Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XI.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 XI, adhyaya 5.

Kanda XI, adhyaya 5, brahmana 2


1. By means of the Seasonal sacrifices, Prajāpati fashioned for himself a body. The sacrificial food for the Vaiśvadeva[1] sacrifice he made to be this right arm of his; the oblation to Agni thereof this thumb; that to Soma this (fore-finger); and that to Savitṛ this (middle finger).

2. That cake (to Savitṛ), doubtless, is the largest, and hence this (middle finger) is the largest of these (fingers). That (oblation) to Sarasvatī is this (third) finger; and that to Pūṣan this (little finger). And that (oblation) to the Maruts is this joint above the hand (the wrist); and that to the Viśve Devāḥ is this (elbow[2]); and that to Heaven and Earth is this arm: this (oblation) is indistinct[3], whence that limb also is indistinct[4].

3. The Varuṇapraghāsa[5] offerings are this right leg,--the five oblations which this has in common (with the other Seasonal offerings) are these five toes; and the oblation to Indra and Agni is the knuckles: this (oblation) belongs to two deities whence there are these two knuckles. That (oblation) to Varuṇa is this (shank); that to the Maruts this (thigh); and that (cake) to Ka is this back-bone: this (oblation) is indistinct, whence that (back-bone) is indistinct.

4. The offering to (Agni) Anīkavat (of the Sākamedhāḥ[6]), doubtless, is his (Prajāpati's) mouth, for the mouth is the extreme end (anīka) of the vital airs; the Sāṃtapanīyā (pap) is the chest, for by the chest one is, as it were, confined[7] (saṃ-tap); the Gṛhamedhīyā (pap) is the belly--to serve as a foundation, for the belly is a foundation; the Kraiḍina oblation is the male organ, for it is therewith that (man) sports (krīḍ), as it were; and the offering to Aditi[8] is this downward breathing.

5. The Great Oblation, indeed, is this left leg,--the five oblations which it has in common (with the other Seasonal offerings) are these five toes; and the oblation to Indra and Agni is the knuckles: this (oblation) belongs to two deities whence there are these two knuckles. The (oblation) to Mahendra is this (shank); that to Viśvakarman this (thigh): this (oblation) is indistinct, whence this (thigh) also is indistinct.

6. The Śunāsīrīya[9], doubtless, is this left arm,--the five oblations which it has in common (with the other Seasonal offerings) are these five fingers; the Śunāsīrīya is that joint of his above the hand; that (oblation) to Vāyu is this (elbow); that to Sūrya this arm: this (oblation) is indistinct, whence this (limb) also is indistinct.

7. Now these Seasonal offerings are tripartite and furnished with two joints[10], whence these limbs of man are tripartite and furnished with two joints. Two of these four (sacrifices) have each three indistinct (low-voiced) oblations; and two of them have two each[11].

8. At all four of them they churn out the fire, whence (the draught animal) pulls with all four limbs. At two of them they lead (the fire) forward[12], whence it (the animal) walks on two (feet at a time)[13]. Thus, then, Prajāpati fashioned for himself a body by means of the Seasonal sacrifices; and in like manner does the Sacrificer who knows this fashion for himself a (divine) body by means of the Seasonal sacrifices.

9. As to this they say, 'The Vaiśvadeva oblation (should have) all (its formulas) in the Gāyatrī, the Varuṇapraghāsāḥ all in the Triṣṭubh, the Great Oblation all in the Jagatī, and the Śunāsīrīya all in the Anuṣṭubh metre, so as to yield a Katuṣṭoma[14].' But let him not do this, for inasmuch as (his formulas) amount to these (metres) even thereby that wish is obtained.

10. Now, indeed, (the formulas of) these Seasonal offerings. amount to three hundred and sixty-two Bṛhatī verses[15]: he thereby obtains both the year[16]

and the Mahāvrata[17]; and thus, indeed, this Sacrificer also has a twofold[18] foundation, and he thus makes the Sacrificer reach the heavenly world, and establishes him therein.

Footnotes and references:


The Vaiśvadeva, or first of the four seasonal sacrifices, requires the following oblations:--1. a cake on eight potsherds to Agni; 2. a pap to Soma; 3. a cake on twelve or eight potsherds to p. 75 Savitṛ; 4. a pap to Sarasvatī; 5. a pap to Pūṣan--these first five oblations recur at all seasonal offerings;--6. a cake on seven potsherds to the Maruts; 7. a dish of clotted curds to the Viśve Devāḥ; 8. a cake on one potsherd to Heaven and Earth.


It would rather seem that what is intended here by 'saṃdhi' is not the joints themselves, but the limbs (in the anatomical sense) between the articulations. Similarly in 'triṣandhi' in parag. 7.


That is to say, it is a low-voiced offering, the two formulas, with the exception of the final Om and Vauṣaṭ, being pronounced in a low voice. All cakes on one potsherd are (except those to Varuṇa) of this description; Kāty. Śr. IV, 5, 3; Āśv. Śr. II, 15, 5; cf. Śat. Br. II, 4, 3, 8.


That is, not clearly defined; the word 'dos,' which is more usually restricted to the fore-arm, being also used for the whole arm, and even the upper arm.


The Varuṇapraghāsāḥ, or second seasonal sacrifice, has the following oblations:--1-5. the common oblations; 6. a cake on twelve potsherds to Indra and Agni; 7. 8. two dishes of clotted curds for Varuṇa and the Maruts respectively; 9. a cake on one potsherd for Ka (Prajāpati).


The Sākamedhāḥ, or third seasonal sacrifice, consists of the following oblations:--1. a cake on eight potsherds to Agni Anīkavat; 2. 3. paps to the Marutaḥ Sāṃtapanāḥ and Marutaḥ Gṛhamedhinaḥ; 4. a cake on seven potsherds to the Marutaḥ Krīḍinaḥ; 5. a pap to Aditi. Then follows the Great Oblation consisting of 6-10, the five common oblations; 11. a cake on twelve potsherds to Indra and Agni; 12. a pap to Mahendra; and 13. a cake on one potsherd to Viśvakarman. Then follows the Pitṛyajña.


Or, according to Sāyaṇa, one gets oppressed or heated on account of the close proximity of the heart and the digestive fire,--urasā hṛdaya-sambandhāj jaṭharasanniveśāc ca saṃtāpana-viṣayatvam.


This offering of a cake to Aditi, mentioned in Kāty. Sr. V, 7, 2, is not referred to in the Brāhmaṇa's account of the Sākamedhāḥ, see II, 5, 3, 20.


The Sunāsīrīya, or last Seasonal offering, consists of--1-5. the common oblations; 6. the Śunāsīrīya cake on twelve potsherds; 7. a milk oblation to Vāyu; 8. a cake on one potsherd to Sūrya.


The Seasonal offerings are performed so as to leave an interval of four months between them; the fourth falling exactly a year after the first; hence the whole performance consists, as it were, of three periods of four months each, with two joints between them;--corresponding to the formation of the arms and legs.


Of the five oblations common to the four sacrifices, one--viz. the cake to Savitṛ--is a low-voiced offering (Kāty. Sr. IV, 5, 5; Āśv. Śr. II, 15, 7), as are also the one-kapāla cakes of which there is one in each sacrifice. According to Sāyaṇa the first and last Seasonal sacrifices have only these two Upāmśuyājas, whilst the second and third have each one additional low-voiced oblation, but he does not specify them. This is, however, a mistake, as Kātyāyana, Śr. IV, 5, 6. 7, states distinctly, that the two additional low-voiced oblations are the Vaiśvadevī payasyā in the first, and the oblation to Vāyu in the last, Cāturmāsya.


According to Sāyaṇa this refers to the first and last Seasonal sacrifices, inasmuch as there is no uttaravedi required for these, and hence only the simple leading forward of the fire to the Āhavanīya hearth; whilst the commentary on Katy. V, 4, 6, on the contrary, refers it just to the other two, because a double leading forth takes place there.


Or, as Sāyaṇa takes it, man walks on two feet.


The Catuṣṭoma, properly speaking, is the technical term for such an arrangement of the Stotras of a Soma-sacrifice by which they are chanted on stomas, or hymn-forms, increasing successively by four verses. Two such arrangements (of four and six different stomas respectively) are mentioned, one for an Agniṣṭoma sacrifice, and the other for a Ṣoḍaśin. See note on XIII, 3, 1, 4.


These 362 Bṛhatī verses (of 36 syllables each) would amount to 13,032 syllables; and, verses of the four metres referred to amounting together to 148 syllables, this amount is contained in the former 88 times, leaving only eight over; so slight a discrepancy being considered of no account in such calculations.


That is, a year of 360 days; and if, as is done by Sāyaṇa (in p. 79 accordance with the calculations in Book X), the year is identified with the fire-altar, a mahāvedi containing 360 Yajushmatī bricks.


Sāyaṇa reminds us that the Mahāvrata-sāman consists of five parts in five different stomas (Trivṛt, &c., see part iv, p. 282, note 4), the verses of which, added up (9, 15, 17, 25, 21), make 87, which amount is apparently, in a rough way, to be taken as identical with that of 88 obtained in note 4 of last page.


Viz. inasmuch as the total amount of Bṛhatīs (362) exceeds by two the number of days in the year.

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