Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XI.8.4 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 XI, adhyaya 8.

Kanda XI, adhyaya 8, brahmana 4

1. Now, once upon a time, a tiger killed the samrāj-cow[1] of those (who were sacrificing) with (the king of the) Keśin as their Gṛhapati[2]. He (the king[3]) said to his fellow-sacrificers, 'What atonement is there for this?' They replied, 'There is no atonement for this: Khaṇḍika Audbhāri alone knows an atonement for it; but he certainly desires as much as this, and worse than this[4], (to happen) to thee.'

2. He said, 'Charioteer, put to my horses; I shall drive thither: if so be he will tell me, I shall succeed (with my sacrifice); but if he will have me die, I shall be shattered along with the shattered sacrifice.'

3. Having put to the horses, he drove off, and came thither[5]. When he (Khaṇḍika) saw[6] him, he said, 'Seeing that there are those skins on deer, we break their ribs and cook them: the skin of the black antelope is attached to my neck[7]--is it with thoughts such as these that thou hast dared to drive over to me?'

4. 'Not so,' he replied; 'a tiger has killed my samrāj-cow, reverend sir; if so be thou wilt tell me, I shall succeed; but if thou wilt have me die, I shall be shattered along with the shattered sacrifice.'

5. He said, 'I will take counsel with my counsellors[8].' Having called them to counsel, he said, 'If I tell him, his race, not mine, will prevail here[9], but I shall gain the (other) world; and if I do not tell him, my own race, not his, will prevail here, but he will gain the (other) world.' They said, 'Do not tell him, reverend sir, for, surely, this (the earth) is the Kṣatriya's world[10].' He replied, 'Nay, I will tell him: there are more nights[11] up yonder.'

6. And, accordingly, he then said to him,--'Having offered the Spṛtis[12], he (the Adhvaryu) should say, "Drive up another (cow)!" and that one should be thy samrāj-cow[13].'--'[Having offered. with,] "From the moon I take thy mind, hail!--From the sun I take thine eye, hail!--From the wind I take thy breathings, hail!--From the regions I take thine ear, hail!--From the waters I take thy blood, hail!--From the earth

I take thy body, hail!" let him then say, "Drive up another (cow)!" and that one shall be thy samrāg cow!' He then departed from thence[14], and, verily, members of the Keśin race are born here even to this day.

Footnotes and references:


That is the cow which supplies the milk for the Pravargya; this milk, when heated, being called 'gharma (heat)' or 'samrāj (sovereign king).' See part ii, p. 104, note 3.


Gṛhapati, or house-lord, master of the house, is the title of the principal sacrificer at a sacrificial session (sattra).--According to Sāyaṇa, the Keśinaḥ were a race of nobles (rājānaḥ), who, on this occasion, were performing a 'sattra,' and are therefore styled 'householders' (gṛhapati);--keśino nāma rājānaḥ sattrayāgam anutiṣṭhanto gṛhapataya āsuḥ, Sāyaṇa thus takes 'keśi-gṛhapatayaḥ,' not as a bahuvrīhi, but as a tatpuruṣa (karmadhāraya, 'the Keśin householders') which would, however, require the accent on the second member of the compound.--Though all those taking part in a sacrificial session ought to be Brahmans, the rule does not seem to have been strictly observed. Cf. part iv, introd., p. xxv; Weber, Ind. Stud. X, pp. 25 94.


Gṛhapatishu pradhānabhūtaḥ keśirājaḥ, Sāy.


That is, that even a greater misfortune should happen to thee,--atyantaṃ pāpayuktaṃ govadhādidoṣayuktam ity arthaḥ, Sāy.


Sāyaṇa makes Khaṇḍika the subject of this last verb:--sa ha ratham aśvaiḥ saṃyojya Khaṇḍikasamīpaṃ yayau; sopi Khaṇḍikaḥ keśinam ājagāma, gatvā ca vivaktaṃ (? viviktaṃ) Keśinaṃ pratikhyāya nirākṛtya sadayam eva prathamam uvāca. He thus seems not to allow here to 'yā' the meaning of 'to drive,' but to take 'yayau' in the sense of 'he went thither.' It might, of course, also mean 'he set off.'


Sāyaṇa apparently takes 'prati-khyā' in the sense of 'to refuse admittance to, to reject,' 'abweisen.'


Sāyaṇa's comment on this passage is as follows:--'O Keśin, the skin of the cow that yields the gharma-milk is worn by thee on the neck: those (i.e. suchlike) skins, indeed, are (i.e. are seen) on deer; and having broken (i.e., torn to pieces) the "pṛṣṭi" (i.e. the small-sized does) amongst them we cook them: that black-antelope skin is fastened on my neck.' Khaṇḍika having spoken thus, the king said, 'No, this is not my intention.'


Literally, those that should be consulted, whom further on Sāyaṇa calls 'āptāḥ' or trusty men.


Or, perhaps, the people here (the Keśins) will become his, not mine; cf. Delbrück, Altind. Syntax, pp. 32; 141 (two different renderings). Sāyaṇa, on the other hand, takes 'prajā,' not in the sense either of 'family' or 'people,' but in that of '(sacred) knowledge'--perhaps with reference to the threefold science (the Veda) as the p. 133 thousandfold progeny of Vāc, speech (cf. IV, 5, 8, 4; 6, 7, 3; V, 5, 5, 12)--which Khaṇḍika would thus lose, whilst, by imparting the sacred knowledge, he would gain a seat in heaven.


Sāyaṇa's comment is not very intelligible, the MS. being more than usually corrupt on this last page:--evaṃvidhe virodha udbhāvitê sati to āptā ūcuḥ, he bhagavo vidyāṃ mā vocaḥ, kṣatriyasya loko na bhavishyatīti; nanu tavānuśayaḥ (? appanage, domain, following) sa tasya nāsti; ayaṃ vāva ayam eva khalu, kṣatriyasya lokas tasmāt sauspatrāter (?) evam ukte sati sadvecenarāpatra bhavānti (!) ato vakṣyāmy evety uvāca.


That is, days,--by giving up a brief life of earthly power and glory, he gains eternal life.


That is, oblations performed with a view of 'taking hold (spṛ)' of something; cf. Katy. Śrautas. XXV, 6, 11. 12.


The particle 'iti' here causes some difficulty of construction which would be removed by the latter clause being taken as part of the Adhvaryu's speech; though Kātyāyana, it is true, does not recognise it as such. Perhaps, however, Khaṇḍika's speech ends here, and what follows up to 'that one shall be thy samrāj-cow' has to be taken as a ritualistic insertion, in which case the final 'iti' would have some such meaning as 'having been told thus.'


Sāyaṇa takes this thus:--'Thus instructed, Keśin disappeared (or, passed away, vanished, utsasāda vinaṣṭaḥ) from that region (tato deśāt)'--after which there is a lacuna in the MS. Perhaps, however, it is Khaṇḍika, rather than Keśin, to which this refers,--he (and his race) then, indeed, passed away from that region, whilst the Keśins flourished.

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