What does Sarasvati Symbolize?

Some years ago, a reader wrote to me with an experience that he said vexed him. The relevant portion of his email is produced below:

…during a talk with a liberal friend of mine, regarding the MF Hussain episode…friend talked on the lines of what liberals usually speak i.e. Kamasutra, Khajuraho…But…his explanation that Brahma marrying his creation (daughter) Saraswati amounted to incest which according to him means Hinduism sanctifies such relationships…made me quite uncomfortable and disturbed.

Deepavali: A Festival of Light and Delight

A popular prayer from the Upanishads implores a movement from lies to truth, from darkness to brightness, and from death to eternal life (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28). The second line of this prayer – तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय – is no doubt a metaphor, the darkness representing ignorance and brightness representing wisdom. Ignorance often results from laziness, and the word ‘tamas’ in Sanskrit captures all these shades of meaning – darkness, lethargy, ignorance, error, illusion, etc. Deepavali, in some sense, is victory over tamas.

ವಿಶ್ವವ್ಯಾಪಿ ದೀಪಾವಳೀ

ಭಾರತೀಯರು ಹಬ್ಬಗಳನ್ನು ವ್ರತ, ಪರ್ವ, ಮತ್ತು ಉತ್ಸವಗಳೆಂದು ಪ್ರಾಯಿಕವಾಗಿ ಮೂರು ವರ್ಗಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಕಂಡರಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ವ್ರತ ವೈಯಕ್ತಿಕವಾದದ್ದು. ಧರ್ಮ-ಮೊಕ್ಷಗಳಿಗೇ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಪ್ರಾಧಾನ್ಯ. ನಿಯಮ-ನಿಷ್ಠೆಗಳ ಅಂತರ್ಮುಖತೆಗೇ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಅಗ್ರತಾಂಬೂಲ. ಪರ್ವ ಕೌಟುಂಬಿಕವಾದದ್ದು. ಇಲ್ಲಿ ಅರ್ಥ-ಕಾಮಗಳೂ ಹದವಾಗಿ ಕಲೆಯುತ್ತವೆ. ನಿಯಮ-ನಿಷ್ಠೆಗಳಿಗೆ ಹಾಳತವಾದ ಆತ್ಮೀಯತೆ, ಅಚ್ಚು-ಕಟ್ಟುಗಳೂ ಕೂಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತವೆ. ಉತ್ಸವವು ಸಾಮೂಹಿಕ(ಸಾಮಾಜಿಕ)ವಾದದ್ದು.

Myth and Reality in ‘Myth and Reality’ – Bhagavad-Gita and Varna

Kosambi hurls an accusation at Krishna for being the creator of the system of varnas –

“Not only that, the god himself had created such differences (G.4.13): “The four-caste (class) division has been created by Me”; this is proclaimed in the list of great achievements. The doctrines are certainly not timeless.” (Emphasis is mine)
(M&R, p.19)

While doing so, it is strange that Kosambi fails to quote the other half of the verse. The original verse, BG 4.13, says –