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

This is Satapatha Brahmana VII.1.1 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 1st brahmana of kanda VII, adhyaya 1.

Kanda VII, adhyaya 1, brahmana 1

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. Being about to build the Gārhapatya (fire-place), he sweeps (its site) with a Palāśa (butea frondosa) branch. For when he builds the Gārhapatya[1] he settles on that place; and whatsoever builders of fire-altars (there have been), they are indeed settled on this earth; and when he sweeps (that place) he thereby sweeps away those settled (there before hire), thinking, 'Lest I should settle on those already settled (here).'

2. [He sweeps, with Vāj. S. XII, 45] 'Off with you! away with you! crawl away from here[2]!'--that is, 'Go off, go away, and crawl away from here!' he says this to those that crawl on their belly;--'Ye that are here of old and of late!' that is, 'both ye who were here of yore, and ye of the present day.'

3. 'Yama hath given the settlement on earth (to this Sacrificer);'--for Yama indeed rules over the settling on this earth, and it is he who grants to this (Sacrificer) a settlement on this earth.

4. 'The Fathers have prepared this place for him!' for Yama is the Kṣatra (nobility, or ruling power), and the Fathers (deceased ancestors) are the clansmen; and to whomsoever the chief (kṣatriya), with the approval of the clan, grants a settlement, that (settlement) is properly given: and in like manner does Yama, the ruling power, with the consent of the Fathers, the clan, now grant to this (Sacrificer) a settlement on this earth.

5. With a palāśa branch he sweeps; for the Palāśa tree is the Brahman[3]: it is by the Brahman he thus sweeps away those already settled;--with a prayer (he does so), for the prayer is the Brahman: it is by the Brahman he thus sweeps away those already settled. He throws it (the branch) out towards the north[4].

6. He then scatters saline soil (over the hearth-site); for the Gārhapatya is this world, and salt means cattle: he thus bestows cattle on this world,--hence those cattle here in this world.

7. And again why he scatters saline soil. Prajāpati created creatures; he created them with different kinds of amnions: they did not agree together. He desired, 'May they agree together!' He made them to be of the same (kind of) amnion: hence even to this day, being of equal amnions, they agree together. And he who offers, offers thinking, 'May I be (born) with the same (kind of) amnion as the gods!' and when he scatters saline salt (in the hearth-site) he thereby becomes of equal amnion with the gods.

8. [He does so, with Vāj. S. XII, 46] 'Concord thou art!' for thereby they agreed together[5];--'fulfilment of desire;' for salt is cattle, and fulfilment of desire means cattle;--'In me may there be the fulfilment of thy desire!' that is, 'May there be on me cattle for thee!'--He covers with it the whole (circular) Gārhapatya; for the Gārhapatya altar is the womb, and the saline soil is the amnion: he thus covers the whole womb with the amnion.

9. He then scatters sand to keep (the saline soil, or amnion) from being scorched[6];--for sand is nothing else than the ashes of Agni Vaiśvānara, and him, Agni Vaiśvānara, he is indeed about to build up; and Agni does not scorch his own self.

10. And again why he scatters sand,--sand is nothing else than the seed of Agni Vaiśvānara[7], and him, Agni Vaiśvānara, he is about to build up; but nothing is fashioned from out of the seedless: 'May he (Agni) be fashioned from out of this seed!' so he thinks.

11. [He scatters it, with Vāj. S. XII, 46] 'Agni's ashes thou art! Agni's soil thou art!' for Agni's ashes are useless, and the sand is not useless: he thus makes it (the Gārhapatya hearth) to be useful. He covers with it the whole Gārhapatya; for the

Gārhapatya altar is the womb, and the sand is seed: he thus fills the whole womb with seed.

12. He then encloses it with enclosing-stones; for the enclosing-stones are the womb: he thus encloses the seed here cast in the womb; and hence the seed which is cast is enclosed in the womb.

13. And, again, why he encloses it with enclosing-stones;--the Gārhapatya hearth is this (terrestrial) world, and the enclosing-stones are the waters: he thus surrounds this world with water,--it is with the ocean that he thus surrounds it on all sides, and hence the ocean flows round this world on all sides. (He puts up the stones) by turning to the right (or south)[8], whence the ocean flows round this world (from the east) southwards;--by means of a dug out (hole, or moat)[9], whence the ocean flows round this world in a moat.

14. [Vāj. S. XII, 46] 'Ranging ye are!' for he does range them;--'ranging around ye are!' for he does range them all round;--'upwards ranging get ye fixed!' thus he says, placing them upright: hence the ocean surges upwards; but were he to place them sideways, the ocean surely would all at once overflow all this (earth). He does not settle them, for unsettled are the waters; nor does he pronounce the Sūdadohas (verse) on them[10].

15. For the enclosing-stones are the bones, and the Sūdadohas is the breath; and there is no breath in the bones. With one and the same formula he lays down many bricks[11], for of one and the same form are the waters; and as to there being many enclosing-stones, it is because there are many waters.

16. The enclosing-stones, then, are the womb; the saline earth is the amnion, and the sand is the seed. The enclosing-stones are outside, and the saline earth is inside; for the womb is outside, and the amnion inside. The saline earth is outside, and the sand inside; for the amnion is outside, and the seed inside. He who is born is born from these: it is from them that he thus causes him (Agni) to be born.

17. Thereon he now builds it (the hearth): he


thereby fashions that infused seed; and hence the infused seed is fashioned in the womb.

18. He puts on (the circular site) four (bricks) running eastwards[12]; two behind running crosswise (from south to north), and two (such) in front. Now the four which he puts on running eastwards are the body; and as to there being four of these, it is because this body (of ours) consists, of four parts[13]. The two at the back then are the thighs; and the two in front the arms; and where the body is that (includes) the head.

19. Now he here fashions him (Agni) with wings and tail; for whatlike the seed is fashioned in the womb suchlike (offspring) is born: thus inasmuch as he now fashions him with wings and tail, he is born hereafter[14] with wings and tail.

20. While being indeed furnished with wings and tail, people do not see him as one having wings and tail[15]: hence one does not see the child in the womb in its proper shape; but hereafter they (will) see him as one having wings and tail, and hence one sees the child after it is born in its proper shape.

21. Four (bricks) he puts on first, for of him that is being produced it is the body (trunk) that is produced first. Sitting south (of the hearth-site) with his face to the north he puts on first one (brick) of the upper (north) part[16] (of the trunk); and in this manner that Agni of his comes to be built up towards (or for the Sacrificer) himself.

22. [He puts it on, with Vāj. S. XII, 47; Ṛk S. III, 22, 1, &c.] 'This is the Agni wherein Indra taketh the Soma-juice,' for the Gārhapatya hearth is this (terrestrial) world, and the Soma-juice is the waters: Indra thus took up the waters in this world;--'into his belly, craving it,'--for the belly is the centre;--'thousandfold strength, like a swift racer,'--the thousandfold strength, doubtless, is the waters,--'thou, having gained, art exalted, O knower of beings!' that is, 'thou, being built, art built[17], O knower of beings!'

23. [The second brick, with Vāj. S. XII, 48] 'O Agni, what splendour is thine in the heaven,'--his splendour in the heaven doubtless is the sun;--'on earth,' that on earth is this fire;--'and that which is in the plants, in the waters, O holy one!' he thereby means the fire that is both in the plants, and in the waters;--'wherewith thou hast overspread the wide air,'--that is, the wind;--'brilliant is that light, surging, man-viewing;' that is, 'great is that light, surging, man-viewing.'

24. [The third, with Vāj . S. XII, 49] 'O Agni, thou goest up to the flood of the heaven;' the flood of that heaven doubtless is the waters (of the atmosphere): to them he goes by his smoke;--'hither callest thou the divine inspirers,'--the divine inspirers doubtless are the vital airs, for these inspire all thoughts;--'the waters approach (thee), they that are beyond the luminous sphere of the sun, and they that are below here;'--the luminous sphere doubtless is that world yonder where that (sun) is burning: he thereby means both the waters which are beyond, and those which are below that (sun).

25. [The fourth one, with Vāj. S. XII, 50] 'The Agnis Purīṣyas,'--that is, the Agnis favourable to cattle; 'together with those of the streams (prāvaṇa);' this is a form of starting[18] (prāyaṇa), for the Gārhapatya is indeed a starting of the fire;--'may they, benevolent, accept the sacrifice, the copious, salutary draughts!' that is, 'may they benevolently accept the sacrifice, the copious, innocuous draughts!'

26. He puts them down separately: what different desires there are, those he thereby lays into the self. He 'settles' them once: he thereby makes the self one. He pronounces the Sūdadohas[19] verse on them; for the Sūdadohas is the vital air: by means of the vital air he thus makes him (Agni) continuous, joins him together.

27. Thereupon going round behind, he sits down on the north side with his face to the south, and puts on first the southern one of the two behind, with (Vāj. S. XII, 51), 'Potent nourishment, O Agni, the possession of kine,'--nourishment means cattle: he thus invokes for him the blessing of cattle;--'Grant thou perpetually unto him that calleth!'--he that calls doubtless is the Sacrificer; 'May there be to us a son, the perpetuator of the race,'--a son means offspring;--'let that, O Agni, be thy good-will unto us!' he therewith invokes a blessing.

28. Then the northern one, with (Vāj. S. XII, 52; Ṛk S. III, 29, 10), 'This is thy natural womb, whence born thou shonest forth,'--that is, 'this (householder's hearth) is thy primeval, perennial womb (birth-place), whence born thou wert enkindled;'--'knowing it, ascend, O Agni, and increase our substance!' as the text, so its meaning.

29. These two are his (Agni's) thighs,--separately he puts them on, separately he 'settles' them, separately he pronounces the Sūdadohas verse upon them, for separate are these two thighs. There are two of them, for there are two thighs. Behind he puts them on, for behind are those thighs. At their upper ends they are joined (to the central ones[20]), for so are these thighs joined (to the body) at their upper ends.

30. Thereupon, going round again by the same way, he sits down on the south side, with his face to the north, and puts on first the northern one of the two (bricks) in front, with (Vāj. S. XII, 53),

'Ranging thou art: by that deity, Aṅgiras-like, lie thou steady[21]!' Then the southern one, with, 'Ranging round thou art: by that deity, Aṅgiras-like, lie thou steady'!'

31. These two are his (Agni's) arms,--separately he puts them on, separately he 'settles' them, separately he pronounces the Sūdadohas[22] verse on them; for separate are these two arms. There are two of them, for there are two arms. He puts them on in the forepart, for these arms are here in front. At their upper ends they are joined (to the central ones), for so are these two arms joined (to the body) at the upper ends. Those two (arms) he puts on thus (from north to south), and those two (thighs) thus (from south to north): that is (from east to) southward[23], for thus it is with the gods[24].

32. Eight bricks he puts on (the hearth-site),the Gāyatrī consists of eight syllables, and Agni is Gāyatra[25]: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, so great he thus builds him. Five times he 'settles' (the bricks)--the fire-altar consists of five layers; five seasons are a year, and Agni is the year: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, so great he thus builds him. Eight bricks he 'settles' five times, that makes thirteen,--thirteen months are a year, and there are thirteen layers of earth in the fire-altar: as great as Agni is, as great .as is his measure, so great does this become.

33. He then puts on a space-filling one: the significance of that one (will be explained) further on[26]. Three there are in front[27],--threefold is Agni: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, so great he thus builds him;--and ten those that follow[28],--the significance of these (will be explained) further on. Or first two, then ten, and then one, for in this way they build up the pile,--these amount to thirteen: the significance of this has been told.

34. Both these kinds (of bricks) amount to twenty-one;--there are twelve months, five seasons, these three worlds, and yonder sun as the twenty-first: that sun he thus establishes in this fire-altar.

35. Moreover, there are twenty-one enclosing-stones,--twelve months, five seasons, these three worlds, and that Agni from yonder (sun)[29] as the twenty-first: this Agni he thus establishes in yonder sun. And inasmuch as he puts on those (bricks) in this way, he thereby establishes those two (the sun and the fire) in each other, and (accordingly) those two are established in each other; for both of them he now makes out to be the twenty-first, and both of them are then here[30], as the Āhavanīya and the Gārhapatya.

36. He then throws thereon a layer of earth,--the significance of this (will be told) further on[31]. He takes it from the edge of the pit (Cātvāla); for the Cātvāla is the same as Agni[32], and in this way does that which is of Agni's nature become his. It (the Gārhapatya altar) should be even with the mouth (of the fire-pan): the significance of this has been told[33].

37. It (the Gārhapatya hearth) measures a fathom (in diameter[34]), for man is a fathom high, and man is Prajāpati (the lord of generation), and Prajāpati is Agni: he thus makes the womb of equal size to his (Agni's) body. It is circular, for the womb is circular; and moreover the Gārhapatya is this (terrestrial) world, and this world doubtless is circular.

38. He then pours those two (fires) together[35],--he thereby establishes concord between them--with (Vāj. S. XII, 57-60), 'Unite ye two, and get ye on together, loving, radiant, well-disposed, dwelling together for food and drink!--Together have I brought your minds, together your rites, together your thoughts: O Agni Purīṣya[36], be thou the overlord, and bestow thou food and drink upon our Sacrificer!--O Agni, thou art the Purīṣya, wealthy, prosperous: having made happy all the regions, seat thee here in thine own seat!--Be ye two unto us of one mind, of one thought, without guile! Injure ye not the sacrifice, nor the lord of the sacrifice, and be ye propitious unto us this day, ye knowers of beings!' He therewith pacifies them for (mutual) safety, so that they shall do no injury to one another.

39. With four (verses) he pours them together,--he thereby establishes concord between them by whatever four-footed cattle there are; and cattle being food, it is by means of food that he establishes concord between them.

40. Let him not look at that (pan) while empty: 'I must not look at the empty one!' so he thinks. Were he to look at the empty (pan), it would certainly devour him.

41. He then pours sand into it[37], for sand (sikatā) is the seed of Agni Vaiśvānara: he thus pours (sic) Agni Vaiśvānara as seed into it. It should be even with the brim: the significance of this has been explained.

42. He then unlooses it, to keep it from chafing; for if that which is yoked is not unloosed it is chafed. Now when yoked there, it (the fire-pan) bore this Agni within it as seed, and him it has now brought forth. It now conceives a second time; for the 'Ukhā' is a female, and hence when a female has brought forth the seed the first time, it conceives a second time.

43. [He unlooses it from the netting, with Vāj. S. XII, 61] 'Even as a mother her son, so hath the Earth borne Agni Purīṣya,'--that is, Agni, favourable to cattle;--'she, the Ukhā, in her own womb;' that is, the Ukhā has borne Agni in her own womb;--'May Prajāpati, the all-former, release her, in concert with the All-gods, the seasons!' the All-gods doubtless are the seasons: thus Prajāpati, the all-former, releases it, in concert with the All-gods, the seasons. He deposits it north of the fire, at a cubit's distance: the significance of this has been explained[38].

44. He then pours milk into it,--it first receives seed, and now it receives milk; for the fire-pan is a female: hence when a female receives seed, then it receives milk. The sand is below, and the milk above, for the seed is below, and the milk above. He pours it into the middle, so that thereon he may place the human head[39].

Footnotes and references:


That is, 'the householder's fire,' which represents the Sacrificer's domestic hearth.


This first pāda is taken from Ṛk S. X, 14, 9. The four pādas of the verse are muttered by the Adhvaryu while sweeping the four sides of the site respectively, beginning in the east and ending in the north. On this place when swept the circular site of the Gārhapatya is then marked off by saline soil being scattered over it (cf. Taitt. S. V, 2, 3, 2-3).


For the identification of the Palāśa with the Brahman (sacred writ, or the holy spirit embodied therein), see part i, p. 90, note 1.


'He throws it upwards,' Delbrück, Synt. F. V, 79.


Sāyaṇa, on Taitt. S. IV, 2, 4, takes 'saṃjñānam' in the sense of 'knowledge, recognition;' explaining it from the fact that cattle by their smell recognise the places of saline soil and lick them.


Or, to keep (the fire) from burning over (or through the sand, and injuring the saline soil or amnion). For the construction, see p. 198, note 2.


This notion is apparently based on the supposed etymological connection of 'śikatā,' sand, with the root 'sic.'


That is, from east to south, &c., following the course of the sun.


? That is, by digging in each stone, the circle consisting of altogether twenty-one stones.


The two ceremonies here referred to, viz. the 'sādana' (settling, setting, steadying, viz. by means of the formula, XII, 53, 'with the help of that deity lie thou steady, like Aṅgiras,' see VII, 1, 1, 30) and the muttering of the Sūdadohas verse (Vāj. S. XII, 55, for which p. 302 see note *2* to paragraph 31), are the so-called 'necessary' rites, because they have as a rule to be performed on each (special) brick, when it has been laid down in building up the fire-altar.


Viz. the so-called 'lokampṛṇā' (or space-filling bricks), for which see p. 153, note *1*.


That is, with the lines by which they are marked running from west to east. Whilst these four bricks are oblong ones, measuring two feet by one, the four placed at the back and in front of them measure each a foot square, as do also those placed in the corners of the square pile, except the south-east corner, where two bricks are to be placed measuring one foot by half a foot each.


See VI, 1, 1, 3-6.


Or 'yonder,' that is, as the great fire-altar, soon to be built, which is ultimately to receive the Āhavanīya fire, taken from the Gārhapatya.


While in the form of the Gārhapatya the wings and tail are not represented at all, these appendages form an important part of the great altar of the Āhavanīya fire. In the Gārhapatya hearth, Agni would seem represented rather as a man lying on his back with the head towards the east.


In laying down the bricks he again follows the course of the sun, that is, he lays down the four large or central ones from north to south, then the two back ones from south to north, and finally the two front ones from north to south.


? That is, Thou, being built (as the Gārhapatya), art built (once more as the Āhavanīya).


Viz. inasmuch as 'prāvaṇa' begins with the preposition 'pra,' forward, Sāy.


See p. 307, note 2.


They are joined to each other, according to Sāyaṇa, but this can hardly be the meaning intended, as the stones lie close to each other also at the lower (western) end.


This common portion of the two formulas forms the so-called 'settling' (or 'setting') formula (sādana); Kāty. Sr. XVI, 7, 14; cf. VI, 1, 2, 28, and p. 301, note 3. Aṅgiras-like' apparently means, 'as (thou didst) in the case of, or with, Aṅgiras.'


Vāj. S. XII, 55; Ṛk S. VIII, 69, 3. 'At his birth the well-like milking, speckled ones mix the Soma (draught), the clans of the gods in the three spheres of the heavens.' This difficult verse has been differently translated by different translators. The Brāhmaṇa itself also gives a very different, doubtless quite fanciful, interpretation of it at VIII, 7, 3, 21.


That is, in accordance with the course of the sun.


Or, 'thus (it goes,--or, Agni, as a bird, flies) to the gods.'


See VI, 1, 1, 15.


VIII, 7, 2, 1 seq.


Viz. one in the north-east, and two (of half the size) in the south-east corner.


Viz. one in the south-west, and one in the north-west corner; and further, eight more filling up the four segments of the circle. See the outline of the Gārhapatya altar at p. 302.


Or, perhaps that Agni on yonder sky (or fire-altar?). In any case it is the sun that is referred to.


That is to say, they will be here after the completion of the two altars,--the Gārhapatya fire being the Agni proper, and the Āhavanīya fire the sun.


For this, and the formula (Vāj. S. XII, 56) used therewith, see VIII, 7, 3, 1 seq.


See part ii, p. 116, note 3, 'The earth taken from the pit being used for constructing the high altar, both are of the same size or cubic extent.'


See VI, 3, 3, 26.


Or rather, it is a circle corresponding in area to a square of one fathom; which gives a diameter somewhat exceeding in length a fathom (that is, the space between the tips of the middle fingers when the arms are extended). The measurement is (at least theoretically) a relative one, being adapted to the Sacrificer's size; but practically the fathom (vyāma, or puruṣa, man) may be taken to be of about 6 feet, the vyāma being equal to 4 aratnis (cubits) of 2 prādeśas (spans of some 18 inches each). This allows for a central square of 4 feet, and about 1 foot (in reality somewhat less) for each of the two bisectors of the segments.


That is, he pours the fire of the pan (ukhyāgni) on the Gārhapatya (hearth).


'Purīṣya' seems here to have the sense of 'rich, plentiful.' See p. 201, note *1*.


'Ukhā,' the pan, is feminine, and represents the womb from which Agni is born.


VI, 3, 1, 30.


See VII, 5, 2, 14.

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