Meaning and Symbolism of the Peacock
I chose the title, Through the Peacock’s Eyes, for a couple of reasons: the symbolism of the peacock, and its connection to the Hindu goddess Saraswati. The symbolism of the peacock is similar across many cultures, from Christianity where it represents patience, love, eternal life, and immortality, to Buddhism where it represents wisdom, kindness, and compassion. The Bodhisattvas, such as Quan Yin and Avalokiteshvara, are often associated with the peacock because as the peacock can eat poison and not be affected by it, the Bodhisattvas can take in the poisonous emotions of others and not be affected by them.
The peacock’s habit of replacing its feathers yearly and its connection to the phoenix also make it a symbol of renewal, rebirth, and reincarnation. In ancient Greek mythology, when the “all-seeing” 100-eyed giant Argus died, the goddess Hera preserved his eyes on the peacock to honor him. Thus the peacock’s eyes themselves represent seeing, insight, and wisdom. The eyes on the peacock’s feathers are also thought to represent the stars in the heavens.
The Goddess Saraswati
In Hindu mythology, the vehicle for the goddess Saraswati is often the peacock. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom, knowledge and learning, creativity, music, language, and writing. As her vehicle, the peacock helps her navigate through the world with compassion, wisdom, and understanding.