Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana IV.6.4 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 IV, adhyaya 6.

Kanda IV, adhyaya 6, brahmana 4

1. Then as to the Mahāvratīya (graha)[1]. Now when Prajāpati had created the living beings, his joints were relaxed: with his relaxed joints he was unable to raise himself. Then the gods went on praising and toiling. They saw this Mahāvratīya (cup) and drew it for him: thereby they restored his joints.

2. With his joints thus restored, he approached this food, what food of Prajāpati there is,--for what eating is to men, that the vrata (fast-food, or religious observance generally) is to the gods. And because (they say), 'Great, indeed, is this vrata whereby he has raised himself,' therefore it is called Mahāvratīya.

3. Now, even as Prajāpati then was, when he had created the living beings, so are those who sit (in sacrificial session) for a year; and as Prajāpati then, after a year, approached food, so do they now, after a year, approach food, for whomsoever that knows this, they draw that cup.

4. Let him draw it for Indra Vimṛdh (the Averter of scorn), for, verily, the scorners of those who sit for a year are smitten, and all is won by them: hence for Indra Vimṛdh,--with (Vāj. S. VIII, 44; Rig-veda X, 152, 4), 'Scatter thou our scorners, O Indra, lay them low that war against us, and send them, that persecute us, to the nethermost darkness!--Thou art taken with a support: thee to Indra Vimṛdh!--This is thy womb: thee to Indra Vimṛdh!'

5. Or for Viśvakarman (the All-worker), for all work is done, everything is won by those who sit in session for a year: hence for Viśvakarman,--with (Vāj. S. VIII, 45; Rig-veda X, 81, 7), 'Vācaspati Viśvakarman, the thought-speeder[2], let us invoke for protection in our struggle[3] this day: may he, the all-beneficient worker of good, delight in all our offerings[4] for our protection!--Thou art taken with a support: thee to Indra Viśvakarman[5]!--This is thy womb; thee to Indra Viśvakarman!'

6. But if he knows the (verse) referring to Indra (and) Viśvakarman, let him draw it thus[6] (Vāj. S. VIII, 46), 'O Viśvakarman, with strengthening libation madest thou Indra an invincible champion: to him did the people bow down of old, because[7] he, the mighty, is worthy of adoration.--Thou art taken with a support: thee to Indra Viśvakarman!--This is thy womb: thee to Indra Viśvakarman!'

Footnotes and references:


The drawing of this cup forms part of the performance of the last but one day of the Gavām ayana, the so-called Mahāvrata (great vow) day, on which the following particulars are supplied by Kātyāyana XIII, 2, 16 seq. The particular form of sacrifice prescribed for the day is the Agniṣṭoma. A victim to Prajāpati is to be immolated. The Mahāvratīya-graha is drawn as an additional libation (like the Atigrāhyas,). The signal for the chanting of the Pṛṣṭha-stotras is given by (a Brāhman) playing, with a rattan plectrum, on a harp with a hundred strings of p. 430 Muñja grass. During the chanting and recitation, the Udgātṛ sits on an arm-chair, the Hotṛ on a hammock or swing, the Adhvaryu on a board, and the other priests on cushions of grass. Then follow several curious ceremonies, performed partly inside and partly outside the Vedi. The performance of the Sattra is alternately lauded and vituperated by two persons [the one, a Brāhman, seated at the front door of the Sadas; the other, a Śūdra, at the back door; both facing each other;--thus Lāṭy. IV, 3, according to which authority, however, they are merely to say respectively, 'These Sattrins have not succeeded!'--'They have succeeded!'] At the same time a harlot and a theological student (brahmachārin) upbraid one another (in front of the Āgnīdhrīya fire shed); while (south of the Mārjālīya) a sham contest takes place between an Ārya (Vaiśya) and a Śūdra for the possession of a round white skin, the Śūdra having to give in (after the third effort, when the Ārya beats him with the skin). Thereupon a couple is shut up in an enclosed space south of the Mārjālīya (or behind the Āgnīdhrīya, Lāṭy.) for maithuna.


Or, the thought-swift (manojū).


For the different meanings of 'vāja' see Max Müller, 'India, what can it teach us?' p. 164.


Or, in all our invocations (havana).


The identification of Viśvakarman with Indra was probably suggested by the final pāda of the preceding verse of the hymn (Rig-veda X, 81, 6): 'May there be (or may he, Viśvakarman, be) for us a Sūri Maghavan' (a rich patron; terms frequently applied to Indra). But cp. Muir, O. S. T. vol. iv, p. 7.


The Kāṇva text does not give the verse, but remarks merely,--But if he can get (vindet) an aindrī vaiśvakarmaṇī (verse), let him draw it therewith.


I see no other way of rendering 'yathā-asat' in this passage.

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