Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 66

BY: SUN STAFF - 9.7 2018

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 – Second Brâhmana, Part One

2:1:2:1 - 1. He may set up the two fires [1] under the Krittikâs; for they, the Krittikâs, are doubtless Agni's asterism, so that if he sets up his fires under Agni's asterism, (he will bring about) a correspondence (between his fires and the asterism): for this reason he may set up his fires under the Krittikâs.

2:1:2:2 - 2. Moreover, the other lunar asterisms (consist of) one, two, three or four (stars), so that the Krittikâs are the most numerous (of asterisms) []: hence he thereby obtains an abundance. For this reason he may set up his fires under the Krittikâs.

2:1:2:3 - 3. And again, they do not move away from the eastern quarter, whilst the other asterisms do move from the eastern quarter. Thus his (two fires) are established in the eastern quarter: for this reason he may set up his fires under the Krittikâs.

2:1:2:4 - 4. On the other hand (it is argued) why he should not set up the fires under the Krittikâs. Originally, namely, the latter were the wives of the Bears (riksha); for the seven Rishis [3] were in former times called the Rikshas (bears). They were, however, precluded from intercourse (with their husbands), for the latter, the seven Rishis, rise in the north, and they (the Krittikâs) in the east. Now it is a misfortune for one to be precluded from intercourse (with his wife): he should therefore not set up his fires under the Krittikâs, lest he should thereby be precluded from intercourse.

2:1:2:5 - 5. But he may nevertheless set up (his fire under the Krittikâs); for Agni doubtless is their mate, and it is with Agni that they have intercourse: for this reason he may set up (the fire under the Krittikâs).

2:1:2:6 - 6. He may also set up his fires under (the asterism of Rohinî. For under Rohinî it was that Pragâpati, when desirous of progeny (or creatures), set up his fires. He created beings, and the creatures produced by him remained invariable and constant [1], like (red) cows (rohinî): hence the cow-like nature of Rohinî. Rich in cattle and offspring therefore he becomes whosoever, knowing this, sets up his fires under Rohinî.

2:1:2:7 - 7. Under Rohinî, indeed, the cattle set up their fires, thinking that they might attain to (ruh) the desire (or love) of men. They did attain to the desire of men; and whatever desire the cattle then obtained in regard to men, that same desire he obtains, in regard to cattle, whosoever, knowing this, sets up his fire under Rohinî.

2:1:2:8 - 8. He may also set up his fires under (the asterism of) Mrigasîrsha. For Mrigasîrsha, indeed, is the head of Pragâpati [1]; and the head (siras) means excellence (srî), for the head does indeed mean excellence: hence they say of him who is the most excellent (sreshtha) of a community, that he is the head of that community. Excellence therefore he attains whosoever, knowing this, sets up his fire under Mrigasîrsha.

2:1:2:9 - 9. On the other hand (it is argued) why one should not set up his fire under Mrigasîrsha [2]. The latter, indeed, is Pragâpati's body. Now, when they (the gods) on that occasion pierced him [3] with what is called 'the three-knotted arrow,' he abandoned that body, for the body is a mere relic (or dwelling, vâstu), unholy and sapless. He should therefore not set up his fires under Mrigasîrsha.

2:1:2:10 - 10. But he may, nevertheless, set them up (under Mrigasîrsha). For, assuredly, the body of that god, Pragâpati, is neither a relic nor unholy, [1]: he may therefore set up (his fires under Mrigasîrsha). 'Under the Punarvasû he should perform the Punarâdheya [2],' thus (it is prescribed). 2:1:2:11 - 11. He may also set up his fires under the Phalgunîs. They, the Phalgunîs, are Indra's asterism [3], and even correspond to him in name; for indeed Indra is also called Arguna, this being his mystic name; and they (the Phalgunîs) are also called Argunîs. Hence he overtly calls them Phalgunîs, for who dares to use his (the god's) mystic name? Moreover, the sacrificer himself is Indra, so that he in that case sets up his fires under his own asterism. Indra is the deity of the sacrifice; and accordingly his Agnyâdheya is thereby brought into relation with Indra. He may set up the fires under the first (Pûrva-phalgunîs)--whereby an advancing (successful) sacrifice accrues to him; or he may set them up under the second (Uttara-phalgunîs)--whereby a progressive (uttarâvat) improvement accrues to him.

2:1:2:12 - 12. Let him set up his fires under the asterism Hasta 1, whosoever should wish that (presents) should be offered him: then indeed (that will take place) forthwith; for whatever is offered with the hand (hasta), that indeed is given to him.

2:1:2:13 - 13. He may also set up his fires under Kitrâ. Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, were contending for superiority. Both parties were desirous of rising to yonder world, the sky. The Asuras then constructed the fire (altar) called rauhina (fit to ascend by), thinking, 'Thereby we shall ascend (â-ruh) to the sky [2].'