Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana V.4.3 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 3rd brahmana of kanda V, adhyaya 4.

Kanda V, adhyaya 4, brahmana 3

1. North of the Āhavanīya he places a hundred, or more than a hundred, cows of that relative of his. The reason why he does so is this:

2. When Varuṇa was consecrated, his energy, his vigour departed from him. Probably[1] that collected essence (life-sap) of the waters wherewith they were sprinkling him, drove out his energy, his vigour. He found it in the cattle, and because he found it in them, therefore cattle are an object of respect. And having found it in the cattle, he again took to himself his energy, his vigour. And in like manner this one;--that energy does not indeed depart from him, but he does it (thinking), 'This Rājasūya is Varuṇa's consecration, and Varuṇa did so.'

3. He takes down the chariot (from the stand[2]); for whatever turns away from the warrior (rājanya) that he overtakes with his chariot: for this reason he takes down the chariot.

4. He takes it down with (Vāj. S. X, 21), 'Thou art Indra's thunderbolt!' The chariot is indeed a thunderbolt; and the Sacrificer is Indra;--he is Indra for a twofold reason, namely because he is a

Kṣatriya, and because he is a Sacrificer: therefore he says, 'Indra's thunderbolt thou art.'

5. Having turned it (so as to stand) inside the Vedi, he yokes it with, 'I yoke thee by the direction of Mitra and Varuṇa, the directors[3];' for Mitra and Varuṇa are the two arms, and by his arms the Rājanya belongs to Mitra and Varuṇa that is why he says, 'I yoke thee by direction of Mitra and Varuṇa, the directors.'

6. He yokes it with four (horses). He passes along by the same way as that on which the dakṣiṇās[4] go,--behind the Sadas, and in front of the hall. He stops it behind the cātvāla, and in front of the Āgnīdhra.

7. He mounts it with, 'For unfeebleness (I mount) thee, for svadhā[5] (I mount) thee!'--by 'for unfeebleness thee' he means to say, 'for a state free from afflictions (I mount) thee;' by 'for svadhā thee' he means to say, 'for life-sap (I mount) thee;'--'I, the unharmed Arjuna!' Now Indra is called Arjuna, which is his mystic name; and this (king) is Indra for a twofold reason, namely because he is a Kṣatriya, and because he is a Sacrificer: therefore he says, 'the unharmed Arjuna.'

8. He then goads on the right yoke-horse, with, 'Conquer thou by the impulse of the Maruts!' For the Maruts are the clansmen, and it is by his clan that the chieftain wins what he desires to win: therefore he says, 'Conquer thou by the impulse of the Maruts!'

9. He then stops (the chariot) in the midst of the cows[6], with, 'May we obtain by the mind!' For it is by the mind that everything here (that is obtained) is obtained; and by the mind therefore he now obtains everything: therefore he says, 'May we obtain by the mind!'

10. He then touches a cow with the end of the bow, with, 'Together with energy!'--energy means vigour, kine: it is energy, vigour, he thereby takes to himself. And he adds, 'I overpower them, I seize them!'

11. Now as to why he stops amidst the cows of his relative,--whatever is tending away from a man, be it either fame, or anything else, that passes over to his relative foremost of all;--that energy, or vigour, he now takes again from his relative to himself: that is why he stops amidst the cows of his relative.

12. In return he presents to him just as many (cows)[7], or more. For assuredly he, the Sacrificer, is not capable of a cruel deed; but cruelly indeed he acts when he says, 'I overpower them, I seize them;' and thus that is done by him without cruelty: this is why, in return, he presents to him just as many (cows) or more.

13. He then pulls the right-side (horses, or reins). He passes along on the same way as that on which the dakṣiṇā (cows) go,--in front of the sacrificial post, and along the south of the Vedi. Behind the Sadas, and in front of the hall, he stops that (car).

14. [Vāj. S. X, 22], 'Lest, O Indra, overpowerer of the mighty, we be wanting thee, heedless through ungodliness,--mount thou, O divine wielder of the thunderbolt, the chariot which thou restrainest (as well as its) well-horsed reins[8].' With this (verse) he stops (the chariot);--reins (raśmi) means bridle (abhīśu): therefore he says, 'Thou restrainest the well-horsed reins[9]???.' Thereupon he offers the (four oblations) relating to the unyoking of the chariot. 'Well-pleased the chariot shall be when unyoked,' he thinks, and therefore he offers the (oblations) relating to the unyoking of the chariot.

15. He offers with (Vāj. S. X, 23), 'To Agni, the House-lord, hail!' He thereby pleases the part of the chariot relating to Agni; and it is the shoulder-pieces of the chariot that relate to Agni it is the shoulder-pieces (of the yoke) he thereby pleases. And the house-lord's position means prosperity: as much as he (the king) rules over, for the prosperity, the house-lordship, of that his kingship is thereby rendered free (unopposed).

16. 'To Soma, the wood-lord (tree), hail!' There are two kinds of (objects) coming from trees, the wheels of chariots and waggons, for both of these he thereby ensures safety. And the wood-lord (tree) being Soma,--whatever part of the chariot comes from the tree, that he thereby pleases. Now the parts of the chariot coming from trees are the wooden pieces of the chariot: hence it is the wooden pieces he thereby pleases. And Soma being the nobility, it is over the nobility that his kingship is thereby rendered free.

17. 'To the strength of the Maruts, hail!' He thereby pleases the part of the chariot belonging to the Maruts,--there are four horses, the chariot the fifth, and the warrior (chariot-fighter) and charioteer two--these are seven, and the host of the Maruts consists of (troops of) seven each: he thereby pleases the whole chariot; and the Maruts being the peasants, it is over the peasantry that his kingship is thereby rendered free.

18. 'To Indra's energy, hail!' He thereby pleases the part of the chariot that belongs to Indra. Now the warrior relates to Indra, and it is the warrior he thereby pleases. And Indra's energy (indriya) means the vigour in Indra[10]: it is in regard to energy, vigour, that his kingship is thereby rendered free.

19. He then puts on shoes of boar's skin. Now the gods once put a pot of ghee on the fire. Therefrom a boar was produced: hence the boar is fat, for it was produced from ghee. Hence also cows readily take to a boar: it is indeed their own essence (life-sap, blood) they are readily taking to. Thus he firmly establishes himself in the essence of the cattle: therefore he puts on shoes of boar's skin.

20. Looking down on this (earth) he then mutters, 'O mother Earth, injure me not, nor I thee!' For the Earth was once afraid of Varuṇa, when he had been consecrated, thinking, 'Something great surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder!' And Varuṇa also was afraid of the Earth, thinking, 'I fear lest she may shake me off!' Hence by that (formula) he entered into a friendly relation with her; for a mother does not injure her son, nor does a son injure his mother.

21. Now this Rājasūya is Varuṇa's consecration; and the Earth is afraid of him, thinking, 'Something great surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder!' And he also is afraid of her, thinking, 'I fear lest she may shake me off.' Hence he thereby enters into a friendly relation with her; for a mother does not injure her son, nor does a son injure his mother: therefore he mutters thus.

22. He steps down (from the chariot), muttering this atichandas verse (Vāj. S. X, 24; Ṛk S. IV, 40, 5), 'The swan dwelling in the light, the Vasu dwelling in the air, the priest seated on the altar, the guest dwelling in the retreat (house),--the man-dwelling, the space-dwelling[11], the law-dwelling, the sphere-dwelling, the water-born, cow-born, law-born, rock-born (is) the great law.' For that atichandas (or excessive metre) comprises all the metres: thus evil does not descend along with him.

23. Let not the charioteer get down along with (or, after) him, lest he should descend on the same world on which the anointed (king) has just descended. They put him up, along with the chariot, on the car-stand. Thence he leaps down: thus he does not descend on the same world on which the anointed has just descended[12].

24. North of the Āhavanīya is the original fire, taken up (from the hearth[13]). Behind the right hind-wheel of the cart-stand he fastens two round śatamānas[14].

25. He then hides an udumbara (ficus glomerata) branch (in the wheel-track). He touches one of those two (plates), with (Vāj. S. X, 25), 'So great thou art, life thou art: bestow life upon me! A yoke-mate thou art, lustre thou art: bestow lustre upon me!' He thereby takes life and lustre to himself.

26. He then touches the udumbara branch, with, 'Sustenance thou art: bestow sustenance upon me!' He thereby takes sustenance (strength) to himself. Those same two round śatamānas are the fee for this ceremony. He gives them to the

Brahman priest, for the Brahman protects the sacrifice from the south: therefore he gives them to the Brahman.

27. In front of the Maitrāvaruṇa's hearth the dish of curds for Mitra and Varuṇa has been deposited. He draws down to it his (the Sacrificer's) two arms[15], with, 'I draw you down, the arms of Indra, the doer of mighty deeds.' Now curds are the essence of cattle: hence it is to the essence of cattle that he thereby brings down his (the Sacrificer's) arms. And as to its being for Mitra-Varuṇa, it is because Mitra and Varuṇa are the two arms.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

I am now inclined to think that some such meaning as 'probably, perhaps' (more nearly, German 'wohl'), fits all the passages (in the Brāhmaṇas at all events) where śaśvat occurs.

[2]:

See above, V, 1, 4, 3 seq.

[3]:

Praśāstṛ, 'the director,' is also another name for the Maitrāvaruṇa priest.

[4]:

That is, the cows given to priests as sacrificial fee. For particulars regarding the passage by which they are driven to their destination, see part ii, p. 344, note 1.

[5]:

Probably here 'for well-being;' the author, however, evidently takes it here in the sense of 'invigorating potion,' the drink offered to the deceased ancestors.

[6]:

In the ceremonial of the Black Yajus a sham-fight takes place here. East or north of the sacrificial ground a Rājanya has posted himself with bow in hand. The king discharges the arrows at him, with, 'Obtained is the mind!' and having thus, as it were, overpowered the enemy, ne wheels round in a sunwise direction, with, 'I (have become endowed) with energy, with vigour!' He then puts on shoes of boar's skin, with, 'Thou art the mettle of cattle,' gets down from the chariot, and puts on ornaments of silver, copper (as Sāyaṇa here interprets audumbara), and gold (afterwards to be given to the Brahman). Then follow the oblations relating to the unyoking of the chariot. Taitt. S. I, 8, 15, with commentary.

[7]:

Viz. as many as he has taken from him, a hundred or more.

[8]:

For a different version of this somewhat awkwardly constructed verse, see Ṛk S. V, 33, 3.

[9]:

The explanation is given because the word has also the meaning 'ray.'

[10]:

? Or, means vigour, Indra.

[11]:

Or perhaps, 'in the best place (vara).' See VI, 7, 3, 11.

[12]:

According to Taitt. Br. I, 7, 9, 6, the king, on returning to the Vedi, is supposed to have ascended to the heavenly world (suvargaloka), from which the charioteer is to be excluded by this expedient.

[13]:

The Āhavanīya of the hall (the so-called 'hall-door fire') has been lifted and placed on a cart.

[14]:

Or, two round (gold) plates, weighing a hundred mina (or berries of Guñjā, or Abrus Precatorius, the average weight of which is stated to be 1 5/16 grains Troy).

[15]:

Whilst this is done, the king stands on the tiger's skin, and the Adhvaryu hands him his bow and arrows. Thereupon the dish of curds is taken to the uttaravedi to be proceeded with. Kāty. Śr. XV, 6, 34-35.

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