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A 'white swan' (Sanskrit: hamsa) is Goddess Sri Sarawati's vahana.

The sacred swan, if offered a mixture of milk and water, is said to be able to drink the milk alone.

The swan thus symbolizes discrimination between the good and the bad or the eternal and the evanescent. A swan therefore has the ability to discriminate between right and wrong or good and bad.

This symbol indicates that one must acquire and apply knowledge with discrimination for the good of mankind. This is wisdom. But mere knowledge that is dominated by ego can destroy the world.

Due to her association with the swan, Goddess Saraswati is also referred to as 'Hamsa-vahini', which means she who has a swan as her vehicle.

Swan can glide on water without getting its feathers wet. With the help of Brahman knowledge we can live in the materialistic world without accumulating dusts of materialism.

Swan can also soar up into the sky from the water body. This symbolizes the need to easily rise above earthly ties. A true yogi needs to perfect these two qualities.

Goddess Sri Saraswathi is usually depicted near a flowing river, which may be related to her early history as a river goddess.

Sometimes a peacock is shown beside the Goddess. The peacock represents arrogance and pride over its beauty, and by having a peacock as her mount, the Goddess teaches not to be concerned with external appearance and to be wise regarding the eternal truth