Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XIII.1.1 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 XIII, adhyaya 1.

Kanda XIII, adhyaya 1, brahmana 1

1. He (the Adhvaryu) cooks the priests’ mess of rice[2]: it is seed he thereby produces. Having greased a rope with the ghee which is left over[3], he takes it; for ghee is (a type of) fiery spirit, and the horse is sacred to Prajāpati[4]: he thus endows Prajāpati with fiery spirit. Impure, and unfit for sacrifice, indeed, is that (animal), to wit, the horse.

2. The rope consists of darbha grass (poa cynosuroides);--for darbha stalks[5] are a means of purification: he thus purifies that (horse), and immolates it as one purified and meet for sacrifice.

3. Now, when the horse[6] was immolated, its seed went from it and became gold[7]: thus, when he gives gold (to the priests) he supplies the horse with seed.

4. Prajāpati produced the sacrifice[8]. His greatness departed from him, and entered the great sacrificial priests[9]. Together with the great priests he went in search of it, and together with the great priests he found it: when the great priests eat the priests’ mess of rice, the Sacrificer thereby secures for himself the greatness of the sacrifice. Along with the priests’ mess of rice he presents gold (to the priests); for the mess of rice is seed, and gold is seed: by means of seed he thus lays seed into that (horse, and Sacrificer). It (the gold[10]) weighs a hundred (grains); for man has a life of a hundred (years), and a hundred energies: it is life, and energy, vigour, he lays into his own self. At midday he takes Vasatīvarī[11] water of four kinds; it is brought together from the (four) quarters, for food is in (all) the (four) quarters, and water is food: by means of food he thus secures food for him.

Footnotes and references:


The ceremonies treated of in the first six chapters (brāhmaṇas) refer to the setting apart of the horse for its sacred office, a year before the sacrifice, and to the intervening period during which the horse is allowed to roam about, though under careful supervision.


For further particulars regarding this opening ceremony of the sacrifice see XIII, 4, 1, 1 seqq.


Viz. from the ghee used for greasing the four dishes of cooked rice.


Or, the horse is of the nature of Prajāpati.


See above, p. 195, note 1.


That is, as would seem, Prajāpati in the form of a horse, see part iv, introd., p. xiv seqq.


Prajāpati is Agni, and gold is Agni's seed, cf. II, 1, 1, 5; III, 3, 1, 3 &c.


That is, the Aśvamedha sacrifice, and thus the immolation (or emptying out) of his own self, so to speak.


That is, the four principal officiating priests, Brahman, Hotṛ, Adhvaryu, and Udgātṛ. Cf. VIII, 4, 3, 1 seqq., where it is the vital airs that, in their capacity as Ṛṣis, assist Prajāpati in the first sacrifice.


That is to say, each piece of gold weighs as much. According to Kāty. XX, 1, 6 he is to give to the priests 4000 cows and as many Śatamāna coins.


For this water used for the Soma-sacrifice where, however, it is taken from a cistern, or some course of flowing water, see part ii, p. 222 seqq.

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