BY: SUN STAFF - 27.2 2018

Bharadwaja Rishi 
Company School, Patna, 19th c. 
British Museum Collection

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

Today we begin a presentation Of the Satapatha Brahmana, translated by Julius Eggeling in 1882. Satapatha Brahmana is comprised of Books I and II. The first is notable for its description of the story of the flood of Manu.

Satapatha Brahmana was authored by Yajnavalkya Katyayani, a descendent in the line of Angira Rishi and Bharadwaja Rishi. Bharadwaja Rishi was a descendant of Angira Rishi, and he is one of the Saptarishis in the present Manvantara. Bharadvāja Bahaspatya is the progenitor of the Bharadwaja family, who are attributed with composing the Sixth Mandala of the Rgveda. Mandala 6 is also known as the 'Bharadvaja Family Book', because all 75 of its hymns are composed by a member of this great family over several centuries.

Bharadwaja Rishi is said to be a contemporary of King Bharata. Maharsi Bharadwaja and his descendants served as the highly respected rishis and priests of several dynasties of the Puru tribe, including the Bharatas and the Pancalas.

Bharadwaja is also famously known as the father of Dronacarya and the grandfather of Asvatthama, as stated in the Mahabharata.

Bharadwaja Rishi was himself the son of Devarsi Brhaspati, who was the son of Rishi Angirasa. These 3 great Rishis are known as the Traya Rishi, or the Three Rishis of Bharadwaja Gotra, the largest and one of the most prominent gotras.

Bharadwaja became married to Suseela and had a son called Garga, and was also the husband of the Apsara, Ghritachi. It was Ghritachi with whom he father Dronacharya. With Suseela he fathered a daughter, Devavamini Yajnavaikya, the half-sister of Dronacharya. Devavamini became the second wife of Yajnavalkya Katyayani, who authored the Satapatha Brahmana.



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

First Adhyâya -First Brâhmana


Each of the two half-monthly sacrifices, the regular performance of which is enjoined on the Brâhmanical householder for a period of thirty years from the time of his performance of the ceremony of agny-âdhâna, or setting up of a fire of his own,--according to some authorities even for the rest of his life--usually occupies the greater part of two consecutive days. Whilst the first day--the upavasatha or fast-day--is chiefly taken up with preparatory rites, such as the sweeping and trimming of the fire-places and lighting of the fires; and the formal taking of the vow of abstinence (vrata) by the sacrificer and his wife; the second day is reserved for the main performance of the sacrifice.

As to the exact days of the month appointed for these ceremonies, there is some difference of opinion among native authorities, some of them deciding in favour of the last two days of each half of the lunar month, whilst the generality of ritualistic writers consider the first day of the half-month--or the first and sixteenth day of the month respectively--to be the proper time for the main performance. The personal restrictions involved in the householder's entering on the vrata include chiefly the abstention from certain kinds of food, especially meat, and from other carnal pleasures; the cutting (optional, according to some) of the beard and hair, except the crest-lock; the sleeping on the ground in one of the chief fire-houses; and the observance of silence during the ceremonies. It was, however, permitted to compress the two-days' rites of the Full-moon sacrifice into one single day, in which case some of these restrictions would of course not be applicable.

The ceremonies begin with the preparation of the sacrificial fires. [First, the fivefold lustration successively of the Âhavanîya and Dakshinâgni fire-places, to render them fit for receiving the fire from the Gârhapatya or householder's fire, viz. by thrice sweeping the hearths; thrice besmearing them with gomaya; drawing three lines across them from west to east, or south to north, with the wooden sword (sphya); removing the dust from the lines with the thumb and ring-finger; and thrice sprinkling the lines with water [1]. Then the Adhvaryu performs the agny-uddharana, or twice taking out of the fire from the Gârhapatya, and putting it successively on the forepart of the Âhavanîya and Dakshinâgni hearths.

After this takes place the agny-anvâdhâna, or putting (fuel) on the fires, by either the householder or the Adhvaryu; two logs being put on each of the three fires. This may be done in three different ways, viz. first on the Âhavanîya, then on the Gârhapatya, and last on the Dakshinâgni, in which case the first log is put on by him whilst muttering the verse Rig-veda X, 128, 1 (Taitt. S. IV, 7, 14, 1), 'Let there be lustre, O Agni, at my invocations!' &c., the second log silently. Or the first logs are put on with one of the three mystical words 'bhûr, bhuvah, svar' on the Gârhapatya, Dakshinâgni, and Âhavanîya successively, and the second logs again silently. Or both logs may be put on silently, the order of fires being in that case the one in which they originate, viz. Gârhapatya, Âhavanîya, and Dakshinâgni.

In the afternoon the householder and his wife partake of the vratopanîya or fast-day food (prepared chiefly of rice, barley, or mudga beans) with clarified butter; whereupon they take the vow in the manner prescribed in the Brâhmana. In the evening, immediately after sunset, and on the following morning just before sunrise, the householder has, as usual, to perform the Agnihotra, a burnt-offering of fresh milk, which has to be made by him twice daily, with certain exceptions, from the Agnyâdhâna to the end of his life.

1:1:1:11. He who is about to enter on the vow, touches water 2 whilst standing between the Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya fires, with his face turned towards east. The reason why he touches water is, that man is (sacrificially) impure on account of his speaking untruth; and because by that act an internal purification (is effected),--for water is indeed (sacrificially) pure. 'After becoming sacrificially pure, I will enter on the vow,' thus (he thinks); for water is indeed purifying. 'Having become purified through the purifying one, I will enter on the vow,' thus (he thinks, and) this is the reason why he touches water.

1:1:1:22. Looking towards the (Âhavanîya) fire [1], he enters on the vow, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 5 a): 'O Agni, Lord of Vows! I will keep the vow! may I be equal to it, may I succeed in it!' For Agni is Lord of Vows to the gods, and it is to him therefore that he addresses these words. In the words, 'I will observe the vow; may I be equal to it; may I succeed in it,' there is nothing that requires explanation.

1:1:1:33. After the completion (of the sacrifice) he divests himself (of the vow), with the text (Vâg. S. II, 28 a), 'O Agni, Lord of Vows! I have kept the vow; I have been equal to it; I have succeeded in it;' for he who has attained the completion of the sacrifice, has indeed been equal to it; and he who has attained the completion of the sacrifice, has succeeded in it. It is in this way that most (sacrificers) will probably enter on the vow; but one may also enter on it in the following way.

1:1:1:44. Twofold, verily, is this, there is no third, viz. truth and untruth. And verily the gods are the truth, and man is the untruth. Therefore in saying (Vâg. S. I, 5 b), 'I now enter from untruth into truth,' he passes from the men to the gods [1].

1:1:1:55. Let him then only speak what is true; for this vow indeed the gods do keep, that they speak the truth; and for this reason they are glorious: glorious therefore is he who, knowing this, speaks the truth.

1:1:1:66. After the completion (of the sacrifice) he divests himself (of the vow), with the text (Vâg. S. II, 28 b): 'Now I am he who I really am.' For, in entering upon the vow, he becomes, as it were, nonhuman; and as it would not be becoming for him to say, 'I enter from truth into untruth;' and as, in fact, he now again becomes man, let him therefore divest himself (of the vow), with the text: 'Now I am he who I really am.'

1:1:1:77. Now then of the eating (or) fasting [2]. And on this point Âshâdha Sâvayasa, on the one hand, was of opinion that the vow consisted in fasting. For assuredly, (he argued,) the gods see through the mind of man; they know that, when he enters on this vow, he means to sacrifice to them the next morning. Therefore all the gods betake themselves to his house, and abide by (him or the fires, upa-vas) in his house; whence this (day) is called upa-vasatha [1].

1:1:1:88. Now, as it would even 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 (who are staying with him) have eaten: let him therefore take no food at all.

1:1:1:99. Yâgñavalkya, on the other hand, said: 'If he does not eat, he thereby becomes a sacrificer to the Manes; and if he does eat, he eats before the gods have eaten: let him therefore eat what, when eaten, counts as not eaten.' For that of which no offering is made, even though it is eaten, is considered as not eaten. When he therefore eats, he does not become a sacrificer to the Manes; and by eating of that of which no offering is made, he does not eat before the gods have eaten.

1:1:1:1010. Let him therefore eat only what grows in the forest, be it forest plants or the fruit of trees. And in regard to this point Barku Vârshna said: 'Cook ye beans for me, for no offering is made of them!' This, however, he should not do; for pulse serves as an addition to rice and barley; and hence he increases the rice and barley by means of it: let him therefore eat only what grows in the forest.

1:1:1:1111. Let him sleep that night in the house of the Âhavanîya fire or in the house of the Gârhapatya fire. For he who enters on the vow approaches the gods; and he sleeps in the midst of those very gods whom he approaches. Let him sleep on the ground [1]; for from below, as it were, one serves one's superior.

(To be continued...)