Laxmi & Saraswati

Dr. Nupam Mahajan nupam at MED.UNC.EDU
Tue Apr 13 03:32:38 UTC 1999

> The generally prescribed vehicle of Sarasvati is the swan, not the
> peacock. The Goddess seated on a peacock should be identified as
> kaumArI, one of the mAtRkas. It may be significant that the coin was
> minted by kumAragupta. But then, how tight is the identification of
> the bird in the coin as a peacock? In the image, it seems to be a
> long-necked bird, but are there other identifying marks to call it a
> peacock?
> ps. Sometimes, kaumArI is also depicted as holding a Veena in her
> hands, thereby coming to be identified, perhaps mistakenly, with
> Sarasvati. Another Goddess who holds a Veena, but is not usually
> identified with Sarasvati, is mAtangI. There is one famous verse
> describing mAtanga-kanyA as 'mANikya-vINAm upalAlayantI'.

Dear Vidyasankar,

Thanks for the reply. The complete description of the coin is as follows:

On obverse, king is shown wearing short sleeved coat, Dhoti, turban,
earrings, necklace, armlets, wristles and trampling tiger by his right
foot. He is shooting at it with his bow held in right arm, left hand
drawing the string of the bow. The tiger is shown falling backwards with
gaping mouth. The legends on obverse reads `Srimama Vyagrahabala Parakramaha',
his majesty having the strength and valour of a tiger.

The reverse show goddess, nimbate, standing, slightly bent on `makara',
the crocodile, holding behind her a lotus with long stalk, in her left hand.
She is shown feeding a peacock with fruit. She is wearing a sari, bodice,
earrings, necklace, armlets etc. The Legends written in Brahmi reads

Well, there is no mention of name of deity, but since goddess is standing
on crocodile, many believe that she is laxmi. Of course, we have no mention
of bird either on this coin which made me to consider the alternate

Best wishes,


Dr. Nupam Mahajan, Ph.D.,FRNS
Room 230, CB#7295
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA

Fax: 919-933-5455

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