Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 65

BY: SUN STAFF - 5.7 2018

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


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


Second Kânda - The Agnyâdhâna, The Agnihotra, The Pindapitriyagña, The Âgrayaneshti, And The Kâturmâsyâni

I. The Agnyâdhâna Or Establishment Of The Sacred Fires.

First Adhyâya – First Brâhmana, Part Three

2:1:1:9 - 9. When it came near the gods,--They said, 'Come, let us steady this resting-place; and when firm and steady, let us set up the two fires on it; whereupon we will exclude our enemies from any share in it.'

2:1:1:10 - 10. Accordingly, in like manner as one would stretch a skin by means of wooden pins, they fastened down this resting-place; and it formed a firm and steady resting-place. And when it was firm and steady, they set up the two fires on it; and thereupon they excluded their enemies from any share in it [1].

2:1:1:11 - 11. And in like manner that one (the Adhvaryu) now fastens down that resting-place by means of pebbles; and on it, when firm and steady, he sets up the two fires; whereupon he excludes the (sacrificer's) enemies from any share in it. This is the reason why he brings pebbles.

2:1:1:12 - 12. These then are the five equipments [2]: for fivefold is the sacrifice, fivefold the animal victim; and five seasons there are in the year.

2:1:1:1313. Now, as to this, they say, 'Six seasons there are in the year.' And in that case the very deficiency (nyûna) itself is rendered a productive union [1], since it is from the lower part (nyûna, i.e. of the body) that offspring is here brought forth. Thus also a progressive improvement [2] (is assured to the sacrificer): for this reason there are five equipments. And when (it is nevertheless insisted on that) there are six seasons in the year, then Agni is the sixth of them, and thus there is no deficiency.

2:1:1:1414. - Here also they say, 'He should not equip it even with a single equipment!' For (they argue) all those (objects) are on this earth, and hence, when he establishes the fire on this earth, the latter of itself obtains all those equipments: he need not, therefore, equip it with a single equipment. But let him nevertheless bring (those objects) together; for when he establishes the fire on this (earth), then it obtains all the equipments: and what (benefit) accrues from the equipments being brought together, that also accrues to it [3]. Let him for that reason bring (the objects) together.



276:1 The verb here translated by 'to equip,' is sam-bhri, 'to carry, or bring, together, to collect;' and then 'to make the necessary preparations, to prepare;' hence sambhâra, 'the preparation, outfit,' the technical term for the objects employed in the preparation of the fire-place, with the view of symbolically ensuring success to the fire. In paragraphs 3 seq. the primary meaning 'to bring (together)' has been used, except where it seemed desirable to preserve its technical sense.

276:2 The three lines drawn across the fire-place form a necessary part of its lustration; see p. 2. According to the Paddhati on Kâty. IV, 8, the Adhvaryu first makes the fivefold lustration of the hearth, and thereupon again draws the mystic lines (? or draws the outline of the fire-place, cf. Kâty. IV, 8, 16) and proceeds with the sambharas; viz. he sprinkles the lines with water, while the sacrificer takes hold of him from behind; then puts down a piece of gold, and on it throws salt soil and the mould of a molehill, with which he forms the hearth-mound (khara)--circular in the case of the Gârhapatya, square the Âhavanîya, and semicircular the Dakshinâgni; but each equal in area to a square aratni or cubit. Along the edge of the mound he then lays pebbles close to each other [50 on the Gârhapatya, 73 on the Âhavanîya, and 22 on the Dakshinâgni, according to the Schol. on Kâty. IV, 8, 16]. According to some authorities, the piece of gold is laid on the top of the mound. He thus prepares successively the Gârhapatya, Âhavanîya, and Dakshina hearths; afterwards, if required, those of the Sabhya and Avasathya fires, which are, like the Gârhapatya, of circular form.

277:1 An etymological play on the word ap, âpah, 'water,' and the verb âp, 'to obtain, pervade.'

277:2 In the version of this myth given Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 8, the waters courted by Agni are called Varuna's wives.

277:3 Tâh sambabhûva tâsu retah prâsiñkat tad hiranyam abhavat.

278:1 Sâyana interprets enena na dhâvayati by 'he does not clean (his teeth) with it;'--the St. Petersb. Dict. by 'he does not get himself conveyed (driven) by it.' The Kânva text has: Tasmâd enad apsv evânuvindanty apsu punanty apsu by enat prâsiñkan nainena dhâvayanti na kim kana kurvanti.

278:2 Cf. Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 2: 'The sky and the earth were (originally) close together. On being separated they said to each other, "Let there he a common sacrificial essence (yagñiyam) for us!" What sacrificial essence there was belonging to yonder sky, that it bestowed on this earth, that became the salt (in the earth); and what sacrificial essence there was belonging to this earth, that it bestowed on yonder sky, that became the black (spots) in the moon. When he throws salt (on the fire-place), let him think it to be that (viz. the black in the moon): it is on the sacrificial essence of the sky and the earth that he sets up his fire.'

278:3 On the mythic connection of (the white, sharp teeth of) the âkhu (mole, mouse, rat), as of that of the boar, with the thunderbolt, see Dr. A. Kuhn's ingenious remarks, 'Herabkunft des Feuers and des Göttertranks,' p. 202. According to Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 3, Agni at one time concealed himself from the gods, and having become a mole, dug himself into the earth; so that the mole-hills thrown up by him, have some of Agni's nature attaching to them. The Taittirîyas also put on the hearth the earth of an ant-hill, which the Brâhmana (in the same way as our author does of the molehill) represents as the savour (or marrow, essence) of the earth.

279:1 The primary meaning of karîsha is 'that which is scattered, or strewn about,' hence 'refuse, rubbish' (and âkhu-karîsha, 'mole-cast'). Its secondary meaning, as is that of purîsha, is 'manure' (or perhaps also 'soft, rich mould'), an article naturally valued by an agricultural population. See I, 2, 5, 17, where purîsha is taken symbolically to represent cattle.

280:1 The corresponding myth of Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 5, though very different from ours, yet presents one or two points of resemblance. According to it, nothing was to be seen in the beginning except water and a lotus-leaf standing out above it. Pragâpati (being bent on creating the firm ground) bethought himself that the lotus-stalk must rest on something; and having assumed the form of a boar, he dived and brought up some of the earth. This he spread out (prath) on the lotus-leaf, whence originated the earth (prithivî), which he then fastened down by means of pebbles. Hence the latter are put on the hearth in order to afford a firm foundation for the fire.

280:2 According to the authorities of the Black Yagur-veda there are not five, but fourteen sambhâras, seven of which are taken from the earth, viz. sand, salt, a mole-hill, an ant-hill, mire from a dried-up pool, pebbles, and gold; while the remaining seven consist of pieces of wood from the asvattha, udumbara, palâsa (? two pieces), samî, and vikankata trees, and from some tree that has been struck by lightning. The sprinkling of water about the fire-place is not counted by them as a sambhâra, but as one of the usual acts of lustration. Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3 seq.

281:1 Or, a deficient pairing is effected (on account of the uneven number). I do not quite understand Sâyana's interpretation of the passage, the published text of the commentary being apparently corrupt in one or two places, The Kânva text reads: Tad âhuh shad vâ ritavah samvatsarasyeti yadi vai shal ritavah samvatsarasya nyûnam u vai pragananamnyûnâd vâ imâh pragâh pragâyante, &c.

281:2 Literally, 'a prevailing (or advancing) better-to-morrow,' svahsreyasam uttarâvat.

281:3 The drift of the author's reasoning evidently is that it is safer, by putting those objects on the fire-place, to make sure of the magic benefits of those symbols being really secured to the fire, and thereby to the sacrificer. The Kânva text of this paragraph, though differently worded, yields the same sense; except that it refers to the sacrificer himself and to the wishes he entertains in collecting the objects.