Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 95

BY: SUN STAFF - 3.9 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


2:4:3 - This sacrifice is performed in spring and autumn--generally at new or full moon--at the commencement of the harvest. The oblations, which, as a rule, are prepared from new grain (viz. barley in spring, and rice in autumn), consist of--1. a sacrificial cake contained on twelve potsherds for Indra and Agni; 2. a karu (mess of boiled grains) for the Visve Devâh, prepared with water or milk; and 3. a cake on one potsherd for heaven and earth. Kâty. IV, 6 and comm.

According to the Paddhati, the offering of first-fruits takes place after the new-moon offering, and before the full-moon offering. At the beginning of the harvest of Panicum Frumentaceum (syâmâka), in the rainy season or in autumn; and at that of bamboo in summer, offerings of first-fruits are also made to Soma in the form of a potful of boiled syâmâka or bamboo grains respectively.

2:4:3:1 - 1. Now Kahoda Kaushîtaki spake, 'This sap (of the plants) truly belongs to those two, heaven and earth: having offered of this sap to the gods, we will eat it.' 'That is why the offering of first-fruits is performed.'

2:4:3:2 - 2. And Yâgñavalkya also spake:--The gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, once contended for superiority. The Asuras then defiled, partly by magic, partly with poison, both kinds of plants--those on which men and beasts subsist--hoping that in this way they might over come the gods. In consequence of this neither did men eat food, nor did beasts graze; and from want of food these creatures well-nigh perished 1.

2:4:3:3 - 3. Now the gods heard as to how these creatures were perishing from want of food. They spake unto one another, 'Come, let us rid them 2 of this!'--'By what means?'--'By means of the sacrifice.' By means of the sacrifice the gods then accomplished all that they wanted to accomplish 3; and so did the Rishis.

2:4:3:4 - 4. They then said, 'To which of us shall this belong?' They did not agree (each of them exclaiming), 'Mine (it shall be)!' Not having come to an agreement, they said, 'Let us run a race for this (sacrifice): whichever of us beats (the others), his it shall be!' 'So be it!' they said, and they ran a race.

2:4:3:5 - 5. Indra and Agni won, and hence that Indra-Agni cake on twelve potsherds 1; Indra and Agni having won a share in it. And where Indra and Agni were standing when they had won, thither all the gods followed them.

2:4:3:6 - 6. Now, Indra and Agni are the Kshatra (nobility), and all the gods (or, the All-gods) are the Vis (common Âryan people); and wherever the Kshatra conquers, there the Vis is allowed to share. Thus they (Indra and Agni) allowed the Visve Devâh (the All-gods) a share (in the offering); and hence that pap of boiled (rice or barley) grain (offered) to the All-gods.

2:4:3:7 - 7. 'Let him prepare it from old (grain) 2,' say some; 'for Indra and Agni are the Kshatra (and he should therefore use old grain for the Vaisvadeva pap) lest he (the sacrificer) should exalt (the Vis) to the level of the Kshatra.' Nevertheless let both (the cake and karu) consist of new (grain); for (by the very fact that) the one is a cake and the other a pap, the nobility is not equalled (by the people): hence they should both consist of new (grain).

2:4:3:8 - 8. The All-gods spake, 'This sap (of the rice and barley plants) truly belongs to those two, heaven and earth: let us, then, allow those two a share in it!' They accordingly assigned that share to them, to wit, the cake on one potsherd offered to heaven and earth 1. This is why there is a cake on one potsherd (kapâla) for heaven and earth. Now this (earth) is, doubtless, the cup (depository, kapâla) of that (sap) 2; and she indeed is one only: hence (the cake) consists of one potsherd.

2:4:3:9 - 9. An offence (is thereby committed) by him 3; since, for whatever deity sacrificial food may be taken out, the Svishtakrit (Agni, the maker of good offering) is invariably allowed a share in it after (the respective deity). But that (cake) he offers entire, and he does not cut off a portion for the Svishtakrit this is an offence, and consequently (that cake), when offered, turns upside down.

2:4:3:10 - 10. Hence they say, 'That (cake) contained on one potsherd has turned upside down: it will throw the kingdom into disorder.' No offence (is, however, committed) by him, for the Âhavanîya is the support of oblations; and if, after reaching the Âhavanîya, (the cake) were to turn upside down ten times, he need not heed it. And if others ask as to who would care to incur (the result of) such a combination (of errors), let him offer nothing but butter; for clarified butter is manifestly the sap of those two, heaven and earth, so that he thereby manifestly gladdens those two with their own sap or essence: hence he need offer nothing but butter.