Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 69

BY: SUN STAFF - 11.7 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 – Fourth Brâhmana, Part One

2:1:4:1 - 1. On the day preceding his Agnyâdheya, he (the sacrificer with his wife) should take his food in the day-time. For the gods know the minds of man: they are, therefore, aware that his Agnyâdheya is to take place on the morrow; and all the gods betake themselves to his house and stay (upa-vas) in his house; whence this day is called upavasatha (fast-day) [3].

2:1:4:2 - 2. Now, as it would be unbecoming for him to take food before men (who are staying with him as his guests) have eaten; how much more would it be so, if he were to take food before the gods have eaten: let him therefore take his food in the day-time. However, he may also, if he choose, take food at night, since the observance of the vow is not necessary for him who has not performed Agnyâdheya. For so long as he has not set up a (sacrificial) fire of his own, he is merely a man, and may therefore, if he choose, take food at night.

2:1:4:3 - 3. Here now some tie up a he-goat [1], arguing that the goat is sacred to Agni and that (this is done) for the completeness of the fire. But he need not do this. Should he possess a he-goat, let him present it to the Âgnîdhra on the next morning; for it is thereby that he obtains the object he desires. He need, therefore, take no notice of that (practice).

2:1:4:4 - 4. They [2] then cook a rice-pap sufficient for (the) four (priests) to eat, 'Hereby we gratify the metres,' so they say, arguing that this is done in the same way as if one were to order a team, which he is going to use for driving, to be well fed. He need not, however, do this: for indeed that same wish (which he entertains in so doing) he obtains by the very fact that Brahmans, be they sacrificial priests or not, are residing in his family (kula) [3]: he need, therefore, take no notice of that (practice).

2:1:4:5 - 5. Having then made a hollow in it (the pap) for clarified butter to be poured in, and having poured clarified butter into it, they anoint three sticks of asvattha wood with this butter and put them on the fire with the (three) Rik-verses containing the words 'kindling-stick (samidh)' and 'butter (ghrita) [1];' arguing that thereby they obtain what has grown out of a samî [2]. It is, however, only by (daily) putting (three kindling-sticks) on the fire for a whole year previous (to the Âdhâna) that one obtains that object: let him therefore take no notice of that (practice).

2:1:4:6 - 6. And on this point Bhâllabeya remarked, 'If he were to cook that rice-pap, this would assuredly be a mistake, just as if one were to do one thing, while intending to do another; or if one were to say one thing, while intending to say another; or if one were to go one way, while intending to go another.' And, indeed, it is not proper that they should either carry to the south, or extinguish, that fire on which a kindling-stick is put, or an oblation made, with a rik or a sâman or a yagus. Now they do indeed either take it to the south with the view of its becoming the Anvâhâryapakana (or Dakshinâgni), or (if there is to be no Dakshinâgni) they extinguish it [1].

2:1:4:7 - 7. Thereupon they [2] remain awake (during that night). The gods are awake: so that he thereby draws nigh to the gods, and sets up his fires as one more godly, more subdued, more endowed with holy fervour (tapas). He may, however, sleep, if he choose, since the observance of the vow is not necessary for him who has not performed Agnyâdheya. For so long as he has not set up a (sacrificial) fire of his own, he is a mere man; and he may, therefore, sleep, if he choose.

2:1:4:8 - 8. Now some churn (the fire) [3] before sunrise and take it eastwards (from the Gârhapatya to the Âhavanîya) after sunrise, arguing that thereby they secure both the day and the night for the obtainment of out-breathing and in-breathing, of mind and speech. But let him not do so; for when they thus churn (the fire) before sunrise, and take it eastwards after sunrise, both his (fires) are in reality set up before sunrise. By churning the Âhavanîya after sunrise he will obtain that (combination of blessings).

2:1:4:9 - 9. The gods, assuredly, are the day. The fathers have not the evil dispelled from them (by the sun); (and accordingly) he (the sacrificer) does not dispel the evil (if he churns the fire before sunrise). The fathers are mortal; and verily he who churns the fire before the rising of the sun, dies before (he has attained his full measure of) life. The gods have the evil dispelled from them (by the sun): hence he (the sacrificer) dispels the evil (from himself, if he churn after sunrise). The gods are immortal; and--though there is for him no prospect of immortality--he attains (the full measure of life). The gods are bliss, and bliss he obtains; the gods are glorious, and glorious he will be, whosoever, knowing this, churns (the fire) after the rising of the sun.