Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 99

BY: SUN STAFF - 12.9 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


The three seasonal or four-monthly sacrifices are performed at the parvans, or commencement of the three seasons (spring, rainy season, and autumn), viz. the Vaisvadeva generally on the full moon of Phâlguna; the Varunapraghâsâh on that of Âshâdha; and the Sâkamedhâh on that of Kârttika.

As a fourth Kâturmâsya, ritual authorities add the Sunâsîrîya, though they are at variance as to the exact time of its performance; and neither is its true significance clearly indicated. It apparently marks merely the conclusion of the seasonal offerings (which, as a rule, are only performed once, cf. II, 6, 3, 12 seq.); but while the author of the Satapatha allows it to be performed at any time (within four months) after the Sâkamedhâh, other ritualists hold that its performance should take place on the fifth full moon after the Sâkamedhâh, or, in other words, exactly a year after the Vaisvadeva. See Weber, Nakshatra, II, p. 334 seq.

2:5:1:1 - 1. Verily, in the beginning, Pragâpati alone existed here 1. He thought within himself, 'How can I be propagated?' He toiled and practised austerities. He created living beings [2]. The living beings created by him passed away: they are those birds. Now man is the nearest to Pragâpati; and man is two-footed: hence birds are two-footed.

2:5:1:2 - 2. Pragâpati thought within himself, 'Even as formerly I was alone, so also am I now alone.' He created a second (race of beings); they also passed away: they are those small crawling reptiles other than snakes. He created a third (race), they say; they also passed away: they are those snakes. Yâgñavalkya, on his part, declared them to be of two kinds only; but of three kinds they are according to the Rik.

2:5:1:3 - 3. While praising and practising austerities, Pragâpati thought within himself, 'How comes it that the living beings created by me pass away?' He then became aware that his creatures passed away from want of food. He made the breasts in the fore-part of (their) body [1] teem with milk. He then created living beings; and by resorting to the breasts, the beings created by him thenceforward continued to exist: they are these (creatures) which have not passed away.

2:5:1:4 - 4. Hence it has been said by the Rishi [2],.--'Three generations have passed beyond,'--this is said regarding those that passed away;--'Others settled down around the light (arka, the sun)'--the light doubtless is the fire: those creatures which did not pass away, settled down around the fire; it is with regard to them that this is said.

2:5:1:5 - 5. 'The great one (neut.) [3] remained within the worlds'--it is with regard to Pragâpati that this is said.--'The blower (or, purifier) entered the regions'--the regions doubtless are the quarters, and these were indeed entered by that blowing wind: it is with regard to them that this verse was uttered. And in like manner as Pragâpati created these living beings, so they are propagated: for whenever the breasts of woman and the udder of cattle swell, then whatever is born is born; and by resorting to the breasts these (beings) continue to exist.

2:5:1:6 - 6. Now that milk is indeed food; for in the beginning Pragâpati produced it for food. But that food also means living beings (progeny), since it is by food that they exist: by resorting to the breasts of those who have milk, they continue to exist. And those who have no milk are nursed by the former as soon as they are born; and thus they exist by means of food, and hence food means progeny.

2:5:1:7 - 7. He who is desirous of offspring, sacrifices with that oblation, and thereby makes himself the sacrifice, which is Pragâpati[1].

2:5:1:8 - 8. In the first place [2] there is a cake for Agni on eight potsherds. Agni indeed is the root, the progenitor of the deities; he is Pragâpati ('lord of creatures'): hence there is a cake for Agni.

2:5:1:9 - 9. Then follows a potful of boiled rice (karu) for Soma. Soma doubtless is seed, and that in Agni, the progenitor; he (Agni) casts the seed Soma: thus there is at the outset a productive union.

2:5:1:10 - 10. Then follows a cake on twelve or eight potsherds [3] for Savitri. Savitri indeed is the impeller (pra-savitri) of the gods; he is Pragâpati, the intermediate [4] progenitor: hence the cake to Savitri.

2:5:1:11 - 11. Then follows a potful of boiled rice for Sarasvatî; and another for Pûshan. Sarasvatî doubtless is a woman, and Pûshan is a man: thus there is again a productive union. Through that twofold productive union Pragâpati created the living beings,-- through the one (he created) the upright, and through the other those looking to the ground. This is why there are these five oblations [1].