Satapatha-Brâhmana, Part 107


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


2:6:1:1 - 1. Verily, by means of the Great Oblation the gods slew Vritra, and gained that supreme authority which they now wield. And by means of the sacrifice to the fathers they then recalled to life those of them that had been slain in this battle; and they, indeed, were the fathers: hence the name Pitriyagña 1 (sacrifice to the Manes).

2:6:1:2 - 2. Now the spring, the summer, and the rainy season,--they are those who vanquished (Vritra); and the autumn, the winter, and the dewy season,--they are those whom they (the gods) recalled to life 2.

2:6:1:3 - 3. Now when he performs that sacrifice, he does so, hoping that thus they (the Asuras) will not slay any of his, or because the gods did so (perform it). Moreover he thereby offers to those (fathers) the share which the gods assigned to them; and thus he gratifies those whom the gods recalled to life, and leads his own fathers up to a better world; and whatever injury or loss he suffers through his own unrighteous conduct (or wrong sacrificial performance) 3 that is thereby made good to him: that is why he performs this sacrifice (to the fathers).

2:6:1:4 - 4. He offers a cake on six potsherds to the Pitarah Somavantah, or to Soma Pitrimat 1. Six doubtless are the seasons, and the fathers are the seasons: hence it is one of six potsherds.

2:6:1:5 - 5. Thereupon they parch barley-grain on the Anvâhâryapakana (or Dakshinâgni) for the Pitaro Barhishadah 2. They then grind one half of it; and (the other) half remains thus unground,--this is the parched grain for the Barhis-seated fathers.

2:6:1:6 - 6. Then a porridge is (prepared) for the Pitaro 'gnishvâttâh 3 (by the ground half of the parched grain) being mixed with the milk of a cow suckling an adopted calf, by stirring it once with a single splinter. It is indeed once for all that the fathers have departed, and hence is stirred but once. These are the oblations.

2:6:1:7 - 7. Now those (fathers) who have sacrificed with Soma are the Pitarah Somavantah; and those who gain the world (of the gods) by means of cooked (sacrificial food) offered by them are the Pitaro Barhishadah; and they who (have offered) neither the one nor the other, and whom Agni consumes by burning, they are the Pitaro 'gnishvâttâh. These, then, are the fathers 4.

2:6:1:8 - 8. He takes out [the rice for] that cake of six potsherds, while seated behind the Gârhapatya, and looking southwards, with the sacrificial cord over his right shoulder. From thence he rises and threshes (the rice), while standing north of the Dakshina-fire, with his face towards the south. He cleans it but once 1; since it is once for all that the fathers have departed.

2:6:1:9 - 9. He places the two mill-stones on (the black antelope skin, so as to be inclined) towards the south 2; and puts the six potsherds on the south part of the Gârhapatya hearth. The reason why they keep the southern direction is because that is the region of the fathers: this is why they keep the southern direction.

2:6:1:10 - 10. Thereupon he raises a square altar south of the Dakshinâgni 3. He makes the corners point towards the intermediate quarters. There are doubtless four intermediate quarters, and the fathers are the intermediate quarters: this is why he makes the corners point towards the intermediate quarters.

2:6:1:11 - 11. In the centre of this (altar) he lays down the fire. From the east, indeed, the gods came westwards to the men: hence one offers to them while standing with his face towards the east. On all sides are the fathers, for the fathers are the intermediate regions, and the intermediate regions are indeed on all sides: this is why he lays down the fire in the centre.

2:6:1:12 - 12. From thence he throws the grass-bush (stambayagus) eastwards 1. Having thrown away the grass-bush, he first encloses (the altar) thus (viz. on the west side), then thus (viz. on the north side), then thus (on the east side). Having enclosed it with the first line of enclosure, he (the Adhvaryu) draws (three) lines (across the altar) 2 and [the Âgnîdhra] removes (from them the dust) which has to be removed. In the same way he encloses it with the second line of enclosure; and having enclosed it with the second line of enclosure, and smoothed it down, he says, 'Place the sprinkling water on (the altar)!' They accordingly place the sprinkling water on (the altar); and the firewood and barhis they lay down beside it 3. He (the Âgnîdhra) wipes the spoons. He then walks up (to the altar) with the butter (and puts it down thereon 1, north of the sprinkling water). He (the Adhvaryu) takes butter, while 'sacrificially-invested 2.'

2:6:1:13 - 13. Here now they say, 'Let him take butter in the upabhrit (by) twice (ladling with the dipping spoon); since there are two after-offerings 3 at this (sacrifice).' Let him, nevertheless, ladle eight times into the upabhrit: let him do so, lest he should depart from the manner of the sacrifice. After ladling out butter, and shifting his cord back to the right shoulder,--

2:6:1:14 - 14. The Adhvaryu takes the lustral water, and sprinkles first the firewood, and then the altar 4. Thereupon they hand the sacrificial grass 5 to him, and he puts it down (on the altar) with the knot to the east. Having thereupon sprinkled it and poured out (the lustral water on the lower ends of the grass-stalks), and untied the knot, he (at once) seizes the knot, not the prastara 1;--it is once for all that the fathers have departed: hence he does not take the prastara.

2:6:1:15 - 15. After undoing the band, he moves thrice 2 round from right to left, spreading the sacrificial grass all over (the altar); while spreading it all over from right to left in three layers, he reserves as much as may serve for the prastara-bunch. He then moves again thrice round (the altar) from left to right. The reason why he again moves thrice round from left to right, is that, while the first time he went away from here after those three ancestors of his, he now cones back again from them to this, his own world: that is why he again moves thrice round from left to right.

2:6:1:16 - 16. He lays the enclosing-sticks along (the fire, with their tops) towards the south 3; and the prastara also he spreads (with the grass-tops) towards the south; nor does he lay down the two vidhritis between (the barhis and the prastara). Once for all the fathers have departed from hence: therefore he lays no vidhritis between.

2:6:1:17 - 17. Thereon he lays the guhû, and east of it (on the barhis) the upabhrit. Having then put down the dhruvâ, the cake, the parched grain, and the porridge (each east of the preceding one), he touches the oblations.

2:6:1:18 - 18. All of them having now become 'sacrificially-invested,' the Sacrificer and Brahman (being) thus (invested) walk round (from the east, along the south) to the west side; and the Âgnîdhra (from the west) to the east side (of the fire) 1.

2:6:1:19 - 19. They perform this (sacrifice) in a low voice. Secret, indeed, are the fathers, and secret also is (what is spoken) in a low voice: hence they perform (the offering) in a low voice.

2:6:1:20 - 20. They perform it in an enclosed place. Secret, indeed, are the fathers, and secret also is that which is enclosed: hence they perform in an enclosed place.