QUEENS, NEW YORK — Shri Surya Narayan Mandir and its devotees are very proud of all the children who participated in the 1st Saraswati Kaa Samarpan Essay Competition on the occasion of Vasant Panchami – 2019. Thanks to the organizers and sponsors of the event. We would like to express our heartfelt congratulations to our young daughter Riya Mahabir for winning the 1st prize in the Elementary level of the competition.
Riya is 10 years old and is a 2nd-year student of the Surya Veer Sang four-year program at Shri Surya Narayan Mandir. Riya along with her sister Naya (second from left and 3rd place winner in the high school level of the completion) and her mom attends the Friday evening classes at mandir. We are honored that the entire Mahabir family, including extended members, have chosen to worship at and be an integral part of our Mandir.
Here is the unedited copy of Riya Mahabir winning essay on the question ‘If you had to make a presentation on Saraswati Maa what would it be on and why?’
‘In Sanatan Dharma, Brahman has no traits but when given the traits of knowledge, calm, and serenity Saraswati Maa comes into form. Saraswati Maa is pictured as a Goddess dressed in a white sari, seated on a white lotus flower, and her mode of transportation is a swan. If I had to do a presentation on Saraswati Maa it would be on her physical aspect/ appearance. Her Physical aspects represent speech, music, fine arts, and knowledge.
Saraswati Maa has four arms which represent the four directions: north, south, east, west and the four Vedas: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. To me the four direction represent to follow the path of dharma and the four Vedas represent Sanatan Dharma. In one of Saraswati Maa’s hand she holds the four Vedas. In two of her hands she holds a musical instrument called the veena, which represent music and your creative abilities. The veena makes me think about how much I like the music I learn at school and at mandir. In another hand of Saraswati Maa, she holds the spatika mala which represent concentration, calmness, and control of the mind. In school, I concentrate, I am calm and I focus to learn what my teachers are teaching me.
Saraswati Maa wears a white sari because white represents purity of thoughts, purity of speech, purity of true knowledge, and truth. Saraswati Maa’s mode of transportation is a white swan. The white swan represents telling the truth from lies, right from wrong, and good from bad. Saraswati Maa is seated on a white lotus flower because she is the spouse of creator Brahma and the lotus is his favorite seat. Lord Brahma created the universe with Saraswati Maa as his knowledge. She is also seated on a lotus flower because lotus represent supreme reality which I hope to learn as I grow up.
In conclusion, I have chosen to write about Saraswati Maa’s physical aspects because they have symbolic meaning. Some of these symbolic meaning I learn at home, at school and by attending Mandir. All of these symbolic meaning help me understand why I pray to Saraswati Maa and what I get from praying to her. I understand the importance of her physical aspects and by doing this presentation about Saraswati Maa’s physical aspects other people will also understand her image.’
Surya Mandir – Surya Veer Sang (SVS) Program
We offer a unique free program for children and adults. This course starts with the basics of Hindu Dharma and culture and gradually advances the level of learning to the more complex concepts of our Dharma. Our Spiritual Leader Pt. Ram Hardowar, is the founder, director, and coordinator of the program.
To ignite, foster, revere, and preserve ancient Sanatan (Hindu) Dharma, Culture, Values and Way of Life amongst our children.
To provide a fun, social and educational environment that enables children to acquire a healthy understanding, and subsequently a pride and reverence for their ancient Sanatan Dharma, culture, and a core value system. This will inspire them to apply the teachings into their daily life, exchange thoughts and ideas with peers, develop a confident self-identity, and sense of belongingness to the community.