Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 17

BY: SUN STAFF - 28.3 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, Part Two

1:3:1:18 - 18. She looks down upon the sacrificial butter [1]; for assuredly that wife is a woman, and the butter (represents) seed: hence a productive union is thereby brought about. For this reason she looks towards the butter.

1:3:1:19 - 19. She looks, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 30), 'With an unimpaired eye I look on thee;' whereby she says, with an uninjured eye I look on thee.'--'Agni's tongue art thou!' for when they offer up that (butter) in the fire, then Agni's tongues, as it were, issue forth: therefore she says, 'Agni's tongue art thou!'--'A good caller [2] of the gods,' whereby she says, 'well for the gods;'--'be thou for every dainty (or, sacrificial site, dhâman), for every prayer of mine!' whereby she says, 'for every sacrifice of mine be thou (a good caller)!

1:3:1:20 - 20. Having then taken up the butter (from the ground), he (the Âgnîdhra) carries it eastwards. In the case of one whose Âhavanîya fire is used for the cooking, he (now in the first place) puts it on the Âhavanîya, thinking, 'My oblation shall be entirely cooked on the Âhavanîya [1]!' The reason why he first puts it thereon (viz. on the Gârhapatya) is, because he will have to make the wife look at it: for it would not be proper, if he were to take it (from the Âhavanîya) to the west in the midst of the performance, for the purpose of making the wife look at it; and if he were not to let the wife look at it at all, he would thereby exclude her from the sacrifice. And in this way, then, he does not exclude the (sacrificer's) wife from the sacrifice: therefore he does not take it eastwards till after melting it close by the wife (on the Gârhapatya), and making her look at it. In the case of one who (through death or from other causes) has not his wife with him, he puts it from the very beginning on the Âhavanîya. He then takes it again from thence and puts it down within the altar.

1:3:1:21 - 21. Here now they say,--'He must not place it within the altar; for from that (butter) they make the oblation to the wives of the gods [2]: he therefore excludes the wives of the gods from the company (of their husbands) [1], and thereby his (the sacrificer's) wife becomes dissatisfied with her own husband.' Yâgñavalkya, however, said in reference to this point, 'Let it be so as it has been prescribed for the wife! who would care whether his wife may consort with other men [2]?' 'As the altar is (part of the) sacrifice, and the butter is (part of the) sacrifice, I will build up the sacrifice from out of the sacrifice!' thus thinking, let him place it within the altar.

1:3:1:22 - 22. The two strainers are lying in the sprinkling water. He takes them from thence and purifies (ut-pû) the butter with them. Now one of them is related to the wind (that blows) upwards (utpavana) [3], so that he thereby makes it (the butter) sacrificially pure.

1:3:1:23 - 23. He clarifies it, with the text (Vâg. S. 'By the impulse of Savitri I purify thee with a flawless purifier (strainer), with the rays of the sun!' The meaning (of this formula) is the same (as before).

1:3:1:24 - 24. He then purifies the sprinkling water with the strainers covered with butter, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 31), 'By the impulse of Savitri I purify you (O waters) with a flawless purifier, with the rays of the sun!' The meaning is the same (as before).

1:3:1:25 - 25. The reason why he purifies the sprinkling water with the strainers covered with butter is, that he thereby puts milk into the water, and that the milk thereby (becomes) beneficial [1] in the water, for, when it rains, plants are thereby produced; and on eating the plants and drinking the water, vital fluid (serum) results therefrom: and thus (he does this) in order to supply the vital fluid (of the sacrificer).

1:3:1:26 - 26. He then looks down on the butter. Here now some make the sacrificer look down. Yâgñavalkya, however, said in reference to this point,--'Why do not (the sacrificers) themselves become (act as) Adhvaryu priests? and why do not they (the sacrificers) themselves recite when far higher blessings are prayed for [2]? How can these (people) possibly have faith in this [3]? Whatever blessing the officiating priests invoke during the sacrifice that is for the benefit of the sacrificer alone.' The Adhvaryu should accordingly look down on it.

1:3:1:27 - 27. He looks down on it. The eye assuredly is the truth, for the eye is indeed the truth. If, therefore, two persons were to come disputing with each other and saying, 'I have seen it!' 'I have heard it!' we should believe him who said, 'I have seen it!' and not the other: hence he thereby causes it (the butter) to increase by means of the truth. 1:3:1:28 - 28. He looks down on it, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 31), 'Lustrous art thou! resplendent art thou! immortal (or, ambrosia) art thou!' That prayer is indeed true, for that (butter) is lustrous, it is resplendent, it is immortal: hence he thereby causes it to increase by that (prayer) which is true.



67:2 Besides the Agnihotra-havanî, or milk ladle used at the morning and evening oblations (see p. 11, note 2; and II, 3, I, 17), three different sruk or offering-spoons are used, viz. the guhû, upabhrit, and dhruvâ. They are made each of a different kind of wood, of an arm's length (or, according to others, a cubit long), with a bowl of the shape and size of the hand, and a hole cut through the bark and front side of the bowl and fitted with a spout some eight or nine inches long, and shaped like a goose's bill. The sruva or dipping-spoon, on the other hand, chiefly used for ladling the clarified butter (or milk) from the butter vessel into the offering-spoons, is of khadira wood (Acacia Catechu), a cubit long, with a round bowl measuring a thumb's joint across, and without a spout. In our text the term sruk is used both in the general sense of 'spoon' and in the narrower one of 'offering-spoon,' as distinguished from the sruva or 'dipping-spoon.'

68:1 The brushing of the spoons is here compared with the rinsing of vessels preparatory to their being used for serving up the food. At the same time, we shall see further on (I, 8, 3, 26-27) that the two principal offering-spoons, the guhû and upabhrit, are looked upon as yoke-fellows, they being the two horses that are supposed to convey the sacrifice (and consequently the sacrificer himself) to the world of the gods; hence this process of cleaning also corresponds to the rubbing down of the horses preparatory to the setting out of the sacrificer on his progress to the world of the gods.

68:2 See I, 1, 3, 5.

68:3 It is doubtful to me whether this last passage merely refers to the several spoons, or whether it refers to the symbolical meaningof the wiping with sacrificial grass and the accompanying formula. In the latter case it might mean: 'and thus that (act) becomes different (i.e. has a different significance).'

69:1 Cf. I, 1, 2, 3, and note.

69:2 A-nisita, 'not sharpened,' from sâ (so), 'to sharpen' (thus also Mahîdh.). If, however, anuparata, 'unceasing,' in the text is intended by the author to explain anisita, he would seem to identify the root sâ with sâ. (so), 'to bring to an end, to finish.' The spoon is sharpened by the wiping, cf. Taitt. Br. III, 3, 1, 1.

69:3 Vâgedhyâyai, 'for the lighting (brightening) of the sacrifice (by means of the butter which is poured into the fire), the sacrifice being the food of the gods,' Mahîdh. The St. Petersburg Dictionary suggests vâgetyâyai, 'thee, the courser, I wipe for the race!' Cf. p. 68, note 1.

69:4 The prâsitraharana is a pan of khadira wood, either p. 70 square or round (? oval, of the shape of a cow's ear, Sây.; of the shape of a mirror, Katy.), used for holding the Brahman's portion (prâsitra) of the sacrificial cake. According to Katy. II, 6, 49, the sritâvadânam (cake-cutter) and (purodâsa-)pâtrî (cake-dish) also have to be cleaned on this occasion.

70:1 While brushing the spoons he stands east of the Âhavanîya fire-house, looking toward east. The way of brushing, prescribed by the Black Yagus (Taitt. Br. III, 3, I, 3-4; comm. on Taitt. S. I, 1, 10), seems to be more complicated.

70:2 Viz. the former ('aratner uparibhâgasya lomâni'), according to Sâyana, point in a forward direction (away from the body), and the latter ('prishthabhâgasya lomâni') in a backward direction. The Taitt. Br. III, 3, 1, 4 has 'on the elbow (aratnau) the hairs above (point) forward, those below backward,' which Sâyana (Taitt. S. I, 1, 1, 10) explains by 'the short hairs above the wrist (? manibandhâd ûrdhvam) are forward-pointed (prâṅmukha), but those below are backward-pointed (pratyañk).'

70:3 That is to say, the heating of the spoons corresponds to the usual final rinsing of household vessels with water without touching them. Sâyana.

71:1 The Black Yagus (Taitt. Br. III, 3, 2, 1) prescribes that the grass-ends, after the brushing, should be thrown into the fire, and not on the heap of rubbish, as some do; or at all events they should not be thrown on the utkara, without their having been previously washed with water, as they would otherwise bring ill-luck to the cattle.

72:1 The mistress of the house is seated south-west of the Gârhapatya fire [with bent (or raised) knees and her face turned towards north-east]. The Âgnîdhra then girds her round the waist, outside the garment, with a triple cord of reed-grass (muñga). Katy. II, 7, 1; and Sâyana on our passage.

72:2 According to Taitt. Br. III, 3, 3, 2-3 the symbolical meaning of this act is, that it represents the vratopanayana, or initiation of the wife into the sacred rite. The girding of the wife would thus possess a significance similar to that of the ordinary upanayana, or investiture of the youth with the sacred cord.

72:3 The noose (pâsa) is one of the chief attributes of God Varuna, the symbol of his supreme power and his abhorrence of sin. Thus we read in Atharva-veda IV, 16, 4 seq.: 'And if one were to flee far beyond the sky, one would not escape from king Varuna. From heaven his spies issue forth to this (world), and with their thousand eyes survey the earth. King Varuna sees all that happens between heaven and earth and beyond them: the very twinklings of the eyes of men are numbered by him. . . . May all those baleful nooses of thine, O Varuna, that are thrown sevenfold and three-fold, ensnare him who speaks untruth, and pass by him who speaks the truth!'

73:1 Taitt. Br. III, 3, 3, 4, on the contrary, prescribes a knot (granthim grathnâti), as the symbol which is to secure all blessings for her.

73:2 He winds the cord round her waist from left to right (pradakshinam), and having fixed the southern end by twice twisting round the northern one, he draws the southern end through the encircling cord upwards (so as to hang down, uparishtâl lambayet, Sâyana. Katy. II, 7, 1, &c., Scholl.).

73:3 Veshya = vyâpaka, Mahîdh.; 'perhaps a headband,' St. Petersb. Dict. It is apparently an etymological play on the name of Vishnu (? the all-pervading sun). The formula, according to Mahîdhara, is addressed to the southern end of the cord which is drawn through the girdle (? the pervading ray of Vishnu).

73:4 Aditi is the earth and therefore the altar, which represents the earth: hence Aditi, in the shape of the altar, looks towards the east.

74:1 He takes the pot containing the clarified butter from the fire, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 30): 'For juice thee!' [see I, 2, 2, 6,] puts it down on the ground before the sacrificer's wife and bids her look down on it. Katy. II, 7, 4.

74:2 Suhûh. The Kânva recension and Taitt. S. I, 1, 10, 3 have subhûh, 'well-being, good,' which reading seems also to be presupposed by our author's explanation 'well (or good) for the gods.' The Black Yagus assigns this entire mantra to the Adhvaryu, when he has taken the butter from the Âhavanîya, and puts it down north of the altar. In other respects also it differs considerably from the order followed by our author.

75:1 According to the ritual of the Black Yagus, the butter, after the sacrificer's wife has looked at it, is again heated on the Gârhapatya fire, in order to remove the impurity which has thereby been imparted to it.

75:2 The patnîsamyâgas are four oblations of butter to Soma, Tvashtri, the wives of the gods, and Agni Grihapati respectively, made at the end of these sacrifices. See I, 9, 2, 1. It would seem that, according to the ritual of the Black Yagus, the butter is not put on the altar, but on a line drawn with the wooden sword north of the altar. See p. 74, note 2.

76:1 Avasabhâh karoti--avagataganasamûhâh karoti, Sây.; the gods are supposed to be assembled around the altar (cf. I, 3, 3, 8): hence by placing the butter, from which the oblations to the wives of the gods are to be made, within the altar, the Adhvaryu would separate the wives from their husbands.

76:2 I am not quite certain as to whether this last scornful remark is really to be assigned to Yâgñavalkya. The Kânva text has,--Yâgñavalkya, however, said, 'Let him place it within the altar!' thus he said. 'Let it be so as it has been prescribed for the wife,' thus (thinking) let him place it, whether or not she consort with other men.

76:3 Probably the same as ud-âna (breathing upwards or inspiration), which one of the strainers is said to represent in I, 1, 3, 2. See also I, 1, 3, 6; Taitt. Br. III, 3, 4, 4. The St. Petersburg Dictionary proposes the meaning 'an implement for cleaning' for utpavana in this passage.

77:1 A play on the word hitam, which means both 'put, placed,' and 'beneficial, salutary.'

77:2 The Kânva text has as follows,--Here now some make the sacrificer eye it, arguing, 'whatever blessing (resides therein) that he should himself pray for.' Yâgñavalkya, however, said in reference to this point, 'Why then does not he himself become Adhvaryu? and why does he not recite (the solemn prayers of the Hotri priest), and that when they pray for higher blessing? Whatever blessing the priests invoke at the sacrifice, that they invoke for the sacrificer alone;' thus he said. The Adhvaryu, therefore, should look down on it.

77:3 Teshâm sâkhinâm atraivâvekshanam yagamânenaiva kartavyam iti kasmât kâranât sraddhâ gâtâ, evam tamsraddhâm prahasya, Sây. The Kânva text omits this derisive remark.