Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Svahadevi included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Svāhādevi

General information.

Wife of god Agni (fire). There is a story about the birth of this goddess, as given below, in Devī Bhāgavata, Skandha 9.

In the beginning of creation sufficient arrangements had not been made for food to be supplied to the Devas (gods). They were in misery. At last the devas reached Satyaloka and requested Brahmā to make some arrangements for their food. Brahmā pacified them by saying that he would make available to them, the 'havis' offered by Brahmins as food. Then Brahmā meditated on the Mūla-Prakṛti. A particle of Mūla-Prakṛti appeared before Brahmā and asked him what boon he required. Brahmā said thus:—Oh Goddess! The gods are miserable due to lack of food. The fire is not powerful enough to digest the 'havis' offered by Brahmins in the fire so as to convert them as food for the gods. The fire would become powerful to digest the havis only if your esteemed self would reside in fire as the power of digestion. Only the havis offered, with the mantra, (spell) ending with the holy name of your glorious self could be digested by fire and taken to the gods as food, and they could accept it as food. So it is my request that your gracious self would become the power that dwells in fire as the figure of wealth and prosperity, adored by men and gods."

But that goddess said that her desire was to get Śrī Kṛṣṇa as her husband. She did penance to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who appeared and said: "Devī! you will take birth as the daughter of King Nagnajit in Varāha Kalpa (a world-age) and then you will become my wife. Now you have to become the wife of Agni under the name Svāhādevī and become the power of digestion, and part of the spell (mantra). You and Agni will be worshipped together by all. From that day onwards Svāhādevī became the wife of Fire. It is mentioned in Viṣṇu Purāṇa, Aṃśa 1, Chapter 10, that three sons Pāvaka, Pavamāna and Śuci, were born to the couple. (See under Devī).

Other details.

(i) It is mentioned in Mahābhārata, Sabhā Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 42, that Svāhādevī remains in the court of Brahmā, glorifying him.

(ii) Once Svāhādevī appeared among the wives of hermits. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 225, Verse 7).

(iii) When Subrahmaṇya was anointed as captain of the army, Svāhādevī also was present. (Mahābhārata, Śalya Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 13).

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