Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 7


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


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

First Adhyâya - Fourth Brâhmana, Part Two

1:1:4:13 - 13. Now in former times it was no other than the wife (of the sacrificer) who rose at this (call, to act) as Havishkrit; therefore now also (she or) some one (priest) [3] rises in answer to this call. And at the time when he (the Adhvaryu) calls the Havishkrit, one of the priests [4] beats the two mill-stones. The reason why they produce this discordant noise, is this:

1:1:4:14 - 14. Manu was in possession of a bull [1]. Into him had entered an Asura-killing, foe-killing voice; and by his snorting and roaring the Asuras and Rakshas were continually being crushed. Thereupon the Asuras said to one another: 'Evil, alas! this bull inflicts upon us! how can we possibly destroy him?' Now Kilâta and Âkuli were the two priests (brahman) of the Asuras.

1:1:4:15 - 15. These two said, 'God-fearing, they say, is Manu: let us two then ascertain!' They then went to him and said: 'Manu! we will sacrifice for thee!' He said: 'Wherewith?' They said: 'With this bull!' He said: 'So be it!' On his (the bull's) being killed the voice went from him.

1:1:4:16 - 16. It entered into Manâvî, the wife of Manu; and when they heard her speak, the Asuras and Rakshas were continually being crushed. Thereupon the Asuras said to one another: 'Hereby even greater evil is inflicted on us, for the human voice speaks more!' Kilâta and Âkuli then said: 'God-fearing, they say, is Manu: let us then ascertain!' They went to him and said: 'Manu! we will sacrifice for thee!' He said: 'Wherewith?' They said: 'With this thy wife!' He said: 'So be it!' And on her being killed that voice went from her.

1:1:4:17 - 17. It entered into the sacrifice itself, into the sacrificial vessels; and thence those two (Asura priests) were unable to expel it. This same Asura-killing, foe-killing voice sounds forth (from the millstones when they are beaten with the wedge). And for whomsoever that knows this, they produce this discordant noise on the present occasion, his enemies are rendered very miserable.

1:1:4:18 - 18. He beats the mill-stones with the wedge, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 16 a): 'A honey-tongued cock (kukkuta [1]) art thou (O wedge)!' For honey-tongued indeed was he (the bull) for the gods, and poison-tongued for the Asuras: hence he thereby says: 'What thou wert for the gods, that be thou for us!' He adds: 'Sap and strength do thou call hither! with thy help may we conquer in every battle!' In these words there is nothing that is obscure.

1:1:4:19 - 19. Thereupon [2] he (the Adhvaryu) takes the winnowing basket, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 b): 'Rain-grown art thou!' For rain-grown it is indeed, whether it be made of reeds or of cane or of rushes, since it is the rain that makes these grow.

1:1:4:20 - 20. He then pours out the (threshed) rice (from the mortar into the winnowing basket), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 16 c): 'May the rain-grown acknowledge (receive) thee!' For rain-grown also are these (grains), whether they be rice or barley, since it is the rain that makes them grow. By these words he establishes an understanding between them and the winnowing basket, in the hope 'that they will not injure each other.'

1:1:4:21 - 21. He now winnows (the rice), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 16 d): 'Cleared off is the Rakshas! cleared off are the evil-doers!' The husks (which have fallen on the ground) he throws away [1], with the text (Vâg. S. I, 16 e), 'Expelled is the Rakshas!' for those evil spirits, the Rakshas, he thereby expels.

1:1:4:22 - 22. He then separates (the husked grains from the unhusked), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 16 f): 'May the wind separate you!' For it is that wind (which is produced by the winnowing) which here purifies (or blows, pavate); and it is the wind that separates everything here (on earth) that undergoes separation: therefore it also separates here those (two kinds of grain) from each other. Now when they are undergoing this process, and whilst he is separating [2] (the husked, so as to drop them into a pot),--

1:1:4:23 - 23. He addresses (those in the pot) thus (Vâg. S. I, 16 g): 'May the divine Savitri, the golden-handed, receive you with a flawless [1] hand!' By this he says: 'May they be well received!' He then cleans them thrice [2]; for threefold is the sacrifice.

1:1:4:24 - 24. Here now some clean them with the formula: 'For the gods get clean! for the gods get clean!' But let him not do so: for this oblation is intended for some particular deity; and if he were to say, 'For the gods get clean!' he would make it one intended for all the deities, and would thereby raise a quarrel among the deities. Let him therefore do the cleaning silently!


23:1 After he has done the sprinkling, he puts the remaining water away in some place where nobody is allowed to walk [as between the pranîtâs and the Âhavanîya; or (according to Âpastamba) before, or east of, the Gârhapatya, since nobody is allowed to pass between the Gârhapatya and Âhavanîya. The two strainers also remain in the sprinkling water]. Kâty. Sr. II, 3, 40.

23:2 The skin of the black antelope may be regarded as one of the symbols of Brâhmanical worship and civilisation. Thus it is said in Manu II, 22-23: 'That which lies between these two mountain ranges (the Himâlaya and the Vindhya), from the eastern to the western ocean, the wise know as Âryâvarta (the land of the Âryas). Where the black antelope naturally roams about, that should be known as the land suitable for sacrifice; what lies beyond that is the country of the Mlekkhas (barbarians).'

24:1 According to some exegetes the Adhvaryu himself must step beyond (i.e. aside from) the vessels when he shakes the skin; according to others, he should not move, but only hold the skin apart from the vessels, so that no impure matter should fall on them. Some also maintain that the skin should only be shaken once, whilst others think it should be done three times. Cf. Kâty. Sr. II, 4, 2. Schol.

25:1 Special mention is here made of this feature, since as a rule (Kâty. I, 10, 4) the skin is spread with its neck-part turned eastwards. He lays it down on the north side of the sacrificial ground, either west of the utkara (the mound formed by the earth dug out in constructing the altar, and by other rubbish) or exactly north of the Gârhapatya. Schol. on Kâty. II, 4, 3.

25:2 Only a Brâhman can perform sacrifice. If, as is permitted in certain ceremonies, a Kshatriya or Vaisya officiates, he, as it were, becomes a Brâhman (and is addressed as such) for the occasion, by means of the dîkshâ, or rite of initiation. Cf. Sat. Br. III, 2, I, 39; XIII, 4, 1, 3.

26:1 Here, as in I, 5, 2, 11 (haviryagñe 'tha saumye 'dhvare), we have the simple division of the Srauta-sacrifices into oblations (of ghee, milk, rice, barley, &c.) and libations (of Soma). More usually the pasubandhu, or animal-sacrifice, is added as a third division. See also I, 7, 2, 10.

26:2 The mortar (ulûkhala) and pestle (musala) are to be made of very hard wood, viz. both of varana wood (Cratæga Roxburghii), or the mortar of palâsa wood (Butea Frondosa), and the pestle of khadira wood (Acacia Catechu). The former is to be of the height of the knee, and the latter three aratnis (cubits) long. Schol. on Kâty. I, 3, 36; M. Müller, Die Todtenbestattung bei den Brahmanen, Zeitsch. der D. Morg. Ges. IX, p. xl.

27:1 Kâty. Sr. II, 2, 6-7 lays down the general rule, that if the Brahman or Adhvaryu (and according to some, the sacrificer also) by some slip were to utter any sound during the time for which restraint of speech (vâg-yama) is enjoined, they must atone for the transgression by muttering some mantra addressed to Vishnu, such as the couplet (Vâg. S. V, 38, 45), 'Widely, O Vishnu, stride!' &c., or the formula (ib. I, 4), 'O Vishnu, preserve the sacrifice!'

27:2 Or 'for the god,' 'for the goddess,' as the case may be.

27:3 Or, he pronounces the havishkrit formula, see next note. According to Kâty. Sr. II, 4, 13 he calls out three separate times.

27:4 Havishkrit denotes not only the person that prepares the oblation, but also this formula by which that person is called.

28:1 Viz. in the shape of the sacrificial formulas.

28:2 This inversion of the order of the second (or Kshatriya) and third (or Vaisya) castes is rather strange. The Sûtras of Bhâradv., Âpast., and Hirany. assign the same formulas to the several castes as here. Cf. Hillebrandt, Neu- and Vollmondsopfer,

28:3 According to the Schol. on Kâty. Sr. II, 4, 13, either the wife of the patron or the Âgnîdhra (the priest who kindles the fire) acts as Havishkrit. Mahîdh. on Vâg. S. I, 15 includes the patron (sacrificer) himself, unless yagamânah patnî is a misprint for yagamânapatnî. According to Âpastamba, 'either a maidservant or the wife grinds; or the wife threshes and the Sûdra woman grinds' (cf. Schol. on Kâty. Sr. II, 5, 7). Similarly Bhâradv. and Hirany.; cf. Hillebrandt, p. 38, n. 2. Similar cases of differences between the ritualistic practices of the present time and those of former times are very frequently alluded to in the ritualistic books; and are of especial interest, as they afford some insight into the gradual development of the sacrificial ceremonial. Cf. Weber, Ind. Stud. X, 156 seq.

28:4 Viz. the Âgnîdhra, whilst seated north of the expansion (vihâra) of the fires; he strikes with the wedge (samyâ, a stick of khadira wood, usually some six or eight inches long, used for placing under the lower grindstone on the north side, so as to make it incline towards east) twice the lower and once the upper grindstone. Schol. on Kâty. Sr. II, 4, 15.

29:1 This bull of Manu has been compared by Dr. Kuhn (Zeitschrift für Vergl. Sprachf. IV, 91 seq.) with the Minotaur of the Greeks. Cf. also J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, vol. i. p. 188 seq.; and Professor Weber's Translation of the first Adhyâya, Ind. Streifen, I, p. 50.

30:1 Mahîdhara offers the following etymological derivation of this word: 1. from kva kva, 'where? where?' ['He who, wishing to kill the Asuras, roams about everywhere, crying "where, where are the Asuras?"']; 2. from kuk, 'a hideous noise,' and kut, 'to spread;' or 3. one who, in order to frighten the Asuras, utters a sound resembling that of the bird called kukkuta (cock). Professor Weber translates it by 'Brüller' (roarer, crier).

30:2 Viz. when the rice has been husked (by the Havishkrit in the mortar). Schol. on Katy. Sr. II, 4, 16.

31:1 He puts them into the central one of the potsherds for the Agni cake, and throws them on the utkara, or heap of rubbish (cf. p. 25, note 1). Schol. on Kâty. Sr. II, 4, 19. Before he proceeds with his work, he has to touch water; cf. p. 2, note 2.

31:2 He separates them whilst holding the mouth of the winnowing basket sideways or horizontally, and makes the husked ones fall into the pot. Schol. on Katy. Sr. II, 4, 20. According to the Paddhati, he now puts the unhusked once more into the mortar and threshes them again, and then pouring them back into the basket repeats the same process.

32:1 Viz. with the fingers joined together so as not to allow any grains to fall to the ground. Mahîdh.

32:2 By removing the minute husks and grains (kana) he makes the husked grains (tandula) free from dust and shiny (this is apparently done by repeated winnowings). Schol. on Katy. Sr. II, 4, 22.