The Vedic tradition of India from time immemorial has given women the highest place of respect and recognition. The Hindu scriptures are referred to as Mother Shruti and the Bhagavad Geeta as Mother Geeta. Knowledge itself has been personified as a feminine deitythe goddess Saraswati. Saraswati literally means "one who gives the essence (sara) of our own Self (swa)".
The goddess Saraswati is represented as sitting on a lotus
. She holds the sacred scripture in one hand and a lotus in the other
. With the third and fourth hands she plays the Indian lute (veena.)
The seat of the lotus indicates that the Goddess is firmly established in the experience of the supreme Reality. She is rooted in Truth
which the lotus represents. By holding the lotus in her hand Saraswati indicates to man the supreme goal that he should reach in his life time, the goal of Self- realisation. The path of that goal is shown by her other hands. There are two distinct paths taking man to the highest experience of godhood the path of knowledge and the path of devotion
. The path of knowledge is shown by the Goddess holding- the sacred book. It is called gnana marga in SanskritDevi Saraswathi Gayathri :
Om Vakdeviyai cha Vidhmahe
Virinji Pathniyai cha Dheemahe
Thanno Vani Prachodayath
Goddess Saraswathi - Thanjavur Paintings are made on canvases (wooden plank with layer of cloth). The cloth is then evenly coated with a paste of limestone and a binding medium and let to dry. The artist then draws a detailed sketch of the painting on the canvas. A paste, made of limestone and a binding medium, is used to create 3D effect in embellishing and ornamenting the theme using a brush. Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are used in selected areas like pillars, arches, thrones, dresses, etc. The shine and glean of the gold leaves used by the Thanjavur style paintings last forever. Finally, colours are applied on the sketch. Standard wooden frame is used to house the paintings.
Beautiful paintings of Goddess Saraswathi can be kept in the Pooja room for prayers and can also be given as a gift for House warming and Birthdays.