Satapatha-brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana IV.6.9 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 9th brahmana of kanda IV, adhyaya 6.

Kanda IV, adhyaya 6, brahmana 9

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. Now, once on a time, the gods were sitting[1] in a sacrificial session, thinking, 'May we attain excellence; may we be glorious, may we be eaters of food!' That same food, gained by them, wished to go away from them,--and, food being cattle, it was the cattle that wished to go away from them, thinking, 'It is to be feared lest they, being exhausted, may hurt us[2]: how, indeed, will they deal with us?'

2. They offered these two oblations in the Gārhapatya;

and--the Gārhapatya being a house (gṛha), and a house being a resting-place--they thereby secured them in the house, and thus that food, gained by them, did not go away from them.

3. And in like manner do these Śattrins now sit through a sacrificial session, thinking, 'May we attain excellence, may we be glorious, may we be eaters of food!' That food, gained by them, wishes to go away from them,--and, food being cattle, it is the cattle that wish to go away from them, thinking, 'It is to be feared lest they, being exhausted, may hurt us: how, indeed, will they deal with us?'

4. They offer these two oblations[3] in the Gārhapatya; and--the Gārhapatya being a house, and the house being a resting-place--they thereby secure them in the house, and thus that food, gained by them, does not go away from them.

5. And in like manner that offered food wishes to go away from him, thinking, 'It is to be feared lest this one will hurt me: how, indeed, will he deal with me?'

6. He first eats a very little from the further (back) end of it;--thereby he encourages it: it knows, 'It was not so as I thought: he has in no wise hurt me.' Thus it becomes attached to him, and, indeed, whosoever, knowing this, is able to observe the vow thereof, he becomes an eater of food, dear to food.

7. This, then, is done at the Sattrotthāna (rising from the session) on the tenth day[4]. Each of them sits speechless, strengthening his voice[5]: with that (voice) strengthened and reinvigorated they perform the last day. Then the others are dismissed, either (for) fetching fuel or to their day's reading of the scriptures. Now also they take food.

8. In the afternoon, having come together and touched water, they enter the ladies' hall[6], and while the others hold on to him from behind, he[7]

offers (on the Śālādvārya fire) those two oblations; (the first) with (Vāj. S. VIII, 51), 'Here is joy: here rejoice ye! here is stability, here is (your) own stability,--Hail!' He thereby addresses the cattle; they thereby secure cattle for themselves.

9. And the second he offers with, 'Letting the sucking calf to the mother,'--he means to say by this, 'letting the fire go to the earth;'--'a sucking calf drinking from the mother,'--he thereby means the fire sucking the (moisture of the) earth;--'may he maintain increase of wealth among us,--Hail!' increase of wealth is cattle: they thus secure cattle for themselves.

10. They go out eastward, and enter the (shed of the) Havirdhāna carts from behind towards the front; for from the front towards the back (they enter) when about to perform the sacrifice, but thus (it is done) at the rising from the session.

11. On the hinder shaft of the northern cart[8] they sing the Sāman (Vāg . S. VIII, 52), called 'the completion of the session,'--there it is that they reach completeness; or on the northern hip of the high altar; but the other is the more usual,

12. That is, on the hinder shaft of the northern cart. 'We have gone to the light, we have become immortal,'--for they who sit through a sacrificial session become indeed the light, they become immortal;--'to the sky have we ascended from the earth,'--for they who sit through a sacrificial session indeed ascend from the earth to the sky;--'we have attained to the gods,'--for they indeed attain to the gods;--'to heaven, to the light!' thrice they repeat the finale; for they indeed become (partakers of) heaven and bliss. Thus, whatever the nature of his Sāman is, that they come to be who sit through a sacrificial session.

13. They creep[9] along right under the axle of the southern cart: even as a snake frees itself from its skin, so do they free themselves from all evil. They creep along with an atichandas verse; for that, the atichandas (redundant metre), is all the metres;--thus evil does not overtake them: therefore they creep along with an atichandas verse.

14. They creep along with (Vāj. S. VIII, 53; Rig-veda I, 132, 6), 'O Indra and Parvata, leaders in battle, smite ye every one that wars against us, smite him with the thunderbolt! him that is hidden may it please in the far retreat which he hath reached: our foes, O hero, on all sides may the tearer tear to pieces,--on all sides!'

15. They go out eastward, and enter the Sadas from the front towards the back; for from the back towards the front (they do so) when about to perform the sacrifice; but thus (they do) at the rising from the session.

16. They sit down by their several dhiṣṇya-hearths. Now, once on a time, the pith of Vāc (speech) wished to desert the gods who had won it; it tried to creep away along this earth, for Vāc is this earth: her pith are these plants and trees. By means of this Sāman[10] they overtook it, and, thus overtaken, it returned to them. Hence upwards on this earth grow the plants, and upwards the trees. And in like manner does the pith of Vāc wish to desert these (sacrificers) who have won it, and tries to creep away along this earth,--for Vāc is this earth: her pith are these plants and trees. By means of this Sāman they overtake it, and, thus overtaken, it returns to them. Hence upwards on this earth grow the plants, and upwards the trees.

17. They chant verses of the queen of serpents; for the queen of serpents is this earth: through her they thus obtain everything. The prelude is performed by (the Udgātṛ) himself[11], and the chant is not joined in (by the choristers[12]), lest some one else overhear it. For he would cause (the performance) to be in excess were another to chant; he would cause an excess, were another to join in it; he would cause an excess, were another to overhear it: therefore the prelude is performed by (the Udgātṛ) himself, and the chant is not joined in.

18. The Hotṛ recites the Four-Hotṛ formulas, whereby he follows up that chant by a Śastra[13]. If the Hotṛ does not know them, let the Gṛhapati recite them; but it is the Hotṛ's recitation[14].

19. Then the Adhvaryu's response[15] is, 'These sacrificers have prospered: happiness hath accrued unto them!' whereby he bespeaks success to human speech.

20. Thereupon they utter the Brahmodya[16] in (the form of a) dialogue. For everything, indeed, is obtained, everything gained by them that sit through a sacrificial session,--they have performed with Yajus prayers: these have obtained so much, have acquired so much; they have recited Ṛk verses: these have obtained so much, have acquired so much; they have chanted Sāmans: these have obtained so much, have acquired so much. But this has not been obtained, this has not been acquired by them, namely, the (theological) discussion, the sacred discourse: this is what they thereby obtain, what they acquire.

21. Having 'crept' up to the Udumbara post, they restrain their speech. Now, they who perform the sacrifice with speech, milk and suck out the sacrifice; for sacrifice is speech. And previously to this, each of them sits speechless, strengthening his speech[17], and with their speech thus strengthened and reinvigorated they perform the last day. But at this (disputation) the entire speech, thus obtained, becomes exhausted: that speech they all strengthen (by remaining) speechless, and with it thus strengthened and reinvigorated they perform the Atirātra[18].

22. They sit touching the Udumbara post[19], for strength is food, and the Udumbara tree is strength: with strength he thus invigorates speech.

23. When the sun has set, they go out (of the Sadas) eastward, and sit down behind the Āhavanīya, in front of the Havirdhāna shed. Round them, sitting speechless, the Pratiprasthātṛ carries the Vasatīvarī water[20]. For whatever object they perform the session, therewith let them release their speech. For in olden times the Ṛṣis were wont to hold sacrificial sessions for certain objects,--'such is our wish: may that be fulfilled!' And if they be desirous of different objects, desirous of subjects, desirous of offspring, desirous of cattle,—

24. Let them release their speech with this (Vāj. S. VIII, 53), 'Earth! Air! Sky!' Thus they render their speech auspicious by means of the truth, and with that auspicious (speech) they pray for blessings,--'May we be abundantly supplied with offspring!'--thereby they pray for offspring;--'May we be abundantly supplied with men!'--thereby they pray for men;--'May we be abundantly supplied with food!' thereby they pray for prosperity.

25. Thereupon the Gṛhapati, or whomsoever the Gṛhapati may call upon, recites the Subrahmaṇyā litany[21]. Some, indeed, recite the Subrahmaṇyā each separately; but rather let the Gṛhapati, or whomsoever the Gṛhapati may call upon, recite the Subrahmaṇyā. Having desired an invitation to that (Atirātra feast), they put kindling-sticks on the fire[22].

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

The Kāṇva text has nisheduḥ, 'they sat down.' See IV, 6, 8, 1.

[2]:

See p. 31, note 1.

[3]:

Viz. those referred to in paragraphs 8 and 9.

[4]:

That is, on the tenth day of the Daśarātra, and hence either the last but one day of the sessional Dvādaśāha (p. 402, note 2), or the last day but two of the Gavām ayana (p. 426, note 3), called p. 448 Avivākya. The ceremonies here described take place in the afternoon, after the regular performance of that day's (atyagniṣṭoma) Soma-sacrifice.

[5]:

'Each of them (? or, one by one), speech-bound, guards Soma till the wakening,' Kāty. XII, 4, 1. According to the Kāṇva text only one (eko haiṣām) does so (but perhaps at a time), while the others disperse (vitiṣṭhante).

[6]:

The Patnīśāla seems to be identical here with the Prācīnavaṃśa (see Kāty. XII, 4, 7), unless it be some shed or tent adjoining the latter, cf. Āpast. Śr. X, 5, comm. The sacrificial formula of the first offering seems to refer to the domestic hearth, the centre of the family life, as a source of joy and strength to the householder.

[7]:

According to the Kāṇva text, the Adhvaryu makes the oblations; but if he does not know how to perform them (i.e. if they are not recognised by his school as belonging to the Adhvaryu's duties), the Gṛhapati does so; and if he cannot do so, any one that knows them, may perform them. Regarding these oblations, and the order of the subsequent ceremonies, there is indeed considerable difference of opinion among the ritualistic authorities. According to Āśv. VIII, 13, 1-2 all of them offer, but only the first oblation is to be performed on the Gārhapatya, and the second on the Āgnīdhrīya. Lāṭy. III, 7, 8 seq., on the other hand, enjoins the Udgātṛ to perform two oblations on the Gārhapatya; the first with the (somewhat modified) formula, assigned in our text to the second oblation, while the second oblation is to be made with 'Svāhā' simply. [The first of the above formulas is, according to that authority, to be used by them, when they touch the Udumbara post, see IV, 6, 9, 22.] The oblations completed, they are to proceed to the Āhavanīya, where the Udgātṛs are to chant thrice the Sāman II, 1126 (?); after which they enter the Sadas to perform the Mānasa-stotra.

[8]:

According to Kāty. XII, 4, 10 and comm., the southern shaft of the northern cart is intended. Similarly the Kāṇva text,--while touching the right shaft of the northern cart he sings thereon the Sāman 'the completion (success) of the session.' The words 'sattrasya ṛddhiḥ' are doubtless the name of the Sāman, which has been erroneously made, with 'asi' appended to it in the Mādhy. text of the Saṃhitā, the beginning of the Sāman.

[9]:

See p. 299, note 2.

[10]:

Viz. the so-called Mānasa-stotra (mental chant), Sāma-veda II, 726-8 (Rig-veda X, 289, 1-3, ascribed to the queen of serpents): 'The spotted bull has come up, &c.,' performed inaudibly. In connection with this Stotra, an imaginary libation to Prajāpati-Vāyu is performed, everything connected with which, from the upākaraṇa (or introduction, on the part of the Adhvaryu, see p. 401, note 1) up to the bhakṣa, or drinking of the cup by the priests, is done 'mentally' (that is, as would seem, by gestures merely). According to. Āśv. II, 13, 6, however, the Hotṛ recites the same hymn in a low voice (upāṃśu), but not inaudibly, as a Śastra. But see p. 452, note 1.

[11]:

Not by the Prastotṛ, as is otherwise the case; see p. 310, note 1.

[12]:

See p. 311, note 1.

[13]:

According to this (and Tāṇḍya Br. IV, 9, 13) it would seem that the Hotṛ is not to recite the hymn of the Mānasa-stotra, as prescribed by the Ait. Br. and Āśv.

[14]:

The caturhotṛ formulas--so-called from four priests, Agnīdh, Adhvaryu, Hotṛ; and Upavaktṛ; being mentioned in them--are as follows: 'Their offering-spoon was (the power of) thinking; the ghee was thought; the altar was speech; the barhis was object of meditation; the fire was intelligence; the Agnīdh was understanding; the oblation was breath; the Adhvaryu was the Sāman; the Hotṛ was Vācaspati; the Upavaktṛ was the mind;'--at the end of each of these ten formulas the Adhvaryu, according to Āśv., responds, 'Yea (om), Hotar! So (it is), O Hotar!'--(the Hotṛ proceeds), 'They forsooth took that (mānasa) graha; O Vācaspati! O disposer (or decree), O name! Let us praise thy name! Praise thou (and) by our name go to heaven! What success the gods have obtained with Prajāpati as their gṛhapati, that success shall we obtain!'

[15]:

? That is, at the conclusion of the caturhotṛ-mantras. Āśv., on the other hand, makes the Hotṛ conclude the Brahmodya with the benediction, 'O Adhvaryu, we have succeeded!' to which the latter is to respond, 'We have succeeded, O Hotar!'

[16]:

That is, a discussion, or disputation, regarding the nature of the Brahman. According to Tāṇḍya Br. IV, 9, 14, as interpreted by the commentary, the performance consists rather in (or is followed by?) vituperative remarks on Prajāpati, whom they have now safely got into their power (allusion being made, for instance, to his criminal relations to his daughter; to his having created thieves, gad-flies and mosquitos, &c.); but this, it seems to me, is probably a wrong interpretation of the 'parivadanti' in the text, which may mean that 'they discourse' upon Prajāpati. So also Kāty. XII, 4, 21, p. 453 Prajāpater aguṇākhyānam, 'aguṇa' may have to be taken in the sense of 'nirguṇa' or 'nirguṇatvam' (unqualifiedness, unconditionedness), rather than in that of 'vice;' and it is worthy of note that the Prajāpati-tanu formulas, preceding the Brahmodya proper, consist chiefly in the enumeration of negative qualities. 'The twelve bodies of Prājapati are qualified as follows:--the eater of food and the mistress of food; the happy and glorious; the abodeless and dauntless; the unattained and unattainable; the invincible and irresistible; the unpreceded and unmatched.' Then follows the Brahmodya:--'Agni is the house-lord (gṛhapati),' so say some: 'he is the house-lord of this world;'--'Vāyu is the house-lord,' so say some: 'he is the house-lord of the airy region;'--yonder (sun), forsooth, is the house-lord: he who burns yonder, he is the lord, and the seasons are the house. Verily, to whatsoever (sacrificers) he becomes the gṛhapati, who knows that divine gṛhapati, that gṛhapati prospers, and they, the sacrificers, prosper: to whatsoever (sacrificers) he becomes the gṛhapati, who knows the divine averter of evil, that gṛhapati averts evil, and they, the sacrificers, avert evil! See Ait. Br. V, 25. According to Āśv., the Hotṛ alone would seem to repeat the Brahmodya. The expression vākovākya (dialogue) apparently refers to the controversial form of this discourse. See also A. Ludwig, Rig-veda, III p. 390 seq.

[17]:

The construction of the text is quite irregular, and I am by no means certain whether 'tām eṣām purā' should not be separated from what follows, and have the verbs 'viduhanti' and 'nirdhayanti' supplied after them,--That (speech) of theirs (they milk and suck out) before this. Each now sits speech-bound, strengthening his speech, &c.

[18]:

That is, the last day of the Dvādaśāha, or of the Gavāmayana, the so-called Udayanīya-atirātra.

[19]:

According to Lāṭy. III, 8, it they form a circle round the Udumbara post and touch it, muttering the mantra, 'Here is stability, here is (our) own stability! Here is joy: here rejoice ye!' or, 'In me is stability, in me is (your) own stability! in me is joy: in me rejoice ye!' or both. See p. 448, note 3.

[20]:

See III, 9, 2, 1 seq.

[21]:

See III, 3, 4, 17 seq.

[22]:

According to the comm. on Kāty. XII, 4, 28 it is the reciter of the Subrahmaṇyā who, having said 'O Subrahmaṇyā, invite me thereto!' puts sticks on the fire.

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