The Goddess Within
A Prayer to Saraswathy, Goddess of The Arts & Knowledge
When I prayed to you in temples, I felt like an impostor.
I didn’t know the mantras, I couldn’t dress the part,
how was I to hold my hands together in front of my chest,
and pray for inspiration –
when my mind was praying for strength to be accepted? Because society never looks at a woman with tattoos,
short hair and definitely not one with this much skin showing,
as a good woman.
Luckily I found your Vedas, written in language I can comprehend. Not in thousand year old handwritten Sanskrit chant, but in eloquent philosophical Times New Roman font. I’m only turning twenty eight but I feel unspeakably aged. I may have not been around to watch the world burn female flesh in fire, mutilate her but I still live in a world is ever ready to humiliate and suppress us women in every way possible. My purity remains hidden to the common eye, but those who have the patience to see where others merely look, to trust in the ebb and flow of something larger than society’s mantra, are welcome to dive into my currents. I promise I will make my presence felt underwater. I sway with the knowledge of every woman who has ever walked this world before me. I recognise a temple within each of us, like the small swirls in the river’s edge forming a resonant Om. I will perform my puja in public and adorn mortal goddesses with my paint brushes. I choose to flow without restraint in my worship of Her. After all, who is Saraswathi, but the goddess who leads to the essence of one’s self? Written in collaboration with poet, Enbah Nilah. "The Goddess Within" project for Navarathi was initiated by photographer, Visithra Manikam.