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

This is Satapatha Brahmana IX.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 IX, adhyaya 4.

Kanda IX, adhyaya 4, brahmana 3

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]


1. Having now returned (to the hall), he, at the proper time, throws up the Dhiṣṇyas[1] (fire-hearths)--these hearths are fires: he thus builds up fire-altars. They are the clansmen, and the built-up fire-altar is the chieftaincy: he thus sets up both the chieftaincy and the clan. The former (altar) he builds up first, then these (hearths): thus he sets up the clan after setting up the chieftaincy.

2. That (fire-altar) is a single one: he thus makes the chieftaincy to attach to a single (person), and (social) distinction to attach to a single (person). The others are numerous: he thus bestows multiplicity on the clan.

3. That (fire-altar) consists of five layers, the others of a single layer: he thus endows the chieftain (or, ruler) pre-eminently with power, and makes the chieftain more powerful than the clan (or people). Upwards he builds that one: he thus builds the ruling power upward by (social) layers; sideways the others: he thus makes the clan obedient to the chieftain from below.

4. That one he builds up both with the Yajushmatī (bricks laid down with a special formula), and with the Lokampṛṇā (or space-filling ones, laid down with a common formula); the others with the space-filling one alone: he thus endows the chieftain pre-eminently with power, and makes the chieftain more powerful than the clan, and the clan less powerful than the chieftain.

5. And when he builds up these (hearths) only with the space-filling one, the Lokampṛṇā being the nobility[2]--he thereby places the chieftain, as the eater, among the clan. He builds up (dhiṣṇya-hearths) both of the Soma-sacrifice[3], and of the fire-altar; first those of the Soma-sacrifice, and then those of the fire-altar: the significance of this has been explained. Whatever Soma-hearth he (merely) throws up (at the Soma-sacrifice), that he (now) builds up. The Āgnīdhrīya he builds first, for that one he throws up first (at the Soma-sacrifice); (he does so) whilst sitting to the right (south) of it: the significance of this has been explained[4].

6. On this (Āgnīdhrīya) he puts eight bricks,--the Gāyatrī consists of eight syllables, and Agni is of Gāyatra nature: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, so great he thus builds him up. The variegated stone[5] is the ninth of them: there are nine vital airs--seven in the head and two downward ones--it is these he thus puts into it. The fire which is placed on the erected (hearth) is the tenth;--there are ten vital airs[6], and the Āgnīdhra is the middle (between the Gārhapatya and Āhavanīya fires).: he thus puts the vital airs in the middle of it; for the vital airs, being in the middle of the body, move along it in this direction, and in that direction.

7. Twenty-one he places on the Hotrīya (hearth), and there are twenty-one enclosing-stones[7]: the significance of this has been explained.

8. Six (he places) on the Mārjālīya,--these are the six seasons, the Fathers; for the seasons, the

Fathers[8], indeed, heaped up (a rampart) round that (fire) from the south. This one lies to the south of those (other hearths)[9],--this (Āgnīdhrīya) he lays down in this way (direction), and these (other hearths) in this way, and that one (the Fire-altar) in this way: he thereby makes the peasantry look towards the chieftain.

9. He then encloses these (hearths) by enclosing-stones;--the enclosing-stones are the waters: it is thus by water that he surrounds them[10]. He merely lays them down all round, for those of the waters which flow in a hollow (channel) are the chieftain, and these stray waters are the clansmen; thus, when he encloses that (great fire-altar) by a dug-in (row of stones), he thereby adds power to power, and sure rounds (protects) power by power; and when he merely lays down those (enclosing-stones of the hearths) all round, he thereby adds clansman (or clan) to clansman, and surrounds (protects) clansman by clansman[11]. As many bricks with special formulas as there are (in each hearth) so many enclosing-stones there are (in each); for with that (fire-altar) there are as many enclosing-stones as there are such bricks in it[12]: he thus makes the clan obedient and subservient to the chief.

10. He then scatters a layer of earth on (each of) these (hearths): the significance of this has been explained[13]. Silently[14] (he scatters it), for indistinct is the clan (or people). Then, after the cake-offering of the Agnīṣomīya (animal sacrifice)[15], he prepares the propitiatory oblations to the Regions;--that fire-altar is the regions: it is to them he offers these oblations, and thus by offering makes them a deity, for only that one is a deity to whom an oblation is offered, but not that to whom if is. not offered. There are five (such oblations), for there are five regions.

11. As to this they say,--Let him prepare this offering (iṣṭi) so as to consist of material for ten oblations;--this (offering) is (performed) with all the stomas and all the pṛṣṭha (sāmans)[16]; and there are (used in it) all the metres, all the regions, all the seasons--and this Agni (the fire-altar) is all this: he thus, by the (amount of) offering material (taken out for the iṣṭi), makes (Agni) the deity[17]; for only that one is the deity for whom the oblation is prepared, not one for whom it is not prepared. There are (in that case) ten (oblations),--the Virāj (metre) consists of ten syllables, and Agni is virāj (far-shining, or far-ruling); there are ten regions, and Agni (the fire-altar) is the regions; ten vital airs, and Agni is the vital airs: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, with so much food he thus gratifies him.

12. But, indeed, he may also take out these oblations for the Divine Quickeners[18]; for these are the deities which become consecrated by this consecration ceremony by which he is now to be consecrated: it is them he thus gratifies, and gratified by offering they permit him (to perform) this consecration ceremony, and with their permission he is consecrated; for only he becomes king whom the (other) kings allow (to assume) the royal dignity, but not he whom they do not (allow to assume it). And inasmuch as these deities are consecrated (quickened) by this consecration ceremony and quicken him for this consecration, they are (called) the Divine Quickeners.

13. These (deities) come to have two. names, as he who is consecrated by the rite of consecration comes to have two names; for the very rite of consecration for which he is quickened, and by which he is consecrated (quickened), is his second name[19].

14. There are eight (such deities),--the Gāyatrī consists of eight syllables, and Agni is of Gāyatra nature: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, by so much food he thus gratifies him.

15. As to this they say,--He ought not to offer (any of) these oblations, lest he should do what is excessive. Let him nevertheless offer them; for these oblations are offered for (the obtainment of special) wishes, and in wishes there is nothing excessive. And whatsoever oblation he offers after the Paśupuroḍāśa (the cake-offering connected with the animal sacrifice), that is placed inside the animal victim itself as its sacrificial sap[20]. He offers both kinds (of oblations), those of the Soma-sacrifice and those of the fire-altar (or Agnicayana), first those of the

Soma-sacrifice, and afterwards those of the fire-altar the purport of this has been explained. In a loud voice[21] the Paśupuroḍāśa offering (is performed), in a low voice these (additional oblations), for they are an iṣṭi[22]. With the Paśupuroḍāśa he (the Adhvaryu) says, 'Recite!--Urge!' and with these (oblations), 'Recite!--Worship[23]' for they are an iṣṭi. There is the same Sviṣṭakṛt and the same iḍā[24] (for these oblations). The (Devasū) deities have received offering, and the Sviṣṭakṛt (of the Paśupuroḍāśa) has not yet been attended to[25],—

16. He then touches it (the fire-altar) with (the formula of) the preliminary consecration (Vāj. S. IX, 39. 40), 'May Savitṛ quicken thee for (powers of) quickening[26]! . . . This (man), O ye (people), is your king; Soma is the king of us Brāhmaṇas!'--he thereby excludes the Brāhmaṇas (from the power of the king) and makes them such as are not to be fed upon (by the king).

Footnotes and references:


A Soma-sacrifice being about to be performed on the newly erected fire-altar, now properly consecrated, all the necessary preparatory business and ceremonial enjoined for such a sacrifice have now to be gone through in the way detailed in part ii of this translation. The author here only alludes to those points in the Soma-ritual in regard to which the present performance offers any special feature either additional to, or modificatory of, the ordinary ceremonial. The construction of the Dhiṣṇyas, or fire-hearths of the different priests (for which see part ii, p. 148, note 4), is one of these points.


See p. 132, note 2.


There are eight dhiṣṇya-hearths at the Soma-sacrifice, two of which, the Āgnīdhrīya and Mārjālīya, were raised north and south of the cart-shed (havirdhāna), whilst the others (viz. those of the Hotṛ, &c.) were raised inside the Sadas along its eastern side. They were merely mounds of earth covered with sand, whilst the additional hearths (of the fire-altar) now to be erected are partly built of bricks.


See VII, 1, 1, 21 seq., where the way in which the bricks of the Gārhapatya hearth are laid down is described in detail.


When Agni was led forwards from the Gārhapatya to be installed on his newly built altar, as the Āhavanīya or offering fire, a variegated stone, meant to represent the sun, was deposited near the place (on the northern edge of the Vedi) where the Āgnīdhra shed and hearth would afterwards have to be erected; see IX, 2, 3, 14-19.


That is, including the central one, the outlet of which is the navel; cf. VIII, 1, 3, 10.


The numbers of bricks and enclosing-stones are the same as for the Gārhapatya hearth, for which (with their symbolic meaning) see VII, I, I, 32-35.


Sāyaṇa refers to a passage in the Taittirīyaka, according to which a dying man is changed to whatever season he dies in, whence the six seasons are the representatives of all the deceased ancestors. Since the Fathers reside in the southern region it is from that quarter that, by laying down the bricks, they are supposed to raise a rampart for the Mārjālīya fire.


Viz. on the southern edge of the Vedi, exactly south of the Āgnīdhrīya, whilst the other dhiṣṇyas run in a line from north to south to the left of the space between the Āgnīdhrīya and Mārjālīya. The other hearths, together with the great fire-altar occupying the eastern part of the Vedi, would thus, as it were, face the Mārjālīya in a semicircle. See the plan of the Sacrificial ground, part ii, p. 475.


That is, as the earth is surrounded by the ocean (VII, 1, 1, 13), or a stronghold by a moat.


Viz. inasmuch as the fire-altar and the Āhavanīya fire on it, as p. 245 well as the dug-in circle of enclosing-stones, are identified with the ruling power; whilst the dhiṣṇyas as well as the circles of stones lying loosely around them represent the clan.


This is not clear to me: whilst there are 395 such bricks with special formulas in the five layers of the great altar, it is enclosed by only 261 pariśrits; see p. 158, note 1. Besides there are no 'yajushmatī' bricks in these hearths, but only 'lokampṛṇās'; one would therefore expect 'iṣṭakās' (bricks) for 'yajushmatyas' the first time (cf. comm. on Kāty. Śr. XVIII, 7, 13). The Hotṛ's hearth contains twenty-one bricks, the Brāhmaṇācchaṃsin's eleven, the Mārjālīya six, and the others eight bricks; and in each case the common formula, 'Lokam pṛṇa, &c,' (see VIII, 7, 2, 6), is pronounced once after every ten bricks, and after any odd bricks remaining over at the end. Cf. Kāty. Śr. XVIII, 6, 8 seq.


See VIII, 7, 3, 1 seq.


He does not use any such formula as that used in covering each layer of the great altar with earth; see VIII, 7, 3, 7.


See part ii, p. 199, note 2 (where the reference at the end should be to IV, 2, 5, 22).


See part iii, introduction, p. xx seq.


As Sāyaṇa points out, the Taittirīyas make Agni the deity of this iṣṭi, the invitatory formulas (puro'nuvākyā) of the different havis (oblations) naming him each time with different epithets relating to different metres, stomas, pṛṣṭhas, and seasons. Cf. Taitt. S. I, 8, 4: Taitt. Br. I, 8, 19.


For these eight deities (Savitṛ Satyaprasava, Agni Gṛhapati, &c.), to whom offering is made at the Abhishecanīya or Consecration ceremony of the Rājasūya, between the chief oblation of the animal cake-offering (Paśupuroḍāśa) and its Sviṣṭakṛt, whilst the whole of the Paśupuroḍāśa is again performed in the middle of the animal sacrifice, see part iii, p. 69 seq.


That is to say, for example, he who has performed the Vājapeya is called Vājapeya-yājin, Sāy.


These oblations, as well as those of the Paśupuroḍāśa, inserted as they are in the middle of the animal offering,--just after the offering of the omentum of the victim,--are supposed to supply to the victim its sacrificial sap or essence which was taken out of it in the shape of the omentum. See III, 8, 3, 2.


That is, in the formulas the name of the deity to whom the oblation is offered is pronounced in a loud voice.


That is, a 'kāmyeṣṭi,' or offering for the obtainment of some special object, which has to be performed in a low voice; see I, 3, 5, 10.


Or, 'Pronounce the offering-prayer!' For these two latter calls (anubrūhi!--yaja!), by which the Adhvaryu calls on the Hotṛ to pronounce the invitatory prayer (anuvākyā or puro'nuvākyā) and the offering-prayer (yājyā) respectively, at iṣṭis, see I, 5, 2, 8-10 and I, 5, 3, 8; and for the first two (anubrūhi!--preshya!), by the former of which the Adhvaryu calls on the Hotṛ to recite the invitatory prayer; whilst by the latter he calls on the Maitrāvaruṇa to 'urge' (or prompt') the Hotṛ to pronounce the offering-prayer at the animal sacrifice, see III, 8, 1, 4 with note (where attention might have been called to the difference that exists between the iṣṭi and the animal sacrifice in regard to the formula by which the Adhvaryu calls for the recitation of the offering-prayer). In regard to this point there is, however, a difference of opinion between the Mādhyandina and the Kāṇva schools, the latter using for the Paśupuroḍāśa on this occasion, as well as on that of the Rājasūya, the same calls as those of the inserted iṣṭis; cf. Kāty. Śr. XV, 4, 18-20.


For the Sviṣṭakṛt, or oblation to Agni, 'the maker of good offering,' offered after the chief oblations, see I, 7, 3, 1 seq.; for the iḍā-oblation (and invocation of Iḍā), I, 8, 1, 1 seq.


The tentative meaning assigned to 'asamavahitam,' 'not in immediate connection with (the Sviṣṭakṛt),' can scarcely be right. The clause seems simply to mean that the (pūrvābhisheka) touching p. 249 of the altar is to take place, as in the case of the (preliminary) consecration at the Rājasūya, immediately after the oblations to the Divine Quickeners, and before the Sviṣṭakṛt oblation of the Paśupuroḍāśa has been performed. See V, 3, 3, 50, where a somewhat similar expression is used. One might have some doubt as to whether, both here and at the Rājasūya, there is any Sviṣṭakṛt at all to these Devasū-havīṃshi, or whether the statement, 'There is the same sviṣṭakṛt and the same iḍā,' applies not to them merely, but to them and the Paśupuroḍāśa. If this latter alternative were the correct one, we should, however, expect that something had been said on this point in connection with the Devasū oblations of the Rājasūya; and moreover the nature of the two oblations seems too different for such a partial identification, requiring as they do different 'praiṣas,' or calls, in the Sviṣṭakṛt (viz. 'yaja' the one, and 'preshya' the other); see also IX, 5, 1, 40, and note 3, p. 248; also Kāty. Śr. V, II, 23-24.


For the complete formulas, see V, 3, 3, 11, 12.

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