- The Sarasvati was one of the great rivers of RIG VEDIC times and was worshipped as a divine god-dess in the VEDAS. A handful of verses in the Vedas also associate her with the stream of the dead, which is crossed by all who die.The river Sarasvati dried up in ancient times. However, it is said still to be flowing invisibly, joining the GANGES and YAMUNA at Prayag (ALLA-HABAD), one of the sites of the KUMBHA MELA festival.In a stray verse or two of RIG VEDA, Sarasvati is seen as the goddess of knowledge—all the arts and sciences; this later becomes the primary identification of the name. She is iconographically represented as holding a vina or lute in her hands. She is the wife of BRAHMA. Her vehicle is the swan or peacock.Further reading: Kanailal Bhattacharyya, Sarasvati: A Study in Her Concept and Iconography (Calcutta: Saras-wat Library, 1983); N. N. Godbole, Rig Vedic Sarasvati (Jaipur: Government of Rajasthan, 1963); Jan Gonda, Pushan and Sarasvati (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1985); David R. Kinsley, Hindu Goddesses (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.