Online Encyclopedia

SARASUATI

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 205 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SARASUATI, in early Hindu mythology, a river-goddess; in later myths the wife of Brahma, goddess of wisdom and science, mother of the Vedas, and inventor of the Devanagari letters. There has been much dispute as to the stream of which she is a personification. Some have identified it with the Avestan river, Haragaiti, in Afghanistan, while others think the term a general one for any great river, and in particular the sacred name for the Indus, Sindhu being the popular one. Two small but sacred rivers in India are still called Saraswati, one in the Punjab and the other in Gujarat, both of which ultimately lose themselves in the sand. According to one legend, the Punjab river reappears to unite with the Ganges and Jumna at Allahabad. From this river is derived the name of the Sarswat Brahmans, the most numerous and influential of the priestly class in the Punjab, with whom the Gaur Sarswats or Shenvis of the Konkan claim connexion.
End of Article: SARASUATI
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