Nithin Sridhar and Pratyasha Gupta
Here we post the translation of “One hundred and eight” names of Goddess Saraswati as it appears in her Ashtottara Shatanama Stotra. If there is any improvements or corrections to be incorporated in the translations do tell us.
The name comes from the root word “saras” which means “anything which flows”. So, Saraswati is “she who flows” or “she who has flow in her”. She is called as vakdevi (goddess of speech) because speech is result of flow of sound/vibration. Thus, she is the source of sound and hence the very source of this cosmos. She is also called Goddess of Knowledge/Jnana, because Knowledge is infinite and ever flowing. In short, Sarasvati is the personification of ever flowing Knowledge.
It literally means “Very auspicious” or “Very pleasant/gentle/gracious”.
It literally means “Great Illusion”. According to Hindu philosophy, the whole universe is merely an illusion/maya. Maya means, that which is not. The universe consisting of dualities, opposites and multiplicities is nothing but an apparent manifestation of one indivisible Whole (God/Brahman). Brahman manifests this multiplicity within himself. This power of Brahman to manifest apparent multiplicity still maintaining wholeness is Maya. Hence, Mahamaya is the mother of whole cosmos, because she is the source of all manifestation.
It literally means “granter of boons”. She can fulfill everything a person desires.
It means “granter of wealth”. Here “Shri” not only refers to money, but also to prosperity, health, happiness and bliss. It refers to balance in both physical and spiritual existences. That is, she can grant materialistic, intellectual and spiritual prosperity.
Padma means lotus. Lotus represents detachment and purity. And Nilaya means residence/dwelling place. Padmanilaya is Her name because she is seated upon lotus. A esoteric meaning is that, she who is firmly established in detachment.
Padma means lotus, akshi means eyes. She is lotus eyed. Esoterically speaking, she witnesses everything through the eyes of detachment (unbiased).
Vaktraga means face. Her face is beautiful like a lotus.
Literally it means, she who is born after Shiva.
Pustaka means book or manuscript which signifies knowledge. “dhrt” means holding/bearing/possessing. Hence Pustakadhrt means she who possesses all Knowledge both mundane and transcendental.
A symbol/ personification of Knowledge.
“Ramaa” means fortune, splendor, prosperity which are attributes of Goddess Lakshmi. Hence, here Saraswati is identified with Lakshmi.
“Paraa” means “Existance”. It may also mean “Beyond”. So, here it can mean that Saraswati represents “Sat/Cosmic Existance” which is beyond any rational comprehension.
Kama means desires. Rupa means form. Hence, Kamarupa is she who has herself taken the form of all desires. The source and the body of all desires is Saraswati. Hence, she is also the fulfiller of all desires.
She is the Great Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. Esoterically, she is one amongst the Dasha Mahavidyas, the ten aspects of the primordial shakti.
She who destroys all weakness and sins.
She is the great refuge to everyone in the universe. She being the mother of the universe, she looks after all her children. Nobody is orphan or left out in the world, She is always there for everyone. Once a person realizes this and takes refuge in her, then there would be nothing he would ever worry about.
It means “shining” or “the one with garland”.
It means “Great Enjoyer”/Great Witness(Experience). She is both the granter of all boons, desires and prosperity as well as enjoyer of those fruits. She is the doer of action as well as the dispenser and the enjoyer of the fruits of action.
It means “Great/Huge arms”. Arms represent Karma (actions performed). She is the performer as well as the controller of all actions.
Bhaaga means portion/ part. Mahabhaga refers to being infinitesimally small. She is not only infinitely vast but also infinitesimally small.
It means “Great Enthusiasm/ Great Strength”. She is the source and personification of these attributes.
She who has celestial body.
She who is extolled and praised by the gods.
Kaala means time. She is the personification of time principle. Also here Saraswati is being identified with Goddess KaLi.
She who binds all by her maya. Here Paasha means a tie, a rope to bind/trap.
It means “Huge Form”. It is symbolically representing her infinitely vast form.
She who controls the whole universe. Ankusha means a goad (weapon) to control.
It literally means “Furrow”. Symbolically speaking, just as plough prepares the ground for the emergence of new plant life, she arranges karmas for continuation of this cosmos (her lila/manifestion).
Vimala means pure. She is the personification of purity.
She is the entire cosmos. She is everything.
She who wears a shining garland.
Here Saraswati is identified with Vaishnavi, the Shakti of Lord Vishnu.
She who is as bright as moonlight.
She who’s face is as beautiful as moon.
36. Chandralekhaa vibhushita
She who wears a crescent moon on her head.
It literally means “ray of light/solar ray”. It implies that, just as a ray of light removes darkness, so also Sarasvathi, the Goddess of Knowledge removes Ignorance.
It means “she who represents all good things in life”.
She who is adorned by celestial ornaments.
It means Goddess of speech. She is the source of sound. She is the primordial sound OM.
Literally it means “earth”. It is referring to the attribute of earth who not only bears the burden of everything (both living and non living who have taken shelter in her) but also nourishes them. That is why earth is also referred as “Mother”. Saraswathi is the originator as well as nourisher of whole cosmos. She bears the burden of whole cosmos.
It may be meaning both “all powerful/intensive” and “All pervading”. She is the sum total of all existence. She pervades everything. In her, she includes everything that exists.
It literally means “Very auspicious” or “Very pleasant/gentle/gracious”.
“Balaa” means “Strength”. She represents “Great strength”.
It means she who grants worldly enjoyments.
She is the goddess of speech;
She is personification of passion and splendor.
It literally means protector/controller of cows. Here Cow is symbolic of our senses. So she is controller of senses.
It literally means a place having herds of cows. Symbolically it means Saraswati embodies all senses inside her. In other words she is the senses herself.
It literally means “Final Emancipation”, that is she who delivers liberation/enlightment.
She who has “matted hairs”.
She whose abode is in Vindhya mountain
She who is seated in vindhya mountains.
The Fierce one, the wrathful. Chandi represents Universal Shakti in its most fierce and uncontrolled aspect. Chandika is the summation of MahaKali, MahaLakshmi and Mahasaraswati. And here, Saraswati is identified with Chandika.
Here Saraswati is identified with Maha Lakshmi, the Power of Vishnu.
Here Saraswati is identified with The Power of Brahma.
She is the only medium to attain Brahma-Jnana (Enlightment). That is, Saraswati bestows Ultimate Knowledge to those who seek.
Lightning, She is as strong and effulgent as lightning.
She is the very personification of divine nectar (of Jnana-Knowledge and Ananda-Bliss).
She is auspicious and beautiful
She who is even worshipped by gods.
“Su” means “Good” and Vaasini means “living”. It could mean “She who lives in beautiful abode/Universe” or “She who fills her abode (the whole cosmos) with auspiciousness”.
She who has beautiful nose.
It means “Sleepless/Awake”. There are three states of existence- waking, dreaming and deep sleep. But, there is a fourth state-Turiya which is beyond deep sleep. Saraswati represents this Turiya-Eternally awoken state of bliss beyond deep sleep (nidra).
She whose eyes are as beautiful as lotus.
She is the personification of Vidya (Knowledge- secular, spiritual and transcendental).
It means “Broad eyed”.
It means “the wife of Brahma”.
It literally means “Great fruit”. According to Hindu Dharma, there are four Purusharthas in life-Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, the last being the ultimate goal. Saraswati being Moksha herself grants it (along with other purusharthas) to everyone. Here Mahaphala refers to Moksha.
She is the Personification/source/mother of all three Vedas (Rik, Yajus and sama).
She who knows everything about the past, the present and the future.
She is the personification of the 3 Gunas-Tamas, Rajas and Sattva.
74. shastra roopini
She is the very Shastras/Scriptures ( Shruti , Smruti, Agamas) which has been laid down to guide the world.
She who tormented the demon Shumbha. Shumbha represents one’s asmita- “I – ness”. Saraswati the embodiment of Knowledge destroys this false identity.
One who grants wealth, prosperity and all other auspicious things.
She is omnipresent. She pervades the whole universe.
She who slays the demon Raktabeeja. Raktabeeja represents one’s desires. Here Saraswati is identified with Kali, the embodiment of detachment, who destroys all desires.
She who killed the demons Chanda and Munda. Here also Saraswati is identified with Kali.
It means “Mother”. The name stresses the motherly aspect of the Saraswathi. Further, Ambika represents that aspect of Shakti which killed the demon Dhumralochana. Ambika is also called Koushiki as she manifested from the Koshas of Parvati.
81. mundakaya praharana
She who killed demon Munda (That is Kali).
She who killed the demon Dhumralochna (Kaushiki).
Praised by all gods and goddesses.
Gentle and cheerful
85. sura-asura namaskruta
Both gods and demons bow to her.
Here Saraswati is identified with Kalaratri (goddess of night).
She who holds crescent moon on her head. Here Saraswati is identified with Parvati.
88. roopa soubhagyadayini
She who grants beauty, wealth and prosperity.
Goddess of speech.
It can have two different meanings. It may mean “She who rides”, that is she who controls everything in the universe. The other meaning could be “She who has beautiful hips”
Here Sarswati is identified with Vaarahi, the Power of Varaha. (The Boar avatara of Vishnu)
She who is seated on lotus.
She who is adorned with bright garments/garments made of lotus.
She who has fragrance of the lotus.
She who is adorned by garland of lotus.
It means “Lovely woman/earth”.
She who grants all desires
She who is very respectable/adorable (Pujaneeya). She to whom everyone bows to in reverence.
99. vidyaadharaa supoojitaa
She who is revered as the supporter/nourisher of Knowledge.
She who is seated on White seat (may be a Swan or a lotus)
She who has blue shoulders.
She who grants fruits (of action) to every person belonging to all the four categories of society (Brahmin, Kshatriya,Vaishya,Shudhra)
She who rules in all the four directions.
Rakta means red and red represents Shakti/energy. Hence,”Raktamadhya” means the Centre/source of all Shakti/Energies.
It means “Pure”. She is purity personified.
She who is seated on Swan.
She who has blue thighs.
She who is the essence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva