Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 6

BY: SUN STAFF - 6.3 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

First Adhyâya - Fourth Brâhmana

1:1:4:1 - 1. He now takes the black antelope skin [2], for completeness of the sacrifice. For once upon a time the sacrifice escaped the gods, and having become a black antelope roamed about. The gods having thereupon found it and stripped it of its skin, they brought it (the skin) away with them.

1:1:4:2 - 2. Its white and black hairs represent the Rik-verses and the Sâman-verses; to wit, the white the Sâman and the black the Rik; or conversely, the black the Sâman and the white the Rik. The brown and the yellow ones, on the other hand, represent the Yagus-texts.

1:1:4:3 - 3. Now this same threefold science is the sacrifice; that manifold form, that (varying) colour of this (science) is what is (represented by) this black antelope skin. For the completeness of the sacrifice (he takes the skin): hence the rite of initiation (for the Soma-sacrifice) is likewise performed on the black antelope skin;--for the completion of the sacrifice: hence it is also used for husking and bruising (the rice) on, in order that nothing of the oblation may get spilt; and that, if any grain or flour should now be spilt on it, the sacrifice would still remain securely established in the sacrifice. For this reason it is used for husking and bruising upon.

1:1:4:4 - 4. He thus takes the black antelope skin, with the text (Vâg. S: I, 14 a): 'Bliss-bestowing (sarman) art thou!' For karman ('hide') is the name of that (skin of the) black deer used among men, but sarman (bliss) is (that used) among the gods; and for this reason he says, 'Bliss-bestowing art thou!' He shakes it, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 b), 'Shaken off is the Rakshas, shaken off are the enemies!' whereby he repels from it the evil spirits, the Rakshas. He shakes it whilst holding it apart from the vessels [1]; whereby he shakes off whatever impure matter there may have been on it.

1:1:4:5 - 5. He spreads it (on the ground with the hairy side upwards, and) with its neck-part turned to the west [1], with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 c): 'The skin of Aditi art thou! May Aditi acknowledge thee!' For Aditi is this earth, and whatever is on her, that serves as a skin to her: for this reason he says, 'The skin of Aditi art thou!' And 'may Aditi acknowledge thee!' he says, because one who is related (to another) acknowledges (him). Thereby he establishes a mutual understanding between her and the black antelope skin, (thinking) 'they will not hurt each other.' While it is still being held down with his left hand,--

1:1:4:6 - 6. He at once takes the mortar with his right hand, fearing lest the evil spirits, the Rakshas, might rush in here in the meantime. For the priest (brâhmana) [2] is the repeller of the Rakshas: therefore, whilst it is still being held down with his left hand,--

1:1:4:7 - 7. He puts the mortar (on it), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 d, e): 'A wooden stone (adri) art thou!' or 'A broad-bottomed stone (grâvan) art thou!' For, just as there (in the Soma-sacrifice) they press king Soma out with stones (grâvan), thus here also he prepares the oblation (haviryagña) by means of the mortar and pestle, and the large and small mill-stones [1]. Now 'stones (adrayah)' is the common name of these, and therefore he says, 'a stone art thou.' And 'wooden,' he calls it, because this one (the mortar) really is made of wood [2]. Or, he says, 'a broad-bottomed stone (grâvan) art thou,' because it is both a stone and broad-bottomed. He adds: 'May Aditi's skin acknowledge (receive) thee!' whereby he establishes a mutual understanding between it (the mortar) and the black antelope skin, thinking: 'they will not injure each other.'

1:1:4:8 - 8. He then pours the (two portions of) rice (from the winnowing basket into the mortar), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 15 a): 'Thou art the body of Agni, thou the releaser of speech!' For it is (material for) sacrifice, and hence (by being offered in the fire) it becomes Agni's body. 'The releaser of speech,' he adds, because he now releases that speech which he restrained when he was about to take the rice (from the cart). The reason why he now releases his speech, is that the sacrifice has now obtained a firm footing in the mortar, that it has become diffused; and for this reason he says, 'the releaser of speech!'

1:1:4:9 - 9. Should he, however (by some accident), utter any human sound before this time, let him in that case mutter some Rik or Yagus-text addressed to Vishnu [1]; for Vishnu is the sacrifice, so that he thereby again obtains a hold on the sacrifice, and penance is thereby done by him (for not keeping silent). He adds: 'For the pleasure of the gods I seize thee!' for the oblation is taken with the intention 'that it shall gladden the gods.'

1:1:4:10 - 10. He now takes the pestle, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 b), 'A large, wooden stone art thou!' for it is a large stone, and made of wood, too. He thrusts it down, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 14 c), 'Do thou prepare this oblation for the gods [2]! do thou prepare it thoroughly!' thereby saying, 'Get this oblation ready for the gods! get it quite ready!'

1:1:4:11 - 11. He then calls the Havishkrit [3] (preparer of the sacrificial food), 'Havishkrit, come hither! Havishkrit, come hither!' The Havishkrit [4] no doubt is speech, so that he thereby frees speech from restraint. And speech, moreover, represents sacrifice [1], so that he thereby again calls the sacrifice to him.

1:1:4:12 - 12. Now there are four different forms of this call, viz. 'come hither (ehi)!' in the case of a Brâhman; 'approach (âgahi)!' and 'hasten hither (âdrava)!' in the case of a Vaisya and a member of the military caste (râganyabandhu [2]); and 'run hither (âdhâva)!' in that of a Sûdra. On this occasion he uses the call that belongs to a Brâhman, because that one is best adapted for a sacrifice, and is besides the most gentle:. let him therefore say, 'come hither (ehi)!'