By Douglas Mills
In Buddhism, Shri Sarasvati Devi is the consort of Manjushri. She is also closely associated with Prajñaparamita, Shri Devi, Vasudhari, Maha Devi and Durga Ekajati.
There is a temple near Bir in Himachal Pradesh with a statue of Maha Devi Durga Sarasvati which is over 500 years old. See pictures.
There are many praises and sadhanas of Sarasvati in sanskrit and tibetan in both the oral and revealed treasure lineages.
One may find sadhanas to Sarasvati in the collection of sadhanas of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and the collected treasures of H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo practiced a form of Manjushri and Sarasvati riding on a blue lion.
See how she is depicted in the original sanskrit :
SŔĪ SARASVATI STOTRAM.
Hymn to Shri Sarasvati.
YĀ KUNDEN DUTU SARĀH ADHA VALĀ
Your manifestations thoroughly destroy the afflictions like the scent of the jasmine flower,
YĀ SUBHRA VASTRĀ VRTĀ
your appearance radiantly beautiful, shining protector
YĀ VINĀ VARA DANDA MANDIT AKARĀ
sublimely playing a beautifully adorned vina,
YĀ SVETA PADM ĀSANĀ
your body brilliant white, seated in lotus asana.
YĀ BRAHMĀ ĆYUTA SANKARA
Your sacred resonance streams forth as auspicious
PRABHRTIR DEVAI SADĀ VANDITĀ
offerings and praises to the devas, a celebratory proclamation of purity.
SĀMĀM PĀTU SARASVATI BHAGAVATÃ NIH SESA JĀDYĀ PAHĀ
Sovereign Bhagavati Sarasvati, entirely dispelling, without remainder, any lack of discernment.
SARASVATI MAHĀ BHĀGE VIDYE KAMALA LOĆANE
I offer this hymn of praise to Sarasvati, the mighty patron of knowledge, the lotus eyed one,
VIDYA RPE VISĀ LĀKSHI VIDYĀM DEHI NAMO STUTE
wisdom taking form, distinguished queen, the very embodiment of awareness.
Her activity is described in the sadhana text as follows:
Excerpts from the sadhana called ‘The Melodic Tambura’.
Homage to You, the shining essence of resonance, the Svarasvati.
Svarasvati, Nada Bhava, (the origin of vibration),
the Devi of speech who has mastery over all resonance,
resting in emptiness,
the origin of all eloquent exposition and the tambura, care for me.
In order to fulfill one’s aspirations for the attainment of sublime intelligence and the very quintessence of resonance,
this play of the descent of supreme liberation of the vajra devi Sarasvati is set forth….
Bhagavati Vakk’ishvari, queen of speech,
through the power of my heart of devotion,
from the entire abundance of seed syllables,
blossoms this hymn of praise as an offering to your ears.
Knowing myriads of poetry,
an effortless waterfall of praises imbibes the waves of your youthful beauty.
You are the ocean of engagement,
brimming with the limitless discernment of the Jinas.
Born from unity, elegant queen of sentient beings who traverses the sky,
holding the appearance of the moon’s reflection,
light of the moon like the conch and kunda flower,
your appearance moistens a hundred answers with the vase that emanates joyous amrita,
the medicine that dispels the disease of the gradations of existence.
Beautifying like the petals of the utpala come your joyous,
lightning quick, playful glances from the corner of your eyes,
the flush of your cheeks displays the intoxication of faith,
your raga of intelligence clarifys any enquiry whatsoever.
Your lips, the lushness of bimpa petals, the very rasa of reality,
your teeth a garland of white moon pillars
and the embrace of your dancelike display of ripening knowledge
is fully supported by this effulgence. ….
Another excerpt from a sadhana called The Secret Practice of Red Sarasvati With Five Deities:
To the queen of all primordial wisdom, the devi who demonstrates the embodiment of intelligence,
bestowing superior memory and understanding, Vajra Sarasvati, my head is at your feet.
Provisional translations by Douglas Mills.