ASSOCIATED WITH GODDESS SARASWATHI – THE BESTOWER OF GYAN (KNOWLEDGE) AND WISDOM/SAGACITY
Basant has been taken from Sanskrit word VASANT’ which means Spring. Basant Panchami (5TH TITHI) is celebrated in the honour of Goddess Saraswati in different parts of India. She is the divinity of knowledge (music, arts, science etc). We worship the Goddess so that she bestows us necessary knowledge and removes the ignorance from our midst. On this day, people also initiate the education of their small children in their homes or schools besides it is considered auspicious to start new ventures businesses.
In schools and colleges too, in the morning hours, prayers to Goddess Saraswati are conducted in order to get her graces, blessings for enlightenment and removal of agyan (ignorance). Although whole of the day is considered promising yet most auspicious time is from sunrise to the midday (which is also termed as the Purvahna Kala) and it is considered as the propitious time to conduct Saraswati Pujan with great reverence and piety for seeking her graces.
FESTIVAL ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT ASPECTS
In some parts of india, farmers conduct earth worship (Boomi Pujan) for more agricultural output from their fields before tilling their fields. People eat sweet rice and put on yellow clothes – yellow colour is associated with Basant Panchami. Dandya dance is also performed on this day in Gujarat state which is also associated with harvesting, sowing and reapting etc. The ploughting implements too are worshipped on this day.
ASSOCIATED WITH KAMADEVA AND RATI
Season-wise, chilling cold season ends and start of more pleasant and enjoyable season starts – Basant Ritu. There is also a tradition that in Basant, there is air of love and affection which is associated with kamadeva and his wife named Rati. When we associate this day with Kamadeva, it means there used to be dance based on love in the royal palaces in which the women folks of the royal leanings and other girls used to dance’ (in their best attires) in the midst of singing suitable for the occasion – basically on love between Krishna and Radha. People put on yellow attire on this occasion in consonance with the flowering of yellow tamarind crops. It seems as though the Mother Nature has spread a yellow coloured cloth with seasonal flowers. There is also fragrance of flowers all around.
Basant Panchami is also called as Shree Panchami and Sufi which is observed in Sufi shrines. This festival is also celebrated in different parts of India though slightly differently. People enjoy kite flying, – Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc, Eastern India including Bengal wherein Saraswathi idol is immersed in Ganga.
PRAYER TO LORD SHIVA AND LORD VISHNU AND SUN GOD
People in different relgions also worship Lord Shiva and Godess Parvati including Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi and offer flowers including Sun God and other offerings for their wellbeing. Devotees and compassionates also feed the needy on this occasion.
It is not merely Hindus who celebrate BASANT PANCHAMI.
Saint Nizamuddin Aulia was famous for his generosity, compassion and simplicity coupled with humane heart. There used to be Langar at dargah where food was served to all. When his nephew died, he felt so saddened that he stopped all the activities. Then Amir Khusrau wanted to bring him to his normal state. While seeing the women putting on their yellow attire, with colourful flowers, he also put on yellow clothes and flowers and went in front of the Saint. Upon seeing Khuarau in that dress, the Saint smiled. Hence Basant Panchami too is celebrated in Dargah of Saint Nizamuddin Aulia.
The Sikhs too celebrate Basant Panchami. Basant Raga or Spring Raga (composition) forms one of the well-known Ragas in Sri Granth Sahib Sahib Ji and sung with great reverence. The marriage of Guru Gobind Singh was solemnized on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami.
Fairs and festivals are the obvious indications
That a society is on the move together in their celebrations
Some festivals are seasonal in nature
Others are related to beliefs so prevalent
But one thing is common in all of these
People participate in each of these festivals
With a feeling brimming with emotions.
Basant Panchami has religio-seasonal connotations
After withstood the chilling cold of winter season
There has begun much awaited dawn of a season, so very pleasant
When Mother Nature is at its excellence
Wherein a carpet of yellow mustard plants is one of the best attractions
People put on their yellow attire, so gorgeous
And imbue themselves in natural yellow colour.
There is a legend attached to this festival
Brahma who is the Creator-in-Chief
Happened to see earthwards
He felt very sad on seeing without any leaves
Barren land bereft of any greenery
He scattered some water from His enchanting jar
To the huge surprise of us all
There appeared Goddess Sarswati
The giver of wisdom and scholarship
Music, art and craft and knowledge to imbibe
She too is termed as the Goddess of Basant Panchmi!
Lord Barahma too gifted greenery to the plants in abundance
Bringing in its wake brightness in natural spectacle
And verve and vigor in everybody’s life.
Yellow flowers are offered to God
Even our food items exhibit yellowness
With saffron strands giving yellow colour
Emitting sweet fragrance everywhere.
People worship the musical instruments
Art, craft and all the learning mediums
For these are the gifts of Goddess Saraswati
Processions in the honour of the Goddess is taken
To implore Her to bestow us humans the wisdom
And power to find the difference between truth and falsehood
Her four hands symbolize ego, intellect, alertness and the mind
Her white dress is the symbol of purity
And she loves truth of all forms
Her postures of sitting too has vast meaning.
Our humble prayers to Thee O Goddess Sarasvati
The embodiment of learning
We implore Thee to remove illiteracy & ignorance from our midst
And bring forth the dawn of enlightenment
Remove ego as You are the giver of wisdom
And do imbue us all in THY INDELIBLE COLOUR
BASANT PANCHAMI (WISH YOU ALL HAPPY AND COLOURFUL BASANT PANCHMI)