SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 44
THE NINTH BOOK
On the story of Svadhā Devī in the discourse between Nārada and Nārāyaṇa
1-18. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Nārada! I will tell you now the excellent story of Svadhā, pleasing to the Pitris and enhancing the fruits of the Śrādh ceremony when foods are offered to the Pitris. Listen:
Before the creation, the Creator created seven Pitris. Four out of them are with forms and the other three are of the nature of Tejas (light).
Seeing the beautiful and lovely forms of the Pitris, He made arrangements for their food in the form of Śrāddhas and Tarpaṇas, etc. (funeral ceremony and peace-offerings), etc. (Śrādh, solemn obsequies performed in honour of the manes of deceased ancestors.)
Taking bath, performing Śrādh ceremony up to Tarpaṇam (peace-offerings), worshipping the Devas and doing Sandhyā thrice a day; these are the daily duties of the Brāhmaṇas.
If any Brāhmaṇa does not perform daily the Trisandhyā, Śraddhā, Tarpaṇam, worship and the reciting of the Vedas, he becomes devoid of fire like a snake without any poison.
He who does not perform the devotional service of the Devī, who eats food not offered to Śrī Hari, who remains impure till death, is not entitled to do any karma whatsoever.
Thus, introducing the Śrāddhas, etc., for the Pitris, Brahmā went to His own abode.
The Brāhmaṇas went on doing the Śrāddhas for the Pitris, but the Pitris could not enjoy them and so they remained without food and were not satisfied.
They all, being hungry and sad, went to the Council of Brahmā and informed Him everything from beginning to end.
Brahmā then created out of His mind one daughter very beautiful, full of youth and having a face lovely, as if equal to one hundred moons.
That woman was best in all respects whether in form, beauty, qualities or in learning. Her colour was white like the white Champaka flower and her body was adorned all over with jewel ornaments.
This form was very pure, ready to grant boons, auspicious and the part of Prakriti. Her face was beaming with smiles; her teeth were very beautiful and her body showed signs of Lakṣmī (i.e., of wealth and prosperity).
Her name was Svadhā. Her lotus-feet were situated on one hundred lotuses. She was the wife of the Pitris. Her face resembled that of a lotus and Her eyes looked like water lilies.
She was born of the lotus born Brahmā. The Grand-father Brahmā gave over that daughter of the nature of Tuṣṭī (Contentment) to the hands of the Pitris and they were satisfied.
Brahmā advised the Brāhmaṇas privately that whenever they would offer anything to the Pitris, they should offer duly with the mantra Svadhā pronounced at the end. Since then the Brāhmaṇas are offering everything to the Pitris, with the Mantra Svadhā uttered in the end.
Svāhā is laudable, when offerings are presented to the Gods and Svadhā is commendable when offerings are made to the Pitris.
But in both the cases, Dakṣiṇā is essential. Without Dakṣiṇā (sacrificial fee), all sacrifices are useless and worthless. The Pitris, Devatās, Brāhmaṇas, the Munis, the Manus worshipped the peaceful Svadhā and chanted hymns to Her with great love.
The Devas, Pitris, Brāhmaṇas, all were pleased and felt their ends achieved when they got the boon from Svadhā Devī.
Thus I have told you everything about Svadhā. It is pleasing to all. What more do you want to hear? Say, I will answer all your questions.
19. Nārada said:
“O Thou, the Best of the knowers of the Vedas! O Muni Sattama! I want now to hear the method of worship, the meditation and the hymns of Svadhā Devī. Kindly tell me all about this.”
20-27. Nārāyaṇa said:
You know everything about the all-auspicious Dhyāna, Stotra, as stated in the Vedas; then why do you ask me again? However I will speak out this for the enhancement of knowledge.
On the thirteenth day of the Dark Fortnight in autumn when the Māgha asterism is with the Moon and on the Śraddhā day one should worship with care Svadhā Devī; then one should perform Śraddhā.
If, out of vanity, a Brāhmin performs Śrādh without first worshipping Svadhā Devī then he will never get the fruits of Tarpaṇam or Śrādh.
“O Devī Svadhā! Thou art the mind-born daughter of Brahmā, always young and worshipped by the Pitris. Thou bestowest the fruits of Śrādh. So I meditate on Thee.”
Thus meditating, the Brāhmin is to pronounce the Mūlā mantra and offer the Pādyam, etc., on the Śālagrāma stone or on the auspicious earthen jar. This is the ruling of the Vedas.
The Mūlā mantra is:
“Om Hrīm, Śrīm, Klīm, Svadhā Devyai Svāhā.”
She should be worshipped with this Mantra.
After reciting hymns to the Devī, one is to bow down to the Svadhā Devī.
O Son of Brahmā! O Best of Munis! O Skilled in hearing! I now describe the stotra which Brahmā composed at the beginning for the bestowal of the desired fruits to mankind. Listen:
The instant the Mantra Svadhā is pronounced, men get at once the fruits of bathing in the holy places of pilgrimages. No trace of sin exists in him at that time; rather the religious merits of performing the Vājapeya sacrifice accrue to him.
28-36. “Svadhā,” “Svadhā,” “Svadhā,” thrice this word if one calls to mind, one gets the fruits of Śrādh, Tarpaṇam, and Bali (offering sacrifices).
So much so, if one hears with devotion during the Śrādh time the recitation of the hymn to Svadhā, one gets, no doubt, the fruit of Śrādh.
If one recites the Svadhā mantra thrice every time in the morning, midday and evening, every day, one gets an obedient, chaste wife begetting sons.
The following is the hymn (Stotra) to Svadhā:
“O Devī Svadhā! Thou art dear to the Pitris as their vital breaths and thou art the lives of the Brāhmaṇas. Thou art the Presiding Deity of the Śrādh ceremonies and bestowest the fruits thereof.
O Thou of good vows! Thou art eternal, true, and of the nature of religious merits. Thou appearest in creation and disappearest in dissolution. And this appearing and disappearing repeat forever.
Thou art Om, thou art Svasti, Thou art Namaskāra (salutation); Thou art Svadhā, Thou art Dakṣiṇā, Thou art the various works as designated in the Vedas. These the Lord of the world has created for the success of actions.”
No sooner Brahmā, seated in His assembly in the Brahmā Loka, reciting this stotra remained silent, than Svadhā Devī appeared there all at once.
When Brahmā handed over the lotus-faced Svadhā Devī over to the hands of the Pitris, and they gladly took Her to their own abodes.
He who hears with devotion and attention this stotra of Svadhā, gets all sorts of rich fruits that are desired and the fruits of bathing in all the Tīrthas.
Here ends the Forty-fourth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the story of Svadhā Devī in the discourse between Nārada and Nārāyaṇa in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.