Third Brahmana

1Now Kahoda Kaushîtaki spake, ‘This sap (of the plants) truly belongs to those two, heaven and earth: having offered of this sap to the gods, we will eat it.’ ‘That is why the offering of first-fruits is performed.’
2And Yâgñavalkya also spake: The gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, once contended for superiority. The Asuras then defiled, partly by magic, partly with poison, both kinds of plants those on which men and beasts subsist hoping that in this way they might overcome the gods. In consequence of this neither did men eat food, nor did beasts graze; and from want of food these creatures well-nigh perished .
3Now the gods heard as to how these creatures were perishing from want of food. They spake unto one another, ‘Come, let us rid them of this!’ ’By what means?’ ‘By means of the sacrifice.’ By means of the sacrifice the gods then accomplished all that they wanted to accomplish ; and so did the Rishis.
4They then said, ‘To which of us shall this belong?’ They did not agree (each of them exclaiming), ‘Mine (it shall be)!’ Not having come to an agreement, they said, ‘Let us run a race for this (sacrifice): whichever of us beats (the others), his it shall be!’ ‘So be it!’ they said, and they ran a race.
5Indra and Agni won, and hence that Indra-Agni cake on twelve potsherds ; Indra and Agni having won a share in it. And where Indra and Agni were standing when they had won, thither all the gods followed them.
6Now, Indra and Agni are the Kshatra (nobility), and all the gods (or, the All-gods) are the Vis (common Âryan people); and wherever the Kshatra conquers, there the Vis is allowed to share. Thus they (Indra and Agni) allowed the Visve Devâh (the All-gods) a share (in the offering); and hence that pap of boiled (rice or barley) grain (offered) to the All-gods.
7‘Let him prepare it from old (grain) ,’ say some; ‘for Indra and Agni are the Kshatra (and he should therefore use old grain for the Vaisvadeva pap) lest he (the sacrificer) should exalt (the Vis) to the level of the Kshatra.’ Nevertheless let both (the cake and karu) consist of new (grain); for (by the very fact that) the one is a cake and the other a pap, the nobility is not equalled (by the people): hence they should both consist of new (grain).
8The All-gods spake, ‘This sap (of the rice and barley plants) truly belongs to those two, heaven and earth: let us, then, allow those two a share in it!’ They accordingly assigned that share to them, to wit, the cake on one potsherd offered to heaven and earth . This is why there is a cake on one potsherd (kapâla) for heaven and earth. Now this (earth) is, doubtless, the cup (depository, kapâla) of that (sap) ; and she indeed is one only: hence (the cake) consists of one potsherd.
9An offence (is thereby committed) by him ; since, for whatever deity sacrificial food may be taken out, the Svishtakrit (Agni, the maker of good offering) is invariably allowed a share in it after (the respective deity). But that (cake) he offers entire, and he does not cut off a portion for the Svishtakrit this is an offence, and consequently (that cake), when offered, turns upside down.
10Hence they say, ‘That (cake) contained on one potsherd has turned upside down: it will throw the kingdom into disorder.’ No offence (is, however, committed) by him, for the Âhavanîya is the support of oblations; and if, after reaching the Âhavanîya, (the cake) were to turn upside down ten times, he need not heed it. And if others ask as to who would care to incur (the result of) such a combination (of errors), let him offer nothing but butter; for clarified butter is manifestly the sap of those two, heaven and earth, so that he thereby manifestly gladdens those two with their own sap or essence: hence he need offer nothing but butter.
11By performing that same sacrifice, the gods removed the magic spell as well as the poison from both kinds of plants, those on which men and beasts subsist; and henceforward the men ate food and the cattle grazed.
12Now when he performs that sacrifice, he does so either for the reason that no one will then defile (the plants) either by magic or poison; or because the gods did so. And whatever share the gods assigned (to themselves), that share he thereby makes over to them. Moreover, he thereby renders wholesome and faultless both kinds of plants, those on which men and beasts subsist; and these creatures subsist on those wholesome and faultless (plants) of his: this is why he performs that sacrifice.
13The priests’ fee for this (sacrifice) consists of the first-born calf (of the season); for that is, as it were, the first-fruits (of the cattle). If he has already performed the new and full-moon offerings, let him first perform those offerings , and thereupon the present (offering of first-fruits). If, on the other hand, he has not yet performed (the new and full-moon offerings), let them cook a kâtushprâsya pap on the southern fire, and let the priests eat it.
14Verily, there are two kinds of gods: for the gods themselves, assuredly, are gods; and those priests who have studied, and teach Vedic lore, are the human gods. And in like manner as that is offered whereon the Vashat has been pronounced, so is that (offering of first-fruits consecrated by the feeding of the priests). Let him also, at this (sacrifice), give as much as is in his power, for no offering, they say, should be without a dakshinâ. At the Agnihotra (performed at the time of the Âgrayaneshti) let him not offer (milk obtained from the eating of new corn) ; for were he to offer such at the Agnihotra, he would cause a conflict (between the deities of the two offerings). The Âgrayana is one thing, and the Agnihotra is another: let him, therefore, not offer (new material) at the Agnihotra.