Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana X.6.5 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 X, adhyaya 6.

Kanda X, adhyaya 6, brahmana 5

1. Verily, there was nothing here in the beginning: by Death this (universe) was covered, by hunger, for Death is hunger. He created for himself this mind, thinking, 'May I have a soul.' He went on worshipping. Whilst he was worshipping the waters were produced. 'Verily, to me worshipping (arc) water (kam) has been produced,' thus (he thought): this, indeed, is the Arka-nature of the Arkya[1]; and, verily, there is joy (kam) for him who thus knows the Arka-nature of the Arkya.

2. The Arka, doubtless, is the waters; and the cream (froth) which was on the waters was compacted, and became this earth. Thereon he wearied himself, and the glow and essence (sweat) of him thus wearied and heated developed into Fire.

3. He made himself threefold--(Agni being one-third), Āditya one-third, and Vāyu one-third: that is this threefold breath. The eastern quarter was his head, this and that (intermediate quarters) are his fore-feet, the western quarter his tail, this and that (intermediate quarters) his thighs, the southern and northern quarters his flanks; the sky his back, the air his belly, and this (earth) his chest:--on the waters he was established any and everywhere, and so indeed is he established who knows this.

4. He desired, 'May a second self be produced for me.' By his mind he entered into union with speech,--(to wit) Death with hunger: the seed which was produced became the year, for theretofore there was no year. For as long as the year he (Death) carried him (within him), and at the end of that time he produced him[2]. He opened his mouth (to devour) the new-born one, and he (the child) cried 'bhāṇ'; thus speech was produced.

5. He bethought him, 'Surely, if I kill him, I shall gain but little food[3].' By that speech and that soul of his he created all this (universe) whatsoever there is,--Ṛc (hymn-verses), Yajus (formulas), Sāman (hymn-tunes), metres, sacrifices, men, and beasts. And whatsoever he created he set about devouring; and because he eats (ad) everything, hence the name 'Aditi'; and, verily, he who thus knows the nature of Aditi becomes an eater of everything, and all food becomes his.

6. He desired, 'May I again sacrifice by yet another sacrifice.' He wearied himself and practised austerity. From him, thus wearied and heated, glory and vigour departed; and glory and vigour, indeed, are the vital airs. The vital airs having departed, that body of his began to swell. The mind was yet in the body;--

7. He desired, 'May this (body) of mine be sacrificially pure: may I thereby be possessed of a self!' Thereupon the horse (aśva) was produced; and because that which was swelling[4] (aśvat) became pure (medhya) therefore the name Aśvamedha (belongs to that sacrifice). He, indeed, knows the Aśvamedha who thus knows him[5].

8. He bethought him of leaving it unrestrained[6]. At the end of a year he slaughtered it for his own self, and made over the (sacrificial) animals to the deities: therefore they slaughter the consecrated (victim) as one that, in its nature as Prajāpati, represents all the deities. But the Aśvamedha, in truth, is he that shines yonder (the sun), and the year is his body. The Arka is this Fire, and these worlds are his bodies. These two are the Arka and Aśvamedha; but these, indeed, become again one deity, to wit, Death. And, verily, whosoever knows this, conquers recurrent Death, and Death has no hold on him: Death is his own self; he attains all life, and becomes one of those deities.

9. Now the line of succession (of teachers). The same as far as Sāṃjīvīputra. Sāṃjīvīputra (received it) from Māṇḍūkāyani, Māṇḍūkāyani from Māṇdavya, Māṇdavya from Kautsa, Kautsa from Māhitthi, Māhitthi from Vāmakakṣāyaṇa, Vāmakakṣāyaṇa from Vātsya, Vātsya from Śāṇḍilya, Śāṇḍilya from Kuśri, Kuśri from Yagñavacas Rājastambāyana, Yajñavacas Rājastambāyana from Tura Kāvasheya, Tura Kāvasheya from Prajāpati, Prajāpati from Brahman (n.). Brahman is the self-existent: reverence be to Brahman!

Footnotes and references:


See X, 3, 4, 3 seq.; 4, 1, 4. 15. 21 seq.


Viz. Prajāpati, the year; Agni, the Puruṣa, the Self.


Or, I shall lessen my food (which would have become more abundant if the child had been allowed to live and grow).


The commentaries on the Bṛhad-āraṇyakop. take this together with the preceding clause,--and because that (body) was swelling (aśvat), therefore the horse (aśva) was produced.


Viz. Agni-Prajāpati, or Death, in the form of the horse.


For the construction, see IX, 5, 1, 35; on the negative form of the gerund (tam anavarudhyaivāmanyata) with a direct object, see Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, § 264.

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