Devī is the Sanskrit word for "goddess". Devi – the feminine form, Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, anything of excellence", are gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism; the concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga have continued to be revered into the modern era; the medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power. She has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism; the divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as central in Saiva Hindu traditions. Devi and Deva are Sanskrit terms found in Vedic literature of the 2nd millennium BCE. Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Monier-Williams translates it as "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones".
Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. When capitalized, Devi or Mata refers to goddess as divine mother in Hinduism. Deva is referred to as Devatā, Devi as Devika. According to Douglas Harper, the etymological root Dev- means "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus; the Devīsūkta of the Rigveda 10.125.1 through 10.125.8, is among the most studied hymns declaring that the ultimate reality is a goddess: The Vedas includes numerous goddesses including Parvati, Prithvi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. However, the goddesses are not discussed as as gods. Parvati, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Devi, the Supreme power.
Devi is the supreme being in the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smarta Tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahman, revered. In other Hindu traditions, Devi embodies the active energy and power of Deva, they always appear together complementing each other, such as Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism, Saraswati with Brahma in Brahmanism, Lakshmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism; the Devi-inspired philosophy is propounded in many Hindu texts, such as the Devi Upanishad, which states that Shakti is Brahman, from her arise Prakṛti and Purusha, she is bliss and non-bliss, the Vedas and what is different from it, the born and the unborn, all of the universe. Shakthi is Shiva's wife, she is mentioned as the creative power of Shiva in Tripura Upanishad, Bahvricha Upanishad, Guhyakali Upanishad. Devi identifies herself in the Devi Upanishad as brahman in her reply to the gods stating that she rules the world, blesses devotees with riches, she is the supreme deity to whom all worship is to be offered, that she infuses Ātman in every soul.
Devi asserts that she resides there. Her creation of sky as father, seas as mother is reflected as the "Inner Supreme Self", her creations are not prompted by any Higher being and she resides in all her creations. She is, states Devi, the eternal and infinite consciousness engulfing earth and heaven, "all forms of bliss and non-bliss and ignorance, Brahman and Non-Brahman"; the tantric aspect in Devi Upanishad, states June McDaniel is the usage of the terms yantra, bija, mantra and chakra. Among the major world religions, the concept of goddess in Hinduism as the divine feminine, has had the strongest presence since the ancient times. Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, purity and devotion, she is considered to be one of the greatest forms of Adi Parashakti. She is the nurturing aspect of Adi Parashakti, she has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu mythologies of India, including the popular name Gauri.
Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. Parvati is the wife of Shiva - the destroyer and regenerator of universe and all life, she is the mother of Hindu gods Kartikeya. Rita Gross states, that the view of Parvati only as ideal wife and mother is incomplete symbolism of the power of the feminine in mythology of India. Parvati, along with other goddesses, are involved with the broad range of culturally valued goals and activities, her connection with motherhood and female sexuality does not confine the feminine or exhaust their significance and activities in Hindu literature. She is balanced by Durga, strong and capable without compromising her femaleness, she manifests in every activity, from water to mountains, from arts to inspiring warriors, from agriculture to dance. Parvati's numerous aspects, states Gross, reflects the Hindu belief that the feminine has universal range of activities, her gender is not a limiting condition. In Hindu belief, Parvati is th
Kartikeya known as Murugan, Skanda and Subrahmanya, is the Hindu god of war. He is the son of Parvati and Shiva, brother of Ganesha, a god whose life story has many versions in Hinduism. An important deity around South Asia since ancient times, Kartikeya is popular and predominantly worshipped in South India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia as Murugan. Kartikeya is an ancient god, traceable to the Vedic era. Archaeological evidence from 1st-century CE and earlier, where he is found with Hindu god Agni, suggest that he was a significant deity in early Hinduism, he is found in many medieval temples all over India, such as at the Ellora Caves and Elephanta Caves. The iconography of Kartikeya varies significantly. Most icons show him with one head, but some show him with six heads reflecting the legend surrounding his birth where six mothers symbolizing the six stars of Pleiades cluster who took care of newly born baby Kartikeya, he grows up into a philosopher-warrior, destroys evil in the form of demon Taraka, teaches the pursuit of ethical life and the theology of Shaiva Siddhanta.
He has inspired many poet-saints, such as Arunagirinathar. Kartikeya is found as a primary deity in temples wherever communities of the Tamil people live worldwide in Tamil Nadu state of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, South Africa and Réunion. Three of the six richest and busiest temples in Tamil Nadu are dedicated to him; the Kataragama temple dedicated to him in Sri Lanka attracts Tamils, Sinhalese people and the Vedda people. He is found in other parts of India, sometimes as Skanda, but in a secondary role along with Ganesha and Shiva. Kartikeya is known by numerous names in medieval texts of the Indian culture. Most common among these are Murugan, Kumara and Subrahmanya. Others include Aaiyyan, Senthil, Vēlaṇ, Swaminatha, śaravaṇabhava, Arumugam or ṣaṇmukha, Guha or Guruguha, Kandhan and Mahasena. In ancient coins where the inscription has survived along with his images, his names appear as Kumara, Brahmanya or Brahmanyadeva. On some ancient Indo-Scythian coins, his names appear in Greek script as Skanda and Vishaka.
In ancient statues, he appears as Mahasena and Vishakha. Skanda is derived from skanḍr-, which means to "spill, leap, attack"; this root is derived from the legend of his unusual birth. The legend, translates Lochtefeld, states "Shiva and Parvati are disturbed while making love, Shiva inadvertently spills his semen on the ground"; this semen incubates in River Ganges, preserved by the heat of god Agni, this fetus is born as baby Kartikeya on the banks of Ganges. The "spill" epithet leads to the name Skanda. Additionally N. Gopala Pillai postulated. Kartikeya means "of the Krittikas"; this epithet is linked to his birth. After he appears on the banks of the River Ganges, he is seen by the six of the seven brightest stars cluster in the night sky called Krittikas in Hindu texts; these six mothers all want to take care of nurse baby Kartikeya. Kartikeya ends the argument by growing five more heads to have a total of six heads so he can look at all six mothers, let them each nurse one. There are ancient references which can be interpreted to be Kartikeya in the Vedic texts, in the works of Pāṇini, in the Mahabhasya of Patanjali and in Kautilya's Arthashastra.
For example, the term Kumara appears in hymn 5,2 of the Rig Veda. The Kumara of verse 5.2.1 can be interpreted as Skanda, or just any "boy". However, the rest of the verses depict the "boy" as bright-colored, hurling weapons and other motifs that have been associated with Skanda; the difficulty with interpreting these to be Skanda is that Indra and Rudra are depicted in similar terms and as warriors. The Skanda-like motifs found in Rig Veda are found in other Vedic texts, such as section 6.1-3 of the Shatapatha Brahmana. In these, the mythology is different for Kumara, as Agni is described to be the Kumara whose mother is Ushas and whose father is Purusha; the section 10.1 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka mentions Sanmukha, while the Baudhayana Dharmasutra mentions a householder's rite of passage that involves prayers to Skanda with his brother Ganapati together. The chapter 7 of the Chandogya Upanishad equates Sanat-Kumara and Skanda, as he teaches sage Narada to discover his own Atman as a means to the ultimate knowledge, true peace and liberation.
According to Fred Clothey, the evidence suggests that Kartikeya mythology had become widespread sometime around 200 BCE or after in north India. The first clear evidence of Kartikeya's importance emerges in the Hindu Epics such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata where his story is recited. In addition to textual evidence, his importance is affirmed by the archeological, the epigraphical and the numismatic evidence of this period. For example, he is found in numismatic evidence linked to the Yaudheyas, a confederation of warriors in north India who are mentioned by ancient Pāṇini, they ruled an area consisting of modern era Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. They struck coins bearing the image of Skanda, these coins are dated to be from before Kushan Empire era started. During the Kushan dynasty era, that included much of northwest
Radha called Radhika and Radhe, is a Hindu goddess popular in Hinduism in the Vaishnavism tradition. She was said to be the head of the milkmaids, she is the lover of the Supreme personality of Godhead Lord Krishna in the medieval era texts. She is a supreme goddess in her own right, she is called Jagat Janani. She appeared as queen of milkmaids and queen of Vrindavan-Barsana, she taught selfless surrender to the Godhead Shri Krishna. She is considered the supreme goddess in Vaishnavism. Rasik Saints have mentioned Her as a descension of Supreme Goddess, Source of Infinite Lakshmi, original form of Yogmaya and Allhadini Shakti, main Power of Godhead Shri Krishna, she and her consort Krishna are collectively known as Radha Krishna, the combined form of feminine as well as the masculine realities of God. Lord Krishna underwent various kinds of "leelas" with Her. Radha is worshipped in some regions of India by Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Vaishnavas in West Bengal, Bangladesh Manipur, Odisha. Elsewhere, she is revered in the Nimbarka Sampradaya and movements linked to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srimati Radharani ji is considered a metaphor for soul, her longing for Lord Krishna theologically seen as a symbolism for the longing for spirituality and the divine. She has inspired numerous literary works, her Rasa lila dance with Krishna has inspired many types of performance arts till this day, her festival is Radhastami. The Sanskrit term Rādhā means "prosperity, success", it is a common name founded in various contexts in the ancient and medieval texts of India. Of these the most celebrated is the name of the gopi, the beloved of Krishna. Both Radha and Krishna are the main characters of Gita Govinda of Jayadeva. Radha in this context is considered the avatar of Lakshmi, just like Krishna is considered an avatar of Vishnu. In Hit Harivansh and Swami Haridas Literature, Radha is considered as the main form of deity. Here, Radha is not another form of supreme god Shri Krishn Himself. In Devi Bhagvat and Brahma Vaibtra Purana, Radha is mentioned as the source of infinite Laxmi and mother of infinite souls.
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj elaborately described the virtue of Radha and has given a brief description of Shri Radha in his lectures and Kirtans. He has said, "She is the Supreme Goddess and is worshipped by everyone including Godhead Shri Krishna himself and that's why she is called Radha; the term is related to Rādha, which means "kindness, any gift but the gift of affection, wealth". The word appears in the Vedic literature as well as the Epics, but is elusive and not as a major deity. In some Vedic contexts, states Sukumar Sen, it could mean "beloved, desired woman" based on an Avestan cognate. However, Barbara Stoller and other scholars disagree with the Avestan interpretation, they state that the better interpretation of Radha in these ancient texts is "someone or something that fulfills a need". Starting with the Bhakti movement and with Jayadeva's composition, her profile as a goddess and constant companion of Krishna became dominant in Krishna-related Vaishnavism. Rādhikā refers to an endearing form of Gopi Radha.
Radha is an important goddess in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. She is a goddess whose traits, manifestations and roles vary with region. Since the earliest times, she has been associated with one of the most popular Hindu gods, the cowherd Krishna. In the early Indian literature, her mentions are illusive and not as common as other major goddesses of Hinduism, but during the Bhakti movement era she became popular among Krishna devotees whose strength is her love. According to Jaya Chemburkar, there are at least two significant and different aspects of Radha in the literature associated with her, such as Sriradhika namasahasram. One aspect is she is a milkmaid, another as a female deity similar to those found in the Hindu goddess traditions, she appears in Hindu arts as ardhanari with Krishna, an iconography where half of the image is Radha and the other half is Krishna. This is found in sculpture such as those discovered in Maharashtra, in texts such as Shiva Purana and Brahmavaivarta Purana.
In these texts, this ardhanari is sometimes referred to as Ardharadhavenudhara murti, it symbolizes the complete union and inseparability of Radha and Krishna. Radha's depictions vary from being an married woman who becomes an adulterous lover of Krishna in a secondary role, to being dual divinity equal to Krishna in Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, to being supreme object of devotional love for both Krishna and devotees in Rupa Gosvami's tradition. In some Hindu sub-traditions, Radha is conceptualized as a goddess who breaks social norms by leaving her marriage, entering into a relationship with Krishna to pursue her love. According to Heidi Pauwels, it is a "hotly debated issue" whether Radha was married or had an affair with Krishna while she remained married. Several Hindu texts allude to these circumstances. According to David Kinsley, a professor of Religious Studies known for his studies on Hindu goddesses, the Radha-Krishna love story is a metaphor for divine-human relationship, where Radha is the human devotee or soul, frustrated with the past, obligations to social expectations and the ideas she inherited, who longs for real meaning, the true love, the divine.
This metaphoric Radha finds new liberation in learning more about Krishna, bonding in devotion and with passion. The po
Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Shiva and Brahma. Sometimes the term is used for sampradayas led by a particular guru with a particular philosophy. Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any particular denomination or tradition. Four major traditions are, used in scholarly studies: Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism; these are sometimes referred to as the denominations of Hinduism, they differ in the primary deity at the centre of the tradition. A notable feature of Hindu denominations is that they do not deny other concepts of the divine or deity, celebrate the other as henotheistic equivalent; the denominations of Hinduism, states Lipner, are unlike those found in major religions of the world, because Hindu denominations are fuzzy with individuals practising more than one, he suggests the term "Hindu polycentrism". Although Hinduism contains many denominations and philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites and the questioning of authority.
Hindus subscribe to a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but have no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet nor any binding holy book. Hinduism as it is known can be subdivided into a number of major currents. Of the historical division into six darsanas, two schools and Yoga, are the most prominent. Classified by primary deity or deities, four major Hinduism modern currents are Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Smartism; these deity-centered denominations feature a synthesis of various philosophies such as Samkhya and Vedanta, as well as shared spiritual concepts such as moksha, karma, ethical precepts such as ahimsa, ritual grammar and rites of passage. McDaniel distinguishes six generic types of Hinduism, in an attempt to accommodate a variety of views on a rather complex subject: Folk Hinduism, based on local traditions and cults of local deities and extending back to prehistoric times, or at least prior to written Vedas. Shrauta or "Vedic" Hinduism as practised by traditionalist brahmins.
Vedantic Hinduism, including Advaita Vedanta, based on the philosophical approach of the Upanishads. Yogic Hinduism the sect based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. "Dharmic" Hinduism or "daily morality", based on Karma and upon societal norms such as Vivāha. Bhakti or devotionalist practices In Hinduism, a sampradaya is a denomination; these are teaching traditions with autonomous practices and monastic centers, with a guru lineage, with ideas developed and transmitted and reviewed by each successive generation of followers. A particular guru lineage is called parampara. By receiving diksha into the parampara of a living guru, one belongs to its proper sampradaya. Vaishnavism is a devotional sect of Hinduism; as well as Vishnu himself, followers of the sect worship Vishnu's ten incarnations. The two most-worshipped incarnations of Vishnu are Krishna and Rama, whose stories are told in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana respectively; the adherents of this sect are non-ascetic and devoted to meditative practice and ecstatic chanting.
Vaishnavites are devotional. Their religion is rich in saints and scriptures; the Vaishnava sampradayas include: Ramanandi Sampradaya known as the Ramayat Sampradaya or the Ramavat Sampradaya adheres to the teachings of the Advaita scholar Ramananda. This is the largest monastic group within Hinduism and in Asia, these Vaishnava monks are known as Ramanandis, Vairagis or Bairagis. Vishistadvaita includes Udhava Sampradaya to which the Swaminarayan Sampradaya belongs, they adhere to the teachings of Vishistadvaita scholar Ramanuja. Srivaishnavism /Srivaishnava/Sri Sampradaya/Iyengar is associated with Lakshmi; the principal acharyas are Vedanta Desikan. Swaminarayan Hinduism or Swaminarayanism, based on the teachings of Swaminarayan. Brahma Sampradaya is associated with Vishnu, the Para-Brahma, not to be confused with the Brahma deity; the founder of this sampradaya was the Dvaita Vedanta philosopher Madhvacharya. Gaudiya Vaishnavism is associated with Brahma Sampradaya, is associated with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness belongs to this sampradaya. Krishnaism or Bhagavatism. Rudra Sampradaya; the principal acharya is Vallabhacharya. Kumara Sampradaya is the tradition associated with Four Kumaras; the principal acharya is Nimbarka, hence Nimbarka Sampradaya. Other Vaishnava schools and the principal teachers connected with them are: Manavala Mamunigal's sect is the oldest Vaishnava sect in India; this sampraday was followed by Vyasa, Bodhayana. The lineage of Acharya is Lord Narayana, next Lakshmi and Vishweksenar, Nathamuni, Manakal Nambi, Periya Nambi and Vedanta Desikan as per the Vadagalai sampradaya. Thenacharya Sampradaya Vaikhanasa Sampradaya; the principal acharya is Vaikhanasa. Ekasaranism or Asomiya Vaishnavism, adheres to the teachings of Srimanta Sankaradeva. Krishna Pranami Sampradaya, adheres to the teachings of Devachandra Maharaj. Varkari Sampradaya, teaching of bhakti s
Durga, identified as Adi Parashakti, is a principal and popular form of Hindu Goddess. She is the warrior goddess, whose mythology centres around combating evils and demonic forces that threaten peace and dharma of the good, she is the fierce form of the protective mother goddess, willing to unleash her anger against wrong, violence for liberation and destruction to empower creation. Durga is depicted in the Hindu pantheon as a Goddess riding a lion or tiger, with many arms each carrying a weapon defeating Mahishasura; the three principle forms of Durga worshiped are Maha Durga and Aparajita. Of these, Chandika has two forms called Chandi, of the combined power and form of Saraswati and Parvati and of Chamunda, a form of Kali created by the goddess for killing demons Chanda and Munda. Maha Durga has three forms: Ugrachanda and Katyayani. Bhadrakali Durga is worshiped in the form of her nine epithets called Navadurga, she is a central deity in Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, where she is equated with the concept of ultimate reality called Brahman.
One of the most important texts of Shaktism is Devi Mahatmya known as Durgā Saptashatī or Chandi patha, which celebrates Durga as the goddess, declaring her as the supreme being and the creator of the universe. Estimated to have been composed between 400 and 600 CE, this text is considered by Shakta Hindus to be as important a scripture as the Bhagavad Gita, she has a significant following all over India and Nepal in its eastern states such as West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar. Durga is revered after autumn harvests, specially during the festival of Navratri; the word Durga means "impassable", "invincible, unassailable". It is related to the word Durg which means "fortress, something difficult to defeat or pass". According to Monier Monier-Williams, Durga is derived from the roots gam. According to Alain Daniélou, Durga means "beyond defeat"; the word Durga, related terms appear in the Vedic literature, such as in the Rigveda hymns 4.28, 5.34, 8.27, 8.47, 8.93 and 10.127, in sections 10.1 and 12.4 of the Atharvaveda.
A deity named Durgi appears in section 10.1.7 of the Taittiriya Aranyaka. While the Vedic literature uses the word Durga, the description therein lacks the legendary details about her, found in Hindu literature; the word is found in ancient post-Vedic Sanskrit texts such as in section 2.451 of the Mahabharata and section 4.27.16 of the Ramayana. These usages are in different contexts. For example, Durg is the name of an Asura who had become invincible to gods, Durga is the goddess who intervenes and slays him. Durga and its derivatives are found in sections 4.1.99 and 6.3.63 of the Ashtadhyayi by Pāṇini, the ancient Sanskrit grammarian, in the commentary of Nirukta by Yaska. Durga as a demon-slaying goddess was well established by the time the classic Hindu text called Devi Mahatmya was composed, which scholars variously estimate to between 400 and 600 CE; the Devi Mahatmya and other mythologies describe the nature of demonic forces symbolised by Mahishasura as shape-shifting and adapting in nature and strategy to create difficulties and achieve their evil ends, while Durga calmly understands and counters the evil in order to achieve her solemn goals.
There are many epithets for Durga in Shaktism and her nine appellations are: Shailaputri, Chandraghanta, Skandamata, Kaalratri and Siddhidatri. A list of 108 names of the goddess are recited in order to worship her and is popularly known as the "Ashtottarshat Namavali of Goddess Durga". One of the earliest evidence of reverence for Devi – the feminine nature of God, appears in chapter 10.125 of the Rig Veda, one of the scriptures of Hinduism. This hymn is called the Devi Suktam hymn: – Devi Sukta, Rigveda 10.125.3 – 10.125.8, Devi's epithets synonymous with Durga appear in Upanishadic literature, such as Kali in verse 1.2.4 of the Mundaka Upanishad dated to about the 5th century BCE. This single mention describes Kali as "terrible yet swift as thought" red and smoky colored manifestation of the divine with a fire-like flickering tongue, before the text begins presenting its thesis that one must seek self-knowledge and the knowledge of the eternal Brahman. Durga, in her various forms, appears as an independent deity in the Epics period of ancient India, the centuries around the start of the common era.
Both Yudhisthira and Arjuna characters of the Mahabharata invoke hymns to Durga. She appears in Harivamsa in the form of Vishnu's eulogy, in Pradyumna prayer. Various Puranas from the early to late 1st millennium CE dedicate chapters of inconsistent mythologies associated with Durga. Of these, the Markandeya Purana and the Devi-Bhagavata Purana are the most significant texts on Durga; the Devi Upanishad and other Shakta Upanishads dated to have been composed in or after the 9th century, present the philosophical and mystical speculations related to Durga as Devi and other epithets, identifying her to be the same as the Brahman and Atman. The historian Ramaprasad Chanda stated in 1916 that Durga evolved over time in the Indian subcontinent. A primitive form of Durga, according to Chanda, was the result of "syncretism of a mountain-goddess worshiped by the dwellers of the Himalaya and the Vindhyas", a deity of the Abhiras conceptualized as a war-goddess. Durga transformed into Kali as the personification of the all-destroying time, while aspects of her emerged as the primordial energy integrated into the samsara concept and this idea was built
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, art and learning. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma and Shiva to create and regenerate-recycle the Universe, respectively; the earliest known mention of Saraswati as a goddess is in the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a goddess from the Vedic period through modern times of Hindu traditions; some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami in her honour, mark the day by helping young children learn how to write the letters of the alphabet on that day. The Goddess is revered by believers of the Jain religion of west and central India, as well as some Buddhist sects. Saraswati, is a Sanskrit fusion word of saras meaning "pooling water", but sometimes translated as "speech". Associated with the river or rivers known as Saraswati, this combination therefore means "she who has ponds and pooling water" or "she who possesses speech", it is a Sanskrit composite word of surasa-vati which means "one with plenty of water".
The word Saraswati appears both as a significant deity in the Rigveda. In initial passages, the word refers to the Sarasvati River and is mentioned as one among several northwestern Indian rivers such as the Drishadvati. Saraswati connotes a river deity. In Book 2, the Rigveda describes Saraswati as the best of mothers, of rivers, of goddesses. अम्बितमे नदीतमे देवितमे सरस्वति — Rigveda 2.41.16Best of mothers, best of rivers, best of goddesses, Sarasvatī. Saraswati is celebrated as a feminine deity with healing and purifying powers of abundant, flowing waters in Book 10 of the Rigveda, as follows: अपो अस्मान मातरः शुन्धयन्तु घर्तेन नो घर्तप्वः पुनन्तु | विश्वं हि रिप्रं परवहन्ति देविरुदिदाभ्यः शुचिरापूत एमि || — Rigveda 10.17May the waters, the mothers, cleanse us, may they who purify with butter, purify us with butter, for these goddesses bear away defilement, I come up out of them pure and cleansed. — translated by John Muir In Vedic literature, Saraswati acquires the same significance for early Indians as that accredited to the river Ganges by their modern descendants.
In hymns of Book 10 of Rigveda, she is declared to be the "possessor of knowledge". Her importance grows in Vedas composed after Rigveda and in Brahmanas, the word evolves in its meaning from "waters that purify", to "that which purifies", to "vach that purifies", to "knowledge that purifies", into a spiritual concept of a goddess that embodies knowledge, music, muse, rhetoric, creative work and anything whose flow purifies the essence and self of a person. In Upanishads and Dharma Sastras, Saraswati is invoked to remind the reader to meditate on virtue, virtuous emoluments, the meaning and the essence of one's activity, one's action. Saraswati is known by many names in ancient Hindu literature; some examples of synonyms for Saraswati include Brahmani, Bharadi and Vachi, Kavijihvagravasini. Goddess Saraswati is known as Vidyadatri, Pustakdharini, Veenapani and Vagdevi. In the Hindi language, her name is written Hindi: सरस्वती. In the Telugu, Sarasvati is known as Chaduvula Thalli and Shārada.
In Konkani, she is referred to as Shārada, Pustakadhārini, Vidyadāyini. In Kannada, variants of her name include Sharade, Sharadamba, Vāni, Veenapani in the famous Sringeri temple. In Tamil, she is known as Kalaimagal, Kalaivāni, Vāni and Bharathi, she is addressed as Sāradā, Shāradā, Veenā-pustaka-dhārini, Vāgdevi, Vāgishvari, Vāni, Varadhanāyaki, Sāvitri, Gāyatri. In India, she is locally spelled as ￼￼Assamese_language:সৰস্বতী,Saraswati, Bengali: সরস্বতী, Saraswati?, Malayalam: സരസ്വതി, Saraswati?, Tamil: சரஸ்வதி, Sarasvatī?. In Odia as ସରସ୍ଵତୀ Saraswati. Outside Nepal and India, she is known in Burmese as Thurathadi or Tipitaka Medaw, in Chinese as Biàncáitiān, in Japanese as Benzaiten and in Thai as Suratsawadi or Saratsawadi. In Hindu tradition, Sarasvati has retained her significance as a goddess from the Vedic age up to the present day. In Shanti Parva of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Saraswati is called the mother of the Vedas, as the celestial creative symphony who appeared when Brahma created the universe.
In Book 2 of Taittiriya Brahmana, she is called “the mother of eloquent speech and melodious music”. Saraswati is the active power of Brahma, she is mentioned in many minor Sanskrit publications such as Sarada Tilaka of 8th century CE as follows, May the goddess of speech enable us to attain all possible eloquence, she who wears on her locks a young mo
Brahmin is a varna in Hinduism specialising as priests and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest ranking of the four social classes. In practice, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were agriculturalists, warriors and have held a variety of other occupations in the Indian subcontinent; the earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge; this Purusha Sukta varna verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth. Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. The functions associated with the priests were: The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda; the Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations; the Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory and benediction hymns; the Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. According to Kulkarni, the Grhya-sutras state that Yajna, dana pratigraha are the "peculiar duties and privileges of brahmins"; the term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone, good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.
These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class; the Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, are directed at Brahmins; the Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54–9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: Be always truthful Teach his art only to virtuous men Follow rules of ritual purification Study Vedas with delight Never hurt any living creature Be gentle but steadfast Have self-control Be kind, liberal towards everyoneChapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas.
The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, lack of envy, tranquility, auspicious disposition and lack of greed, asserts in verse 9.24–9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation. The Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin; the Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, self-control, truthfulness, Vedic learning, erudition and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, their relationship with a king and warrior class. Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, it asserts, for example, A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era", when Buddhism dominated the land. "No Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind even once, is referred to" in any Indian texts between third century BCE and