Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XI.5.8 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 8th brahmana of kanda XI, adhyaya 5.

Kanda XI, adhyaya 5, brahmana 8

1. Verily, in the beginning, Prajāpati alone was here. He desired, 'May I exist, may I be generated.' He wearied himself and performed fervid devotions: from him, thus wearied and heated, the three worlds were created--the earth, the air, and the sky.

2. He heated these three worlds, and from them, thus heated, three lights (jyotis) were produced--Agni (the fire), he who blows here (Vāyu), and Sūrya (the sun).

3. He heated these three lights, and from them, thus heated, the three Vedas were produced--the Ṛg-veda from Agni, the Yajur-veda from Vāyu, and the Sāma-veda from Sūrya.

4. He heated these three Vedas, and from them, thus heated, three luminous essences[1] were produced- 'bhūḥ' from the Ṛg-veda, 'bhuvaḥ' from the Yajur-veda, and 'svar' from the Sāma-veda. And with the Ṛg-veda they then performed the work of the Hotṛ priest, with the Yajur-veda the work of the Adhvaryu, and with the Sāma-veda the work of the Udgātṛ; and what luminous essence[2] there was in the threefold science, therewith the work of the Brahman priest then proceeded.

5. The gods spake unto Prajāpati, 'If our sacrifice were to fail in respect of either the Ṛc, or the Yajus, or the Sāman, whereby should we heal it?'

6. He spake, ‘If (it were to fail) in respect of the Ṛc, ye should take ghee by four ladlings and offer it in the Gārhapatya fire with 'Bhūḥ!' and if in respect of the Yajus, ye should take ghee by four ladlings and offer it in the Āgnīdhrīya--or in the Anvāhāryapacana[3] in the case of a Haviryajña--with 'Bhuvaḥ!' and if in respect of the Sāman, ye should take ghee by four ladlings and offer it in the Āhavanīya with 'Svar!' But if it should not be known (where the mistake has occurred), ye should make offering in the Āhavanīya after uttering rapidly all (the three sacred words[4]): thus one heals the Ṛg-veda by the Ṛg-veda[5], the Yajur-veda by the Yajur-veda, and the Sāma-veda by the Sāma-veda;--even as one would put together joint with joint[6], so does he put together (the broken part of the sacrifice) whoever heals it by means of these (three sacred words). But if he heals it in any other way than this, it would be just as if one tried to put together something that is broken with something else that is broken, or as if one were to apply some poison as lotion to a broken part[7]. Let him therefore appoint only one who knows this (to officiate as) his Brahman, and not one who does not know this.

7. As to this they say, 'Seeing that the work of the Hotṛ is performed with the Ṛg-veda, that of the Adhvaryu with the Yajur-veda, and that of the Udgātṛ with the Sāma-veda, wherewith then is the work of the Brahman (performed)?' Let him reply, 'With that threefold science.'

Footnotes and references:


? Sāyaṇa takes 'śukra' here in the sense of 'flame, light' (vyāhṛtirūpāṇi tejāṃsi); whilst the St. Petersb. Dict. assigns to it the meaning of 'sap, juice' (Saft, Seim, cf. next note). Ait. Br. V, 32, contains a very similar passage in which the same process of evolution is set forth:--Prajāpati first creates the three worlds, earth, air, and heaven. From them, being heated by him, three lights (jyotis) are produced--Agni from the earth, Vāyu from the air, and Āditya from the sky (or heaven). From them, being heated, the three Vedas are produced--the Ṛg-veda from Agni, the Yajur-veda from Vāyu, and the Sāma-veda from Āditya. From the Vedas, being heated, three flames (śukra, luminaries, Haug) are produced--Bhūḥ from the Ṛg-veda, Bhuvaḥ from the Yajur-veda, p. 103 and Svar from the Sāma-veda. From these in the same way are produced three sounds (or letters, varṇa), ā, u and m, which being combined yield the syllable 'Om.' Cp. J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, vol. iii, p. 4.


Here Sāyaṇa also seems to take 'śukra' in the sense of 'pure, essential part'--nirmalaṃ rūpaṃ sāratvatāṃśaḥ (!).


That is, the Dakṣiṇāgni. At the Haviryajña (of which class of sacrifices, performed in the Prācīnavaṃśa hall, the full and new moon serves as model) there is no Āgnīdhrīya, which is, however, required for the Soma-sacrifice. See the plan in part ii, p. 475.


According to Sāyaṇa, offering would be used with the formula 'Bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, svāhā!'


Viz. by the word 'bhūḥ,' representing that Veda.


Yathā khalu loke bhagnaṃ hastapādādiparva tatsannihitenānyena parvaṇā puruṣāya saṃdadhyāt saṃśleṣayet, evam evānena vyāhṛtijñānena tat tad avedoktaṃ prabhṛṣṭam aṅgaṃ punaḥ sahitaṃ bhavati, Sāy.


? Or, as if one were to put some fluid into some broken (vessel; or, on some broken part),--yathā śīrṇena bhagnena anyac chīrṇaṃ bhagnaṃ vastu saṃdhitset saṃdhātum icchet; yathā vā śīrṇe garaṃ bhaktāvayave garam abhinidadhyāt praḥdattipeta (? prakṣipet), Sāy.

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