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HomeSatapatha Brahmana - First KandhaSatapatha Brahmana - First Kandha - Ninth Adhyaya

Satapatha Brahmana – First Kandha – Ninth Adhyaya

Third Brâhmana

1The sacrifice being now complete, he (the Adhvaryu) walks round (the fire) to the south, and pours out a vessel (of water); for thus it is (poured out) towards north: therefore he pours it out after walking round to the south, He who sacrifices, doubtless, sacrifices with a desire that he also may obtain a place in the world of the gods. That sacrifice of his then goes forth towards the world of the gods: after it follows the fee which he gives (to the priests) and holding on to the priests’ fee (follows) the sacrificer.
2That same path leads either to the gods or to the fathers[1]. On both sides two flames are ever burning: they scorch him who deserves to be scorched, and allow him to pass who deserves to pass[2]. Now, water is (a means of) lustration: hence he thereby lustrates that path.
3A full (vessel) he pours out, because full means all: hence he thereby lustrates that (path) by means of the All. He pours it out continuously, uninterruptedly: hence he thereby lustrates that (path) in a continuous, uninterrupted manner.
4And again why he pours out a vessel (of water) is: where anything is done wrongly at the sacrifice, there they tear or wound it; and water being (a means of) lustration he lustrates it by that (means of) lustration, water; he heals it with water.
5A full (vessel) he pours out, because full means all: hence he thereby heals it by means of the All. Continuously, uninterruptedly he pours it out: hence he thereby heals it in a continuous (lasting), uninterrupted manner.
6He (the sacrificer) intercepts it with his open hands held together, while reciting the text (Vâg. S. II, 24), ‘We have united with lustre, with vigour, with the bodies[3], with the happy spirit. May Tvashtri, the dispenser of boons, grant us riches, and make even what was injured in our body!’ What was torn, that he thereby heals.
7He then touches his face (with the water in his hands). The reason why he thus touches his face is twofold: water means ambrosia, and with ambrosia he accordingly touches himself; also he thereby transfers to himself that sacred work (the sacrifice): for these reasons he touches his face.
8He now strides the (three) Vishnu-strides. He who sacrifices assuredly gratifies the gods. In gratifying the gods by that sacrifice partly by riks, partly by yagus, partly by oblations he acquires a share among them; and having acquired a share among them, he goes to them.
9And again why he strides the Vishnu-strides, is; Vishnu, truly, is the sacrifice, by striding (vi-kram) he obtained for the gods that all-pervading power (vikrânti) which now belongs to them. By his first step he gained this same (earth), by the second this aërial expanse, and by his last (step) the sky. And this same pervading power Vishnu, as the sacrifice, obtains by his strides for him (the sacrificer): for this reason he strides the Vishnu-strides. Now it is indeed from this (earth) that most (beings) go (upwards).
10Hence (he strides thrice) with the texts (Vâg. S. II, 25 a-c), ‘On the earth Vishnu strode by means of the gâyatrî metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ ‘In the air Vishnu strode by means of the trishtubh metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ ‘In the sky Vishnu strode by means of the gagatî metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ When one has thus ascended these worlds, that is the goal, that the safe refuge: the rays of him (the sun) who burns there, are the righteous (departed)[4]; and what highest light there is[5], that is Pragâpati or the heavenly world. Having then in this way ascended these worlds, he reaches that goal, that safe refuge. Now he who wishes to give instructions from hence, should come hitherwards from above. Twofold is the reason why he should come hitherwards from above:
11By (or, from) the escape (of the enemies)[6] indeed the conquering gods formerly gained first the sky, and then this aërial expanse; and thereupon they drove their enemies away from this (earth), whence there was no escape. And in like manner he (the priest) also by the escape (of the enemies) gains first the sky, and then this aërial expanse; and thereupon he drives his enemies away from this (earth), whence there is no escape. This earth indeed is a firm footing: hence he thereby stands firm on this firm footing.
12And in this way also (he may stride)[7]: ‘In the sky Vishnu strode by means of the gagatî metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ ‘In the air Vishnu strode by means of the trishtubh metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ ‘On the earth Vishnu strode by means of the gâyatrî metre: excluded therefrom is he who hates us, and whom we hate!’ With the texts (Vâg. S. II, 25 d, e), ‘(Excluded) from this food! from this resort!’ (pratishthâ, he looks down upon his portion and the altar respectively.) For on this (earth) all this food is safely established (pratishthita): for this reason he says, ‘From this food! from this resort!’
13He then looks towards the east. The east, indeed, is the region of the gods: for this reason he looks towards the east.
14He looks, with the text (Vâg. S. II, 25 f), ‘We have gone to the realm of light (svar).’ The realm of light assuredly means the gods: hence he thereby says, ‘We have gone to the gods.’ With (ib. g), ‘We have united with splendour’ (he looks on the Âhavanîya fire): he thereby says, ‘We have united with the gods.’
15He then looks up to the sun, for that is the final goal, that the safe resort. To that final goal, to that resort he thereby goes: for this reason he looks up to the sun.
16He looks up, with the text (Vâg. S. II, 26 a), ‘Self-existent art thou, the best ray of light!’ The sun is indeed the best ray of light[8], and therefore he says, ‘Self-existent art thou, the best ray of light.’ ‘ “Light-bestowing art thou: give me light (varkas)! “ so say I,’ said Yâgñavalkya, ‘for at this indeed the Brâhmana should strive, that he be brahmavarkasin (illumed by the brahma, or sacred writ).’ Aupoditeya[9], on the other hand, said, ‘He indeed will give me cows[10]: (therefore I say), “Cow-giving art thou, give me cows! “Thus whatever wish he (the sacrificer) entertains (and expresses), that wish is granted to him.
17He then turns (from left to right), with the text (Vâg. S. II, 26 b), ‘I move along the course of the sun;’ having reached that final goal, that safe resort, he now moves along the course of that (sun)[11].
18Thereupon he steps to (upa-sthâ) the Gârhapatya fire. Twofold is the reason why he steps to the Gârhapatya: the Gârhapatya is a house, and a house is a safe resort, hence he thereby stays in a house, that is, in a safe resort. And, besides, what full measure of human life there is for him here, that he thereby attains (upa-sthâ). This is why he steps to the Gârhapatya fire.
19He steps to it, with the text (Vâg. S. II, 27 a), ‘O householder Agni, may I become a good householder through thee, O Agni, the householder! Mayest thou, O Agni, become a good householder through me, the householder!’ there is nothing in this requiring explanation. ’May our household matters be unlike a cart with only one bullock,’ he thereby says, ‘may our household matters be free from calamities;’ ’for a hundred winters!’ he thereby says, ‘may I live a hundred years.’ He need not, however, say this; for man lives even longer than a hundred years: hence he need not say this.
20He then turns (from left to right), with the text (Vâg. S. II, 27 b), ‘I move along the course of the sun:’ having reached that final goal, that safe resort, he now moves along the course of that (sun).
21Now (in pronouncing the following text) he inserts his son’s name: ‘May this son (N.N.) carry on this manly deed of mine[12]!’ Should he have no son, let him insert his own name.
22He then steps up to the Âhavanîya fire. Silently he steps to it, thinking, ‘In the east my sacrifice shall be completed!’
23Thereupon he divests himself of the vow, with the text (Vâg. S. II, 28 b), ‘Now am I he that I really am.’ For, in entering upon the vow, he becomes, as it were, non-human; and as it would not be becoming for him to say, ‘I enter from truth into untruth;’ and as, in fact, he now again becomes man, let him therefore divest himself of the vow, with the text, ‘Now am I he that I really am[13].’

NOTE:

[1] Cf. Mahâbh. XII, 525, ‘Two paths are known, one leading to the gods, and one leading to the fathers; and ib. XIII, 1082, That sun is said to be the gate of the paths leading to the gods; and that moon is said to be the gate of the paths leading to the fathers.’ See also Khand. Up. V, 3. In Sat. Br. VI, 6, 2, 4 the gate of the heavenly world is said to be situated in the northeast; whilst that of the world of the fathers, according to XIII, 8, 1, 5, lies in the south-east. Cf. Kaushît. Up. I, 2 seq. (Max Müller, Up. I, p. 274), ‘Verily, the moon is the door of the heavenly world,’ &c.
[2] According to Harisvâmin, they scorch him who has not fulfilled his duties, and allow him to pass who has done so.
[3] That is, with the departed persons, the fathers; or, more probably, with new bodies (?), cf. the funereal hymns, Rig-veda X, 14-18; especially X, 35, 14; 16, 5; 14, 8. Perhaps, however, it would be better to construe, ‘by (our) bodies we have united with lustre and vigour; by (our) mind with bliss.’ In IV, 6, 1, 1 it is said, that the sacrificer is born in the next world with his entire body; similarly XI, 1, 8, 6; XII, 8, 3, 31. For further quotations regarding the views on future existence, see A. Weber, Ind. Streifen, I, p. 20 seq.; J. Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, V, p. 314 seq.
[4] In VI, 5, 4, 8 we shall meet with the statement, that ‘the stars (nakshatra) are the lights of righteous men who go to the heavenly world.’ In the same passage, however (as in others), the nakshatras (lunar mansions) are represented as divine female beings (with unclipped wings; cf. Vâg. S. XI, 61), with whom, in IX, 4, 1, 9, the moon is said to live together, as the Gandharvas with the Apsaras.
[5] See par. 16 with note. The Kânva text reads, ‘yat param bhâti.’
[6] Apasaranatah; i.e. by allowing the enemies to escape, viz.; first from the sky to the air, and then from the air to the earth. It also, however, has the meaning of ‘from escape;’ that is, the gods drove the enemies to the earth, whence there was no escape for them.
[7] The sacrificer in making the strides of Vishnu, may begin either with the stride on earth or with that in the sky (Kâty. III, 8, 11, 12). He begins from the southern hip (or south-west corner) of the altar, and makes three strides eastward with his right foot in front, reciting one formula with each stride, along the south side of the altar up to the Âhavanîya fire.
[8] Seven rays of the sun are mentioned, Rig-veda I, 105, 9; II, 5, 2; Ath-veda VII, 107, 1. Mahîdhara remarks that four of them lie in, or point to, the four quarters; one pointing upwards and another downwards; and the seventh, and best, being the disc of the sun itself, called Hiranyagarbha. This apparently is the param bhâs, or most excellent light, which in par. 10 is identified with Pragâpati, or the heavenly world.
[9] That is, Tumiñga Aupoditeya Vaiyâghrapadya, as the Kânva text reads; cf. Taitt. S. I, 7, 2, 1.
[10] The heavenly rays of light are regarded as the heavenly cows,. Naigh. I, 5; Nir. II, 6.
[11] When he has executed the pradakshina movement, he has to repeat the movement in the opposite direction, in accordance with the general rule, Katy. I, 8, 24. The same applies to par. 20. On the sun-wise circumambulation, with and without fire, see p. 37 note, p. 45 note; also Martin, Western Isles, pp. 16-20, 85, 97, 116-119, 241, 277; Forbes Leslie, Early Races of Scotland, index, s.v. deisiol.
[12] The Mâdhyandina text of the Vâg. S. does not give this formula. The Kânva text of the Samhitâ has the following (Weber’s edition, p. 59), ‘Woven art thou, a web art thou: weave me along (? extend my life) at this sacrifice, at this holy deed, in this food, in this world!’ ‘May my son weave on (continue) this work, this manly deed of mine!’ Thus also Kâty. III, 8, 25. The Kânva text of the Brâhmana, however, mentions only the formula given above. According to Laugâkshi he names his favourite son; according to Sâṅkhâyana, his eldest son, or as many sons as he has. See comm. on Kâty. IV, 12, II.
[13] See I, 1, 1, 6. For another mode of divesting oneself of the vow, see I, 1, 1, 3.

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