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Basant Panchami: Significance, Story and Procedure of Saraswati Puja

Basant or Vasant Panchami, popularly known as Saraswati Puja, is celebrated across the globe in honour of Maa Saraswati and marks the preparation for the arrival of spring. Basant Utsav further empowers the preparation for Holika and Holi before 40 days, as any season’s transition period is nearly about 40 days. The “King of all seasons” is termed for spring; thus, people commence the celebration of the festival of Basant Panchami before 40 days.

Depending on the regional beliefs, the Basant Panchmi or Saraswati Puja is celebrated across the Indian subcontinent with different customs and practices. This auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami is celebrated in the month of Magha on the fifth day of the bright half-day of the Vikram Samvat or Panchanga.

People celebrate the festival of Basant Panchami by wearing yellow clothes and flying kites. The celebration includes performing Puja of Maa Saraswati, Bhagwan Ganesh and Navagraha on the same occasion.

Celebration and practices of Basant Panchami in a different region:

The Sikhs also recognize this auspicious festival of Basant Panchami by wearing yellow coloured clothes and welcoming yellow mustard flowers in the fields. In Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur province of Punjab, fair and kite flying regarding the Basant Panchami is also organized where people visit wearing yellow turbans and clothes.

In Southern India, this festival is celebrated as Sri Panchami, whereas the Hindus of Bali and Indonesia recognize this festival as “Hari Raya Saraswati” (Great day of Maa Saraswati). The same festival further marks the inception of the Balinese Pawukon calendar. The people of Bangladesh also celebrate this festival every year in educational institutes and universities by conducting a special Puja or organizing Holiday.

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The story behind celebrating Basant Panchami:

The main story behind celebrating the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami and worshipping Maa Saraswati began with the story when Bhagwan Shri Krishna and Brahmaji worshipped Maa Saraswati. When Maa Saraswati saw Bhagwan Shri Krishana, she became fascinated by his look and wished him to become her husband.

When Bhagwan Krishna came to know about this fact, he said he was devoted to Devi Radha. But, to please her, Bhagwan Shri Krishna gave her boon that whosoever is interested in learning will worship Maa Saraswati on Shukla Panchmi (Basant Panchami) of the Magha month.

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Procedure of performing auspicious Puja:

While commencing the Maa Saraswati Puja, first of all, put idol or Picture of Maa Saraswati should have to be kept in front of you. After setting up the Kalash, Bhagwan Ganesh and Navagraha should be duly worshipped. Before worshipping Maa Saraswati, give her Achaman and Bath then, offer garlands and flowers to Mata. Perform makeup of Mata Saraswati by applying vermilion. Gulaal must also be presented at the feet of Mata Saraswati.

Maa Saraswati wears white clothes in general, so make her wear her White garments on the same day. Offer yellow coloured fruits, Boondis, Malpua and Kheer as Prasad. After performing the Puja during the morning hours, immerse her idol in the water during the evening.

After worshipping Mata Saraswati:

  1. Perform Havan in the name of Mata Saraswati.
  2. While performing Havan in her name, mark Havan Kund or ground by measuring a quarter of the hand on all four sides.
  3. Clean the land of Havan by Kusha and sprinkle “Ganga Jal” to make the place pure or divine.
  4. Begin Havan with the name of Bhagwan Ganesh and Navagraha, later perform Havan in the name of Mata Saraswati and chant the mantra “Om Shri Saraswatyai Namah Swaha” (ओम श्री सरस्वत्यै नम: स्वहा) for 108 times.
  5. After completing the Havan, perform Aarti of Mata Saraswati and apply Bhabhut of the Havan on the forehead.

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Maa Saraswati Vandana:

या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्त्रावृता,
या वीणावरदण्डमण्डितकरा या श्वेतपद्मासना.
या ब्रह्माच्युत शंकरप्रभृतिभिर्देवैः सदा वन्दिता,
सा मां पातु सरस्वती भगवती निःशेषजाड्यापहा॥
शुक्लां ब्रह्मविचार सार परमामाद्यां जगद्व्यापिनीं,
वीणा-पुस्तक-धारिणीमभयदां जाड्यान्धकारापहाम्. 
हस्ते स्फाटिकमालिकां विदधतीं पद्मासने संस्थिताम्,
वन्दे तां परमेश्वरीं भगवतीं बुद्धिप्रदां शारदाम्॥

Guidelines to perform on Basant Panchami:

  • Prevent wearing black and red clothes on this day. Yellow, white or rich coloured garments should be preferred on Basant Panchami.
  • It is a festival of nature and greenery. Therefore, harvesting crops should be postponed and prevent pruning trees in the house.
  • No one should speak abusive words on this day. It is said that on this day, Saraswati is on the tongue. So keep restraint on your speech and do not get angry.
  • Pitra tarpan is also done on the same day, so there should be no discord in the house even by forgetting. This hurts the forefathers.
  • Food should not be eaten without taking a bath. First, worship Saraswati and offer Bhog to Maa Saraswati.
  • Only eat Sattvik Bhojan on this day. Prevent eating Alcohol and Non-Veg.
  • On the day of Saraswati Puja, one should observe celibacy.

Therefore, the festival of Basant Panchami brings love, prosperity and divinity to the people at large. The festival mark the Puja of Maa Saraswati who represent knowledge and beauty of voice. Preserving the cultural belonging will directly benefit the society at large as the Sanatana Dhama is better known for way of life.

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