Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 14

BY: SUN STAFF - 23.3 2018

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


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

Second Adhyâya - Fifth Brâhmana

1:2:5:1 - 1. The gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, were contending for superiority. Then the gods were worsted, and the Asuras thought: 'To us alone assuredly belongs this world!

1:2:5:2 - 2. They thereupon said: 'Well then, let us divide this world between us; and having divided it, let us subsist thereon!' They accordingly set about dividing it with ox-hides from west to east.

1:2:5:3 - 3. The gods then heard of this, and said: 'The Asuras are actually dividing this earth: come, let us go to where the Asuras are dividing it. For what would become of us, if we were to get no share in it?' Placing Vishnu, (in the shape of) this very sacrifice, at their head, they went (to the Asuras).

1:2:5:4 - 4. They then said: 'Let us share in this earth along with yourselves! Let a part of it be ours!' The Asuras replied rather grudgingly: 'As much as this Vishnu lies upon, and no more, we give you!'

1:2:5:5 - 5. Now Vishnu was a dwarf 1. The gods, however, were not offended at this, but said: 'Much indeed they gave us, who gave us what is equal in size to the sacrifice.'

1:2:5:6 - 6. Having then laid him down eastwards, they enclosed him on all (three) sides with the metres, saying (Vâg. S. I, 27), on the south side, 'With the Gâyatrî metre I enclose thee!' on the west side: 'With the Trishtubh metre I enclose thee!' on the north side: 'With the Gagatî metre I enclose thee 1!'

1:2:5:7 - 7. Having thus enclosed him on all (three) sides, and having placed Agni (the fire) on the east side, they went on worshipping and toiling with it (or him, i.e. Vishnu, the sacrifice). By it they obtained (sam-vid) this entire earth; and because they obtained by it this entire (earth), therefore it (the sacrificial ground) is called vedi (the altar). For this reason they say, 'As great as the altar is, so great is the earth;' for by it (the altar) they obtained this entire (earth). And, verily, he who so understands this, wrests likewise this entire (earth) from his rivals, excludes his rivals from sharing in it.

1:2:5:8 - 8. Thereupon this Vishnu became tired; but being enclosed on all (three) sides by the metres, with the fire on the east, there was no (means of) escaping: he then hid himself among the roots of plants.

1:2:5:9 - 9. The gods said: 'What has become of Vishnu? What has become of the sacrifice?' They said: 'On all (three) sides he is enclosed by the metres, with Agni to the east, there is no (way of) escaping: search for him in this very place!' By slightly digging they accordingly searched for him. They discovered him at a depth of three inches (or thumb's breadths): therefore the altar should be three inches deep; and therefore also Pâñki 1 made the altar for the Soma-sacrifice three inches deep.

1:2:5:10 - 10. This, however, one must not do. Among the roots of the plants he (Vishnu) hid himself: therefore let him (the Adhvaryu) bid (the Âgnîdhra) to cut out the roots of the plants. And since they found (anu-vid) Vishnu in that place, therefore it is called vedi (altar).

1:2:5:11 - 11. When they had found him, they enclosed him with a second enclosure, saying (Vâg. S. I, 27), 'Of good soil art thou, and auspicious art thou!' on the south side; for when they had thus obtained this earth they made it of good soil and auspicious;--'Pleasant art thou, and soft to sit upon!' they said on the west side, for when they had thus obtained this earth, they made it pleasant and soft to sit upon;--'Abounding in food and drink art thou!' they said on the north side, for when they had thus obtained this earth, they made it abounding in food and drink.

1:2:5:12 - 12. Threefold 1 he draws round the first line of enclosure, threefold the second: hence sixfold (the two); for six seasons there are in the year, and the year, as Pragâpati (Lord of Creation), is the sacrifice 2. As large as the sacrifice, as wide as its extent is, so wide does he thereby enclose it.

1:2:5:13 - 13. With six sacred words 3 he draws around the first line of enclosure, with six the second: thus (together) twelvefold, for twelve no doubt are the months of the year; and the year, as Pragâpati, is the sacrifice. As large as the sacrifice, as wide as its extent is, so wide does he thereby enclose it.