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The Mystery of Svāhā

The Mystery of Svāhā

by Manorama

 

Offer it up to the gods through the sacred fire.

Where does svāhā come from and how is it used? Svāhā is used during vedik fire ceremonies. When you perform a vedik fire ceremony, nothing can enter that fire unless it has first been offered with the utterance, svāhā. Oblations consist of mantras, rice, water and ghee,* (a vegan option of the fire oblations are: Mantras, rice, water and coconut oil). The way to look at it is, saying svāhā at the end of a mantra makes that mantra into an offering that is suitable to enter the holy fire and thereby make its way up to the gods. It’s like this: You say a mantra afterwards you chant svāhā. In this way, you offer a mantra, along with its meaning into the fire. The fire then takes that mantra along with your heartfelt devotion to the gods for review.

Who are ‘the Gods’?

The gods are the luminous forces. In Sanskrit, they are called devas, energetic beings of light. Each god represents a nuanced aspect of grace that can play out in our lives. By making offerings to a particular god, we draw the energy and grace of that particular deva into our lives.

Mythology

In Hindu mythology, Svāhā is the consort of Agni, fire. Agni and Svāhā are a pair. Where there is Agni there must be Svāhā and vice versa.

How svāhā is used in the context of meditation and chanting practice

If you want to include svāhā in your formal yoga meditation and chanting practice you would work with it like this. Let’s use a Saraswati mantra as an example. Sit on your cushion and say the mantra, OM Aim Saraswatyai Namah, respect to the goddess Saraswati. After you finish chanting the mantra, you have the option of sealing it and sending it to the gods through the sacred fire by saying the word svāhā directly afterwards.

Saraswati Mantra

OM

Aim Saraswatyai Namah

Svāhā

It’s not necessary or advisable to always add the word svāhā after a mantra. If you chant the mantra your intention will still be received with or without the svāhā. However, if you want the sacred fire to be the intermediary then you will need to add the word svāhā after that mantra.

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