THE NINTH BOOK
On the story of Svadhâ Devî in the discourse between Nârada and Nârâyana
1-18. Nârâyana said said :-- O Nârada! I will tell you now the excellent anecdote of Svadhâ, pleasing to the Pitris and enhancing the fruits of the Srâdh 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 Teja (light).
Note :-- Kavyavâhoanalah Somo Yamaschaivâryamâ tathâ, Agnisvâttâh Barhisadah Somapâ Pitri Devatâh. These seven Pitris are according to the other Purânas. Seeing the beautiful and lovely forms of the Pitris, He made arrangements for their food in the form of Srâddhas and
Tarpanas, etc. (funeral ceremony and peace-offerings), etc. (Srâdh, solemn obsequies performed in honour of the manes of deceased ancestors.)
Taking bath, performing Srâdh ceremony upto Tarpanam (peace-offerings), worshipping the Devas and doing Sandhyâ thrice a day; these are the daily duties of the Brâhmanas. If any Brâhmana does not perform daily the Trisandhyâs, Srâddha, Tarpanam, 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 Devî, who eats food not offered to Srî Hari, who remains impure till death, is not entitled to do any karma whatsoever. Thus, introducing the Srâddhas, etc., for the Pitris, Brahmâ went to His own abode. The Brâhmanas went on doing the Srâddhas 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 Brahmâ and informed Him everything from beginning to end. Brahmâ 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 Laksmî (i.e., of wealth and prosperity). Her name was Svadhâ. 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 Brahmâ. The Grand-father Brahmâ made over that daughter of the nature of Tusti (Contentment) to the hands of the Pitris and they were satisfied. Brahmâ advised the Brâhmanas privately that whenever they would offer anything to the Pitris, they should offer duly with the mantra Svadhâ pronounced at the end. Since then the Brâhmanas are offering everything to the Pitris, with the Mantra Svadhâ uttered in the end. Svâhâ is laudable, when offerings are presented to the Gods and Svadhâ is commendable when offerings are made to the Pitris. But in both the cases, Daksinâ is essential. Without Daksinâ (sacrificial fee), all sacrifices are useless and worthless. The Pitris, Devatâs, Brâhmanas, the Munis, the Manus worshipped the peaceful Svadhâ and chanted hymns to Her with great love. The Devas, Pitris, Brâhmanas, all were pleased and felt their ends achieved when they got the boon from Svadhâ Devî. Thus I have told you everything about Svadhâ. It is pleasing to all. What more do you want to hear? Say. I will answer all your questions.
19. Nârada 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 Svadhâ Devî. Kindly tell me all about this.
20-27. Nârâyana said :-- You know everything about the all-auspicious Dhyân, 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 Maghâ asterism is with the Moon and on the Srâddha day. One should worship with care Svadhâ Devî; then one should perform Srâddha. If, out of vanity, a Brâhmin performs Srâdh without first worshipping Svadhâ Devî then he will never get the fruits of Tarpanam or Srâdh. O Devî Svadhe! Thou art the mind-born daughter of Brahmâ, always young and worshipped by the Pitris. Thou bestowest the fruits of Srâddh. So I meditate on Thee. Thus meditating, the Brâhmin is to pronounce the motto (mûla mantra) and offer the Pâdyam, etc., on the Sâlagrâma stone or on the auspicious earthen jar. This is the ruling of the Vedas. The motto is Om Hrîm, Srîm, Klîm, Svadhâ Devyai Svâhâ. She should be worshipped with this Mantra. After reciting hymns to the Devî, one is to bow down to the Svadhâ Devî. O Son of Brahmâ! O Best of Munis! O Skilled in hearing! I now describe the stotra which Brahmâ composed at the beginning for the bestowal of the desired fruits to mankind. Listen.
Nârâyana said :-- The instant the Mantra Svadhâ 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 Vâjapeya sacrifice accrue to him.
28-36. Svadhâ, Svadhâ, Svadhâ, thrice this word if one calls to mind, one gets the fruits of Srâdh, Tarpanam, and Bali (offering sacrifices). So much so, if one hears with devotion during the Srâdh time the recitation of the hymn to Svadhâ, one gets, no doubt, the fruit of Srâdh. If one recites the Svadhâ 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 Svadhâ :-- O Devî Svadhe! Thou art dear to the Pitris as their vital breaths and thou art the lives of the Brâhmanas. Thou art the Presiding Deity of the Srâdh 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 go on forever. Thou art Om, thou art Svasti, Thou art Namas Kâra (salutation); Thou art Svadhâ, Thou art Daksinâ, 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 Brahmâ, seated in His assembly in the Brahmâ Loka, reciting this stotra remained silent, than Svadhâ Devî appeared there all at once. When Brahmâ handed over the lotus-faced Svadhâ Devî 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 Svadhâ, gets all sorts of rich fruits that are desired and the fruits of bathing in all the Tîrthas.
Here ends the Forty-fourth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the story of Svadhâ Devî in the discourse between Nârada and Nârâyana in the Mahâ Purânam Srî Mad Devî Bhâgavatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.