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Saraswatī is a fantastically emotive and devotional personification of creative knowledge. Stories connecting to Saraswatī give us an insight as to how ancient Vedic philosophers tried to articulate power of knowledge and creativity through this symbol. Such stories mention that at the beginning of the universe when everything was in a fluid state of chaos and extreme flux, Saraswatī was the force that brought order to the universe with the mantra ‘knowledge reveals possibilities in problems’.

Early Vedics further constructed her in the collective psyche as the mother of all arts. The arts—from painting, music, literature, performance and all its countless current forms—were described as the highest form of expressing creative knowledge with Saraswatī-consciousness as the source. Saraswatī symbolism for creativity is connected to the river with the same name, ‘that which nourishes, and that which flows’. What an apt way to describe the role and nature of creativity.

To us, Saraswatī is a wonderful symbol connecting to the Creator archetype. It has special significance to us as story designers who rely so much on creativity for our business—in both its problem-solving intellectual, cerebral aspects and the artistic, emotive, flowing aspects.

This art depicts Saraswatī vision of the c. 700 BCE Indian Vedic sage Yājñavalkya. Yājñavalkya proposed and debated metaphysical questions about the nature of existence, consciousness and impermanence, and expounded the eliminative doctrine of neti neti (not this, not this). It’s from an early 20th-century devotional illustration from India. We made an A2-sized two-coloured screen-print from it using PD rights. We think it captures the moment when the dots connected for Yājñavalkya; the sacred union of intellect and emotion personified as a goddess.

We think it’s a story laden with meaning for all creatives.

Encountering Saraswatī: two-coloured screen-print

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  • A2

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