Satapatha Brahmana

by Julius Eggeling | 1882 | 730,838 words | ISBN-13: 9788120801134

This is Satapatha Brahmana I.7.4 English translation of the Sanskrit text, including a glossary of technical terms. This book defines instructions on Vedic rituals and explains the legends behind them. The four Vedas are the highest authortity of the Hindu lifestyle revolving around four castes (viz., Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaishya and Shudra). Satapatha (also, Śatapatha, shatapatha) translates to “hundred paths”. This page contains the text of the 4th brahmana of kanda I, adhyaya 7.

Kanda I, adhyaya 7, brahmana 4

1. Prajāpati conceived a passion for his own daughter,--either the Sky or the Dawn[1]. 'May I pair with her!' thus (thinking) he united with her.

2. This, assuredly, was a sin in the eyes of the gods. 'He who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister, [commits a sin],' they thought.

3. The gods then said to this god who rules over the beasts (Rudra)[2], 'This one, surely, commits a sin who acts thus towards his own daughter, our sister. Pierce him!' Rudra, taking aim, pierced him. Half of his seed fell to the ground. And thus it came to pass.

4. Accordingly it has been said by the Ṛṣi[3] with reference to that (incident), 'When the father embraced his daughter, uniting with her, he dropped his seed on the earth.' This (became) the chant (uktha) called āgnimāruta[4]; in (connection with) this it is set forth how the gods caused that seed to spring[5]. When the anger of the gods subsided, they cured Prajāpati and cut out that dart of this. (Rudra); for Prajāpati, doubtless, is this sacrifice.

5. They said (to one another), 'Think of some means by which that (part of the sacrifice torn out with the dart) may not be lost, and how it may be but a small portion of the offering itself!'

6. They said, 'Take it round to Bhaga (Savitṛ, the Patron), who sits on the south side (of the sacrificial ground): Bhaga will eat it by way of fore-portion[6], so that it may be as though it were offered.' They accordingly took it round to Bhaga, who sat on the south side. Bhaga (Savitṛ) looked at it: it burnt out his eyes[7]. And thus it came to pass. Hence they say, 'Bhaga is blind.'

7. They said, 'It has not yet become appeased here: take it round to Pūṣan!' They accordingly took it round to Pūṣan. Pūṣan tasted it: it knocked out his teeth. And thus it came to pass. Hence they say, 'Pūṣan is toothless;' and therefore, when they prepare a mess of boiled rice (caru)[8] for Pūṣan, they prepare it from ground rice, as is done for one toothless.

8. They said, 'It has not yet become appeased here: take it round to Bṛhaspati[9]!' They accordingly took it round to Bṛhaspati. Bṛhaspati hasted to Savitṛ for his impulsion (influence, prasava[10]), for assuredly Savitṛ is the impeller (prasavitṛ) of the gods. 'Impel (influence) this for me!' he said. Savitṛ, as the impeller, accordingly impelled it for him, and being thus impelled by Savitṛ, it did not injure him: and thus it was henceforth appeased. This, then, is essentially the same as the fore-portion.

9. Now when he cuts off the fore-portion, he cuts out what is injured in the sacrifice,--what belongs to Rudra. Thereupon he touches water: water is (a means) of lustration, hence he lustrates by means of water[11]. He now cuts off piece by piece the iḍā[12], (which represents) cattle.

10. Let him cut off (for the fore-portion) ever so small a piece[13]: thus the dart comes out; let him therefore cut off ever so small a piece. He should (according to some) put clarified butter on one side only, either below or above: thus that which is hard becomes soft and flows forth; and for this reason he should put butter on one side only, either below or above.

11. Having (nevertheless[14]) made an underlayer of butter[15] and a double cutting from the oblation (havis), he pours butter on the upper side of it; for it is only in this way that this becomes part of the sacrifice.

12. Let him not carry it (to the Brahman) along the front (east) side of the Āhavanīya fire); (though) some, it is true, do carry it along the front side. For on the front side stand the cattle facing the sacrificer: hence he would impose the power of Rudra on the cattle, if he were to carry it along the front side, and his (the sacrificer's) household and cattle would be overwhelmed. Let him therefore cross over in this way (behind the paridhis); for thus he does not impose Rudra's power on the cattle and he removes that (dart) sideways[16].

13. He (the Brahman) receives[17] it, with the text (Vāj. S. II, 11 b, c), 'At the impulse (prasava) of the divine Savitṛ I receive thee with the arms of the Aśvins, with the hands of Pūṣan!'

14. And in like manner as Bṛhaspati then hasted to Savitṛ for his impulsion,--for, assuredly, Savitṛ is the impeller of the gods,--and said, 'Impel this for me!' and Savitṛ, the impeller, impelled it for him; and, impelled by Savitṛ, it did not injure him; so now also this one (the Brahman) hastes to Savitṛ for his impulsion,--for, assuredly, Savitṛ is the impeller of the gods,--and says 'impel this for me!' and Savitṛ, the impeller, impels it for him; and, impelled by Savitṛ, it does not injure him.

15. He eats[18] the fore-portion, with the text (Vā;. S. II, 11 d), 'With Agni's mouth I eat thee!' for Agni, assuredly, it does not injure in any way; and so neither does it injure him (the Brahman).

16. He must not chew it with his teeth: 'lest this power of Rudra should injure my teeth!' so (he thinks), and therefore he must not chew it with his teeth.

17. He then rinses his mouth with water;--water is (a means of) purification: hence he purifies himself with water, (that is, a means of) purification. After he has rinsed the vessel[19],- 18. They bring him the Brahman's portion[20]. The Brahman, in truth, sits south of the sacrifice, as its guardian. He sits facing that portion. As regards the fore-portion, that they have already brought to him and he has eaten it. In the Brahman's portion which they now bring to him, he obtains his own share; and henceforth he watches what remains incomplete of the sacrifice: for this reason they bring him the Brahman's portion.

19. He (the Brahman) must maintain silence (from the time he takes his seat on being elected)[21] up to that speech (of the Adhvaryu), 'Brahman, shall I step forward?' Those (priests) who, in the midst of the sacrifice, perform the iḍā, which represents the domestic offerings (pākayajña)[22], tear the sacrifice to pieces, injure it. Now the Brahman, assuredly, is the best physician: hence the Brahman thereby restores the sacrifice; but, if he were to sit there talking, he would not restore it: he must therefore maintain silence.

20. If he should utter any human sound before that time, let him there and then mutter some Ṛc or Yajus-text addressed to Viṣṇu; for Viṣṇu is the sacrifice, so that he thereby again obtains a hold on the sacrifice: and this is the expiation of that (breach of silence).

21. When he (the Adhvaryu) says, 'Brahman, shall I step forward?' the Brahman mutters thus (Vāj. S. II, 12), 'This thy sacrifice, O divine Savitṛ, they have announced . . .,'--thereby he has recourse to Savitṛ for his impulsion (prasava), for he is the impeller (prasavitṛ) of the gods;--'to Bṛhaspati, the Brahman,'--for Bṛhaspati, assuredly, is the Brahman of the gods: hence he announces that (sacrifice) to him who is the Brahman of the gods; and accordingly he says, 'to Bṛhaspati, the Brahman.'--'Therefore prosper the sacrifice, prosper the lord of sacrifice, prosper me!' In this there is nothing that requires explanation.

22. [He continues, Vāj. S. II, 13]: 'May his mind delight in the gushing (of the) butter[23]!' By the mind, assuredly, all this (universe) is obtained (or pervaded, āptam): hence he thereby obtains this All by the mind.--'May Bṛhaspati spread (carry through) this sacrifice! May he restore the sacrifice uninjured!'--he thereby restores what was torn asunder.--'May all the gods rejoice here!'--'all the gods,' doubtless, means the All: hence he thereby restores (the sacrifice) by means of the All. He may add, 'Step forward!' if he choose; or, if he choose, he may omit it.

Footnotes and references:


For other versions of this legend about Prajāpati (Brahman)'s illicit passion for his daughter, which, as Dr. Muir suggests, probably refers to some atmospheric phenomenon, see Ait. Br. III, 33, and Tāṇḍya Br. VIII, 2, 10; cf. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, IV, p. 45; I, p. 107. See also Śat. Br. II, 1, 2, 9, with note.


The construction here is irregular. Perhaps this is part of the speech of the gods, being a kind of indirect address to Rudra in order to avoid naming the terrible god. Dr. Muir translates: The gods said, "This god, who rules over the beasts, commits a transgression in that he acts thus to his own daughter, our sister: pierce him through."' In the Kāṇva MS. some words seem to have been omitted at this particular place. According to the Ait. Br., the gods created a god Bhūtavat, composed of the most fearful forms of theirs. After piercing the incarnation of Prajāpati's sin, he asked, and obtained, the boon that he should henceforth be the ruler of cattle.


Viz., Rig-veda X, 61, 7, where verses 5-7 contain the first allusion to this legend.


The āgnimāruta is one of the śāstras recited at the evening libation of the Soma-sacrifice; and made up chiefly of a hymn addressed to Agni Vaiśvānara and one to the Maruts; and [following the stotriya and anurūpa pragātha] a hymn to Jātavedas; [and one to the Āpas, followed by various detailed p. 210 verses or couplets]; viz., Rig-veda III, 3, 'vaiśvānarāya pṛthupājase,' &c., and I, 87, 'pratvakṣasaḥ pratavaso,' &c.; [Rig-veda I, 168, 1-2, stotriya; VII, 16, II-32, anurūpa]; and Rig-veda I, 143, 'pratavyasīm navyasīm,' &c. (and X, 9, 'āpo hi ṣṭhā mayobhuvas,' &c.) respectively, at the Agniṣṭoma (and first day of the dvādaśāha). See Āśv. Śr. V, 20, 5; Ait. Br. III, 35; IV, 30.


According to Ait. Br. III, 35, where this legend is also given in connection with the āgnimāruta śāstra, Agni Vaiśvānara, aided by the Maruts, stirred (and heated) the seed; and out of it sprang successively Āditya (the sun), Bhṛgu, and the Ādityas; whilst the coals (aṅgāra) remaining behind became the Aṅgiras, and Bṛhaspati, and the coal dust, the burnt earth and ashes were changed into various kinds of animals. According to Harisvāmin it would seem that our passage has to he understood to the effect that the composition of the āgnimāruta śāstra shows the order of beings which the gods caused to spring forth from the seed. See also IV, 5, I, 8.


See note on I, 7, 4, 18.


'Nirdadāha.' The Kauṣīt. Br. VI, 10 (Ind. Stud. II, 306) and Yāska Nir. 1 2, 14 have nirjaghāna, 'it knocked out his eyes.' The Kauṣīt. Br. also makes them first take the prāśitra to Savitṛ, and when it cut his hands, they gave him two golden ones.


Caru, in the ordinary sense of the word, is a potful of rice (barley, &c.) grains boiled, or rather steamed (antarūṣmapakva), so as to remain whole, as in Indian curry. Cf. Weber, Ind. Stud. IX, p. 216.


According to Kauṣīt. Br. VI, 10, they took it from Pūṣan to Indra, as the mightiest and-strongest of the gods; and he appeased it with prayer (brahman); whence the Brahman (in taking the prāśitra) says, 'Indra is Brahman.' Weber, Ind. Stud. II, p. 307.


The consistent use of derivations from one and the same root (pra-su) in this and similar passages is, of course, quite as artificial in Sanskrit as must be any imitation of it in English.


He thereby averts the evil effects of the act which is connected with Rudra, 'the terrible god;' see p. 2, note 2. Besides, the iḍā with which he now proceeds representing the cattle, he thereby guards the cattle from the rudriya, cf. above I, 7, 3, 21.


See I, 8, 1, 12, 13.


According to Kāty. III, 4, 7, the prāśitra, or (Brahman's) fore-portion, is to be of the size of a barley-corn or a pippala (Ficus Religiosa) berry.


There is no indication in the text of two different practices being here referred to. The Kāṇva recension, however, puts in here, 'but let him not do so,' which is evidently understood in our text also.


Viz. in the prāśitraharaṇa, or pan which is to receive the Brahman's portion. The hollow part of the vessel is to be either of the shape of a (hand-)mirror, i.e. with a round bowl, or of that of a camasa or jug, i.e. with a square bowl (p. 7, note 1). Kāty. I, 3, 40, 42. On the underlayer' of butter, see I, 7, 2, 8.


'Tiryag evainaṃ nirmimīte.' I am in doubt as to whether p. 213 enam (which is omitted in the Kāṇva text) really refers to Rudra's dart. Cf. par. 9.


According to Kāty. II, 2, 15, he first looks at it, with the text (Vāj. S. p. 58): 'With Mitra's eye I look on thee!'


According to Kāty. II, 2, 17, he previously puts it down on the shoulder of the altar, with the text (Vāj. S. p. 58), 'I put you down, on the navel of the earth, in the lap of Aditi!' According to 19, however, this is optional (except when the Brahman does not eat the prāśitra immediately).


According to Kāty. II, 2, 20, the Brahman, having rinsed the p. 214 vessel [or, according to the comment, the two prāśitraharaṇa, one of which is used as lid to the other], touches his navel, with the text (Vāj. S. p. 58), 'May the deities there are in the waters purify this! Enter the stomach of Indra, being offered with "Hail!" Mix not with my food! Settle down above my navel! In Indra's stomach I make thee settle!'


The Brahman's regular portion (brahmabhāga) of the sacrificial food is cut, like the prāśitra or fore-portion (which apparently he receives as the representative of Bṛhaspati), from Agni's cake.


See I, 1, 4, 9.


According to the scholiast, it represents the pākayajña or domestic (cooked) offerings, because at the latter, as in the iḍā, the remains of the offerings are eaten.


? 'Mano jūtir [jyotir, Kāṇva rec.] juṣatām ājyasya.' I am inclined to read jūter [cf. Ath.-veda XIX, 58, 1: ghṛtasya jūtiḥ samānā]. Mahīdhara interprets: 'May the rushing (eager) mind devote itself to the butter!' Hillebrandt, Neu- and Vollmondsopfer, p. 135, apparently proposes to combine manojūtir 'des Geistes Schnelligkeit.' Perhaps juṣatām has to be taken in a transitive sense: 'May the gushing of the butter delight the mind.'

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