Satapatha Brahmana

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

This is Satapatha Brahmana XIII.3.5 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 5th brahmana of kanda XIII, adhyaya 3.

Kanda XIII, adhyaya 3, brahmana 5

1. Verily, there are deaths[1] connected with all the worlds; and were he not to offer oblations to them, Death would get hold of him in every world:

when he offers oblations to the Deaths[2], he wards off Death in every world.

2. Concerning this they say, 'If, in offering, he were to name them all, saying, "To such[3] (a death) hail! To such (a death) hail!" he would make that manifold death his enemy[4], and would give himself over to Death.' Only one oblation he offers to one of them, with, 'To Death, hail!' for there is indeed but one Death in yonder world, even Hunger[5]: it is him he wards off in yonder world.

3. A second oblation he makes with, 'To Brahman-slaying, hail!' for, doubtless, a murder other than the slaying of a Brahman is no murder; but that--to wit, the slaying of a Brahman--is manifestly murder: he thus manifestly wards off Death[6].

4. Muṇḍibha Audanya[7] it was who discovered this atonement for the slaying of a Brahman; and when one offers the oblation to the Brahmahatyā he prepares a remedy for the slayer of a Brahman by satisfying Death himself with an oblation, and making a protection[8] for him (the slayer). At whosoever's Aśvamedha, therefore, this oblation is offered, even if in after-times[9] any one in his family kills a Brahman, he thereby prepares a remedy (expiation) for him.

Footnotes and references:


That is, according to Sāyaṇa, on Taitt. Br. III, 9, 15, 1, causes of death, such as diseases, &c.


The oblations referred to in this Brāhmaṇa (§§ 1-4) occur towards the end of the second set of 'araṇyenūcya' oblations mentioned above, p. 336, note 2, where the formulas are given. According to Taitt. Br., l.c., however, these final oblations are to be performed--like that to Jumbaka (Varuṇa)--at the time of the purificatory bath, which, indeed, may also be intended by our Brāhmaṇa, though Kātyāyana and Mahīdhara seem to offer no indications to that effect. It is clear that these final oblations must have formed the subject of considerable discussion among the early ritualists.


That is, according to Sāyaṇa (Taitt. Br.), 'To death in the shape of disease, to death in the shape of poverty, &c.' Harisvāmin, on our passage, has merely, 'Amushmai pitṛlokāya mṛtyave'--'To death (in the shape of) the world of the Fathers,' which is not very clear.


Or, perhaps, he would make himself many a death-enemy (bahuṃ mṛtyum amitraṃ kurvīta), the two nouns being taken as in apposition to each other; cf. p. 146, note 1.


See X, 6, 5, 1.


Or, he thus wards off what is manifestly Death (Death in person).


That is, according to Harisvāmin, the son of Udanya (Odana. St. Petersb. Dict.), Taitt. Br. III, 9, 15, 3, has Muṇḍibha Audanyava (i.e. the son of Udanyu, Sāy.) instead. The Taitt. Br., besides, makes the crime to be expiated here to be, not 'brahmahatyā,' but 'bhrūṇahatyā,' the killing of an embryo. Sāyaṇa, however, there allows to 'bhrūṇa' optionally its later meaning of 'a Brāhmaṇa versed in the three Vedas and the sacrificial art (kalpa),' and the Taitt. Br. itself, at all events, takes this oblation to 'bhrūṇahatyā' to atone likewise for the slaying of a Brāhmaṇa.


Harisvāmin explains 'paripāṇam' by 'pariśiṣṭaṃ vānantam pānam' (?); whilst Sāyaṇa, in Taitt. Br., takes it in the sense of 'sarvataḥ pātram,' i.e. having made the Sacrificer 'a thoroughly worthy person.'


Harisvāmin here unwarrantably takes 'aparīṣū' in the sense of 'in past times.'

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