Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 40

BY: SUN STAFF - 15.5 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

Sixth Adhyâya – Fourth Brâhmana


1:6:4:1 - 1. When Indra had hurled the thunderbolt at Vritra, thinking himself to be the weaker, and fearing lest he had not brought him down, he concealed himself and went to the farthest distances [1]. Now the gods knew that Vritra had been slain and that Indra had concealed himself.

1:6:4:2 - 2. Agni of the deities, Hiranyastûpa [2] of the Rishis, and the Brihatî of the metres, set about searching for him. Agni discovered him and stayed with him (as a guest) that (day and) night. He (Indra), namely, is the Vasu [1] of the gods, for he is their hero.

1:6:4:3 - 3. The gods said, 'Our Vasu, who has gone to live away from us, is this day dwelling together (amâ vas, viz. with Agni [2]);' and as one would cook a dish of rice or a goat in common for two relatives or friends who have come to stay with him,--for such-like is human (fare), as the sacrificial food (havis) is that of the gods,--in like manner they offered to those two together that sacrificial food, the rice-cake on twelve potsherds for Indra and Agni. This is the reason why there is a rice-cake on twelve potsherds for Indra and Agni.

1:6:4:4 - 4. Indra said, 'When I had hurled the thunderbolt at Vritra, I was terrified, and (in consequence of this fright) I am much emaciated. This (cake) does not satiate me: prepare for me what will satiate me!' The gods replied, 'So be it!'

1:6:4:5 - 5. The gods said, 'Nothing but Soma will satiate him: let us prepare Soma for him!' They prepared Soma for him. Now this king Soma, the food of the gods, is no other than the moon [3]. When he (the moon, masc.) is not seen that night either in the east or in the west, then he visits this world; and here he enters into the waters (f.) and plants (f.). He is indeed a treasure for the gods, he is their food. And since during that night he here dwells together [1] (amâ vas), therefore that (night of new moon) is called amâvâsyâ (the dwelling together, or at home).

1:6:4:6 - 6. They prepared it [2] (Soma for Indra), after having it collected, part by part, by the cows: in eating plants (they collected it) from the plants, and in drinking water (they collected it) from the waters. Having prepared and coagulated it, and made it strong (pungent), they gave it to him [3].

1:6:4:7 - 7. He said, 'This does indeed satiate me, but it does not agree with me 4: devise some means by which it may agree with me!' They made it agree with him by means of boiled (milk).

1:6:4:8 - 8. Now although this (mixture of sweet and sour milk) is, indeed, one and the same substance--it being milk (payas) and belonging to Indra--they, nevertheless, declare it to be (two) different (substances). Since he said 'it satiates (dhî) me,' therefore it is sour milk (dadhi); and since they made it agree (sri) with him with boiled milk (or, by boiling), therefore it is (fresh) boiled milk (srita) 1.

1:6:4:9 - 9. In the same way as the Soma stalk becomes strong 2 (by being touched or sprinkled with water), so he (Indra) became strong (by the Soma being mixed with boiled milk) and overcame that evil, the jaundice [3]. Such is likewise the significance of the new-moon ceremony (and the Sânnâyya, or libation of sweet and sour milk offered to Indra thereat); and verily he who, knowing this, mixes (sweet and sour milk at the new-moon sacrifice) in like manner increases in offspring and cattle, and overcomes evil: let him therefore mix together (sweet and sour milk) [4].

1:6:4:10 - 10. In reference to this point they say, 'One who has not performed the Soma-sacrifice [1], must not offer the Sânnâyya; for, indeed, the Sânnâyya is (of the same significance as) a Soma libation, and the latter is not permitted to one who is not a Soma-sacrificer: hence he who has not performed the Soma-sacrifice, must not offer the Sânnâyya.'

1:6:4:11 - 11. He may nevertheless offer the Sânnâyya; for have we not heard within this place [2] that he (Indra) said, 'Do ye now offer Soma to me, and then ye will prepare for me that invigorating draught (âpyâyana, viz. the Sânnâyya)!' 'This does not satiate me, prepare for me what will satiate me!' That invigorating draught they indeed prepared for him, and therefore even one who has not performed the Soma-sacrifice, may offer the Sânnâyya.

1:6:4:12 - 12. The full-moon oblation, assuredly, belongs to the Vritra-slayer, for by means of it Indra slew Vritra; and this new-moon oblation also represents the slaying of Vritra, since they prepared that invigorating draught for him who had slain Vritra.

1:6:4:13 - 13. An offering in honour of the Vritra-slayer, then, is the full-moon sacrifice. Vritra, assuredly, is no other than the moon [1]; and when during that night (of new moon) he is not seen either in the east or in the west, then he (Indra) completely destroys him by means of that (new-moon sacrifice), and leaves nothing remaining of him. And, verily, he who knows this, overcomes all evil and leaves nothing remaining of evil.

1:6:4:14 - 14. Here now some people enter upon the fast when they (still) see (the moon, on the fourteenth day of the half-month), thinking, 'To-morrow he will not rise: already, then, there is unfailing food for the gods in yonder heaven [2], and to this we will offer them more from hence (to-morrow)!'--He, indeed, is in a prosperous state with whom, while the old food is still unfailing, fresh food is accruing; for such a one has indeed abundant food. However, he is not now offering Soma, but he is offering milk (i.e. the Sânnâyya), and that (milk) becomes king Soma 3 (in yonder world):

1:6:4:15 - 15. But as they (the cows), previously (to the new moon), eat mere plants (not imbued with the moon or Soma), and drink mere water, and yield mere milk,--so that (milk which they offer on the day before new moon, is not imbued with Soma, is ordinary milk). For king Soma, the food of the gods, indeed, is no other than the moon. When he is not seen that night either in the east or in the west, then he visits this world, and here enters into the waters and plants. Having then collected him from the water and plants, he (the performer of the Sânnâyya) causes him to be reproduced from out of the libations; and he (Soma, the moon), being reproduced from the libations, becomes visible in the western sky.

1:6:4:16 - 16. Now it is only when that food of the gods is unfailing that it comes back (to men): for him, therefore, who knows this, there is unfailing food in this, and imperishable righteousness in yonder, world.

1:6:4:17 - 17. Thus during that night (of new moon) food moves away from the gods and comes to this world. Now the gods were desirous as to how that (food) might (be made to) come back to them; how it might not perish away from them. For this they put their trust in those who prepare the libation of sweet and sour milk (sânnâyya), thinking, 'when they have prepared it, they will offer it to us.' And, verily, in him, who knows this, both his own kin and strangers put their trust; for in him, who attains to the highest rank, people indeed put their trust.

1:6:4:18 - 18. Now the one that burns there (viz. the sun) is, assuredly, no other than Indra, and that moon is no other than Vritra. But the former is of a nature hostile to the latter, and for this reason, though this one (the moon, Vritra) had previously (to the night of new moon) risen at a great distance from him (the sun, Indra), he now swims towards him and enters into his open mouth.

1:6:4:19 - 19. Having swallowed him, he (the sun) rises; and that (other) one is not seen either in the east or in the west. And, verily, he who knows this, swallows his spiteful enemy, and of him they say, 'He alone exists, his enemies exist not [1].'

1:6:4:20 - 20. Having sucked him empty, he throws him out; and the latter, thus sucked out, is seen in the western sky, and again increases; he again increases to serve that (sun) as food: and verily if the spiteful enemy of one who knows this, thrives either by trade or in any other way, he thrives again and again in order to serve him as food.

1:6:4:21 - 21. Now some people offer (the Sânnâyya) to (Indra under the name of) 'Mahendra' (the great Indra), arguing, 'Before the slaying of Vritra he was Indra, it is true; but after slaying Vritra he became Mahendra, even as (a râgan, or king, becomes) a Mahârâga after obtaining the victory: hence (the Sânnâyya should be offered) to Mahendra.' Let him, nevertheless, offer it to 'Indra;' for Indra he was before the slaying of Vritra, and Indra he is after slaying Vritra: therefore let him offer it to 'Indra [2].'



175:1 Parâh parâvatah, literally to the most distant distances, 'zu den fernsten Fernen.'

175:2 Hiranyastûpa, of the family of the Aṅgiras, is the reputed author (or seer) of the hymns Rig-veda I, 31-35; IX, 4; 69. Of these, I, 32 and 33, which celebrate the exploits of Indra, seem to have been especially prized.

176:1 That is, as would seem, the benefactor, or the treasure (dhanarûpa, Sâyana) of the gods. Indra is the chief of the Vasus. Indra being so beneficent and important a personage, it was, according to Sâyana, worth Agni's while to stay with him. Possibly also a play on the word Vasu, and vas, 'to dwell,' is intended here.

176:2 Thus Sâyana; but it probably means, 'he is staying at a home, or at home (amâ) to-day.'

176:3 The identification of the Soma (plant and juice) with the moon already occurs in some of the hymns of the Rig-veda, all of which, however, probably belong to the later ones. According to the St. Petersburg Dictionary, the identification was probably suggested by the circumstance that indu, 'drop, spark,' applies both to the Soma and the moon. Rig-veda X, 85, 3 says that of that Soma which the priests know, no one ever eats.'

177:1 Viz. with the waters and plants (or, he stays at home).

177:2 It should be borne in mind that Soma is masculine in Sanskrit.

177:3 In Taitt. S. II, 5, 3, 2 seq. the corresponding story is applied directly to the Sânnâyya. In consequence of the struggle with Vritra., Indra lost his energy, which fell to the earth and produced plants and shrubs. He thereupon complained to Pragâpati, who bade the cattle collect (sam-nî) it again by browsing the plants and shrubs. It was then milked out from them, and as the milk did not agree with Indra, it was boiled, and as it still did not satisfy Indra, it was mixed with sour milk.

177:4 Na mayi srayate, 'literally it does not stay in me' = na tishthati, na sâtmyam bhagate, Sâyana. The author here (as in I, 8, I, 17) connects, or confounds, the verb sri with srâ, 'to cook, make done,'--hence, 'it does not boil in me;' the milk being warm, or, as it were, boiled, when it comes from the cow, see II, 2, 4, 15. Hence also boiled milk is mixed with the Soma.

178:1 The author here endeavours to establish some connection between the Sânnâyya (or offering of sweet and sour milk to Indra, which may take the place of the second sacrificial cake offered, at the new-moon sacrifice, to Indra and Agni) and the Soma libations. Sâyana refers to the passage Taitt. Br. I, 4, 7, 6-7, where it is stated that for the morning libation the Soma is to be mixed with boiled milk, for the mid-day libation with sour milk, and for the third (or evening) libation with sour milk that is partly changed into butter (nîtamisra).

178:2 Âpyâyeta. On the strengthening or increasing (âpyâyanam) of the Soma-plant by sprinkling it with water before the juice is extracted, see III, 4, 3, 12 seq. Sâyana seems to take the passage thus: 'In the same way as the Soma would make strong (? or become strong), so also the sânnâyyam destroys that evil, the jaundice, in those who drink it.'

178:3 By the admixture of milk the Soma-juice loses its brownish colour, and is therefore apparently considered to produce the same effect in those who drink the mixture.

178:4 The preparation of the sânnâyya, as it is now practised by priests in Western India, is thus described by Haug (Ait. Br. II, p. 443): p. 179 'The Adhvaryu takes the milk from three cows called Gaṅgâ, Yamuna, and Sarasvatî, on the morning and evening, and gives it to the Âgnîdhra. Half the milk is first drawn from the udder of each of the three cows under the recital of mantras; then the same is done silently. The milk is taken from these cows on the evening of the new-moon day, and on the morning of the following day, the so-called Pratipad (the first day of the month). The milk drawn on the evening is made hot, and lime-juice poured over it to make it sour; whereupon it is hung up. The fresh milk of the following morning is then mixed with it, and both are sacrificed along with the Purodâsa. Only he who has already performed the Agnishtoma is allowed to sacrifice the Sânnâyya at the Darsapûrnima ishti. (Oral information.)' In Vâg. S. I, 4 (Sat. Br. I, 7, 1, 17; Katy. IV, 2, 25, 26) the names of the three cows are given as Visvâyu, Visvakarman, and Visvadhâyus, unless these are intended merely for epithets or mystic names. Cf. p. 188 note; Weber, Ind. Stud. IX, 232. Instead of the lime-juice, mentioned by Haug as used for rennet, Katy. IV, 2, 33 prescribes that the milk remaining from the Agnihotra of the preceding evening, and since become sour, should be used.

179:1 Thus Taitt. S. II, 5, 5, 1.

179:2 Atrântarena; atra vishaye antarena madhye, Sâyana; ? within this our range of hearing; or, in the course of the present ceremony.

180:1 See I, 6, 3, 17.

180:2 Viz. in the form of Soma, i.e. the moon, still shining in the heavens during the night preceding the new moon.

180:3 Who, as we saw, resides in the plants and waters at the time of new moon and consequently in the milk used for the Sânnâyya. If, however, one were to enter upon the fast (and hence on the p. 181 sacrifice) previously to the new moon, he would be offering mere milk, not imbued with, and not liable to change into, Soma, and therefore unfit for the gods.

182:1 With this explanation of the disappearance of the moon may be compared the later notion of the sun and moon being swallowed by the demon Râhu, at the time of the eclipses.

182:2 Kâty. IV, 2, 10 leaves it optional whether the libation of mixed p. 183 sweet and sour milk is to be offered to Indra or to Mahendra. According to IV, 5, 25, however, such option seems to be permitted only so far as the first performance is concerned, after which one is apparently bound to go on offering during the rest of one's life to whichever deity one has chosen at the beginning. Taitt. S. II, 5, 4, 4, lays it down as the rule that only a gatasrî (one who has reached the highest grade of prosperity), viz. a brâhmana versed in the three Vedas (susruvân = vedatrayâbhigña, Sâyana, the head of a village (grâmanî), and a râganya, can make offering to Mahendra, since he is their special deity. Others, however, may do the same, after offering the sânnâyyam to Indra for a whole year, and on the expiration of it a rice-cake on eight potsherds to Agni, as the Keeper of Vows.