Etymology of Swaha
Swaha is a word which indicates the end of a mantra. Meaning of this word is ‘so be it’. The Rig Vedic meaning of this word is ‘oblation’. Whenever offerings are made to God through yagya, the word ‘swaha’ is uttered during the sacrifice. Goddess Swaha Devi is invoked during all ‘yagas’. It is believed that during fire sacrifices and yagyas, if the word ‘swaha’ is not uttered, then Gods will refuse to accept the offerings. Hence ‘Swaha’ is given prime importance similar to Lord Agni during Yagyas.
Manifestations of Goddess Swaha
The idol of the Goddess is said to comprise of four Vedas and her six limbs are regarded as the six Angas of the Vedas. She is considered as one of the many divine mothers of Skanda. In her extreme manifestation, she is considered to be the wife of Rudra. Various deities of the Hindu mythology are identified with Swaha, including Lord Shiva, Krishna and Saraswati. Sometimes Swaha is identified with Uma and Parvathias well.
Stories about the Marriage of Swaha and Agni
In the Mahabharata Vana Parva, Markandeya narrates her story to the Pandavas. Swaha fell in love with the God of fire, Agni, and was admiring him but Lord Agni did not notice her. Agni presided over the sacrificial rituals of the Saptarishis. The God became highly infatuated with the wives of the Saptarishis who were so attractive and beautiful, and he kept staring at them.
Finally, Agni could not bear the guilt of longing for wives, who were belonging to someone else and so he went to the forests to perform penances. Then Goddess Swaha followed him and realized his desire. So, she disguised herself in the forms of the wives of the Saptarishis and approached to Lord Agni. But she was unable to take the form of Arundhati, who was the wife of Vashishtha. Then finally Agni and Swaha spent many loving moments in the forest.
According to Bhagavata Purana another similar instance took place after the creation of the worldly and heavenly beings. Then a question was raised that worldly creatures can partake of the food available on this earth but there is no disposition for the Gods. Then, Lord Brahma, the creator, decreed that the offerings, which would be poured into the sacrificial fires, would be the food for Gods. After this, they worshipped the Great Goddess, who appeared before them in the form of Goddess ‘Swaha’.
Later, Lord Agni approached Swaha with some fear, and worshipped her as the Mother of the World. Then, with the chanting of sacred mantras, they were tied in the knots of holy matrimony. From then, it is believed that whosoever pours libations in the sacrificial fire accompanied by the sacred name 'Swaha,' will get all his dreams immediately come true.
(Last Updated on : 31-10-2018)
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