Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XIII.1.7 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 7th brahmana of kanda XIII, adhyaya 1.

Kanda XIII, adhyaya 1, brahmana 7


1. Prajāpati desired, 'Might I perform a horse-sacrifice[1]?' He toiled and practised fervid devotion. From the body of him, when wearied and heated, the deities departed in a sevenfold way: therefrom the Dīkṣā (initiation) was produced. He perceived those Vaiśvadeva[2] (oblations). He offered them, and by means of them he gained the Dīkṣā: and when the Sacrificer offers the Vaiśvadeva (oblations) it is the Dīkṣā he thereby gains. Day after day he offers them: day after day he thus gains the Dīkṣā[3]. Seven of them he offers; for seven were those deities that departed (from Prajāpati); it is by means of them that he (the priest) gains the Dīkṣā for him.

2. But, indeed, the vital airs depart from those who exceed (the duration of) the Dīkṣā. For seven days they observe it; for there are seven (outlets of) vital airs in the head, and the Dīkṣā is the vital airs: it is by means of the vital airs he gains the Dīkṣā, the vital airs, for him. He makes offering by dividing (each) deity into three parts[4]; for the gods are of three orders[5], and of three orders are these worlds: he thus establishes himself in these worlds in prosperity and vital power.

3. They amount to one and twenty (single invocations and oblations),--there are twelve months, five seasons, these three worlds, and yonder sun as the twenty-first,--that is the divine ruling-power, that is the glory: that supreme lordship, that summit of the fallow one (the Sun), that realm of light he attains.

4. Thirty Audgrabhaṇas[6] he offers,--of thirty syllables the Virāj (metre) consists, and the Virāj means all food: thus (he offers) for the obtainment of all food. Four Audgrabhaṇas he offers (on each day), and three Vaiśvadevas;--they amount to seven; for there are seven vital airs of the head, and the Dīkṣā is the vital airs: by means of the vital airs he thus gains the Dīkṣā, the vital airs, for him. A full (-spoon)-oblation[7] he offers last for the sake of invigoration and union.

Footnotes and references:


Or, 'might I make offering with the life-sap of the horse?' the natural, as well as the technical, meaning of the term 'aśvamedha' being generally understood in these speculations.


The oblations offered prior to the initiation--here, as at any Soma-sacrifice--are called Audgrabhaṇa (elevatory) oblations. On the present occasion he, in the first place, performs, on each of the first six days of the Dīkṣā, the four oblations of this kind offered at the ordinary Soma-sacrifice (for which see III, 1, 4, 1 seqq.); whilst on the seventh day he offers, instead of these, the six corresponding oblations of the Agnicayana (which forms a necessary element of the Aśvamedha), see VI, 6, 1, 15-20; for a further and final oblation offered on all these occasions, see p. 292, note 1. He then performs on each day three additional oblations p. 290 (increased to four on the last day) which are peculiar to the Aśvamedha, and vary from day to day in respect of the deities to whom they are offered. But whilst, in the Śrautasūtras, these special oblations are likewise called Audgrabhaṇa (Katy. XX, 4, 2-10), the author here applies to them the term Vaiśvadeva, owing apparently to the fact of their being offered, not to the Viśve Devāḥ properly speaking, but to different deities. In the dogmatic explanation of the Audgrabhaṇas of the ordinary sacrifice, reference was also made (at III, 1, 4, 9) to the Viśve Devāḥ, but only incidentally. Harisvāmin, indeed, points out that the designation Vaiśvadeva refers in the first place to the invocations (Vāj. S. XXII, 20) used with these special oblations (as is, indeed, evident from paragraph 2; cf. also part ii, p. 20, note 1); and the total of seven applied to them does not therefore refer here (as it does in paragraph 4) to the four ordinary and the three special Audgrabhaṇa oblations, but to the series of dedicatory formulas relating to the latter oblations, as explained p. 291, note 1; and, of course, by implication, to the oblations themselves.


Though the Initiation only becomes perfect by the Sacrificer being girded with a hempen zone, whilst kneeling on a double black-antelope skin, and by a staff being handed to him (III, 2, 1, 1-32); on the present occasion, the Sacrificer is on each day, after the performance of the Audgrabhaṇa oblations, at least to sit down on the antelope skin; whilst on the seventh and last day of the Dīkṣaṇīyeṣṭi, the remaining ceremonies take place, after which those of the Agnicayana, viz. the placing of the Ukhā, or fire-pan, on the fire and the putting of thirteen fire-sticks in the pan (VI, 6, 2, 1 seqq.), &c.


The kaṇḍikā XXII, 20 is made up of seven parts, each of which consists of three distinct invocations addressed to the same deity; the seven deities addressed in the whole formula being Ka, Prajāpati, Aditi, Sarasvatī, Pūṣan, Tvaṣṭṛ, and Viṣṇu; whilst the three invocations to Ka, for instance, are 'Kāya svāhā! Kasmai svāhā! Katamasmai svāhā!' Cf. XIII, 1, 8, 2 seqq.


Viz. either the Vasus, Rudras, and Ādityas (cf. IV, 5, 7, 2); or those of the sky, the air, and the earth, headed by Sūrya, Vāyu, and Agni respectively.


That is, the four Audgrabhaṇas of the ordinary Soma-sacrifice offered on each of the seven days of the Dīkṣā, and two more added thereto on the seventh day.


For a full discussion of this final Audgrabhaṇa oblation, the only one, it would seem, offered with the regular offering-spoon (juhū) filled by means of the dipping-spoon (sruva), see III, 1, 4, 2; 16-23; cf. also VI, 6, 1, 21.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: