Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana II.2.2 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 2nd brahmana of kanda II, adhyaya 2.

Kanda II, adhyaya 2, brahmana 2

1. Now, in performing that sacrifice, they slay it; and in pressing out the king (Soma), they slay him; and in quieting and immolating the victim, they slay it. The haviryajña they slay with the mortar and pestle, and with the two mill-stones.

2. When slain, that sacrifice was no longer vigorous. By means of dakṣiṇās (gifts to the priests) the gods again invigorated it: hence the name dakṣiṇā, because thereby they invigorated (dakṣay) that (sacrifice). Whatever, therefore, fails in this sacrifice when slain, that he now again invigorates by means of gifts to the priests; whereupon the sacrifice becomes successful: for this reason he makes gifts to the priests.

3. He may give six (cows)[1]; for six seasons, indeed, there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Prajāpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts, dakṣiṇās) does he thereby invigorate it.

4. He may give twelve; for twelve months there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Prajāpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts) does he thereby invigorate it.

5. He may give twenty-four; for twenty-four half-moons there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Prajāpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts) does he thereby invigorate it. Such is the measure of the priests' fees; but he may give more, according to (the depth of) his faith. The reason why he gives fees to the priests is this.

6. Verily, there are two kinds of gods; for, indeed, the gods are the gods; and the Brāhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore are the human gods. The sacrifice of these is divided into two kinds: oblations constitute the sacrifice to the gods; and gifts to the priests that to the human gods, the Brāhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore. With oblations one gratifies the gods, and with gifts to the priests the human gods, the Brāhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore. Both these kinds of gods, when gratified, place him in a state of bliss (sudhā)[2].

7. Even as seed is poured into the womb, so the officiating priests place the sacrificer in the (heavenly) world[3], when he now makes gifts to those who, he hopes, will make him go thither. Such, then, (is the manner) of gifts to priests.

8. Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Prajāpati, were contending with each other. They were both soulless, for they were mortal, and he who is mortal is soulless. Among these two (classes of beings) who were mortal, Agni alone was immortal; and it was through him, the immortal, that they both lived. Now whichsoever (of the gods) they (the Asuras) slew, he, indeed, was so (slain).

9. Thereupon the gods were left inferior. They went on praising and practising austerities, hoping that they might be able to overcome their enemies, the mortal Asuras. They beheld this immortal Agnyādheya (consecrated fire).

10. They said, 'Come, let us place that immortal element in our innermost soul! When we have placed that immortal element in our innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, we shall overcome our conquerable, mortal enemies.'

11. They said, 'With both of us is this fire (Agni): let us then treat openly with the Asuras[4].'

12. They said, 'We shall set up (or, establish within ourselves, ā-dhā) the two fires,--what will ye do then?'

13. They replied, 'Then we shall lay it down (ni-dhā), saying, Eat grass here! eat wood here! cook pap here! cook meat here!' Now that fire, which the Asuras thus laid down, is this same (fire) wherewith men prepare their food.

14. The gods then established that (fire) in their innermost soul; and having established that immortal element in their innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, they overcame their mortal, conquerable enemies. And so this one now establishes that immortal element in his innermost soul; and--though there is for him no hope of immortality--he obtains the full measure of life; for, indeed, he becomes unconquerable, and his enemy, though striving to conquer, conquers him not. And, accordingly, when one who has established his fires and one who has not established his fires, vie with each other, he who has established his fires overcomes the other, for, verily, he thereby becomes unconquerable, he thereby becomes immortal.

15. Now, when, on that occasion, they produce that (fire) by churning, then he (the sacrificer) breathes (blows) upon it, when produced; for fire indeed is breath: he thereby produces the one thus produced. He again draws in his breath: thereby he establishes that (fire) in his innermost soul; and that fire thus becomes established in his innermost soul[5].

16. Having kindled it, he makes it blaze, thinking, 'Herein I will worship, herein I will perform the sacred work!' Thereby he makes blaze that fire which has been established in his innermost soul.

17. 'It (or some one) might come between,--it might go away!' so (fear some)[6]; but, surely, as long as he lives no one comes between him and that fire which has been established in his innermost soul: let him, therefore, not heed this. And as to its becoming extinguished:--surely, as long as he lives, that fire which has been established in his innermost soul, does not become extinct in him.

18. The (sacrificial) fires, assuredly, are those breaths: the Āhavanīya and Gārhapatya are the out-breathing and the in-breathing; and the Anvāhārya-pacana is the through-breathing.

19. Now, attendance on (or, the worship of) that consecrated fire (agnyādheya) means (speaking) the truth. Whosoever speaks the truth, acts as if he sprinkled that lighted fire with ghee; for even so does he enkindle it: and ever the more increases his own vital energy, and day by day does he become better. And whosoever speaks the untruth, acts as if he sprinkled that lighted fire with water; for even so does he enfeeble it: and ever the less becomes his own vital energy, and day by day does he become more wicked. Let him, therefore, speak nothing but the truth.

20. Now the kinsmen spake unto Aruṇa Aupaveśi, 'Thou art advanced in years: establish thou the two fires!' He replied, 'Speak ye not thus! be thou a restrainer of speech[7]; for he who has established the fires must not speak an untruth: let him rather not speak at all, but let him not speak an untruth. Worship, above all, is truthfulness.'

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Viz. at the tanūhavir-iṣṭis together, or at least three cows at each iṣṭi if there are two iṣṭis. The greater the gift, the greater the merit. According to the Paddhati on Katy. IV, so, he is also to entertain a hundred Brāhmans at the end of the performance. See also Taitt. Br. I, 1, 7, 9-11.

[2]:

That is, 'they convey him to the celestial world,' as reads the otherwise identical passage in IV, 3, 4, 4.

[3]:

The Kāṇva text has 'svarge loke.'

[4]:

'Pra tv evāsurebhyo bravāmeti.'--'Hantāsurebhyaḥ pratiprabravāmeti,' Kāṇva text. ? 'Let us talk them out of it!'

[5]:

See p. 297, note 4.

[6]:

This paragraph is somewhat obscure. The Kāṇva recension has the following more explicit paragraphs instead:--As to this, there is a source of anxiety (āgas) to some, fearing that 'it (that fire) might go out (anvagan).' But let him not heed this, for, assuredly, that fire of his, which has been established in his innermost soul, does not go out. 'The carriage might pass through (vyayāsīt), the cart might pass through;--it (or some one) may come between (me and the fire)!' such is another source of anxiety to some; but let him not heed this either; for, assuredly, the carriage does not pass through, the cart does not pass through that fire of his which has been established in his innermost soul. Cf. XII, 4, 1, 2-3.

[7]:

The Kāṇva text has: He said, 'Speak ye not thus; be thou a restrainer of speech!'--'Speak ye not,' so (he said); for, having established the two fires, one should not speak untruthfully (mṛṣā), nor should he who utters speech speak untruthfully. He should, therefore, strive to speak nothing but the truth.

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