Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 38

BY: SUN STAFF - 11.5 2018

A serial presentation of the Satapatha Brahmana, translated by Julius Eggeling in 1882.


First Kânda - The Darsapûrnamâsa-Ishtî or New And Full-Moon Sacrifices

Sixth Adhyâya – Third Brâhmana

1:6:3:1 - 1. Tvashtri had a three-headed, six-eyed son. He had three mouths; and because he was thus shaped, his name was Visvarûpa ('All-shape').

1:6:3:2 - 2. One of his mouths was Soma-drinking, one spirit-drinking, and one for other kinds of food. Indra hated him and cut off those heads of his.

1:6:3:3 - 3. Now from the one which was Soma-drinking, a hazel-cock (francoline partridge) sprang forth; whence the latter is of brownish colour, for king Soma is brown.

1:6:3:4 - 4. From the one which was spirit-drinking, further, a sparrow sprang; whence the latter talks as if stammering, for he who has drunk spirits, talks as if he stammered.

1:6:3:5 - 5. Then from the one which served for other kinds of food, a partridge sprang; whence the latter is much variegated in colour: on its wings, namely, butter-drops, as it were, have dropped in one place and honey- (or mead-) drops in another, for suchlike, as it were, was the food which he consumed with that (mouth).

1:6:3:6 - 6. Tvashtri was furious: 'Has he indeed slain my son?' he exclaimed. He brought Soma-juice from which Indra was excluded; and just as the Soma-juice on being produced had Indra excluded from it (apendra), so it remained (when it was offered up).

1:6:3:7 - 7. Indra thought with himself, 'They are now excluding me from Soma!' and though uninvited, he consumed what pure (Soma) there was in the tub, even as the stronger (consumes) that of a weaker. That (Soma) however, injured him; it flowed in all directions from (the openings of) his vital airs; from his mouth alone it did not flow, but from all the other (openings of the) vital airs it flowed; hence (was instituted) at that time the ishti, called Sautrâmanî: on the occasion of that (ceremony) it is explained how the gods healed him [1].

1:6:3:8 - 8. Tvashtri was furious, and exclaimed, 'Has he indeed consumed my Soma uninvited?' However, he himself desecrated the sacrifice, for what pure (Soma) there was left in the tub he let flow (into the fire), saying, 'Grow thou, having Indra for thy foe [2]!' The moment it reached the fire, it developed (into human shape), or, as some say, it so developed whilst on its way (to the fire). It became possessed of [1] Agni and Soma, of all sciences, all glory, all nourishment, all prosperity.

1:6:3:9 - 9. And since it so developed whilst rolling onwards (vrit), it became Vritra; and since he sprang forth footless, therefore he was a serpent. Danu and Danâyû received him like mother and father [2], whence they call him Dânava.

1:6:3:10 - 10. And because he (Tvashtri) said, 'Grow thou, having Indra for thy foe!' therefore Indra slew him (Vritra). Had he said, 'Grow thou, the foe (slayer) of Indra!' he (Vritra) would certainly have forthwith slain Indra.

1:6:3:11 - 11. And because he (Tvashtri) said, 'Grow thou!' therefore he (Vritra) grew an arrow's range sideways and an arrow's range forward: he forced back both the western ocean and the eastern one; and in proportion as he extended did he devour the food.

1:6:3:12 - 12. In the fore-noon the gods offered him food, at mid-day the men, and in the after-noon the Fathers.

1:6:3:13 - 13. Now while Indra was thus moving on (in pursuit of Vritra), he addressed Agni and Soma, 'Ye belong to me and I belong to you! That one is nothing to you: why then do ye support that Dasyu against me? Come over to me!'

1:6:3:14 - 14. They replied, 'What is to be our reward in that case?' He offered them that Agni-Soma cake on eleven potsherds: this is the reason why there is a cake on eleven potsherds for Agni and Soma.

1:6:3:15 - 15. They went over to him, and after them went forth 1 all the gods, all the sciences, all glory, all nourishment, all prosperity: thus by offering that (cake to Agni and Soma) Indra became what Indra now is. Such then is the significance of the full-moon offering; and he who, knowing this, performs the full-moon offering in this wise, attains to the same state of prosperity, becomes thus endowed with glory, becomes such a consumer of food (as Vritra).

1:6:3:16 - 16. Now Vritra, on being struck, lay contracted like a leather bottle drained of its contents, like a skin bag with the barley-meal shaken out. Indra rushed at him, meaning to slay him.

1:6:3:17 - 17. He said, 'Do not hurl (thy thunderbolt) at me! thou art now what I (was before) Only cut me in twain; but do not let me be annihilated!' He (Indra) said, 'Thou shalt be my food!' He replied, 'So be it!' He accordingly cut him in twain; and from that (part) of his which was of the Soma nature [2], he made the moon, and that which was demoniacal (asurya) he made enter these creatures as their belly; hence people say [3]: 'Vritra was then a consumer of food, and Vritra is so now.' For even now, whenever that one (the moon) waxes fuller, it fills itself out of this world [4]; and whenever these creatures crave for food, they pay tribute to this Vritra, the belly. Whosoever knows that Vritra as a consumer of food, becomes himself a consumer of food.

1:6:3:18 - 18. Those deities then said, 'Ye, Agni and Soma, whom we have followed hither, take the best part (of the sacrificial food): do let us share along with you in what ye have!'

1:6:3:19 - 19. They both said, 'What (share) shall then be ours?' They replied, 'For whatever deity they shall take out sacrificial food, they shall in the first place offer to you some clarified butter!' Whenever, therefore, they take out sacrificial food for any deity, they in the first place offer two butter-portions to Agni and Soma. This does not take place at the Soma-sacrifice, nor at the animal offering; for they said, 'for whatever deity they take out… [1].'

1:6:3:20 - 20. Agni then said, 'In me they shall sacrifice for all of you, and thus I give you a share in me!' For this reason they sacrifice in Agni (the fire) to all the gods; and for this reason they say that Agni is all the deities.

1:6:3:21 - 21. Soma then said, 'Me they shall offer up to all of you, and thus I give you a share in me!' For this reason they offer up Soma to all the gods; and hence they say that Soma is all the deities.

1:6:3:22 - 22. And further, since all the gods were abiding in Indra, for that reason they say that Indra is all the deities, that the gods have Indra for their chief (sreshtha). Thus the gods came in a three-fold way to consist of one deity; and he who knows this becomes individually the chief of his own (people).