xv. The Swan-Goose of Eternity
Each year pilgrims descend on Pushkar in Rajasthan, one of Northern India's greatest centres of pilgrimage. The main temple is dedicated to Brahma, the creator god. He is said to have emerged from a cosmic egg laid by Hamsa, the swan-goose, responsible, like Ancient Egypt's Great Cackler, for creating the divine sound that brought the universe into being. Brahma rides on a sky-car pulled by seven swans, while the swan-goose is also the avatar of his wife Saraswati, the goddess of music, writing and divine inspiration. She is the personification of what was once India's most sacred river, the Saraswati, which rose in the foothills of the Himalayas in southwest Tibet. Just like the Ganges today, it was seen as a terrestrial representation of the Milky Way, linking Saraswati with Egypt's sky-goddess, Nut.