Many mantras have "swaha" Or "Namah" at the end of them. I know that, we chant Swaha at the end of some mantra while performing "havana" or "homam" (as some sort of havan ahuti) like om shrim maha lakshmiyei swaha. And Namah type mantra is also use to chant at the end of some mantras like om gam ganapataye namah.

As I am going through Devi ARGALA STOTRAM (THE HYMNS OF ARGALA) came across Swadha term with swaha.

Om Jayanti Mangala kali Bhadrakali Kapalini Durga Kshama Shiva dhatri swaha swadha namostute.

Meaning: O Goddess Jayanti (who wins everyone), Mangala (who gives salvation), Kali, Bhadrakali (who is benevolent to devotees), kapalini. Durga, Kshama (who tolerates everyone) Shiva, Dhatri, Swaha and swadha, salutations to you.

My Questions:

  • What is the difference between Swaha and Namaha type mantras?
  • What is the meaning of Swadha? Where does it used for?
  • What is the meaning of Swaha and Swadha in Devi Stotram?

5 Answers 5

  1. Mantras are classified as either masculine, feminine or neuter. Swaha type mantras are feminine and Namaha type are neuter.

  2. Swaha is used in havi, homa or yajnas to offer oblations to gods where as Swadha is used to offer oblations to pitars or manes:

    svāha devahavirdāne praśastā sarva karmasu piturdāne svadhā [BVP - 2.40.6]

    Swaha is well accepted in every work regarding offering oblations to the gods and Swadha for the manes.

    The Brahma Vaivarta Purana contains the description regarding the origin of Swaha and Swadha.

  3. Swaha and Swadha both has originated from Prakurti as a part:

    prakrutiḥ kalayā caiva sarvaśaktisvarupiṇī
    babhuba dāhika śaktiragneḥ svahāsvarupiṇī
    [BVP - 2.40.15]

    As a part of Prakruti endowed with all energy Swaha originated as the burning power of fire.

    viśuddha prakruteraṃśāṃ sasmitāṃ varadāṃ śubhām
    svadhābhidhānāṃ sudatīṃ lakṣmīṃ lkṣaṇasamyutām
    [BVP - 2.41.11]

    Pure and part of Prakruti, auspicious with beautiful smile, Swadha named girl came into being with beautiful teeth and qualities of Laxmi.

    Since both Swaha and Swadha have orignated from Prakruti which is nothing but the adishakti or the Devi Herself, in the hymn the Devi has been referred and prayed as Swaha and Swadha.

On a side note, the breif story regarding the origin of Swaha and Swadha is as below:

After creating the devas Brahma ordained the Brahmanas to offer them oblations. But the oblations offered to them didn't reaash the gods. So they informed Brahma who then asked help from Lord Krishna. Shri Krishna then became Yajna and later on by His instruction Brahma worshiped Prakruti who then manifested as Swaha and became wife of god Agni. After that by uttering Swaha gods got the offerings in Yajna.

Similarly after creating the manes, the oblations offered to them didn't reach. So Brahma created Swadha mentally as a part of Prakruti after which the problem was solved.

  • Please can you explain, what is the masculine type mantra? Apr 7, 2015 at 13:45
  • 1
    @learningbrain hum, phat, type mantras
    – Be Happy
    Apr 7, 2015 at 13:46
  • Can you please add source for last paragraph?
    – The Destroyer
    Jun 19, 2021 at 11:32
  • In Devi Bhagavatham uttara khanda, the origin of Svaha and Swadha devis can be found. It is similar to above but does not involve Lord Krishna but rather the great Mahadeva / ParaShiva Himself (at the request of Brahma) manifests as Yagna and the Adi shakti/Moola Prakrti sends out a fragment of Herself to become Devi Svaha and Devi Swadha (Shaktis of Agni and Pitrs respectively).
    – Aravindh
    Jun 26, 2022 at 5:59

Svadha is a mantra (sanskrit word) that is used when making an offering to the god of fire. It is mentioned in Chhandogya Upanishad II. xxii. 2.

A man should sing, wishing that by his song he may secure immortality for the gods: 'May I obtain by my song oblations (svadha) for the Manes, hope for men, grass and water for cattle, heaven for the sacrificer, and food for myself.' Thus reflecting on these in his mind, he (the udgatri priest) should chant the praises without making mistakes [in pronunciation etc.].

In Chhandogya Upanishad IV. xvii. 4-6. it mentions the saying of Svaha if a sacrifice is injured in various ways. It is one of the words used when a brahmin priest asks for forgiveness or penance in not following their duties correctly when doing a sacrifice. He is saluting the god of fire asking for forgiveness if there is some error in the offering.

Namah is simply 'salutations' or 'salute'


Mantras are of 3 basic types viz-masculine,feminine and neutral.Those ending with Hum or Phat are masculine,those ending with Swaha are feminine in nature and those ending with Namaha are neutral mantras.

From Narada Purana:

The basic forms of Mantras are of ‘Stree’ (Feminine), Purusha (Masculine) and Napumsak (Neuter). The Stree Mantras end up with ‘tha’or ‘swaha’; Purusha Mantras end up with ‘Hum’ and ‘Phut’; those Mantras end up with ‘Namah’ are used in Napumsak Mantras. The various Mantras are utilised in the context of six ‘Karmas’ deeds) viz. ‘Shanti’ (Peaceful purposes), ‘Vashya’ (subjugation), ‘Stambhana’ (paralizing), ‘Dwesha’ (creating hatred), ‘Ucchhanana (uprooting) and ‘Marana’ (death-related).

On Swadha:

While doing PitruYajnas(sacrifices to Manes or Pitrus) the mantras have Swadha at the end.

While doing DevaYajnas(oblations to Devas or Gods) the mantras have Namaha,Swaha or Vashat at their end.

And,while doing Manushya Yajna(oblations to mankind) Hanta is used similarly.

"Swaha," " Vashat" and "Namah," [these three] are for the Celestials ; " Swadha " is for the departed Manes ; and " Hanta" is for mankind. (12) Therefore one should daily make offerings to the Pitris by reciting " Swadha" Some say the word " Namah " may be added to it. But Goutama [says], "not so." (13)

Katyana Smriti,Chapter 13,Verse 13.

The verse "Om Jayanti Mangala kali Bhadrakali Kapalini Durga Kshama Shiva dhatri swaha swadha namostute" appears in the Argala Stotram which is to be recited before reciting the Devi Mahatyam(present in the Markandeya Purana).

जयन्ती मङ्गला काली भद्रकाली कपालिनी । दुर्गा शिवा क्षमा धात्री स्वाहा स्वधा नमोऽस्तु ते ॥२॥

Jayantii Manggalaa Kaalii Bhadrakaalii Kapaalinii | Durgaa Shivaa Kssamaa Dhaatrii Svaahaa Svadhaa Namostu Te ||2||


2.1: Salutations to Jayanti (Who is Ever-Victorious), Mangala (Who is the bestower of Auspiciousness), Kali (Who is beyond Kala or Time), Bhadrakali (Who is the controller of Life and Death, being beyond Kala or Time), Kapalini (Who wear a Garland of Skulls), 2.2: Salutations to Durga (Who is Durgati-Nashini), Shiva (Who is Ever-Auspicious and One with Shiva as His Consort), Kshama (Who is an embodiment of Forbearance), Dhatri (Who is the Supporter of all Beings), Swaha (Who is the final receiver of the Sacrificial Oblations to Gods) and Swadha (Who is the final receiver of the Sacrificial Oblations to Manes); Salutations to You.

The implication is whether one is doing a Pitru Yajna (with Swadha) or a Deva Yajna(with Swaha) the oblations are eventually reaching the Divine Mother Devi Durga only.


The word Swadha and Swaha are used here in the context of oblation offered. Although, they mean other things too:

The word Swadha (स्वधा) means

one's own nature of determination or spontaneity

one's own will or pleasure

the oblation or food offered to the Pitris - as referenced from the Sanskrit phrase स्वधासंग्रहतत्पराः

the food offered to the Pitris personified

food or oblation in general

one's own portion or share

A Shraadha or funeral ceremony

Maya or illusion

an exclamation uttered on offering an oblation to the Pitris

Hence, the meaning of Swadha can either be seen as an oblation in this context or an exclamation for the same.

The word Swaha (स्वाहा) means

an oblation or offering to all god indiscriminately

the wife of Agni

an exclamation used in offering oblations to the Gods

Hence, the difference between Swadha and Swaha is that Swadha is used in the context of Pitris and Swaha is used for all gods.

The word Namah (नमः) comes from the word root Nam (नम्) which means

to bow to, make obeisance to, salute (as a mark of respect)

to submit or subject oneself, to bow down

to bend, go down etc.

The above is taken from The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary by Vaman Shivaram Apte.

This might give more insights in the context of Namah:

Mana means mind. The word mind in English comes from the Sanskrit word Mana. Nama is the reverse of the mind. The mind going to its source is called Nama.

When the mind goes outside to experience the world, it is Mana. When the mind goes back to its source, it is Nama, and when it goes to its source what does it find? It finds that everything is made up of one consciousness.

Excerpts from an article by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/17184919/.../understandingshiva.pdf


What is the meaning of Swaha and Swadha in Devi Stotram?

The 3rd question you asked was left out by all. So, I will just explain about it.

The use of Swaha and Swadha at suffix, along with their anecdote is told in detail in Shrimad Devi Mahabhagwat Puran, 9th Skandha, 43rd Chapter,

7-8. Nārada said :-- “When clarified butter is poured as libations in all the sacrificial ceremonies to the gods, Svāhā is to be uttered everywhere as excellent, and commendable; so Svadhā is to be repeated in the offerings when the oblations are offered to the Pitris, the deceased ancestors. 

Thus, now we proceed to what it meant in Argala stotram,

The explanation to this is found in Saptashati chapter 4,

यस्याः समस्तसुरता समुदीरणेन तृप्तिं प्रयाति सकलेषु मखेषु देवि।
स्वाहासि वै पितृगणस्य च तृप्तिहेतु- रुच्चार्यसे त्वमत एव जनैः स्वधा च॥8॥
'O Devi, you are Svaha at whose utterance the whole assemblage of gods attains satisfaction in all the sacrifices. You are the Svadha which gives satisfaction to the manes. Therefore you are chanted (as Svaha and Svadha in Sacrifices) by people.

Thus, here the devas meant that she is the nourisher of everyone.

कालिकार्पणमास्तु ।🌺

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