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Satapatha Brahmana – Third Kandha – Third Adhyaya

Satapataha Brahmana

Third Kanda – Third Adhyaya

First Brahmana

1He follows her, stepping into seven foot-prints of hers[1]; he thereby takes possession of her: that is why he steps into seven of her foot-prints. For when the metres were produced from Vâk (speech), the one consisting of seven feet, the Sakvarî, was the last (highest) of them. It is that (metre) he now draws down towards himself from above: this is why he steps into seven of her foot-prints.
2It is as Vâk[2] that he steps into them; (with the text, Vâg. S. IV, 21), ‘Thou art a Vasvî, thou art Aditi, thou art an Âdityâ, thou art a Rudrâ, thou art Kandrâ; for she is indeed a Vasvî and Aditi, an Âdityâ, a Rudrâ, Kandrâ. ‘May Brihaspati make thee rest in happiness!’ Brihaspati being the Brahman, he thereby means to say, ‘May Brihaspati lead thee hither by means of the good (work)[3]!’ ‘Rudra, together with the Vasus, is well-pleased with thee:’ this he says to secure her (the cow’s) safety, for cattle cannot pass beyond Rudra.
3They now sit down[4] round the seventh footprint; and having laid down the piece of gold in the foot-print, he offers. For offering is made on nothing but fire, and the gold has sprung from Agni’s seed: and thus that offering of his is indeed made over the fire. And the clarified butter being a thunderbolt, he now delivers her (the cow) by means of that thunderbolt, the butter; and by delivering her he makes her his own.
4He (the Adhvaryu) offers (with the text, Vâg. S. IV, 22), ‘On Aditi’s head I pour thee;’ for Aditi being this earth, it is on the head of the latter that he offers; ‘on the worshipping-ground of the earth’ for on the worshipping-ground of the earth he indeed offers; ‘Thou art Idâ’s footprint, filled with butter, Hail!’ for Idâ being the cow[5], he indeed offers on the cow’s foot-print; and ‘filled with butter, Hail!’ he says, because it indeed becomes filled with butter when offered upon.
5Thereupon he takes the wooden sword and draws lines round (the foot-print): the wooden sword being a thunderbolt, it is with the thunderbolt that he draws round it. Thrice he draws round it, so that he encompasses it on all sides with a threefold thunderbolt, for no one to trespass upon it.
6He draws the lines (with the texts), ‘Rejoice in us!’ whereby he means to say, ‘Rejoice in the sacrificer!’ Having then, by tracing, cut out the foot-print all round[6], he throws it into the pan, with, ‘In us is thy kinship,’ whereby he means to say, ‘In the sacrificer is thy kinship.’
7He then pours some water on (the place whence the earth has been removed). Wherever in digging they hurt her (the earth) and knock off anything from her, water being (a means of) soothing, that he now soothes by means of water, that he heals by means of water: that is why he pours water thereon.
8He then hands (the dust of) the foot-print to the sacrificer, with, ‘In thee is wealth,’ wealth meaning cattle, he thereby means to say, ‘in thee is cattle.’ The sacrificer receives it with, ‘With me[7] is wealth,’ wealth meaning cattle, he thereby means to say, ‘with me is cattle.’
9The Adhvaryu then touches himself (near the heart), with, ‘May we not be deprived of prosperity!’ Thus the Adhvaryu does not exclude himself from (the possession of) cattle.
10Thereupon they hand (the dust of) the footprint over to the (sacrificer’s) wife. The house being the wife’s resting-place, he thereby establishes her in that safe resting-place, the house: for this reason he hands over the (earth of the) foot-print to the wife.
11The Neshtri makes her say, ‘Thine, thine[8] is wealth;’ whereupon he causes her to be looked at by the Soma-cow. Now, Soma is a male, and the wife is a female, and that Soma-cow becomes here (exchanged for) Soma: a productive union is thus effected; this is why he causes her to be looked at by the Soma-cow.
12He causes her to be looked at (while she pronounces the text, Vâg. S. IV, 23), ‘I have seen eye to eye with the divine intelligence, with the far-seeing Dakshinâ: take not my life from me, neither will I take thine; may I obtain a hero[9] in thy sight!’ She thereby asks a blessing: a hero meaning a son, she thereby means to say, ‘May I obtain a son in thy sight!’
13One that is brown, with red-brown eyes, is (fit to be) a Soma-cow. For when Indra and Vishnu divided a thousand (cows) into three parts, there was one left[10], and her they caused to propagate herself in three kinds; and hence, even now, if any one were to divide a thousand by three, one would remain over.
14The brown one, with red-brown eyes, is the Soma-cow; and that ruddy one is the Vritra-killer’s (India’s) own, whom the king here chooses for himself[11] after winning the battle; and the ruddy one with reddish-white eyes[12] is the Fathers’ own whom they slay here for the Fathers.
15Let, then, the brown one, with red-brown eyes, be the Soma-cow. And if he be unable to obtain a brown one with red-brown eyes, let it be a dark-red[13] one. And if he be unable to obtain a dark-red one, let it be a ruddy one, one of the Vritra-killer’s own. But let him nowise turn his fancy upon a ruddy one with reddish-white eyes.
16Let it be one that is not impregnated. For that Soma-cow is in reality Vâk, and this Vâk (speech) is of unimpaired vigour; and of unimpaired vigour is one not (yet) impregnated: let it therefore be one not impregnated. Let it be one that is neither tailless, nor hornless, nor one-eyed, nor ear-less[14], nor specially marked, nor seven-hoofed[15]; for such a one is uniform, and uniform is this speech.


[1] Viz. into seven foot-prints of her right fore-foot. According to p. 59 Taitt. S. VI, 1, 8, 1 he steps into six foot-prints and offers on the seventh. According to Kâty. VII, 6, 17 they pass (or overstep, atikram) six foot-prints and sit down round the seventh.
[2] Literally, ‘by a form (rûpena) of Vâk (speech),’ viz. the text which is pronounced.
[3] This can scarcely be the correct reading. The Kânva text has the more acceptable reading, ‘Brihaspati being the Brahman, and felicity the sacrifice, he thereby says, “May the Brahman make thee rest (or delight, ramayatu) in the good (work), the sacrifice!”
[4] According to the comm. on Kâty. VII, 6, 17 the Brahman and the Sacrificer are to sit on the south, the Adhvaryu on the west, and the Neshtri on the north side of the foot-print.
[5] See the legend, part i, p. 216 seq.; especially I, 8, 1, 7; 20; and p. 226, note 3.
[6] According to the comm. on Kâty. VII, 6, 20, it would rather seem that he scratches with the sphya all over the foot-print and then takes out the loose dust (pâmsûn) and throws it into the pan.
[7] The Kânva text (Samhitâ and Br.) has asme instead of me.
[8] See St. Petersb. Dict. s. v. totas. The Kânva text explains it similarly: ‘tvayi tvayi pasavah.’ The Taitt. S. VI, 1, 8, 5 has ‘Tote râyah’ “Thine (?) is wealth” thus for the wife, for she, the wife, is one half of himself.’
[9] The Kânva text reads ‘may I obtain heroes.’
[10] This arithmetical feat of Indra and Vishnu is apparently already referred to in Rig-veda VI, 69, 8, though nothing is said there as to the difficulty regarding the odd cow. The threefold division seems to refer to Vishnu’s three steps, by which (as the sun) he measures the sky; or to the division of the universe into the three worlds (?). See also Ait. Br. VI, 15.
[11] Or, drives forth (from the enemy’s stables). The red cows are compared with the red clouds, which appear after the thunderstorm (i.e. after king Indra’s battle with Vritra).
[12] Sâyana takes ‘syetâkshî’ as ‘black-eyed (krishnalokanâ).’
[13] ‘Arunâ;’ the Kânva text adds, ‘for that one nearest to it (the brown one, or Soma-cow proper) in appearance.’
[14] ‘Akarnâ;’ the Kânva text has ‘anupârshtakarnâ (one whose ears are not perforated?),’ and instead of ‘alakshitâ (not specially marked),’ it reads ‘asronâ (aslonâ), not lame.’
[15] That is, with one hoof undivided (seven-toed).

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