Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XI.6.1 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 1st brahmana of kanda XI, adhyaya 6.

Kanda XI, adhyaya 6, brahmana 1

1. Now, Bhṛgu, the son of Varuṇa, deemed himself superior to his father Varuṇa in knowledge[1]. Varuṇa became aware of this: 'He deems himself superior to me in knowledge,' he thought.

2. He said, 'Go thou eastward, my boy; and having seen there what thou shalt see, go thou southwards; and having seen there what thou shalt see, go thou westward; and having seen there what thou shalt see, go thou northward; and having seen there what thou shalt see, go thou toward the northern of those two intermediate quarters in front[2], and tell me then what thou shalt see there.'

3. He then went forth from thence eastward, and lo, men were dismembering men[3], hewing off their limbs one by one, and saying, 'This to thee, this to me!' He said, 'Horrible! woe is me! men here have dismembered men, hewing off their limbs one by one!' They replied, 'Thus, indeed, these dealt with us in yonder world, and so we now deal with them in return.' He said, 'Is there no atonement for this?'--'Yes, there is,' they replied.--'What is it?'--'Thy father knows.'

4. He went forth from thence southward, and lo, men were dismembering men, cutting up their limbs one by one, and saying, 'This to thee, this to me!' He said, 'Horrible! woe is me! men here have dismembered men, cutting up their limbs one by one!' They replied, 'Thus, indeed, these dealt with us in yonder world, and so we now deal with them in return.' He said, 'Is there no atonement for this?'--'Yes, there is,' they replied.--'What is it?'--'Thy father knows.'

5. He went forth from thence westward, and lo, men, sitting still, were being eaten by men, sitting still! He said, 'Horrible! woe is me! men, sitting still, are eating men, sitting still!' They replied, 'Thus, indeed, these have dealt with us in yonder world, and so we now deal with them in return.' He said, 'Is there no atonement for this? Yes, there is,' they replied.--'What is it? Thy father knows.'

6. He went forth from thence northward, and lo, men, crying aloud, were being eaten by men, crying aloud! He said, 'Horrible! woe is me! men, crying aloud, here are eating men, crying aloud!' They replied, 'Thus, indeed, these dealt with us in yonder world, and so we now deal with them in return.' He said, 'Is there no atonement for this?'--'Yes, there is,' they replied.--'What is it? Thy father knows.'

7. He went forth from thence toward the northern of those two intermediate quarters in front, and lo, there were two women, one beautiful, one over-beautiful[4]: between them stood a man, black, with yellow eyes, and a staff in his hand. On seeing him, terror seized him, and he went home, and sat down. His father said to him, 'Study thy day's lesson (of scripture): why dost thou not, study thy lesson?' He said, What am I to study? there is nothing whatever.' Then Varuṇa knew, 'He has indeed seen it!

8. He spake, ‘As to those men whom thou sawest in the eastern region being dismembered by men hewing off their limbs one by one, and saying, "This to thee, this to me!" they were the trees: when one puts fire-wood from trees on (the fire) he subdues the trees, and conquers the world of trees.

9. ‘And as to those men whom thou sawest in the southern region being dismembered by men cutting up their limbs one by one, and saying, "This to thee, this to me!" they were the cattle; when one makes offering with milk he subdues the cattle, and conquers the world of cattle.

10. ‘And as to those men thou sawest in the western region who, whilst sitting still, were being eaten by men sitting still, they were the herbs: when one illumines (the Agnihotra milk) with a straw[5], he subdues the herbs, and conquers the world of herbs.

11. ‘And as to those men thou sawest in the northern region who, whilst crying aloud, were being eaten by men crying aloud, they were the waters: when one pours water to (the Agnihotra milk), he subdues the waters, and conquers the world of waters.

12. ‘And as to those two women whom thou sawest, one beautiful and one over-beautiful,--the beautiful one is Belief: when one offers the first libation (of the Agnihotra) he subdues Belief, and conquers Belief; and the over-beautiful one is Unbelief: when one offers the second libation, he subdues Unbelief, and conquers Unbelief.

13. 'And as to the black man with yellow eyes, who was standing between them with a staff in his hand, he was Wrath: when, having poured water into the spoon, one pours (the libation into the fire), he subdues Wrath, and conquers Wrath; and, verily, whosoever, knowing this, offers the Agnihotra, thereby conquers everything, and subdues everything.'

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

On this legend, see Prof. Weber, Indische Streifen, I, p. 24 seqq., where the scenes here depicted are taken to be reflections of the popular belief of the time as to the punishments awaiting the guilty in a future existence.

[2]:

That is to say, in the north-easterly direction. Prof. Weber seems to take it in the sense of the northern one of the two regions intermediate between the two (regions) first referred to. This, however, makes no sense.

[3]:

I think, with Prof. Delbrück, Altind. Syntax, p. 404, that the instrumental 'puruṣaiḥ' stands in lieu of the accusative; this construction being adopted in order to avoid the double accusative and consequent ambiguity.

[4]:

According to Sāyaṇa 'ati-kalyāṇī' means 'not beautiful (aśobhanā), ugly.' Perhaps its real meaning is 'one of past beauty,' one whose beauty has faded.

[5]:

See II, 3, 1, 16.

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