Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XIII.3.1 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 3.

Kanda XIII, adhyaya 3, brahmana 1

1. Prajāpati's eye swelled; it fell out: thence the horse was produced; and inasmuch as it swelled (aśvayat), that is the origin and nature of the horse (aśva). By means of the Aśvamedha the gods restored it to its place; and verily he who performs the Aśvamedha makes Prajāpati complete, and he (himself) becomes complete; and this, indeed, is the atonement for everything, the remedy for everything. Thereby the gods redeem all sin, yea, even the slaying of a Brahman[1] they thereby redeem; and he who performs the Aśvamedha redeems all sin, he redeems the slaying of a Brahman.

2. It was the left eye of Prajāpati that swelled: hence they cut off the (meat) portions from the left.

side of the horse, and from the right side of other victims.

3. There is a rattan mat, for the horse was produced from the womb of the waters, and the rattan springs from the water: he thus brings it in connection with its own (maternal) womb.

4. The Catuṣṭoma[2] is the form of chanting (on the first day); for a bee tore out[3] (a piece of) the horse's thigh, and by means of the Katuṣṭoma form of chanting the gods restored it: thus when there is the Katuṣṭoma mode of chanting, it is for the completeness of the horse. The last day is an Atirātra with all the Stomas[4]--with a view to his obtaining and securing everything, for an Atirātra with all the Stomas is everything, and the Aśvamedha is everything.

Footnotes and references:


See XIII, 3, 5, 3 seq.


The term Katuṣṭoma originally apparently means a sacrificial performance, or succession of chants, in which four different Stomas, or hymn-forms, are used. Hence, in Tāṇḍya-Br. VI, 3, 16, the name is applied to the ordinary Agniṣṭoma, for its twelve Stotras, or chants, require the first four normal Stomas (Trivṛt, Pañcadaśa, Saptadaśa, Ekaviṃśa). The term has, however, assumed the special meaning of a hymnic performance, the different Stomas of which (begin with the four-versed one, and) successively increase by four verses (cf. XIII, 5, 1, 1). In this sense, two different forms of Catuṣṭoma are in use, one being applicable to an Agniṣṭoma, the other to a Ṣoḍaśin, sacrifice. Whilst this latter form requires only four different Stomas (of 4, 8, 12, 16 verses resp.) and thus combines the original meaning of 'catuṣṭoma' with its special meaning, the Agniṣṭoma form, used on the first of the three days of the Aśvamedha, requires six Stomas, ascending from the four-versed up to the twenty-four-versed one. In regard to this latter occasion, Sāyaṇa on Tāṇḍya-Br. XXI, 4, 1, curiously enough, seems to take 'katuṣṭoma' in its original senses, since he speaks of this first day of the Aśvamedha as an Agniṣṭoma with four Stomas, beginning with Trivṛt; whilst on ib. XIX, 5, 1 seq. he gives the correct explanation. As to the distribution of the six Stomas over the chants of the first day, see XIII, 5, 1, 1. The catuṣṭoma has, however, another peculiarity, which, in Lāṭy. S. VI, 8, 1 (or at least by the commentator Agnisvāmin thereon), is taken as that which has given its name to this form of chanting, viz. that each stotra performed in it is chanted in four, instead of the ordinary three, paryāyas or turns of verses (see part ii, p. 350 note). The Bahiṣpavamāna-stotra is to be performed on three anuṣṭubh verses (consisting each of four octosyllabic pādas) which, however, by taking each time three pādas to make up a verse, are transformed into four verses, constituting at the same time the four paryāyas of the Stotra. As regards the exact p. 330 text to be used there seems to be some doubt, Sāmav. S. II, 366-8 (pavasva vājasātaye) being mentioned by Sāyaṇa on Tāṇḍya-Br. XXI, 4, 5; whilst on XIX, 5, 2 he gives S. V. II, 168-70 (ayam pūṣā rayir bhagaḥ) as the text to be used--but apparently only when the performance is that of an ekāha (one day's sacrifice) proper, instead of one of the days of an āhīna sacrifice, as is the case in the three days’ Aśvamedha. As regards the Ājya-stotras to be chanted on the eight-versed Stoma, the text of each of them consists of three gāyatrī-verses: these are to be chanted in four turns (paryāya) of two verses each, viz. either 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 1 and 2, 2 and 3;--or 1 and 1, 1 and 2, 2 and 2, 3 and 3;--(or 1 and 1, 1 and 1, 2 and 2, 3 and 3;--or 1 and 1, 2 and 2, 2 and 2, 3 and 3). By similar manipulations the subsequent Stomas are formed.


Or, wounded, as Sāyaṇa takes 'ā bṛhat,' on Tāṇḍya-Br. XXI, 4, 4 (vraṇaṃ cakāra).


The Atirātra sarvastoma is arranged in such a way that the six principal Stomas are used successively first in the ascending, and then again in the descending, or reversed, order as is explained in XIII, 5, 3, 10.

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