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Satapatha Brahmana – Fifth Kandha – First Adhyaya

Satapatha Brahmana

Fifth Kânda – First Adhyâya

A. The Vâgapeya.

First Brâhmana

1Once upon a time the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, strove together. And the Asuras, even through arrogance, thinking, ‘Unto whom, forsooth, should we make offering?’ went on offering into their own mouths. They came to naught, even through arrogance: wherefore let no one be arrogant, for verily arrogance is the cause[1] of ruin.
2But the gods went on making offerings unto one another. Pragâpati gave himself up to them: thus the sacrifice[2] became theirs; and indeed the sacrifice is the food of the gods[3].
3They then spake, ‘To which of us shall this[4] belong?’ They did not agree together, saying, ‘To me! to me!’ Not being agreed, they said, ‘Let us run a race for it: whichever of us shall win, to him it shall belong!’ ‘So be it!’ so they ran a race for it.
4Then Brihaspati hasted up to Savitri for his impulsion[5], Savitri being the impeller (prasavitri) among the gods saying, ‘Impel this for me, (so that) impelled by thee, I may win this!’ Then Savitri, as the impeller, impelled it for him, and impelled by Savitri, he won: he became everything here, he won everything here; for he won Pragâpati, and Pragâpati (the lord of creatures and procreation) indeed is everything here. By offering therewith he (Brihaspati) ascended to that upper region. Therefore who so knoweth, and who so knoweth not, they say, ‘That upper region belongeth to Brihaspati.’
5Thus they who of old used to offer the Vâgapeya, ascended to that upper region. From there Aupâvi Gânasruteya descended again: thenceforward (all men) descend again.
6Indra offered that (Vâgapeya), he became everything here, he won everything here; for he won Pragâpati, and Pragâpati is everything here: by offering therewith he ascended to that upper region.
7Thus they who of old used to offer the Vâgapeya, ascended to that upper region. From there Aupâvi Gânasruteya descended’ again: thenceforward (all men) descend again.
8And whosoever offers the Vâgapeya, he becomes everything here, he wins everything here; for he wins Pragâpati, and Pragâpati indeed is everything here.
9Here now they say, ‘One must not offer the Vâgapeya; for he who offers the Vâgapeya wins everything here, for he wins Pragâpati, and Pragâpati is everything here, he leaves nothing remaining here: his people (or offspring) is like to become worse (off).’
10Let him none the less sacrifice: whatever (priests) thus know that sacrifice properly, in respect of the Rik, the Yagus, and the Sâman, and such as are proficient, let them assist him in offering it; for verily this is the perfection of that sacrifice, when wise (priests) assist him in offering it: let him therefore sacrifice by all means.
11Now truly this (the Vâgapeya) is the Brâhmana’s own sacrifice, inasmuch as Brihaspati (the lord of prayer and devotion) performed it; for Brihaspati is the Brahman (priesthood, or priestly dignity), and the Brâhmana is the Brahman. And it is also that of the Râganya, inasmuch as Indri performed it; for Indra is the Kshatra (nobility, or ruling power), and the Râganya is the Kshatra.
12To the king (râgan) doubtless belongs the Râgasûya; for by offering the Râgasûya he becomes king; and unsuited for kingship is the Brâhmana. And, moreover, the Râgasûya is the lower, and the Vâgapeya the higher (sacrifice).
13For by offering the Râgasûya[6] he becomes king, and by the Vâgapeya (he becomes) emperor (samrâg); and the office of king is the lower, and that of emperor the higher: a king might indeed wish to become emperor, for the office of king is the lower, and that of emperor the higher; but the emperor would not wish to become king, for the office of king is the lower, and that of emperor the higher.
14Thus that (king) who, by performing the Vâgapeya, becomes emperor, possesses himself of everything here. Previously to each performance (of an ishti[7]) he offers that oblation to Savitri (the sun), with the text, ‘O divine Savitri, impel (prosper) the sacrifice, impel Pragâpati for his portion!’
15And even as then Brihaspati hasted up to Savitri for his impulsion Savitri being the impeller among the gods saying, ‘Impel this for me, (so that) impelled by thee I may win it!’ and Savitri, as the impeller, impelled it for him; and impelled by Savitri he won it; even so does this (sacrificing king) now haste up to Savitri for his impulsion Savitri being the impeller among the gods saying, ‘Impel this for me: may I win it, impelled by thee!’ and Savitri, as the impeller, impels it for him, and he wins it impelled by Savitri.
16Wherefore he says (Vâg. S. IX, 1), ‘God Savitri, speed the sacrifice, speed the lord of sacrifice unto his portion! May the heavenly. thought cleansing Gandharva cleanse our thought! May the Lord of Speech render our meat palatable, hail!’ For the Lord of Speech is Pragâpati, and meat means food: ‘May Pragâpati this day make palatable this our food!’ thus he thereby says. This same oblation he offers till the day before the Soma-feast, for thus that performance of his has been commenced; and he (Savitri, the Sun) becomes serene during that sacrifice.

NOTES:

[1] 1. Lit. ‘the mouth,’ i.e. the opening or beginning, of ruin. The St. Petersburg Dict. compares Prov. xvi. 18: ‘Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.’
[2] Pragâpati (the lord of creatures or generation) is both the sacrifice and the year (time); see III, 2, 2, 4.
[3] Pragâpati (the lord of creatures or generation) is both the sacrifice and the year (time); see III, 2, 2, 4.
[4] For the neuter idam hardly here ‘this universe,’ or ‘vâgapeyam,’ but rather ‘this thing, it’ the Kânva text reads ayam ‘he,’ i.e. Pragâpati, or the sacrifice (yagña, masc.); cf. note on V, 1, 4, 15.
[5] For want of a simpler and more homely set of terms for the derivatives of the verb sû ‘to animate’ here used, those used in the preceding volumes are here generally adhered to, though, as there, somewhat reluctantly. The simple ‘to bless, blessing, &c.’ might sometimes fit quite well, though no doubt they imply an idea altogether foreign to the etymological meaning of this verb, and could not possibly be used, as is the case here, of the animating influence of the sun. Sometimes ‘to speed’ has been chosen, where the etymological connection with Savitri is not insisted upon; while in other passages ‘to consecrate, consecration, &c.’ might probably come nearer to the meaning of the original. Cp. Delbrück, Altindische Syntax, p. 256.
[6] Kâty. Sr. XV, I, 1-2, lays down the rule that the Râgasûya is to be performed by a king who has not yet performed the Vâgapeya. Âsval. Sr. IX, 9, 19, on the other hand, rules: ‘After performing it (the Vâgapeya) let a king perform the Râgasûya, a Brâhmana the Brihaspati-sava’ (cf. V, 2, 1, 19). See also Kâty. XIV, 1, 2 seq. Cf. Lâty. Sr. VIII, 11, 1 seq.
[7] Kâty. Sr. XV, I, 1-2, lays down the rule that the Râgasûya is to be performed by a king who has not yet performed the Vâgapeya. Âsval. Sr. IX, 9, 19, on the other hand, rules: ‘After performing it (the Vâgapeya) let a king perform the Râgasûya, a Brâhmana the Brihaspati-sava’ (cf. V, 2, 1, 19). See also Kâty. XIV, 1, 2 seq. Cf. Lâty. Sr. VIII, 11, 1 seq.

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