Saraswati is the Goddess of speech, learning, knowledge, and wisdom.
Sarasvati is the Goddess of all the creative arts especially of poetry and music, learning and science. Since knowledge is necessary for creation, Saraswati symbolizes the creative power of Brahma.
Sarasvati is represented as a beautiful woman with white skin, sitting or standing on a swan or a lotus flower and holding a Bina (an Indian musical instrument) in her hands. She wears a white sari. White is the colour of peace and purity. Her Lotus and goose /swan are also white
She has four arms. The four hands represent the four elements of the inner personality. The mind (manas), the intellect (buddhi), the conditioned consciousness (chitta), and the ego (ahankara). In her hands, she holds a book, a rosary, a pot of water, and a lute (veena).
Several stories are told about Saraswati:
This daughter of Brahma is the Hindu goddess of learning. When Brahma saw the beauty of Saraswati he became amorous. To escape from her father’s passionate approach Saraswati ran to the lands in all four directions, but she could not escape from her father. She succumbed to Brahma’s wish. Brahma and his daughter Saraswati lived as husband and wife indulging in incest for 100 years.
In ancient time there was a river named Saraswati River. The river dried up long ago (800-500 BC). It is told that the river runs underground and joins the Ganges. This river is also considered a goddess.Originally she was an Indian River goddess.
Later she became goddess of speech.
It is still common that the grandmother will make a Saraswati on the new born.
With honey a star with 5 point is made on the tongue of the child.
In another story she is one of the 3 wives of Vishnu. Due to the many quarrels of the 3 wives, Vishnu gave her to Brahma. Ganga was given to Shiva.
Lute (Veena or Bina ) :
It is a stringed musical instrument. It is a favourite instrument of Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, learning and arts.
Rosary (Akshamala) :
It is symbol of the never ending cycle. It is a string of beads.
In Hindu tradition, Brahma, Shiva, Ganesha and Saraswati also carry it.
Book (Pustaka) :
It is a symbol of wisdom.
Hindu deities such as Brahma, Manjushree, Saraswati, Prajnaparnmitta, Avalokiteswar, and Vasundhara are associated with, earning and arts.
Water carafe (Kamandalu) :
Water symbolizes life, fertility and wealth.
With the carafe it is possible to collect amrita, the nectar of life.
When needed the amrita can be poured out again.
Riding animal :
Swan / goose.
The swan symbolizes breath of life, boundless and knowledge.
Sometimes she sits/stands on a white lotus.
A peacock is sitting next to Saraswati and is anxiously waiting to serve as Her vehicle. A peacock depicts unpredictable behaviour as its moods can be influenced by the changes in the weather. Saraswati is using a swan as a vehicle and not the peacock. This signifies that one should overcome fear, indecision, and fickleness in order to acquire true knowledge a swan or peacock, while playing the veena.
Sarawati can also appear in the shape of: