Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 64

BY: SUN STAFF - 3.7 2018

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


Second Kânda - The Agnyâdhâna, The Agnihotra, The Pindapitriyagña, The Âgrayaneshti, And The Kâturmâsyâni

I. The Agnyâdhâna Or Establishment Of The Sacred Fires.

First Adhyâya – First Brâhmana, Part Two

During the night the sacrificer and his wife have to remain awake and keep up the fire. When the night clears up, the Adhvaryu extinguishes the fire, or, if there is to be a Dakshinâgni, he takes it southwards and keeps it in a safe place till that fire is made up. He then draws with the wooden sword three lines across the fire-place and proceeds with the preparation of the hearth-mounds in the way set forth in the first Brâhmana of this Book.

2:1:1:1 - 1. Now when he equips (Agni, the fire) from this and that quarter, that is the equipping (of the fire) with its equipments [1]. In whatever (objects) some of (the nature of) Agni is inherent, therewith he equips (the fire); and in thus equipping it he supplies it partly with splendour, partly with cattle, partly with a mate.

2:1:1:2 - 2. In the first place he (the Adhvaryu) draws (three) lines (with the wooden sword on the Gârhapatya fire-place [2]). Whatever part of this earth is either trodden or spit upon, that he thereby removes from it; and he thus establishes his fire on earth that is entirely proper for the sacrifice: this is why he draws lines (across the fire-place).

2:1:1:3 - 3. He then sprinkles (the lines) with water. When he thus sprinkles (the fire-place) with water, that is the equipment (of the fire) with water. The reason why he brings water is that water is food; for water is indeed food: hence when water comes to this world, food is produced here. Thus he thereby supplies it (the fire) with food.

2:1:1:4 - 4. Water (ap, fem.), moreover, is female, and fire (agni, masc.) is male; so that he thereby supplies the latter with a productive mate. And since all this (universe) is pervaded (or obtained, âpta) by water, he sets up the fire, after he has obtained it by means of water [1]. This is why he brings water.

2:1:1:5 - 5. He then brings (a piece of) gold. Now Agni at one time cast his eyes on the waters 2: 'May I pair with them,' he thought. He came together with them; and his seed became gold [3]. For this reason the latter shines like fire, it being Agni's seed. Hence it (gold) is found in water, for he (Agni) poured it into the water. Hence also one does not cleanse oneself with it [1], nor does one do anything else with it. Now there is splendour (for the fire): for he thereby makes it to be possessed of divine seed, bestows splendour on it; and sets up a fire completely endowed with seed. That is why he brings gold.

2:1:1:6 - 6. He then brings salt. Yonder sky assuredly bestowed that (salt as) cattle on this earth: hence they say that salt soil is suitable for cattle. That (salt), therefore, means cattle; and thus he thereby visibly supplies it (the fire) with cattle; and the latter having come from yonder (sky) is securely established on this earth. Moreover, that (salt) is believed to be the savour (rasa) of those two, the sky and the earth [2]: so that he thereby supplies it (the fire) with the savour of those two, the sky and the earth. That is why he brings salt.

2:1:1:7 - 7. He then brings (the earth of) a mole-hill (âkhu-karîsha) [3]. The moles certainly know the savour of this earth: hence, by entering deeper and deeper into this earth, they (grow) very fat, knowing, as they do, its savour; and wherever they know the savour of this earth to be, there they cast it up. Hence he thereby supplies it (the fire) with the savour of this earth: that is why he brings a molehill. Moreover, they say of one who has attained prosperity (or splendour, sri) that he is purîshya; and purîsha and karîsha [1] doubtless mean one and the same thing: it is, therefore, for his (Agni's or the sacrificer's) attainment of splendour (sri) that he brings a mole-hill.

2:1:1:8 - 8. He then brings pebbles. Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, once contended for superiority. This earth was then trembling like a lotus-leaf; for the wind was tossing it hither and thither: now it came near the gods, now it came near the Asuras.