1Now when Pragâpati, in creating living beings, created Agni, the latter, as soon as born, sought to burn everything here: and so everybody tried to get out of his way . The creatures then existing sought to crush him. Being unable to endure this, he went to man.
2He said, ‘I cannot endure this: come, let me enter into thee! Having reproduced me, maintain me; and as thou wilt reproduce and maintain me in this world, even so will I reproduce and maintain thee in yonder world!’ He (man) replied, ‘So be it.’ And having reproduced him, he maintained him.
3Now when he establishes the two fires, he reproduces that (Agni); and having reproduced him, he maintains him; and as he reproduces and maintains him in this world, even so does he (Agni) reproduce and maintain him in yonder world.
4One must not, therefore, remove it (the sacrificial fire from the hearth) prematurely, for too soon it languishes for him; and as it languishes for him too soon in this world, even so does it languish for him too soon in yonder world: one must not, therefore, remove it prematurely.
5And when he dies, and they place him on the (funeral) fire, then he is reproduced from out of the fire; and he (Agni) who heretofore was his son , now becomes his father.
6Hence it has been said by the Rishis, ‘A hundred autumns (may there he) before us, O gods, during which ye complete the life-time of our bodies, during which sons become fathers! do not cut us off, midway, from reaching the full term of life!’ for he (Agni) who is the son, now in his turn becomes the father: this, then, is why one must establish the fires.
7Now yonder burning (sun) doubtless is no other than Death; and because he is Death, therefore the creatures that are on this side of him die. But those that are on the other side of him are the gods, and they are therefore immortal. It is by the rays (or reins, thongs, rasmi) of that (sun) that all these creatures are attached to the vital airs (breaths or life), and therefore the rays extend down to the vital airs.
8And the breath of whomsoever he (the sun) wishes he takes and rises, and that one dies. And whosoever goes to yonder world not having escaped that Death, him he causes to die again and again in yonder world, even as, in this world, one regards not him that is fettered, but puts him to death whenever one wishes.
9Now when, in the evening after sunset, he offers two libations, then he firmly plants himself on that Death with those fore-feet of his; and when, in the morning before sunrise, he offers two libations, then he plants himself on that Death with those hind-feet of his. And when he (the sun) rises, then, in rising, he takes him up and thus he (the sacrificer) escapes that Death. This, then, is the release from death in the Agnihotra: and, verily, he who knows that release from death in the Agnihotra, is freed from death again and again.
10What the arrow-head is to the arrow, that the Agnihotra is to sacrifices. For whither the head of the arrow flies, thither the whole arrow flies: and so are all his works of sacrifice freed by this (Agnihotra) from that Death.
11Now day and night, revolving, destroy (the fruit of) man’s righteousness in yonder world. But day and night are on this side (of the sun) from him (after he has gone up to heaven); and so day and night do not destroy (the fruit of) his righteousness.
12And as, while standing inside a chariot, one would look down from above on the revolving chariot-wheels, even so does he look down from on high upon day and night: and, verily, day and night destroy not the reward of him who thus knows that release from day and night.
13[The sacrificer] having gone round the Âhavanîya, (after entering) from the east , passes between (it and) the Gârhapatya (to his seat). For the gods do not know (this) man ; but when he now passes by them between (the fires), they know him, and think, ‘This is he that now offers to us.’ Moreover, Agni (the fire) is the repeller of evil; and these two, the Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya, repel the evil from him who passes between them; and the evil being repelled from him, he becomes a very light in splendour and glory.
14On the north side is the door of the Agnihotra : thus (he approaches it) as he would enter (a house) by a door. If, on the other hand, he were to sit down after approaching from the south, it would be as if he walked outside.
15The Agnihotra, truly, is the ship (that sails) heavenwards. The Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya are the two sides of that same heavenward-bound ship; and that milk-offerer is its steersman.
16Now when he walks up towards the east, then he steers that (ship) eastwards towards the heavenly world, and he gains the heavenly world by it. When ascended from the north it makes him reach the heavenly world; but if one were to sit down in it after entering from the south, it would be as if he tried to enter it after it has put off and he were left behind and remained outside.
17And again, the stick which he puts on the fire (corresponds to) a brick, and the formula wherewith he offers is the Yagus-text wherewith he puts on that brick ; and when the brick is put on, then a libation is made: hence those same libations of the Agnihotra are offered on his pile of bricks .
18The fire, assuredly, is Pragâpati, and Pragâpati is the year. Year after year, therefore, is his Agnihotra consummated with the piled-up fire-altar; and year after year does he obtain the piled-up fire altar, whosoever, knowing this, offers the Agnihotra.
19Seven hundred and twenty eighties of Rik-verses (he should recite at the Agnihotra in the course of a year). When he offers the Agnihotra in the morning and evening, then there are two libations: hence those libations of his, in the course of a year, amount to
20Seven hundred and twenty. Thus, indeed, his Agnihotra is accomplished, year after year, with the great chant ; and year after year does he obtain the great chant, whosoever, knowing this, offers the Agnihotra.