Satapatha-brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana X.4.4 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 4th brahmana of kanda X, adhyaya 4.

Kanda X, adhyaya 4, brahmana 4

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

1. When Prajāpati was creating living beings, Death, that evil, overpowered him. He practised austerities for a thousand years, striving to leave evil behind him.

2. Whilst he was practising austerities, lights went upwards from those hair-pits[1] of his; and those lights are those stars: as many stars as there are, so many hair-pits there are; and as many hair-pits as there are, so many muhūrtas there are in a (sacrificial performance) of a thousand years.

3. In the one-thousandth year, he cleansed himself all through; and he that cleansed all through is this wind which here cleanses by blowing; and that evil which he cleansed all through is this body.

But what is man that he could secure for himself a (life) of a thousand years[2]? By knowledge, assuredly, he who knows secures for himself (the benefits of a performance) of a thousand years.

4. Let him look upon all these bricks as a thousandfold: let him look upon each enclosing-stone as charged with a thousand nights, each day-holder[3] with a thousand days, each half-moon-holder with a thousand half-moons, each month-holder with a thousand months, each season-holder with a thousand seasons, each muhūrta-holder[4] with a thousand muhūrtas, and the year with a thousand years. They who thus know this Agni as being endowed with a thousand, know his one-thousandth digit; but they who do not thus know him, do not even know a one-thousandth digit of him. And he alone who so knows this, or who performs this sacred work, obtains this whole and complete Prajāpatean Agni whom Prajāpati obtained. Wherefore let him who knows this by all means practise austerities[5]; for, indeed, when he who knows this practises austerities, even to (abstention from) sexual intercourse, every (part) of him will share in the world of heaven[6].

5. It is regarding this that it is said in the Ṛk (I, 179, 3), 'Not in vain is the labour which the gods favour;' for, in truth, for him who knows there is no labouring in vain, and so, indeed, the gods favour this every (action) of his[7].

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

That is, the pores from which the hairs spring.

[2]:

Tasmai sahasrasaṃvatsarajīvanāya ko vā manushyaḥ śaknuyāt; manushyāvadhiḥ śatam ato jīvato manushyeṇa sahasrasaṃvatsarāḥ prāptum aśakyāt. Sāy.

[3]:

That is, the majority of Yajushmatī bricks, viz. 360 of them, whilst the remaining ones are supposed to stand in lieu of half-moons, months, and seasons; see X, 4, 3, 19.

[4]:

Viz. the Lokampṛṇā bricks; see X, 4, 3, 20.

[5]:

Or, religious fervour (meditation).

[6]:

Or, as Sāyaṇa seems to interpret it, 'that austerity will gain for him all his (Agni's thousandfold perfection) and the heavenly world (?),'--etat tapaḥ agnes tadavayavānāṃ ca sahasrātmakatvarūpaṃ karoti tasmāc ca svargalokaprāptir bhavatīty arthaḥ.

[7]:

Evaṃ vidvān yat kurute tat sarvaṃ yad yasmād devā avanti. Sāy.

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