Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana V.5.5 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 5th brahmana of kanda V, adhyaya 5.

Kanda V, adhyaya 5, brahmana 5

1. He prepares a cake on twelve potsherds for Indra and Viṣṇu. Now as to why he makes this offering. Of old, everything here was within Vṛtra, to wit, the Ṛc, the Yajus, and the Sāman. Indra wished to hurl the thunderbolt at him.

2. He said to Viṣṇu, 'I will hurl the thunderbolt at Vṛtra, stand thou by me!'--'So be it!' said Viṣṇu, 'I will stand by thee: hurl it!' Indra aimed the thunderbolt at him. Vṛtra was afraid of the raised thunderbolt.

3. He said, 'There is here a (source of) strength: I will give that up to thee; but do not smite me!' and gave up to him the Yajus-formulas. He (Indra) aimed at him a second time.

4. He said, 'There is here a (source of) strength: I will give that up to thee; but do not smite me!' and gave up to him the Rik-verses. He aimed at him a third time.

5. 'There is here a (source of) strength: I will give that up to thee; but do not smite me!' and gave up to him the Sāman-hymns (or tunes). Therefore they spread the sacrifice even to this day in the same way with those (three) Vedas, first with the

Yajus-formulas, then with the Ṛk-verses, and then with the Sāman-hymns; for thus he (Vṛtra) at that time gave them up to him.

6. And that which had been his (Vṛtra's) seat, his retreat, that he shattered, grasping it and tearing it out[1]: it became this offering. And because the science (the Veda) that lay in that retreat was, as it were, a threefold (tridhātu) one, therefore this is called the Traidhātavī (iṣṭi).

7. And as to why the oblation is one for Indra and Viṣṇu, it is because Indra raised the thunderbolt, and Viṣṇu stood by him.

8. And why it is (a cake) on twelve potsherds,--there are twelve months in the year, and the offering is of equal measure with the year: therefore it is one of twelve potsherds.

9. He prepares it of both rice and barley. He first puts on (the fire) a ball of rice, that being a form (symbol) of the Yajus-formulas; then one of barley, that being a form of the Ṛk-verses; then one of rice, that being a form of the Sāman-hymns. Thus this is made to be a form of the triple science: and this same (offering) becomes the Udavasānīyā-iṣṭi (completing oblation) for the performer of the Rājasūya.

10. For, verily, he who performs the Rājasūya gains for himself (the benefit of) all sacrificial rites, all offerings, even the spoonful-oblations; for him the sacrifice becomes as it were exhausted, and he, as it were, turns away from it. Now the whole sacrifice is just as great as that triple Veda; and this (offering) now is made a form of that (Veda, or sacrifice); this is its womb, its seat: thus he commences once more the sacrifice by means of that triple Veda; and thus his sacrifice is not exhausted, and he does not turn away from it.

11. And, verily, he who performs the Rājasūya gains for himself all sacrificial rites, all offerings, even the spoonful-oblations; and this offering, the Traidhātavī (iṣṭi), is instituted by the gods: 'May this offering also be performed by me, may I be consecrated by this one also!' thus he thinks, and therefore this is the completing offering for him who performs the Rājasūya.

12. And also for him who would give (to the priests) a thousand (cows) or more[2], let this be the completing offering. For he who gives a thousand or more becomes as it were emptied out; and that triple Veda is the thousandfold progeny of Vāc (speech): him who was emptied out he thus fills up again with a thousand; and therefore let it be for him also the completing offering.

13. And also for those who would sit through (perform) a long sacrificial session[3], for a year or more, let this be the completing offering. For by those who sit through a long sacrificial session, for a year or more, everything is obtained, everything conquered; but this (offering) is everything: let it therefore be for them also the completing offering.

14. And indeed one may also practise magic by this (offering); for it was thereby that Āraṇi bewitched

Bhadrasena Ājātaśatrava[4]: 'Quick, then, spread (the barhis)!' thus Yājñavalkya used to say. And by this (offering) indeed Indra also shattered Vṛtra's retreat; and, verily, he who therewith practises magic shatters thereby the retreat (of his enemy): therefore one may also practise magic with this (offering).

15. And, indeed, one may also heal thereby; for, verily, whomsoever one would heal by a single ṛc, by a single yajus, by a single sāman, him he would indeed render free from disease; how much more so by the triple Veda! Therefore one may also heal by this (offering).

16. Three gold pieces of a hundred mānas[5] each are the sacrificial fee for this (offering). He presents them to the Brahman; for the Brahman neither performs (like the Adhvaryu), nor chants (like the Udgātṛ), nor recites (like the Hotṛ), and yet he is an object of respect. And with gold they do nothing[6], and yet it is an object of respect: therefore he presents to the Brahman three gold pieces of a hundred mānas each.

17. Three milch cows (he gives) to the Hotṛ;--for three milch cows mean abundance, and the Hotṛ means abundance: therefore (he gives) three milch cows to the Hotṛ.

18. Three garments (he gives) to the Adhvaryu;--for the Adhvaryu 'spreads' the sacrifice, and the garments spread themselves (over the body)[7]: therefore (he gives) three garments to the Adhvaryu. A bullock (he gives) to the Agnīdh[8].

19. Now there are here either twelve, or thirteen gifts[9], and there are either twelve or thirteen months in the year;--the offering thus is of equal measure with the year: that is why there are either twelve or thirteen sacrificial gifts.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Cf. III, 2, 1, 28.

[2]:

For a (three days’) Soma-sacrifice with a sacrificial fee of a thousand cows, the Trirātra Sahasradakṣiṇa, see part ii, p. 424.

[3]:

See part ii, pp. 426, 440 seq.

[4]:

Apparently the son of Ajātaśatru, king of Kāśī, who is mentioned as having been very proficient in speculative theology, and jealous, in this respect, of king Janaka of Videha.

[5]:

According to Sāyaṇa, these 'śatamānas' are similar to the round plate worn by the king during the Consecration-ceremony; see p. 104, note 2. These plates (as the 'rukmas' generally, VI, 7, 1, 2 seq.) were apparently used for ornament only, not as coins.

[6]:

Sāyaṇa explains this to mean that gold is not used for actual consumption, but only indirectly, as for vessels on which food is served, or in traffic, as a medium of barter;--the gold thus never losing its appearance, its 'glory.' See II, 2, 1, 5, 'Hence also one does not cleanse oneself with it (?), nor does one do anything else with it.'

[7]:

Or, people spread the clothes (either in weaving them, or in putting them on). 'To spread the sacrifice' is the regular term for the ceremonial practice of spreading the sacrificial fire from the Gārhapatya (or household fire) over the other two hearths, and thus for the performance of the sacrifice generally.

[8]:

See p. 119, note 2.

[9]:

That is, taking the calves of the three milch cows into account: and optionally counting the gift to the Āgnīdhra.

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