Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 4

BY: SUN STAFF - 2.3 2018

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


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

First Adhyâya - Second Brâhmana, Part Two

1:1:2:18 - 18. He now announces (the oblation) to the deity (for whom it is intended). For when the Adhvaryu is about to take the oblation, all the gods draw near to him, thinking, 'My name he will choose! my name he will choose!' and among them who are thus gathered together, he thereby [1] establishes concord.

1:1:2:19 - 19. Another reason for which he announces (the oblation) to the deity, is this: whichever deities are chosen, they consider it as an obligation that they are bound to fulfil whatever wish he entertains whilst taking (the oblation); and for that reason also he announces it to the deity. After taking the oblations (to the other deities) in the same way as before [2],--

1:1:2:20 - 20. He touches (the rice that is left), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 11 a): 'For existence (or, abundance,--I leave) thee, not for non-offering [3]!' He thereby causes it to increase again.

1:1:2:21 - 21. He now (whilst seated on the cart) looks towards east, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 11 b): 'May I perceive the light!' For that cart being covered up, its eye is thereby, as it were, affected with evil. Light, moreover, represents the sacrifice, the day, the gods, and the sun; so that he thereby perceives this same (fourfold) light.

1:1:2:22 - 22. He then descends (from the cart), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 11 c): 'May those provided with doors stand firm on the earth!' Those provided with doors are the houses: for the houses of the sacrificer might indeed be capable of breaking down behind the back of his Adhvaryu, when he walks forward (from the cart) with the sacrifice, and might crush his (the sacrificer's) family. By this (text), however, he causes them to stand firmly on this earth, so that they do not break down and crush (his family); for this reason he says: 'May those provided with doors stand firm on the earth!' He then walks forward (north of the Gârhapatya fire), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 11 d), 'I move along the wide aërial realm;' the application of which is the same (as before; see par. 4).

1:1:2:23 - 23. In the case of one (viz. householder) whose Gârhapatya fire they (the priests) use for coking oblations, they place the utensils in the Gârhapatya (house); and let him (the Adhvaryu) in that case put (the winnowing basket with the rice) down at the back (or west) side of the Gârhapatya. But in the case of one whose Âhavanîya they use for cooking oblations, they place the utensils together in the Âhavanîya; and let him in that case put it (the rice) down at the back of the Âhavanîya. He should (in either case) do so, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 11 e), 'On the navel of the earth I place thee!' for the navel means the centre, and the centre is safe from danger: for this reason he says, 'On the navel of the earth I place thee!' And further, 'In the lap of Aditi (the boundless or inviolable earth)!' for when people guard anything very carefully, they commonly say that 'they, as it were, carried it in their lap;' and this is the reason why he says, 'In the lap of Aditi!' And further, 'O Agni, do thou protect this offering!' whereby he makes this oblation over for protection both to Agni and to this earth: for this reason he says, 'O Agni, do thou protect this offering!'


11:1 Or, 'and the sacrifice also is Virâg,' as the scholiast interprets the passage on the ground that at the performance of the Gyotishtoma 190 stotriyâ verses are used, and that this number is dividable by ten, the number of syllables in the Virâg metre; cf. Weber, Ind. Streifen I, 36, note 4. See also X, 4, 3, 21, where the fire is identified with the virâg on the ground that there are ten fires, viz. eight dhishnya fires and the Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya. In VIII, 4, 5, 5 virâg is explained as 'that which rules.'

11:2 For the Agnihotra-havanî or ladle used for making the morning and evening milk-oblations, see note on I, 3, 1, 1. For the winnowing basket (sûrpa), see I, 1, 4, 19 seq.

12:1 Literally, 'from the very mouth,' which refers both to the mouth or hollow part of the two vessels (from which the enemies are, as it were, burnt out), and to the opening of the sacrifice. The same symbolical explanation is met with on the occasion of the heating of the sacrificial spoon, I, 3, 1, 5.

12:2 The cart containing the rice or barley, or whatever material may be used instead, stands behind (i.e. west of) the Gârhapatya, fitted with all its appliances (except the oxen). Kâty. Sr. II, 3, 12. Rice-grains, as the most common material, will be assumed to constitute the chief havis (sacrificial food) at the present sacrifice.

13:1 The sphya is a straight sword (khadga) or knife, a cubit long, carved out of khadira wood (Mimosa Catechu). Kâty. Sr. I, 3, 33; 39. It is used for various purposes calculated to symbolically insure the safe and undisturbed performance of the sacrifice. On the present occasion it represents the yoke, by touching which (par. 10) the cart is connected with the sacrifice. At the close of the sacrifice also the offering spoons are, as it were, unyoked (or relieved of their duties), by being placed on the yoke, if the rice was taken from the cart; or on the wooden sword lying on the jar, if it was taken from the latter. See I, 8, 3, 26.

14:1 The pole of an Indian cart consists of two pieces of wood, joined together in its forepart and diverging towards the axle. Hence, as Sâyana remarks, it resembles the altar in shape, being narrower in front and broader at the back, the altar measuring twenty-four cubits in front and thirty cubits at the back. At the extreme end of the pole a piece of wood is fastened on, or the pole itself is turned downwards, so as to serve as a prop or rest (popularly called 'sipoy' in Western India, and 'horse' in English).

14:2 The havirdhâna (-mandapa) is a temporary shed or tent erected on the sacrificial ground for the performance of the Soma-sacrifice, in which the two carts containing the Soma-plants are placed. These carts themselves, however, are also called havirdhâna. Cf. IV, 6, 9, 10 seq.; III, 5, 3, 7.

14:3 I.e. at the time of the new and the full moon. Schol.

15:1 Sasni-tama (? 'the most bountiful'); sasni is explained by Mahîdhara (in accordance with Yâska, Nir. V, 1) by samsnâta, from snâ, 'to purify, cleanse,' or from snâ (snai), 'to envelop, wrap round;' hence 'cleanest or purest,' or 'most firmly secured by being tied (with thongs, &c.)' The latter was probably the meaning connected with the word in this sacrificial formula; though the correct derivation is no doubt from san, 'to acquire, gain,' and 'to bestow' (Roth, Nirukta notes, p. 52). In modern Indian carts the yoke is fastened on to the pole by a string.

15:2 Papritama, 'most filled with rice,' &c. Schol.

16:1 According to Sâyana, because there are five kinds of oblations (havish-paṅkti) at the Soma-sacrifice. Cf. Ait. Br. II, 24, with Haug's translation. Compare also the distinction of five different parts-in the victim at animal sacrifices: Sat. Br. I, 5, 2, 16; Ait. Br. II, 14; III, 23; and the five kinds of victims, viz. man, horse, bullock, ram, and he-goat: Ath. V. XI, 2, 9; Sat. Br. I, 2, 3, 6. 7; VI, 2, 1, 6. 18; VII, 5, 2, in; Taitt. S. IV, 2, 10; Khând. Up. II, 6, 1.

17:1 Viz. by calling out the names, since, without this being done, quarrels would arise among the deities as to whom the offering might be intended for. Mahîdh.

17:2 Viz. as in the case of the oblation to Agni, and substituting the name of the respective deity in the formula used above (par. 17), 'Thee, agreeable to (Agni)!' The oblations prescribed for the full-moon sacrifice are a cake on eight potsherds for Agni, and one on eleven potsherds for Agni and Soma: for each of these cakes he takes four handfuls from the cart [and throws them into the Agnihotra ladle lying on the winnowing basket which he holds with his left hand. With each of the first three handfuls of each of the two oblations he repeats the above text, whilst the fourth handful is thrown in silently. After the oblation for Agni is taken, he pours it from the ladle into the winnowing basket so as to lie on the southern side; and then takes out the oblation for Agni-Soma, which is afterwards poured into the basket so as to lie north of the first heap]. Kâty. Sr. II, 3, 20-21 and Scholl.

17:3 Thus Mahîdhara (i.e. to serve for future oblations, or as food for the priests'). Perhaps the meaning is, 'For a (divine or human) being thee, not for the evil spirit!' Cf. St. Petersburg Dict. s.v. bhûta.