Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 3

BY: SUN STAFF - 28.2 2018

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


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


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

First Adhyâya - Second Brâhmana, Part One

1:1:2:1 - 1. Thereupon he takes the winnowing basket and the Agnihotra ladle [2], with the text (Vâg. S. I, 6 b): 'For the work (I take) you, for pervasion (or accomplishment) you two!' For the sacrifice is a work: hence, in saying 'for the work you two,' he says, 'for the sacrifice.' And 'for pervasion you two,' he says, because he, as it were, pervades (goes through, accomplishes) the sacrifice.

1:1:2:2 - 2. He then restrains his speech; for (restrained) speech means undisturbed sacrifice; so that (in so doing) he thinks: 'May I accomplish the sacrifice!' He now heats (the two objects on the Gârhapatya), with the formula (Vâg. S. I, 7 a): 'Scorched is the Rakshas, scorched are the enemies!' or (Vâg. S. I, 7 b): 'Burnt out is the Rakshas, burnt out are the enemies!'

1:1:2:3 - 3. For the gods, when they were performing the sacrifice, were afraid of a disturbance on the part of the Asuras and Rakshas: hence by this means he expels from here, at the very opening [1] of the sacrifice, the evil spirits, the Rakshas.

1:1:2:4 - 4. He now steps forward (to the cart [2]), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 7 c): 'I move along the wide aërial realm.' For the Rakshas roams about in the air, rootless and unfettered in both directions (below and above); and in order that this man (the Adhvaryu) may move about the air, rootless and unfettered in both directions, he by this very prayer renders the atmosphere free from danger and evil spirits.

1:1:2:5 - 5. It is from the cart that he should take (the rice required for the sacrifice). For at first the cart (is the receptacle of the rice) and afterwards this hall and because he thinks 'what was at first (in the cart, and hence still unimpaired by entering the householder's abode), that I will operate upon;' for that reason let him take (rice) from the cart.

1:1:2:6 - 6. Moreover, the cart represents an abundance; for the cart does indeed represent an abundance: hence, when there is much of anything, people say that there are 'cart-loads' of it. Thus he thereby approaches an abundance, and for this reason he should take from the cart.

1:1:2:7 - 7. The cart further is (one of the means of) the sacrifice; for the cart is indeed (one of the means of) sacrifice. To the cart, therefore, refer the (following) Yagus-texts, and not to a store-room, nor to a jar. The Rishis, it is true, once took (the rice) from a leathern bag, and hence, in the case of the Rishis, the Yagus-texts applied to a leathern bag. Here, however, they are taken in their natural application. Because he thinks 'from (or, by means of) the sacrifice I will perform the sacrifice,' let him, therefore, take (rice) from the cart.

1:1:2:8 - 8. Some do indeed take it from a (wooden) jar. In that case also he should mutter the Yagus-texts without omitting any; and let him in that case take (the rice) after inserting the wooden sword [1] under (the jar). He does so, thinking 'where we want to yoke, there we unyoke;' for from the same place where they yoke, they also unyoke.

1:1:2:9 - 9. (Like) fire, verily, is the yoke of that very cart; for the yoke is indeed (like) fire: hence the shoulder of those (oxen) that draw this (cart) becomes as if burnt by fire. The middle part of the pole behind the prop represents, as it were, its (the cart's) altar [1]; and the enclosed space of the cart (which contains the rice) constitutes its havirdhânam (receptacle of the sacrificial food) [2].

1:1:2:10 - 10. He now touches the yoke, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 8 a): 'Thou art the yoke (dhur); injure (dhûrv) thou the injurer! injure him that injures us! injure him whom we injure!' For there being a fire in the yoke by which he will have to pass when he fetches the material for the oblation, he thereby propitiates it, and thus that fire in the yoke does not injure him when he passes by.

1:1:2:11 - 11. Here now Âruni said: 'Every half-moon [3] I destroy the enemies.' This he said with reference to this point.

1:1:2:12 - 12. Thereupon, whilst touching the pole behind the prop, he mutters (Vâg. S. I, 8 b-9 a): 'To the gods thou belongest, thou the best carrying one, the most firmly joined [1], the most richly filled [2], the most agreeable (to the gods), the best caller of the gods!' 'Thou art unbent, the receptacle of oblations; be thou firm, waver not!' Thus he eulogises the cart, hoping that he may obtain the oblation from the one thus eulogised and pleased. He adds (Vâg. S. I, 9 b), 'May thy Lord of Sacrifice not waver!' for Lord of Sacrifice is the sacrificer, and it is for the sacrificer, therefore, that he thus prays for firmness.

1:1:2:13 - 13. He now ascends (the cart by the southern wheel), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 9 c): 'May Vishnu ascend thee!' For Vishnu is the sacrifice; by striding (vi-kram) he obtained for the gods this all-pervading power (vikrânti) which now belongs to them. By his first step he gained this very (earth), by the second the aërial expanse, and by the last step the sky. And this very same pervading power Vishnu, as sacrifice, by his strides obtains for him (the sacrificer).

1:1:2:14 - 14. He then looks (at the rice) and (addressing the cart) mutters (Vâg. S. I, 9 d): 'Wide open (be thou) to the wind!' For wind means breath; so that by this prayer he effects free scope for the air of the (sacrificer's) breath.

1:1:2:15 - 15. With the text (Vâg. S. I, 9 e), 'Repelled is the Rakshas!' he then throws away whatever (grass, &c.) may have fallen on it. But if nothing (have fallen on it), let him merely touch it. He thereby drives away from it the evil spirits, the Rakshas.

1:1:2:16 - 16. He touches (the rice), with the text (Vâ, . S. I, 9 f), 'Let the five take!' for five are these fingers, and fivefold also is the sacrifice [1]; so that he thereby puts the sacrifice on it (the cart).

1:1:2:17 - 17. He then takes (the rice), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 10 a, b): 'At the impulse (prasavana) of the divine Savitri, I take thee with the arms of the Asvins, with the hands of Pûshan, thee, agreeable to Agni!' For Savitri is the impeller (prasavitri) of the gods: therefore he takes this as one impelled by Savitri. 'With the arms of the Asvins,' he says, because the two Asvins are the Adhvaryu priests (of the gods). 'With the hands of Pûshan,' he says, because Pûshan is distributer of portions (to the gods), who with his own hands places the food before them. The gods are the truth, and men are the untruth: thus he thereby takes (the rice) by means of the truth.