Saraswati Puja’ is a famous festival
of Hindus. This festival is celebrated every year on the occasion of Basant
Panchami. This worship is celebrated with great glee in Eastern India, North
Western Bangladesh, Nepal and many other nations. According to the Hindu
calendar, this festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day (Panchami) of
Saraswati Puja is one of the greatest festivals of Hindus. It is mainly the festival of students. Saraswati is the goddess of learning and music. Saraswati Puja is organized in honor of her. In some areas of India, it is celebrated with great glee. Devi Saraswati is said to be ‘Vidyadayini‘ and ‘Hanshvahini‘.
The passion of organizing the Saraswati Puja becomes the communication of passion in the students. Saraswati Puja is organized with full dignity by students in every teaching institution. Even older people also give full support to the children. Cultural and entertaining activities are also organized by the children in extra time.
The statue of the Devi Saraswati is set in Saraswati Puja. On this day Saraswati, Goddess of learning is worshipped and it is custom to wear yellow clothes. On this day children are taught to write their first word according to Hindu custom. Everyone enjoys this festival with great fun and enthusiasm.
Since early times Indian classical Music has emerged as a social art. At all times its use and purpose has been to retain the culture i.e. a part of the social heritage, which supports emotional and aesthetical aspects of life. The artist’s creation has much been in the form of tones, tunes, melodies and rhythmic patterns which are interwoven in a particular repertoire in accordance to particular seasons, occasions and festivities, shining as a musical piece that creates a pleasing artistic atmosphere, expressing a particular Expression and Rasa. For instance the cycle of seasons provides events and rituals along with the literary component of music. This gave rise to the concept of seasonal ragas (Ritu-Pradhan Ragas) in Indian music terminology. It prescribes ragas ‘Basant & Bahar’ particularly to be performed in Spring…. The lord of all seasons…“The Rituraj Basant” performed at the spring festival “Vasant Panchami “the ceremonial welcome of the spring season is celebrated on the 5th day of the month of Magh from the Hindu Lunar Calendar.
Vasant is the season when nature is at its beautiful and bountiful best. Flowers are in full bloom and trees sprout new shoots. It is a season when nature regenerates and everything is fresh and new. In North India the cool morning air is laden with the faint smell of Mango blossoms. Shrill loud calls of the Koyal (Cuckoo bird) pierce the tranquility of the mornings without in anyway disturbing it! Wheat and other crops enliven with new life and vitality. Mustard fields turn into a heady mix of yellow and green as the blossoms add color, poetry and romance to life.
Vasant Panchami commemorates the birth of ‘Saraswatiji’ The goddess of knowledge and wisdom. The beautiful goddess is portrayed in white attire, playing Veena a string musical instrument, sitting on a white swan that symbolizes Satwa Guna, which encompasses Learning, Wisdom and the Fine Arts. While the masses offer prayers and rituals, Indian Classical Musicians celebrate it by rendering various spring ragas to seek her blessings.
“Ambua phooli re daar daar, tesu phoole ban ban bahar” a traditional bandish in Raga Bahar in Teentala, depicts the galore of the Vasant ritu. This portrays the beauty of mango grooves and lush yellow fields spread across the horizons where Tesu flowers blossom which marks the arrival of the spring season and brings with it a sense of joy and anticipation. This is a beautiful piece which has all the elements, colors and shades to depict the Shringar Rasa, the basic mood of the spring season that an adept performer in raga rendition envisages by amalgamating both the pictorial and poetical quality that the bandish portrays.
Spring is the season of renewed hope, joyousness, colour and festivities. Thus Indian Classical Musicians celebrate Vasant Utsav by rendering a bouquet of spring ragas such as Basant-Bahar, Basant bahar, Bhairav bahar, Lalit bahar, Jaunpuri Bahar, Basant kanhara, Paraj in front of the goddess herself. It is done along with Semi classical and folk genres and many other ragas ragas, wherein the compositions explore the galore and splendor of the Vasant Ritu.
It is interesting to know that the Raga Vasant is connoted as the raga of spring and is depicted in the Ragamala paintings as Lord Krishna dancing with the maidens, evoking the aura of romanticism and the mood of love (Shringara). The name Basant is from Sanskrit “vasant” meaning “spring”. During this season of the year, Raga Basant may be performed at any time of the day or night. The Raga mala paintings are a series of illustrative paintings, an art form ‘interpreting sounds on canvas in colours’ based on Ragamala or the ‘Garland of Ragas’. They depict various Indian musical nodes, Ragas and stand as a classical example of the amalgamation of art, poetry and classical music in medieval era. The Vasant ragini is a delightful audiovisual extravaganza depicting the Vasant (or springtime), when hope springs eternal. In this ragamala painting the mood is light and joyful. Men and women are out to celebrate spring, with a women playing the dhol and calling other maidens to come along to witness the beauty of brij in the spring season as depicting the traditional and popular bandish in Raga Vasant. “Phagawa brij dekhana ko chalo ri”…
Many hearts are uplifted when experiencing the renewal of life that springs forth from the cold and barren ground of harsh winter to bring in nature that is at its beautiful and bountiful best. There is a song on every lip with a new confidence in every heart to chart a new course. This is a time when everyone gets together to romance with life as an old Hindi film song says, “Aayee jhoom ke Basant, jhoomo sang sang mein” saying, ‘The merry spring is here and let us sway together’.