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Satapatha Brahmana – Fourth Kandha – First Adhyaya

Satapatha Brahmana

Fourth Kandha – First Adhyaya

First Brâhmana

1The Upâmsu (graha), forsooth, is the out-breathing of the Sacrifice[1], the Upâmsu-savana (press-stone) the through-breathing, and the Antaryâma (graha) the in-breathing.
2Now as to why it is called Upâmsu. There is a graha called Amsu[2], that is Pragâpati: his out-breathing is this (graha); and because it is his out-breathing, therefore it is called Upâmsu.
3This (graha) he draws without a strainer[3]: whereby he puts the out-breathing into him as one tending away from him, and thus this forward-tending out-breathing of his streams forth from him. He purifies it with sprigs of Soma, thinking ‘it shall be pure.’ He purifies it with six (sprigs), for there are six seasons: it is by means of the seasons that he thus purifies it.
4As to this they say, ‘When he purifies the Upâmsu by means of sprigs, and all (other) Soma-draughts are purified by means of a strainer, whereby, then, do its sprigs become pure?’
5He throws them down again (on the unpressed plants) with (Vâg. S. VII, 2), ‘What inviolable, quickening name is thine, to that Soma of thine, O Soma, be Hail!’ Thus his sprigs become purified by means of the Svâhâ (‘Hail!’). But this graha means everything, for it is the type of all the pressings[4].
6Now, once on a time, the gods, while performing sacrifice, were afraid of an attack from the Asura-Rakshas. They said, ‘Let us completely establish the sacrifice: if the Asura-Rakshas should then attack us, our sacrifice will at least be completely established.’
7Even at the morning Soma-feast they then completely established the entire sacrifice[5], at this same (upâmsu) graha by means of the Yagus; at the first chant (stotra) by means of the Sâman; and at the first recitation (sastra) by means of the Rik: with that sacrifice thus completely established they subsequently worshipped. And in like manner does this sacrifice now become completely established, by means of the Yagus at this same graha; by means of the Sâman at the first chant; and by means of the Rik at the first recitation; and with this sacrifice thus completely established he subsequently worships.
8He presses (the Soma) eight times; for of eight syllables consists the Gâyatrî, and the morning Soma-feast belongs to the Gâyatrî; thus this (first turn of pressing) is made to be the morning Soma-feast.
9He draws (the juice of the first turn of pressing into the cup) with (Vâg. S. VII, 1), ‘Grow thou pure for Vâkaspati!’ for Vâkaspati (lord of speech) is the out-breathing, and this (Upâmsu) graha is the out-breathing: hence he says, ‘Grow thou pure for Vâkaspati!’ ‘purified by the hands with the sprigs of the bull;’ for he purifies it with sprigs of Soma: hence he says, ‘with the sprigs of the bull;’ and ‘purified by the hands (gabhasti-pûta[6]),’ he says; for ‘gabhasti’ being the same as ‘pâni’ (hand) he indeed purifies it with his hands.
10He then presses eleven times; for of eleven syllables consists the Trishtubh, and the midday Soma-feast belongs to the Trishtubh: thus this (second turn of pressing) is made to be the midday Soma-feast.
11He draws (the juice into the cup) with, ‘Grow thou pure, a god, for the gods;’ for he (Soma) is indeed a god, and for the gods he becomes pure; ‘whose portion thou art;’ for he indeed is their portion.
12He then presses twelve times; for of twelve syllables consists the Gagatî, and the evening Soma-feast belongs to the Gagatî: thus this (third turn of pressing) is made to be the evening Soma-feast.
13He draws (the juice) with, ‘Make thou our draughts sweet!’ whereby he imbues him (Soma) with sap, and renders him palatable for the gods: hence, when slain, he does not become putrid[7]. And when he offers (that graha) he thereby completely establishes him.
14‘For one desirous of spiritual lustre (brahmavarkasa) he should press eight times at each (turn),’ so they say; for of eight syllables consists the Gâyatrî, and the Gâyatrî is the Brahman: he indeed becomes endowed with spiritual lustre.
15Thus the pressing amounts to twenty-four times (of beating). Now there are twenty-four half-moons in the year; and Pragâpati (the lord of creatures) is the year, and the sacrifice is Pragâpati: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as great as is its measure, so great he thereby establishes it.
16‘For one desirous of cattle he should press five times at each (turn),’ so they say; the cattle (animal victims) consist of five parts: he indeed gains cattle; and there are five seasons in the year; and Pragâpati is the year, and the sacrifice is Pragâpati thus as great as the sacrifice is, as great as is its measure, so great he thereby establishes it. This, however, is mere speculation: it is the other (manner) which is practised.
17Having drawn the graha, he wipes (the vessel) all round, lest any (Soma-juice) should trickle down. He does not deposit it; for this is his out-breathing, whence this out-breathing passes unceasingly. Should he, however, desire to exorcise, he may deposit it[8] with, ‘I put thee down, the out-breathing of N.N.!’ Thus, forsooth, inasmuch as he (the Adhvaryu) does not quit his hold of it, it is not again in that (enemy); and thus both the Adhvaryu and the Sacrificer live long.
18Or he may merely cover (the vessel by his hand) with, ‘I shut thee off, the out-breathing of N.N.!’ Thus, forsooth, inasmuch as he does not deposit it, it is not again in that enemy; and thus he does not disorder the vital airs.
19While he is still inside (the Havirdhâna) he utters ‘Hail!’ For the gods were afraid lest the Asura-Rakshas should destroy what part of this graha was previous to the offering. They offered it (symbolically) by means of the Svâhâ, while they were still inside (the cart-shed), and what was thus offered they afterwards offered up in the fire. And in like manner does he now offer it up by means of the Svâhâ, while he is still inside, and what has thus been offered he afterwards offers up in the fire.
20He then walks out (of the Havirdhâna) with, ‘I walk along the wide air[9].’ For along the air the Rakshas roams rootless and unfettered on both sides, even as man here roams along the air, rootless and unfettered on both sides[10]; and, that formula being the Brahman (prayer), a slayer of the Rakshas, he, by means of that Brahman, renders the air free from danger and injury.
21Thereupon he (the Sacrificer) asks a boon. For the gods, forsooth, greatly desire to obtain the offering of that graha, and they grant to him that boon, in order that he may forthwith offer that graha to them: this is why he asks a boon.
22He (the Adhvaryu) offers with (Vâg. S. VII, 3), ‘Self-made thou art,’ for, this graha being his (Yagña’s) out-breathing, it is indeed made by itself, born of itself[11]: hence he says, ‘Self-made thou art;’ ‘for all powers, divine and earthly,’ for it is born of itself for all creatures[12]; ‘May the mind obtain thee!’ the mind being Pragâpati, he thereby means to say, ‘may Pragâpati obtain thee!’ ‘Hail! thee, O well-born, for Sûrya!’ thus he utters the second[13] (or inferior) ‘Hail!’ with regard to a subsequent[14] (or higher; the highest) deity.
23Now it is in him that burns yonder (the sun) that he has just offered that (libation); and the latter is the All: hence he makes that (sun) the highest of the All. But were he to utter the second (or higher) ‘Hail!’ with regard to a preceding (or lower) deity[15], then it would be even higher than yonder sun: therefore he utters the second ‘Hail!’ with regard to a subsequent deity.
24And, having offered, he wipes the (vessel of the) graha upwards; whereby he puts that out-breathing into him as one tending away from him. Thereupon he rubs (the wiped-off Soma) upon the middle enclosing stick from west to east with the palm of his hand turned upwards[16] whereby he puts that out-breathing into him as one tending away from him with, ‘Thee to the gods sipping motes of light!’
25For in that orb which burns yonder he has just offered this (libation), and those rays thereof are the gods sipping motes of light: it is these he thereby gratifies; and thus gratified those gods convey him to the heavenly world.
26For this same graha there is neither an invitatory prayer nor an offering prayer[17]: he offers it with a (Yagus) formula, and thereby it becomes for him supplied with both an invitatory and an offering prayer. And if he desire to exorcise, let him offer some spray (of Soma) which may adhere either to his arm, or to his breast, or to his garment, with, ‘O divine plant, let that be true wherefore I pray thee: let N.N. be struck down by destruction falling from above, crash!’ Even as one of (enemies) that are being slain might escape, so does this (sprig) fly away from those that are being pressed: thus nothing (hostile) either running thither or running away[18] remains to him for whom he performs this. He deposits that (cup) with, ‘Thee for the out-breathing!’ for this (graha) indeed is his out-breathing.
27Now some deposit it on the south part (of the khara[19]), for, they say, it is in that direction that yonder (sun) moves. Let him, however, not do this, but let him deposit it on the north (uttara) part (of the khara), because there is not any higher (uttara) graha than this. He deposits it with, ‘Thee for the out-breathing!’ for this (graha) is indeed his out-breathing.
28He then takes the Upâmsu-savana (pressing-stone). He neither touches it with the fringe nor with the straining-cloth, for that would be like rinsing it in water. If there be any spray adhering to it, let him remove it with his hand, and then lay down (the stone) beside (the Upâmsu cup), with the face towards the north, with, ‘Thee for the through-breathing!’ for this (stone) is indeed his (Yagña’s) through-breathing.


[1] That is, the sacrificial man, or the sacrifice personified in Soma and the sacrificer.
[2] Lit. ‘the Soma-plant,’ hence the (Soma)-sacrifice itself, or Pragâpati. See IV, 6, 1, 1 seq.
[3] Bahishpavitrât, lit. from (a vessel, or Soma) having the strainer outside (away from) it. While no proper strainer is used for the Upâmsu-graha, the Soma-juice being poured through Soma-plants (see p. 244, note 2); at the great pressing it is passed through a fringed straining-cloth (dasâpavitra) spread over the Dronakalasa (the largest of the three Soma-troughs, the others being the Âdhavanîya and Pûtabhrit). See IV, 1, 2, 3.
[4] Viz. inasmuch as the Upâmsu-graha is obtained by three turns of pressing, and each of the three Savanas (pressings, Soma-feasts) consists of three rounds of pressing of three turns each. See p. 256, note 1.
[5] Cf. Taitt. S. VI, 4, 5, where this theory (divested of its legendary form) is ascribed to Aruna Aupavesi.
[6] Sâyana, on Taitt. S. I, 4, 2, interprets it, ‘Having been purified by the ray of the sun (while growing in the forest), do thou now become pure for the gods through the sprigs of the bull!’ Cf., however, Taitt. S. VI, 4, 5, ‘gabhastinâ hy enam pavayati,’ where ‘gabhasti’ would seem to be taken in the sense of hand’ (? the forked one). See p. 244, note 2.
[7] The Kânva text adds, ‘while whosoever else is slain becomes putrid.’
[8] That is, he may set it down on the khara for a moment without quitting his hold of it. While the subsequent cups of Soma are deposited in their respective places after they have been drawn, the Upâmsu and Antaryâma are offered immediately.
[9] With the Taittirîyas the order of proceeding is somewhat different: The Adhvaryu pours the Soma through the Soma-plants into the Upâmsu cup after each turn of pressing, with, ‘Become pure for Vâkaspati, O courser!’–‘The bull purified by the hand with the plants of the bull!’–‘Thou, a god, art a purifier of the gods whose share thou art: thee, to them!’ respectively. He then takes the cup from the Pratiprasthâtri with, ‘Thou art self-made’ eyes it with, ‘Make our drinks sweet;’ and wipes it clean upwards with, ‘Thee for all powers, divine and earthly!’ He then rises with, ‘May the mind obtain thee!’ steps to the Âhavanîya with, ‘I move along the wide air,’ and offers, while the sacrificer holds on to him from behind, with, ‘Hail! thee, O well-born, to Sûrya!’
[10] See III, 1, 3, 13.
[11] ‘For this libation is the out-breathing, and the out-breathing is he that blows yonder (the wind); and he indeed is made by himself, begotten (gâta) of himself, since there is no other maker nor begetter of him.’ Kânva text.
[12] Perhaps we ought to translate the passage, ‘from all the powers, divine and earthly,’ for it is born by itself from all the creatures. But cf. Taitt. S. VI, 4, 5: ‘Thereby he puts out-breathing both into gods and men.’
[13] While, in its force of ‘subsequent,’ avara here refers back to the first Svâhâ, pronounced by the Adhvaryu (par. 19); it also has here the meaning of ‘lower,’ and, developed out of this, that of ‘preceding’ (in which meaning it occurs in the Rikprâtisâkhya). Hence it is quite impossible adequately to render this play on the words avara, ‘subsequent, lower, preceding,’ and para, ‘higher, subsequent.’
[14] That is, coming after Svâhâ in the formula.
[15] The Kânva text reads: etasmin vâ etan mandale ’haushîd ya esha tapati; sarvam u vâ esha grahah; sarvasmâd evaitad asmâd enam uttaram karoti ya esho ’smât sarvasmâd uttaro yad dhâvarâm devatâm kuryât param svâhâkâram anyad dhaitasmâd uttaram kuryât.
[16] That is to say, he is to pass his hand, palm upwards, under the middle enclosing stick.
[17] Such (Rik verses) as are ordinarily recited by the Hotri: When the Upâmsu cup is drawn, the Hotri says, ‘Restrain the out-breathing (prâna)! Hail! thee, O well-calling one, to Sûrya!’ whereupon he breathes into (or towards) the cup with, ‘O out-breathing, restrain my out-breathing!’ After that he remains silent till the Antaryâma is drawn, when he addresses that graha with, ‘Restrain the in-breathing (apâna)! Hail! thee, O well-calling one, to Sûrya!’ whereupon he draws in his breath over the cup, and says, ‘O in-breathing, restrain my in-breathing!’ He then touches the pressing-stone with, ‘Thee to the through-breathing!’ and therewith frees his speech from restraint. Ait. Br. II, 21. On the terms out-breathing (prâna) and in-breathing (apâna, or up-breathing, udâna) see part i, p. 19, note 2; J. S. Speijer, Jâtakarma, p. 64; Sâyana on Taitt. S. I, 4, 3 (vol. i, p.603); Taitt. S. VI, 4: 6. Different Haug, Ait. Br. Transl. p. 118.
[18] ‘Na dhâvan nâpadhâvat parisishyate;’ perhaps we ought to read ‘nâpadhâvan;’ unless indeed ‘tasya’ refers to Soma, as Sâyana seems to take it. The Kânva text has: tathâ ha teshâm nâpadhâvañs kana mukyate yebhyas tathâ karoti.
[19] According to the Sûtras of the Black Yagus (cf. Sâyana on Taitt. S. I, 4, 2, p. 598), the Upâmsu cup is ‘deposited’ on the south-east and the Antaryâma cup on the north-east corner of the khara or mound; the Upâmsu-savana stone being placed between them. Before depositing the vessel, the Adhvaryu pours some of the residue of Soma-juice from the Upâmsu cup into the Âgrayanasthâlî, and having put a large twig of Soma into it for the evening pressing (? the Adâbhya graha, cf. Sây. on Taitt. S. I, 603), he deposits it on the mound.

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