First Brahmana

1Now when he equips (Agni, the fire) from this and that quarter, that is the equipping (of the fire) with its equipments. In whatever (objects) some of (the nature of) Agni is inherent, therewith he equips (the fire); and in thus equipping it he supplies it partly with splendour, partly with cattle, partly with a mate.
2In the first place he (the Adhvaryu) draws (three) lines (with the wooden sword on the Gârhapatya fire-place ). Whatever part of this earth is either trodden or spit upon, that he thereby removes from it; and he thus establishes his fire on earth that is entirely proper for the sacrifice: this is why he draws lines (across the fire-place).
3He then sprinkles (the lines) with water. When he thus sprinkles (the fire-place) with water, that is the equipment (of the fire) with water. The reason why he brings water is that water is food; for water is indeed food: hence when water comes to this world, food is produced here. Thus he thereby supplies it (the fire) with food.
4Water (ap, fem.), moreover, is female, and fire (agni, masc.) is male; so that he thereby supplies the latter with a productive mate. And since all this (universe) is pervaded (or obtained, âpta) by water, he sets up the fire, after he has obtained it by means of water . This is why he brings water.
5He then brings (a piece of) gold. Now Agni at one time cast his eyes on the waters : ‘May I pair with them,’ he thought. He came together with them; and his seed became gold . For this reason the latter shines like fire, it being Agni’s seed. Hence it (gold) is found in water, for he (Agni) poured it into the water. Hence also one does not cleanse oneself with it, nor does one do anything else with it. Now there is splendour (for the fire): for he thereby makes it to be possessed of divine seed, bestows splendour on it; and sets up a fire completely endowed with seed. That is why he brings gold.
6He then brings salt. Yonder sky assuredly bestowed that (salt as) cattle on this earth: hence they say that salt soil is suitable for cattle. That (salt), therefore, means cattle; and thus he thereby visibly supplies it (the fire) with cattle; and the latter having come from yonder (sky) is securely established on this earth. Moreover, that (salt) is believed to be the savour (rasa) of those two, the sky and the earth: so that he thereby supplies it (the fire) with the savour of those two, the sky and the earth. That is why he brings salt.
7He then brings (the earth of) a mole-hill (âkhu-karîsha) . The moles certainly know the savour of this earth: hence, by entering deeper and deeper into this earth, they (grow) very fat, knowing, as they do, its savour; and wherever they know the savour of this earth to be, there they cast it up. Hence he thereby supplies it (the fire) with the savour of this earth: that is why he brings a molehill. Moreover, they say of one who has attained prosperity (or splendour, sri) that he is purîshya; and purîsha and karîsha doubtless mean one and the same thing: it is, therefore, for his (Agni’s or the sacrificer’s) attainment of splendour (sri) that he brings a mole-hill.
8He then brings pebbles. Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, once contended for superiority. This earth was then trembling like a lotus-leaf; for the wind was tossing it hither and thither: now it came near the gods, now it came near the Asuras. When it came near the gods,
9They said, ‘Come, let us steady this resting-place; and when firm and steady, let us set up the two fires on it; whereupon we will exclude our enemies from any share in it.’
10Accordingly, in like manner as one would stretch a skin by means of wooden pins, they fastened down this resting-place; and it formed a firm and steady resting-place. And when it was firm and steady, they set up the two fires on it; and thereupon they excluded their enemies from any share in it .
11And in like manner that one (the Adhvaryu) now fastens down that resting-place by means of pebbles; and on it, when firm and steady, he sets up the two fires; whereupon he excludes the (sacrificer’s) enemies from any share in it. This is the reason why he brings pebbles.
12These then are the five equipments : for fivefold is the sacrifice, fivefold the animal victim; and five seasons there are in the year.
13Now, as to this, they say, ‘Six seasons there are in the year.’ And in that case the very deficiency (nyûna) itself is rendered a productive union , since it is from the lower part (nyûna, i.e. of the body) that offspring is here brought forth. Thus also a progressive improvement (is assured to the sacrificer): for this reason there are five equipments. And when (it is nevertheless insisted on that) there are six seasons in the year, then Agni is the sixth of them, and thus there is no deficiency.
14Here also they say, ‘He should not equip it even with a single equipment!’ For (they argue) all those (objects) are on this earth, and hence, when he establishes the fire on this earth, the latter of itself obtains all those equipments: he need not, therefore, equip it with a single equipment. But let him nevertheless bring (those objects) together; for when he establishes the fire on this (earth), then it obtains all the equipments: and what (benefit) accrues from the equipments being brought together, that also accrues to it . Let him for that reason bring (the objects) together.