Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 8

BY: SUN STAFF - 12.3 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

Second Adhyâya - First Brâhmana, Part One

1:2:1:1 - 1. Now the one (viz. the Âgnîdhra) puts the potsherds on (the Gârhapatya fire); the other (viz. the Adhvaryu) the two mill-stones (on the black antelope skin): these two acts are done simultaneously. The reason why they are done simultaneously (is this):

1:2:1:2 - 2. The head of this sacrifice is (represented by) the rice-cake [3]: for those potsherds (kapâla), no doubt, are to this (rice-cake) what the skull bones (kapâla) are to the head, and the ground rice is nothing else than the brain. Now this (combination of skull and brain) certainly forms one limb: 'Let us put that (which is) one together! Let us make it one!' thus they think; and therefore the two acts are done simultaneously.

1:2:1:3 - 3. He who puts the potsherds on (the fire), takes the shovelling-stick (upavesha), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 17 a): 'Bold (dhrishti) art thou!' For since with it he, as it were, attacks the fire boldly, therefore it is called dhrishti [1]. And since with it he touches (the coals) at the sacrifice, since with it he attends to (upa-vish) this (Gârhapatya fire), therefore it is called upavesha.

1:2:1:4 - 4. With it he shifts the coals to the fore-part [2] (of the khara or hearth-mound), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 17 b): 'O fire! cast off the fire that eateth raw flesh! drive away the corpse-eating one!' For the raw flesh-eating (fire) is the one with which men cook what they eat; and the corpse-eating one is that on which they burn (the dead) man: these two he thereby expels from it (the Gârhapatya).

1:2:1:5 - 5. He now pulls toward himself [3] one coal, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 17 c): 'Bring hither that (fire) which maketh offerings to the gods!' He thinks: 'On that (fire), which makes offerings to the gods, we will cook the oblations! on that one we will perform the sacrifice!' and for this reason he pulls (one of the coals) toward himself.

1:2:1:6 - 6. On it he places the central potsherd [1]. For the gods, when they were performing sacrifice, were in fear of a disturbance from the Asuras and Rakshas. They were afraid lest those evil spirits, the Rakshas, might rise from below them. Now Agni (fire) is the repeller of the Rakshas, and for this reason he thus places (the potsherd) on it. The reason why it is just this (coal) and no other (on which the potsherd is put) is, that this one, having been consecrated by the (above) sacrificial formula, is sacrificially pure: that is why he places the central potsherd on it.

1:2:1:7 - 7. He puts it on, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 17 d): 'Thou art firm; make thou the earth firm!' For under the form of the earth he renders this same (sacrifice) firm; by it he chases away the spiteful enemy. He adds: 'Thee, devoted to the Brahman, devoted to the kshatra, devoted to the (sacrificer's) kinsmen, I put on for the destruction of the enemy!' Manifold, indeed, are the prayers for blessing in the sacrificial texts (yagus): by this one he prays for the priestly and military orders, those two towers of strength (vi rye, energies) [1]. 'Thee, devoted to the (sacrificer's) kinsmen,' he says, because kinsmen mean wealth, and wealth he thereby prays for. When he says, 'I put thee on for the destruction of the enemy,' whether or not he wishes to exorcise, let him say, 'for the destruction of so and so!' The moment it (the potsherd) has been put down (and while it is still being touched) with the (fore-)finger of his left hand,--

1:2:1:8 - 8. He seizes a (second) coal, lest the evil spirits, the Rakshas, should in the meantime rush in here. For the Brâhman is the repeller of the Rakshas 1: hence, the moment it (the potsherd) has been put down (and while it is still being touched) with the finger of his left hand,--

1:2:1:9 - 9. He pushes the coal on it, with the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 a): 'Accept, O Agni, this holy work (brahman) [2]!' He says this, lest the evil spirits, the Rakshas, should rush in here before; for Agni is the repeller of the Rakshas: this is the reason why he pushes it on (the potsherd).

1:2:1:10 - 10. He then puts on that (potsherd) which is (to stand) behind (or west of the first or central one), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 b): 'A support art thou! make firm the aërial region!' Under the form of the atmosphere he makes this (sacrifice) firm; by this he chases away the spiteful enemy. He adds: 'Thee, devoted to the brahman, devoted to the kshatra, devoted to the (sacrificer's) kinsmen, I put on for the destruction of the enemy!'

1:2:1:11 - 11. He then puts on that one which is (to stand) before (i.e. east of the first potsherd), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 c): 'A stay art thou! do thou make firm the sky!' Under the form of the sky he makes this same (sacrifice) firm; by it he chases away the spiteful enemy. He adds: 'Thee, devoted to the brahman, devoted to the kshatra, devoted to the kinsmen, I put on for the destruction of the enemy!'

1:2:1:12 - 12. He now puts on the one that is (to stand) on the right (i.e. south of the first), with the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 d): 'For all the regions I put thee on!' What fourth (world) there is or is not beyond these (three) worlds, by that indeed he thereby chases away the spiteful enemy. Uncertain, no doubt, is what fourth (world) there is or is not beyond these (three) worlds, and uncertain also are all those regions; for this reason he says, 'For all the regions I put thee on!' The remaining potsherds he puts on 1 either silently, or with the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 e): 'Layer-forming are ye! heap-forming are ye!'

1:2:1:13 - 13. He then covers them over with (hot) coals, whilst muttering the text (Vâg. S. I, 18 f): 'May ye be heated with the heat of the Bhrigus and Aṅgiras [1]!' for it is indeed the brightest light, that of the Bhrigus and Aṅgiras. He covers them with the view that 'they shall be well heated.'