Sarasvatī & higher knowledge in Ṛgveda: A study in Vaiśvāmitra
Dr. Rahul A Shastri
Translations constrained by conventions laid down by Yaska and Sāyanāchārya lead to the view that Sarasvatī in the Ṛgveda is simply a powerfully flowing river, sometimes destructive, sometimes supporting fecundity [Jamison and Brereton, 2014]. Untrammelled by these constraints, translations can yield a different perspective.
This study of three verses of Vaiśvāmitra suggests that Sarasvatī was seen in the Ṛgveda as the shaper of spirituality, intellect, and food-provider. The use of the word-root dhi includes three forms of spiritual pursuit – devotion, meditation and contemplation. Sarasvatī promotes agreeable speech, teaching and belongs to the wise. She purifies souls and is a medium of sacrifice.
The verses also implicitly define yajña or sacrifice as a curtailment of own nature in the interest of a higher goal or higher good. Spiritual effort, absorption of higher knowledge, retaining it and teaching it can all be regarded as sacrifice in this light.