Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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(1) Agnihotra. Yagya. (2) Wife of Agni.
The deities of absolute Ether (Aakash), absolute Air (Vaayu), absolute Fire (Tej), absolute Water (Apa) and absolute Earth (Prithvi) represent the five main cosmic elements. The Deity of absolute Fire has three forms, the Sun in the sky, lightning in the atmosphere and the fire on the Earth. (Indra is considered the Deity of the sky, Varun is the Deity of the atmosphere and Agni is the Deity of the Earth.) Of these the Sun Deity and the Fire Deity are the two main forms worthy of worship.
Swaahaa and Swadhaa - these are the two wives of Agni Dev. Swaahaa's name is always taken when performing a sacrificial fire (Hom or Havan), at the end of a Mantra while an oblation is offered to any Devtaa because it is believed that a sacrificial fire bestows benefits only if Swaahaa is uttered in this way. When praying to Agni, Sage Grutsamad says, “O Agni deliver the oblation offered through the fire amidst chanting of the word Swaahaa to deities.” (Rig Ved 2.3.11).
Swaaha is the daughter of Daksh Prajaapati and Prasooti. She acquired the ability to deliver food to Deities because of her austerities. She gave birth to four sons namely the three fires Paavak, Pavamaan and Shuchi and Swaarochish Manu (Brahm Vaivart Puraan 2.40).
The Devee Bhaagvat narrates her story as - "Lord Vishnu manifested in the form of a sacrificial fire so that deities would get food. Braahman began to offer oblations in that sacrificial fire. However Agni would not deliver that part of the oblation to the respective Deity. Hence the Deities approached Lord Brahmaa once again. Then he meditated upon the female deity (Devee) and she manifested herself in the form of a woman. Lord Brahmaa named her Swaahaa and instructed her to deliver oblations which were offered in the fire amidst chanting of her name to the Deities. She accepted the task. Then Agni married her and she bore three sons, their names being Gaarhapatya Agni (the fire worshipped in the home), Dakshinaagni (the fire placed in the south) and Aahvaaneeya Agni (the sacred fire lit for a specific spiritual purpose). Since then Brahmans began to offer oblations suffixing Swaahaa to the Mantra and deities began to receive their share of oblations. When offering an oblation the name of the Deity is chanted along with the nae of the Deity - for example ‘Indraaya Swaahaa’ means "I offer this oblation to Indra". It is said that Swaahaa should be worshipped with the Mantra “Om hreem shreem, vaahnijaayaayai devyai Swaahaa" (ॐ र्हीं श्रीं वह्निजायायै देव्यै स्वाहा ।)”.’
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/09/11