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HomeSatapatha Brahmana - Fifth KandhaSatapatha Brahmana - Fifth Kandha - Second Adhyaya

Satapatha Brahmana – Fifth Kandha – Second Adhyaya

Satapatha Brahmana

Fifth Kânda – Second Adhyâya

First Brâhmana

1Thereupon, taking the clipping-spoon (sruva) and the pot for melting butter, he goes to the Âhavanîya fire. He either offers those twelve âptis[1], or makes (the Sacrificer) pronounce (the formulas). Whether he offers, or makes him pronounce (the formulas), the significance is the same.
2He offers, with (Vâg. S. IX, 20), ‘To the ally, hail! To the good ally, hail! To the after-born, hail! To the purpose, hail! To the Vasu, hail! To the Lord of day, hail! To the failing day, hail! To the failing one, sprung from the evanescent, hail! To the evanescent one, sprung from the terminal, hail! To the terminal descendant of being, hail! To the Lord of being, hail! To the over-lord, hail!’ These twelve âptis (obtainments) he offers, because there are twelve months in the year, and Pragâpati is the year, and the sacrifice is Pragâpati: hence whatever obtainment, whatever accomplishment there is for him[2], that he thereby wins, that he makes his own.
3He then either offers six kliptis[3], or makes (the Sacrificer) pronounce them. Whether he offers, or makes him pronounce them, the significance is the same.
4He makes him pronounce (Vâg. S. IX, 21), ‘May the life prosper through sacrifice! May the breath prosper through sacrifice! May the eye prosper through sacrifice! May the ear prosper through sacrifice! May the back prosper through sacrifice! May the sacrifice prosper through sacrifice!’ These six kliptis he makes him pronounce, because there are six seasons in the year, and Pragâpati is the year, and the sacrifice is Pragâpati: thus whatever success, whatever accomplishment there is for him, that he thereby wins, that he makes his own.
5The sacrificial post is eight-cornered; for the Gâyatrî metre has eight syllables, and the Gâyatrî is Agni’s metre: he thereby wins the world of the gods. The post is either wrapt up, or bound up, in seventeen cloths; for Pragâpati is seventeenfold: he thus wins Pragâpati.
6There is a wheaten head-piece[4] on it; for man is nearest to Pragâpati, and he is skinless[5]. And among plants wheat comes nearest to man, (for) it has no skin: thus he thereby wins the world of men.
7The post has a hollow (at the top), and is not pointed at the end; for the hollow is sacred to the Fathers: he thus gains the world of the Fathers. It is seventeen cubits long, for Pragâpati is seventeen-fold: he thus wins Pragâpati.
8Thereupon the Neshtri, being about to lead up the (Sacrificer’s) wife, makes her wrap round herself, over the garment of consecration, a cloth, or skirt, made of Kusa grass[6]; for she, the wife, is the hind part of the sacrifice[7]; and he wishes her, thus coming forward, to propitiate the sacrifice. But impure is that part of woman which is below the navel, and pure are the plants of (Kusa) grass: thus having, by means of those plants of (Kusa) grass, made pure whatever part of her is impure, he causes her to propitiate the sacrifice, while coming forward. This is why the Neshtri, being about to lead up the wife, makes her wrap round herself, over the garment of consecration, a cloth, or skirt, made of Kusa grass.
9He then leans a ladder (against the post). He may ascend either from the south northwards, or from the north southwards; but let him rather ascend from the south northwards (udak), for thus it goes upwards (udak).
10Being about to ascend, he (the Sacrificer) addresses his wife, ‘Come, wife, ascend we the sky!’ ‘Ascend we!’ says the wife. Now as to why he addresses his wife: she, the wife, in sooth is one half of his own self; hence, as long as he does not obtain her, so long he is not regenerated, for so long he is incomplete. But as soon as he obtains her he is regenerated, for then he is complete. ‘Complete I want to go to that supreme goal,’ thus (he thinks) and therefore he addresses his wife.
11He ascends, with, ‘We have become Pragâpati’s children;’ for he who offers the Vâgapeya indeed becomes Pragâpati’s child:
12He then touches the wheat (top-piece)[8], with, ‘We have gone to the light, O ye gods!’ for he who offers the Vâgapeya, indeed goes to the light.
13And as to why he touches the wheat: wheat is food, and he who offers the Vâgapeya, wins food, for vâga-peya is the same as anna-peya (food and drink): thus whatever food he has thereby won, therewith now that he has gone to that supreme goal, he puts himself in contact, and possesses himself of it, therefore he touches the wheat (top-piece).
14He then rises by (the measure of) his head over the post, with, ‘We have become immortal!’ whereby he wins the world of the gods.
15Thereupon, while looking in the different directions, he mutters (Vâg. S. IX, 22), ‘Ours be your power, ours your manhood and intelligence ours be your energies!’ For he who offers the Vâgapeya wins everything here, winning as he does Pragâpati, and Pragâpati being everything here; having appropriated to himself the glory, the power, and the strength of this All, he now lays them within himself, makes them his own: that is why he mutters, while looking in the different directions.
16They throw up to him bags of salt; for salt means cattle, and cattle is food; and he who offers the Vâgapeya wins food, for vâga-peya is the same as anna-peya: thus whatever food he thereby has gained, therewith now that he has gone to the supreme goal, he puts himself in contact, and makes it his own, therefore they throw bags of salt up to him.
17They (the pieces of salt) are done up in asvattha (ficus religiosa) leaves: because Indra on that (former) occasion called upon the Maruts staying on the Asvattha tree[9], therefore they are done up in asvattha leaves. Peasants (vis) throw them up to him, for the Maruts are the peasants, and the peasants are food (for the nobleman): hence peasants throw them up. There are seventeen (bags), for Pragâpati is seventeenfold: he thus wins Pragâpati.
18Thereupon; while looking down upon this (earth), he mutters, Homage be to the mother Earth! homage be to the mother Earth!’ For when Brihaspati had been consecrated, the Earth was afraid of him, thinking, ‘Something great surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder[10]!’ And Brihaspati also was afraid of the Earth, thinking, ‘I fear lest she may shake me off!’ Hence by that (formula) he entered into a friendly relation with her; for a mother does not hurt her son, nor does a son hurt his mother.
19Now the Brihaspati consecration[11] is the same as the Vâgapeya; and the earth in truth is afraid of that (Sacrificer), thinking, ‘Something great surely has he become now that he has been consecrated: I fear lest he may rend me asunder!’ And he himself is afraid of her, thinking, ‘I fear lest she may shake me off!’ Hence he thereby enters into a friendly relation with her, for a mother does not hurt her son; neither does a son hurt his mother.
20He then descends (and treads) upon a piece of gold; gold is immortal life: he thus takes his stand on life immortal.
21Now (in the first place) he (the Adhvaryu) spreads out the skin of a he-goat, and lays a (small) gold plate thereon: upon that or indeed upon this (earth) itself he (the Sacrificer) steps.
22They then bring a throne-seat for him; for truly he who gains a seat in the air[12], gains a seat above (others): thus these subjects of his sit below him who is seated above, this is why they bring him a throne-seat.
23It is made of udumbara wood, the Udumbara tree being sustenance, (that is) food, for his obtainment of sustenance, food: therefore it is made of udumbara wood. They set it down in front of the Havirdhâna (cart-shed), behind the Âhavanîya (fire).
24He then spreads the goat-skin thereon; for truly the he-goat is no other than Pragâpati, for they, the goats, are most clearly of Pragâpati (the lord of generation or creatures); whence, bringing forth thrice in a year, they produce two or three[13]: thus he thereby makes him (the Sacrificer) to be Pragâpati himself, this is why he spreads the goat-skin thereon.
25He spreads it, with, ‘This is thy kingship[14]!’ whereby he endows him with royal power. He then makes him sit down, with, Thou art the ruler, the ruling lord!’ whereby he makes him the ruler, ruling over those subjects of his Thou art firm, and stedfast!’ whereby he makes him firm and stedfast in this world; ‘Thee for the tilling! Thee for peaceful dwelling! Thee for wealth! Thee for thrift!’ whereby he means to say, ‘(here I seat) thee for the welfare (of the people).’

NOTES:

[1] The term âpti, literally ‘obtainment, gain,’ is technically used for the twelve formulas, given in the next paragraph, as well as for the oblations made therewith. The first of these formulas is ‘âpaye svâhâ,’ whence the above term is probably derived.
[2] Or perhaps, ‘there is of (belongs to) that (sacrifice).’
[3] This term, literally ‘success, accomplishment,’ is technically used to denote the succeeding formulas containing the verb ‘klip,’ to succeed, prosper, as well as the oblations made therewith.
[4] For the ordinary mortar-shaped top-piece fixed on the post. see-part ii, p. 168, note 1On the present occasion it is to be made of wheaten dough.
[5] According to a legend given at III, 1, 2, 13 seq., man had originally a (hairy) skin, or hide; but the gods having flayed him, put his skin on the cow.
[6] In the ceremonial of the Black Yagus (Taitt. Br. I. 3, 7, 1) the Sacrificer himself has to put on a ‘târpya’ garment, for which see note on V, 2, 5, 20.
[7] Viz. because her ordinary seat is at the back, or west, end of the altar.
[8] According to the ritual of the Black Yagus (Sây. on Taitt. S. I, 7, 9, vol. i, p. 1039), the Sacrificer, having ascended, lifts up his arms to heaven, praying, ‘We have gone to the light, to the gods, we have become immortal; we have become Pragâpati’s children!’
[9] See part ii, p. 334, with note 2On the ‘asvattha devasadana’ cp. also Ath.-veda V, 4, 3; Rig-veda I, 164, 20-22; A. Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers and des Göttertranks, p. 126 seq. (Mythol. Stud. i. p. 112 seq.).
[10] Or, ‘I hope he will not rend me asunder.’ For this construction exactly corresponding to the German ‘dass (or, wenn) er mich nur nicht aufreisst!’ (cf. also the colloquial use of the French ‘pourvu,’ ‘pourvu qu’il ne me déchire pas!’) see part ii, p. 31, note 1.
[11] The Brihaspatisava is performed by a Brâhmana with a view to obtaining the office of Purohita (royal chaplain, or family priest). For Âsvalâyana’s rule, which places it on a level with the Râgasûya sacrifice of a king, see p. 4, note 1.
[12] The Sacrificer is supposed to have done so by the, symbolical act of raising his head above the sacrificial post; see paragraph 14 above.
[13] See IV, 5, 5, 6; part ii, p. 407, note 3.
[14] Thus the formula ‘iyam to rât’ is interpreted by Mahîdhara (who, however, takes it to be addressed to the throne-seat, and not, as would seem preferable, to the king), and apparently also by our author. The word ‘râg’ would indeed seem to mean here something like the energy (sakti), or the symbol, of the king. The St. Petersburg dictionary, however, takes it here as the name of a female deity.

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