Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 16

BY: SUN STAFF - 27.3 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

Third Adhyâya – First Brâhmana

1:3:1:1 - 1. He (the Âgnîdhra) now brushes the spoons [2] (with the grass-ends). The reason why he brushes the spoons is that the course [1] pursued among the gods is in accordance with that pursued among men. Now, when the serving up of food is at hand among men,--

1:3:1:2 - 2. They rinse the vessels, and having rinsed them, they serve up the food with them: in the same way is treated the sacrifice to the gods, that is to say, the cooked oblations and the prepared altar; and those vessels of theirs, the sacrificial spoons.

1:3:1:3 - 3. Now, when he brushes (the spoons), he in reality rinses them, thinking, 'with these rinsed ones I will proceed.' He thereby rinses them with two substances for the gods, and with one for men; viz. with water and the brahman (spirit of worship) for the gods,--for the water is (represented by) the sacrificial grass[2], and the brahman (by) the sacrificial formula;--and with one for men, that is with water alone: and thus this takes place separately [3].

1:3:1:4 - 4. He, in the first place, takes the dipping-spoon (sruva, masc.) and makes it hot (on the Gârhapatya fire), with either of the texts (Vâg. S. I, 29), 'Scorched is the Rakshas, scorched are the enemies!' or, 'Burnt out is the Rakshas, burnt out are the enemies!'

1:3:1:5 - 5. For when the gods were performing sacrifice they were afraid of a disturbance on the part of the Asuras and Rakshas. Hence by this means he, from the very opening of the sacrifice, expels from here the evil spirits, the Rakshas 1.

1:3:1:6 - 6. He brushes it thus inside with the (grass-)tops (cut off from the grass in tying the veda), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 29), 'Not sharp [2] art thou, (but yet) a destroyer of the enemies!' he says this in order that it may unceasingly destroy the enemies of the sacrificer. Further, 'Thee, the food-abounding (masc.), I cleanse for the kindling of food [3]!'--'thee that art suitable for the sacrifice, I cleanse for the sacrifice,' he thereby says. In the same way he brushes all the spoons, saying, 'Thee, the food-abounding (fem.) . . .,' in the case of the offering-spoon (sruk, fem.). The prâsitraharana [4] (he brushes) silently.

1:3:1:7 - 7. Inside he brushes with the (grass-)tops thus (viz. from the handle to the top, or in a forward, eastward direction from himself); outside with the lower (grass-)ends thus (viz. in the opposite or backward direction, towards himself) [1]: for thus (viz. in the former way) goes the out-breathing, and thus (in the opposite way) the in-breathing. Thereby he obtains out-breathing and in-breathing (for the sacrificer): hence these hairs (on the upper side of the elbow) point that way, and these (on the lower side) point that way [2].

1:3:1:8 - 8. Each time he has brushed and heated (a spoon), he hands it (to the Adhvaryu). Just as, after having rinsed (the eating vessels) while touching them, one would finally rinse them without touching them, so here: for this reason he hands over each (spoon) after heating it [3].

1:3:1:9 - 9. The dipping-spoon (sruva, masc.) he brushes first, and then the other spoons (sruk, fem.). The offering-spoon (sruk), namely, is female, and the dipping-spoon is male, so that, although in this way several women meet together, the one that is, as it were, the only male youth among them, goes there first, and the others after him. This is the reason why he brushes the dipping-spoon first, and afterwards the other (offering-)spoons.

1:3:1:10 - 10. Let him brush, them so as not to spatter anything towards the fire, as he would thereby bespatter him, to whom he will be bringing food, with the slops of the vessels: therefore let him brush them so as not to spatter anything towards the fire, that is to say, after stepping outside (the Âhavanîya fire-house) towards the east.

1:3:1:11 - 11. Here now some throw the grass-ends used for cleaning the spoons into the (Âhavanîya) fire. 'To the veda (grass-bunch) they assuredly belonged, and the spoons have been cleaned with them: hence it is something that belongs to the sacrifice, and (we throw it into the fire) in order that it should not become excluded from the sacrifice,' thus (they argue). Let him, however, not do so, since he would thereby make him to whom he will offer food, drink the slops of the vessels [1]. Let him therefore throw them away (on the heap of rubbish).

1:3:1:12 - 12. He (the Âgnîdhra) then girds the wife (of the sacrificer) [1]. She, the wife, truly is the hinder part of the sacrifice. 'May the sacrifice go on increasing before me!' thus (she thinks while) he girds her, thinking, 'may she sit thus girt by my sacrifice!'

1:3:1:13 - 13. He girds her with a cord (yoktra): for with a cord (yoktra) they yoke the draught-animal (yogya). Impure indeed is that part of woman which is below the navel; and therewith she will be facing the sacrificial butter: that part of her he thereby conceals with the cord, and only with the pure upper part of her body she then faces the sacrificial butter. This is the reason why he girds the wife [2].

1:3:1:14 - 14. He girds her over the garment. Now the garment represents the plants, and (the cord represents) Varuna's noose [3](raggu): hence he thereby places the plants between (her and the noose), and thus that noose of Varuna does not injure her. This is the reason why he girds her over the garment.

1:3:1:15 - 15. He girds her, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 30), 'A zone art thou for Aditi!' Aditi, indeed, is this earth. She is the wife of the gods, and that one is his (the sacrificer's) wife. It is for the latter, accordingly, that he makes it a zone instead of a noose (or string). A zone means a girdle, and he thereby makes it this for her.

1:3:1:16 - 16. Let him not make a knot [1], for the knot is Varuna's (attribute); and Varuna would lay hold on the (sacrificer's) wife, if he were to make a knot. For this reason he does not make a knot.

1:3:1:17 - 17. He twists it through upwards [2], with the text (Vâg. S. I, 30), 'The pervader [3], of Vishnu art thou!' Let her not sit to the west of the sacrifice, with her face towards the east. For Aditi is this earth [4], she is the wife of the gods, and she indeed sits on the west of the sacrifice of the gods, with her face turned towards the east: and this lady would, therefore, raise herself to her (Aditi), and would speedily go to yonder world. And thus (viz. by sitting in the prescribed way) she lives for a long time, thus she propitiates her (Aditi), and thus the latter harms her not. For this reason let her sit somewhat to the south.