A Prayer to Saraswati Devi by Babaji, Loke Ma and Annapurna Sarade

Babaji Bob Kindler of Sarada Ramakrishna Vivekananda (SRV) institution at Portland, Oregon combines Shabda Brahman and Jnana Yoga together. He received the bhajan, “Sarasvati Devi,” as well as the “Eight Verses of Mahalakshmi,” directly from Swami Damodarananda of the Ramakrishna Order.

The swami was, at that time, the head of the Ramakrishna Order center in Fiji, in the South Pacific.  Having met the swami when he travelled through Hawaii (Babaji's place of residence) in the 1980's, Babaji received an invitation from him to come to the Fiji Center.  While present there, and over the two visits he made to the Fiji center, the swami taught Babaji the Sanskrit words for Sarasvati Devi (which is not the well-known traditional bhajan on Sarasvati) and a way of chanting the verses.  Babaji then wrote a melody for the piece, recorded it, and placed it on his Hymns to the Goddess album (Jai Ma Music, 1990).  Jai Ma Music then performed the bhajan on its many tours throughout the decades to come.

Swami Damodarananda also gave specific training in formal Hindu puja to Babaji, and taught him how to chant the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit as well.  Swami also had Babaji speak several times at the Vivekananda High School in Fiji, encouraging the young Hindu students attending there with inspiration to live a spiritual life.

Jai Ma Music of Babaji and his wife Loke Ma pioneered Indian devotional music in the U.S., touring temples, spiritual centers, etc., well before the kirtan genre started in the late 70’s.  They have around 18 albums of bhajan, stotram, chanting and the poems of Ramprasad Sen. Annapurna Sarada. President of SRV Associations and an assistant teacher for the sangha and its children joins them in this divine music.

Transliteration for Sarasvati Devi:

Hymns to the Goddess, 1990, Jai Ma Music

(this is not “standard transliteration”)

Vani Sarswati Vagdevi

Bhagavati Parvati Mam Pahi

Mangala Rupini Varade Sarade

Sankata Harini Sanmati Dayini

Vina Pani Hamsa Vahini
Vedaanta Rupini Palayamam

Amba Parameshvari Akhilandeshvari

Adi Parashakti Payala Mam

Haste Dharini Japa Mala

Samsara Sagara Tarini Mam

Babaji’s translation:

1)  O Goddess of all speech and knowledge, known as Parvati and Bhagavati.  Please save me!

2)  O Thou of auspicious form, giver of blessings and good thoughts and the remover of difficulties.

3)  Holder of the sacred vina, whose vehicle is the white swan, You are the embodiment of the Vedanta science and scriptures.  Please save me!

4)  O Supreme Goddess, You pervade the entire universe through Your innate primordial power.  Please save me!

5)  In Your hands, O Mother, You hold the holy japa beads, by which You save the devotees from the ocean of relative existence.