As a beautiful young woman, often with four arms, she carries the vina and a book. There are also occasional emblems such as the wheel, club, shell or bell, hourglass and skull shell. Her companion is the goose or a swan and in South Indian also a peacock. The beautiful and spirited goddess stands or sits on a lotus. She is also the embodiment of purity. Often she is also dressed in yellow. There are also overlaps with the goddess Lakshmi.
According to myths, she sprang from the head of Brahma. It is often said that Sarasvati came from the mouth of Brahma. The most important festival of the goddess is during the Basant Panchami. It is also called Sarasvati Puja that takes place in spring. In schools and universities, students worship images of the goddess. Throughout the day there are cultural programs and processions.
In the south of India, Sarasvati is especially celebrated in Navaratri in the autumn. While in other parts of the country the goddess in the form of Durga is at the center of worship.
Sarasvati should have come with the spread of Mahayana Buddhism. In Buddhism, she is the goddess of learning and wisdom. In Japan, she is one of the seven lucky gods. Sarasvati is also a tributary of the Indus in the Rigveda.
Athena is a goddess of Greek mythology. She is the goddess of wisdom, strategy and struggle, art, and craftsmanship. She corresponds to the Roman goddess Minerva. In Rome, Minerva got revered alongside Jupiter and Juno as one of the three city deities on the Capitol. The name Athena has so far not got traced back to an Indo-Germanic root. She is thus considered pre-Greek.
Athena's was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. Athena emerged in full armor. She was thus regarded as an incarnation of the mind (from the head of Zeus), and thus of wisdom and intelligence.
In another version of the myth, Athena emerged from the mouth of Zeus. She never entered into a love affair and was a virgin. But at the request of her friend, Prometheus, she breathed in knowledge and wisdom. The owl was a symbol of Athena and a bird of wisdom.