1Now, in performing that sacrifice, they slay it; and in pressing out the king (Soma), they slay him; and in quieting and immolating the victim, they slay it. The haviryagña they slay with the mortar and pestle, and with the two mill-stones.
2When slain, that sacrifice was no longer vigorous. By means of dakshinâs (gifts to the priests) the gods again invigorated it: hence the name dakshinâ, because thereby they invigorated (dakshay) that (sacrifice). Whatever, therefore, fails in this sacrifice when slain, that he now again invigorates by means of gifts to the priests; whereupon the sacrifice becomes successful: for this reason he makes gifts to the priests.
3He may give six (cows); for six seasons, indeed, there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Pragâpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts, dakshinâs) does he thereby invigorate it.
4He may give twelve; for twelve months there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Pragâpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts) does he thereby invigorate it.
5He may give twenty-four; for twenty-four half-moons there are in the year, and the sacrifice, Pragâpati, is the year: thus as great as the sacrifice is, as large as its extent is, by so many (gifts) does he thereby invigorate it. Such is the measure of the priests’ fees; but he may give more, according to (the depth of) his faith. The reason why he gives fees to the priests is this.
6Verily, there are two kinds of gods; for, indeed, the gods are the gods; and the Brâhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore are the human gods. The sacrifice of these is divided into two kinds: oblations constitute the sacrifice to the gods; and gifts to the priests that to the human gods, the Brâhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore. With oblations one gratifies the gods, and with gifts to the priests the human gods, the Brâhmans who have studied and teach sacred lore. Both these kinds of gods, when gratified, place him in a state of bliss (sudhâ).
7Even as seed is poured into the womb, so the officiating priests place the sacrificer in the (heavenly) world, when he now makes gifts to those who, he hopes, will make him go thither. Such, then, (is the manner) of gifts to priests.
8Now the gods and the Asuras, both of them sprung from Pragâpati, were contending with each other. They were both soulless, for they were mortal, and he who is mortal is soulless. Among these two (classes of beings) who were mortal, Agni alone was immortal; and it was through him, the immortal, that they both lived. Now whichsoever (of the gods) they (the Asuras) slew, he, indeed, was so (slain).
9Thereupon the gods were left inferior. They went on praising and practising austerities, hoping that they might be able to overcome their enemies, the mortal Asuras. They beheld this immortal Agnyâdheya (consecrated fire).
10They said, ‘Come, let us place that immortal element in our innermost soul! When we have placed that immortal element in our innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, we shall overcome our conquerable, mortal enemies.’
11They said, ‘With both of us is this fire (Agni): let us then treat openly with the Asuras .’
12They said, ‘We shall set up (or, establish within ourselves, â-dhâ) the two fires, what will ye do then?’
13They replied, ‘Then we shall lay it down (ni-dhâ), saying, Eat grass here! eat wood here! cook pap here! cook meat here!’ Now that fire, which the Asuras thus laid down, is this same (fire) wherewith men prepare their food.
14The gods then established that (fire) in their innermost soul; and having established that immortal element in their innermost soul, and become immortal and unconquerable, they overcame their mortal, conquerable enemies. And so this one now establishes that immortal element in his innermost soul; and though there is for him no hope of immortality he obtains the full measure of life; for, indeed, he becomes unconquerable, and his enemy, though striving to conquer, conquers him not. And, accordingly, when one who has established his fires and one who has not established his fires, vie with each other, he who has established his fires overcomes the other, for, verily, he thereby becomes unconquerable, he thereby becomes immortal.
15Now, when, on that occasion, they produce that (fire) by churning, then he (the sacrificer) breathes (blows) upon it, when produced; for fire indeed is breath: he thereby produces the one thus produced. He again draws in his breath: thereby he establishes that (fire) in his innermost soul; and that fire thus becomes established in his innermost soul .
16Having kindled it, he makes it blaze, thinking, ‘Herein I will worship, herein I will perform the sacred work!’ Thereby he makes blaze that fire which has been established in his innermost soul.
17‘It (or someone) might come between, it might go away!’ so (fear some) ; but, surely, as long as he lives no one comes between him and that fire which has been established in his innermost soul: let him, therefore, not heed this. And as to its becoming extinguished: surely, as long as he lives, that fire which has been established in his innermost soul, does not become extinct in him.
18The (sacrificial) fires, assuredly, are those breaths: the Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya are the out-breathing and the in-breathing; and the Anvâhârya-pakana is the through-breathing.
19Now, attendance on (or, the worship of) that consecrated fire (agnyâdheya) means (speaking) the truth. Whosoever speaks the truth, acts as if he sprinkled that lighted fire with ghee; for even so does he enkindle it: and ever the more increases his own vital energy, and day by day does he become better. And whosoever speaks the untruth, acts as if he sprinkled that lighted fire with water; for even so does he enfeeble it: and ever the less becomes his own vital energy, and day by day does he become more wicked. Let him, therefore, speak nothing but the truth.
20Now the kinsmen spake unto Aruna Aupavesi, ‘Thou art advanced in years: establish thou the two fires!’ He replied, ‘Speak ye not thus! be thou a restrainer of speech ; for he who has established the fires must not speak an untruth: let him rather not speak at all, but let him not speak an untruth. Worship, above all, is truthfulness.’