Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 89

BY: SUN STAFF - 22.8 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.


2:3:4:1 - 1. Once on a time the gods deposited with Agni all their beasts, both domestic and wild; either because they were about to engage in battle or from a desire of free scope, or because they thought that he (Agni) would protect them as the best protector.

2:3:4:2 - 2. Now Agni coveted them, and seizing them he entered the night with them. 'Let us go back thither,' said the gods, and betook themselves to where Agni was concealed. Now they knew that he had entered there, that he had entered the night; and when the night returned in the evening, they approached him and said, 'Give us our beasts! give us back our beasts!' Agni then gave them back their beasts.

2:3:4:3 - 3. For this then let him respectfully approach the two fires: the fires are givers, and thereby he supplicates them. Let him approach them in the evening, for in the evening the gods approached (Agni). And whosoever, knowing this, approaches (the two fires), to him, indeed, they grant cattle.

2:3:4:4 - 4. Then as to why he should not approach them. Now in the beginning both the gods and men were together here. And whatever did not belong to the men, for that they importuned the gods, saying, 'This is not ours: let it be ours!' Being indignant at this importunity, the gods then disappeared. Hence (it may be argued) one should not approach (the fires), fearing lest he should offend them, lest he should become hateful to them.

2:3:4:5 - 5. Then as to why he should nevertheless approach (the fires). The sacrifice, assuredly, belongs to the gods, and the prayer for blessing to the sacrificer. Now the (Agnihotra) libation, doubtless, is the same as the sacrifice; and what he does 1 in now approaching (the fires), that indeed is the sacrificer's prayer for blessing.

2:3:4:6 - 6. And again, why he should not approach (the fires). Whosoever follows either a Brâhman or Kshatriya, praising him, thinking, 'He will give me gifts, he will build me a house,' to him, if he strives to please him both in speech and deed, that (master of his) will think himself bound to give gifts. Whosoever, on the other hand, says, 'What art thou to me, that givest me nothing?' him that (master) is likely to hate, to become disgusted with. Hence one should not approach (the fire); for by kindling and offering in it, he already supplicates it, and he should not therefore approach (and importune it again).

2:3:4:7 - 7. And again, why he should nevertheless approach (the fires). He alone that asks finds a giver; and the master, moreover, knows nothing of his dependent. But when the latter says, 'I am thy dependent: support me!' then he does know him, and feels himself bound to support him. Let him therefore approach (the fires). This then is the whole (argument) as to why one should approach (the fires).

2:3:4:8 - 8. Now that (fire) being Pragâpati,--when the Agnihotra is offered, he casts the seed of all that he rules over, of all that is after his manner: and by approaching (the fire) one imitates (him in) all this, one reproduces all this [1].

2:3:4:9 - 9. He begins to pray [2] with the verse (Vâg. S. III, 11) containing the word 'upon (upa).' Now the word 'upon' means this (earth), and that in a twofold way: for whatever is produced here, that is produced upon (upa-gan) this (earth); and whatever decays, that is buried (upa-vap [3]) in this (earth): hence there is here imperishable, ever-increasing abundance, and with that imperishable abundance he begins.

2:3:4:10 - 10. He prays, 'Entering upon the worship--,' worship (adhvara) doubtless means sacrifice: 'entering upon the sacrifice' is what he means to say. '--Let us offer prayer to Agni--,' for he is indeed about to offer prayer to him; '--to him who hears us even from afar!' thereby he means to say, 'Although thou art afar from us, yet do thou hear this our (prayer), do thou so far think well of it!'

2:3:4:11 - 11. [He continues, Vâg. S. III, 12], 'Agni, the head, the summit of the sky; he, the lord of the earth, animates the seeds of the waters.' He thereby follows (and praises) him:--even as a supplicant would speak politely, 'Surely thou art the descendant of so and so! surely thou art able to do this!' so (he does) by this (verse).