in Iranian lands, as opposed to the seventh Maṇḍala: it is as untenable as that theory itself.[२६] Brunnhofer[२७] at one time accepted the Iranian identification, but later[२८] decided for the Oxus, which is quite out of the question. See also Plakṣa Prāsravaṇa.

  1. Literally, ‘abounding in pools,’ perhaps with reference to its condition when the water was low. The name corresponds phonetically to the Iranian Haraqaiti (the modern Helmand).
  2. Taittirīya Saṃhitā, vii. 2, 1, 4;
    Pañcaviṃśa Brāhmaṇa, xxv. 10, 1;
    Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa, xii. 2, 3;
    Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, i. 4, 1, 14;
    Aitareya Brāhmaṇa, ii. 19, 1. 2;
    probably Av. vi. 30, 1. This list is according to Roth's view, St. Petersburg Dictionary, s.v. 3c.
  3. Rv. iii. 23, 4 (where the Dṛṣadvatī appears);
    x. 64, 9: 75, 5 (where the Śindhu also is mentioned).
  4. Probably the modern Chautang, which flows to the east of Thanesar. Cf. Oldham, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 25, 58;
    Imperial Gasetteer of India, 26, Plate 32.
  5. Kātyāyana Śrauta Sūtra, xii. 3, 20;
    xxiv. 6, 22;
    Lāṭyāyana Śrauta Sūtra, x. 15, 1;
    18, 13;
    19, 4;
    Āśvalāyana Śrauta Sūtra, xii. 6, 2. 3;
    Śāṅkhāyana Śrauta Sūtra, xiii. 29.
  6. i. 89, 3;
    164, 19;
    ii. 41, 16 et seq.;
    30, 8;
    32, 8;
    iii. 54, 13;
    v. 42, 12;
    43, 11;
    46, 2;
    vi. 49, 7;
    50, 12;
    52, 6;
    vii. 9, 5;
    36, 6;
    39, 5;
    40, 3;
    viii. 21, 17;
    54, 4;
    x. 17, 7;
    30, 12;
    131, 5;
    184, 2.
  7. Av. iv. 4. 6;
    v. 23, 1;
    vi. 3, 2;
    89, 3;
    vii. 68, 1;
    xiv. 2, 15. 20;
    xvi. 4, 4;
    xix. 32, 9;
    Taittirīya Saṃhitā, 1, 8, 13, 3;
    Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā, xix. 93;
    xxxiv. 11;
    Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, i. 6, 2, 4;
    xi. 4, 3, 3;
    xii. 7, 1, 12;
    2, 5;
    Bṛnadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad, vi. 3, 8. These passages should all be classed in n. 2.
  8. Rv. ii. 41, 16.
  9. Rv. vi. 61, 2. 8;
    vii. 96, 2.
  10. Rv. viii. 21, 18.
  11. Rv. vi. 61, 12.
  12. Altindisches Leben, 5-10.
  13. E.g., Griffith, Hymns of the Rigveda, 1, 60;
    2, 90, etc.;
    Ludwig, Translation of the Rigveda, 3, 201, 202.
  14. Indische Alterthumshunde, 1^2, 118.
  15. Sacred Books of the East, 32, 60.
  16. In the enumeration of rivers (evidently from east to west) in Rv. x. 75, 5, Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Sarasvatī, Śutudrī, the Sarasvatī comes between the Jumna and the Sutlej, the position of the modern Sarsūti (Saraswatī), which, flowing to the west of Thanesar, is joined in Patiala territory by a more westerly stream, the Ghaggar, and, passing Sirsa, is lost in the desert at Bhatnair;
    but a dry river bed (Hakra or Ghaggar) can be traced from that point to the Indus. See Imperial Gasetteer of India, 26, Plate 32. Cf. also Oldham, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 25, 49-76.
  17. Rv. ii. 41, 16 (devitame).
  18. See Pārāvata, and cf. Bṛsaya.
  19. Rv. vii. 95, 96. Ludwig, op. cit., 3, 175, admits that the Indus cannot be meant here. See Hillebrandt. Vedische Mythologie, 1, 115.
  20. Rv. viii. 24, 27. The connexion of Sarasvatī and the seven rivers is rather vague. In Rv. viii. 54, 4, Sarasvatī and the seven rivers are separately invoked, and in vi. 61, 10, 12, she is referred to as ‘seven-sistered’ (saptasvasā). In vii. 36, 6, she is called the ‘seventh,’ which makes the Sarasvatī one of the rivers. If the former passages are to be treated as precise, then saptasvasā may be considered to show that the Sarasvatī was outside the river system (which would then be Indus, Kubhā, and the five rivers of the Panjab;
    see Sapta Sindhavaḥ);
    but the expression may be loosely meant for one of seven sisters.
  21. xxxiv. 11.
  22. Vedische Mythologie, 1, 99 et seq.;
    3, 372-378.
  23. He sees this sense in the Rigveda everywhere, except in the passages indicated in notes 24 and 25.
  24. vii. 95, 6;
    x. 17, 7;
    Av. vii. 68, 2;
    xiv. 2, 20;
    Pañcaviṃśa Brāhmaṇa, xxxv. 10, 11.
  25. Rv. vi. 49, 7;
    61;
    possibly Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā, xxxiv. 11.
  26. See Divodāsa.
  27. Bezzenberger's Beiträge, 10, 261, n. 2.
  28. Iran und Turan, 127.

    Cf. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, 5, 337 et seq., Macdonell, Sanskrit Literature, 141, 142;
    Vedic Mythology, pp. 86-88;
    von Schroeder, Indiens Literatur und Cultur, 84, 164.
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