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

This is Satapatha Brahmana IX.5.2 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 2nd brahmana of kanda IX, adhyaya 5.

Kanda IX, adhyaya 5, brahmana 2

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. Indra saw this seven-versed (hymn, suitable) for making good what is deficient[1], for reducing what is redundant, and for perfecting what is imperfect. And, indeed, after building the fire-altar, one is (still) apt to get into trouble, or to stumble, or what not. Now, when Śyāparṇa Sāyakāyana heard this, he ventured upon this performance.

2. Now, there is here a perfecting of three things,--the perfecting of the fire-altar, the perfecting of him who has it built for him, and the perfecting of him who builds it.

3. Thus, when he reverently stands by (the altar) with this (hymn), everything is thereby made good[2] for him that, knowing or unknowing, he either does in excess, or does not carry to the end, in this building of the altar--in short, whatever was not secured for him. And whatever wish there is in that anuṣṭubh verse[3], that he secures even now; and, moreover, he thereby keeps off the fiends, the Rakṣas, from this sacred work, and they do not wreck him, whilst uttering imprecations. Wherefore one who knows this may readily build a fire-altar even for an enemy, for he is able to gain the better of him.

4. [He approaches reverently the fire-altar[4], with, Vāj. S. XVIII, 68-74], 'For mighty strength that smiteth Vṛtra, and for victory in battle, we call thee hither, O Indra!' 'O much-invoked Indra, crush thou the handless Kuṇāru, lurking here, together with the Dānus; and with might smite thou the footless Vṛtra, the ever-growing mocker!' thus he reverently stands by (the fire) with the first two (verses) relating to the slaying of Vṛtra. For now the gods, having warded off Vṛtra, evil, performed this rite freed from evil; and in like manner does the Sacrificer, having warded off Vṛtra, evil, now perform this rite freed from evil.

5. 'Scatter thou our scorners, O Indra[5]!'Like a terrible, creeping beast, dwelling in the mountains, hast thou come from the farthest distance: having sharpened thy pointed, piercing thunderbolt[6], O Indra, beat thou off the foes, and scatter the spurners!' thus with the second two (verses) relating to (Indra) Vimṛdh[7]. For now the gods, having warded off the spurners, evil, performed this rite freed from evil; and in like manner does the Sacrificer now, having warded off the spurners, evil, now perform this rite freed from evil.

6. 'May Agni Vaiśvānara come forward from afar to our help, to hear our hymns of praise!'--'Sought after in the sky, sought after on earth, Agni, sought after, hath entered all the plants: Agni Vaiśvānara, sought after, may guard us from injury by day and by night!' thus with the third two (verses) relating to (Agni) Vaiśvānara. For now the gods, having, by Vaiśvānara, burnt out evil, performed this rite, freed from evil; and in like manner does the . Sacrificer now, by Vaiśvānara, burn out evil, and perform this rite freed from evil.

7. 'May we obtain this wish, O Agni, with thy help! may we obtain, O wealthy one, wealth with abundant heroes! striving for strength, may we obtain strength; may we obtain undecaying glory, O thou ever-young!' thus with one (verse) containing wishes. For now the gods, having, by the six-versed (hymn), warded off evil, made once for all, by the one wish-holding (verse), all (objects of) wishes their own; and in like manner does the Sacrificer now, having, by the six-versed (hymn), warded off evil, make once for all, by the one wish-holding (verse), all wishes his own.

8. It is (a hymn) of seven verses,--the fire-altar consists of seven layers, (and there are) seven seasons, seven regions, seven worlds of the gods, seven stomas, seven pṛṣṭha (sāmans), seven metres, seven domestic animals, seven wild ones, seven vital airs in the head, and whatever else there is of seven kinds, relating to deities and relating to the self,--all that he thereby secures. They become equal to the Anuṣṭubh[8], for the Anuṣṭubh is speech, and it is by speech that he secures for him (Agni) all that which is not yet secured for him.

9. 'Let him approach (the fire-altar) with an eight-versed (hymn)!' say some;--'with (Vāj. S. XVIII, 75), "We thereby offer unto thee thy wish, reverently approaching thee with open hands: with holiest mind and peaceful thought offer thou sacrifice unto the gods as priest, O Agni!" thus with a second wish-holding one,--and the seven foregoing ones, that makes eight,--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 he thus secures for him whatsoever is not yet secured for him; and thus, moreover, the two deities[9] receive the same (amount) for their share.' Let him, however, not do so, for surely those seven (verses) are (equal to) eight anuṣṭubh (verses), and thus he even therein obtains whatever wished-for object there is in the eight-versed (hymn).

10. With (verses) addressed to Indra and Agni he approaches (the fire);--the fire-altar belongs to Indra and Agni: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, by so much he thus gains for him whatever has not been gained for him. And Indra and Agni are all the gods, and the fire-altar belongs to (or Agni is) all the deities: as great as Agni is, as great as is his measure, by so much he thus gains for him whatever has not been gained for him.

11. Now some make this (hymn) the opening rite of every performance, saying, 'Freed from evil, we must perform this sacred work!' And others, indeed, say, 'Let him approach reverently (each) layer when it is covered with soil, for therein that (layer) becomes whole and complete.' Let him, then, do as he chooses. So much as to the building; now as to the non-building.

12. Verily, there are three oceans,--the Fire-altar (being the ocean) of Yajus-formulas, the Mahāvrata (-sāman)[10] that of Sāmans (hymn-tunes), and the Mahad uktham (Great Litany[11]) that of Ṛc (verses). Whoever performs these (three rites) for another person causes these oceans to dry up for himself, and after them, thus drying up, the metres[12] dry up for him; and after the metres the world; and after the world his own self; and after his own self his children and cattle: indeed, he who performs these for another person becomes poorer day after day.

13. And he who, not having performed these (rites) for another person, were to officiate in the performance even of all other sacrifices, for him the metres again replenish themselves from out of those oceans, and after the metres the world, and after the world his own self, and after his own self his children and cattle: indeed, he who does not perform those rites for another person, becomes more prosperous day after day. For, indeed, these (rites) are his divine, immortal body; and he who performs them for another person, makes over to another his divine body, and a withered trunk is all that remains.

14. Now, some (say), 'Having performed them for another person, they either perform them for themselves or cause them to be performed again: this is the atonement.' But let him not do this, for it would be as if one were to water a withered trunk; it would rot and die: let him know that there is no atonement for such an one.

15. And Śāṇḍilya once upon a time said--Tura Kāvasheya once built a fire-altar for the gods at Kārotī. The gods asked him, 'Sage, seeing that they declare the building of the fire-altar not to be conducive to heaven, why then hast thou built one?'

16. He said, 'What is conducive to heaven, and what is not conducive thereto? The Sacrificer is the body of the sacrifice, and the officiating priests are the limbs; and, surely, where the body is there are the limbs; and where the limbs are there is the body. And, verily, if the priests have no place in heaven, then the Sacrificer has none, for both are of the same world. But let there be no bargaining as to sacrificial fees, for by bargaining the priests are deprived of their place in heaven.'

Footnotes and references:


Viz. in the building of the fire-altar; literally, for the obtainment of the deficient.


Literally, obtained.


Viz. the first of the seven verses (Ṛg-veda III, 37, 1).


According to Kāty. Śr. XVII, 7, 1, this ceremony should take place on the completion of each layer, after it has been covered with loose earth; cf. paragraph 11.


For the complete verse, see IV, 6, 4, 4.


Thus Mahīdhara.


That is, the repeller of spurners, or enemies.


The seven verses consist of two Gāyatrīs (twenty-four syllables each), four Triṣṭubhs (forty-four each), and one Anuṣṭubh (thirty-two syllables). Whilst the two Gāyatrīs are sixteen syllables short of two Anuṣṭubhs, the four Triṣṭubhs have forty-eight syllables in excess of four Anuṣṭubhs. Hence the seven verses consist of 8 × 32 syllables, or eight Anuṣṭubhs.


Viz. Indra and Agni, having each four verses addressed to them.


See p. 282, note 5.


See p. 110, note 3; p. 111, note 1.


That is, the Vedic texts.

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