Satapatha Brahmana Part 1 (SBE12), Julius Eggeling tr. , at sacred-texts.com
THE Agny-âdhâna (or Agny-âdheya), or ceremony of establishing a set of sacrificial fires, on the part of a young householder, is, as a rule, performed on the first day of the waxing moon. Some authorities also allow the performance to take place at full moon, probably in order to enable the newly-married couple to enter on their sacred duties with as little delay as possible. Moreover, special benefits are supposed to accrue to the performer of the ceremony from the conjunction of the new moon with certain lunar asterisms; though the author of our work, at any rate, does not seem greatly to encourage this practice, but rather to urge the pious householder to set up fires of his own, whenever he feels a longing for the sacrifice.
The normal performance of the Agnyâdhâna, as that of the full and new-moon offerings, requires two days; the first of which is taken up with preliminary rites, while the second--that is, the first day of the respective half-moon--is devoted to the chief ceremonies, beginning with the production of the sacred fire by friction. (See II, 1, 4, 8 seq.)
After the sacrificer has chosen his four officiating priests--viz. the Brahman, Hotri, Adhvaryu, and Âgnîdhra (or Agnîdh)--he proceeds, together with them, to erect the two sheds or 'firehouses.' In order to determine their exact sites, the Adhvaryu first draws from west to east the so-called 'easterly' line (cf. I, 2, 5, 14), and on it marks, at 8, 11, or 12 prakramas or steps from each other, the centres of the Gârhapatya and Âhavanîya fire-places, the outlines of which he then traces, making each a square aratni or cubit in area, the former circular, the latter square. The Dakshinâgni
or Anvâhârya-pakana, if it is required at all, is of the same area, but of semicircular form, and lies south of the space between the altar and the Gârhapatya fire. The Gârhapatya fire-house is constructed with its laths running either from west to east, or from south to north, and a door on the south side; and so as to enclose both the Gârhapatya and Dakshina fires. The Âhavanîya fire-house, on the other hand, with its laths necessarily running from west to east, and an entrance from the east, contains the Âhavanîya fire and the altar (vedi) adjoining it on the west, and partly enclosing it with its 'shoulders' on the north and south sides. The two houses are also open to each other on the inner side; and sufficient space is left on all sides for freely moving around the fires.
The Adhvaryu then procures a temporary fire,--either producing it by friction, or obtaining it from certain specified sources in the village,--and after the usual fivefold lustration of the Gârhapatya fire-place (cf. p. 2), he lays down the fire thereon. Towards sunset the sacrificer [while seated east of the Âhavanîya house] invokes the gods and manes with 'Gods, fathers! fathers, gods! I sacrifice, being who I am; neither will I exclude him whose I am: mine own shall be the offering, mine own the toiling, mine own the sacrifice!' He then enters the Âhavanîya house from the east, passes through it to the Gârhapatya, and sits down behind (west of) the fire; his wife at the same time entering the Gârhapatya house from the south and seating herself south of him,--both facing the east. Thereupon the Adhvaryu hands to the sacrificer two pieces of wood (arani),--if possible, of asvattha, grown out of a samî tree,--to be used next morning for the production (or 'churning') of the sacred fire by one of them (the upper arani) being rapidly drilled in a hole in the other (or lower arani). [The sacrificer and his wife then lay the upper and lower sticks respectively on their laps; whereupon certain propitiatory ceremonies are performed by them, and honours are paid to the priests and the sticks; and the latter are finally deposited on a seat.] In the house of the Gârhapatya a he-goat may then be tied up for the night, which, if it belong to the sacrificer, is to be presented by him to the Âgnîdhra on the completion of the sacrifice.
After sunset the Adhvaryu measures out four vessels of husked rice grains--each containing three handfuls, which quantity is considered sufficient to furnish a meal for one man--on an ox-hide died red [and spread out with the hairy side upwards and the neck-part to the east]. With this rice the (odana) kâtushprâsya, or '(pap) to be eaten by the four (priests),' is prepared on the provisional Gârhapatya fire. When it is ready, the Adhvaryu makes a hollow in the pap and pours clarified butter into it. He then takes
three kindling-sticks (samidh), anoints them with some of that ghee, and puts them on the fire one after another, with texts (cf. note on II, 1, 4, 5). Thereupon the sacrificer [having paid due honours to the priests by washing their feet and giving them perfumes and wreaths, &c., and assigned to each his share] bids them eat:
During the night the sacrificer and his wife have to remain awake and keep up the fire. When the night clears up, the Adhvaryu extinguishes the fire, or, if there is to be a Dakshinâgni, he takes it southwards and keeps it in a safe place till that fire is made up. He then draws with the wooden sword three lines across the fire-place and proceeds with the preparation of the hearth-mounds in the way set forth in the first Brâhmana of this Book.
2:1:1:11. Now when he equips (Agni, the fire) from this and that quarter, that is the equipping (of the fire) with its equipments 1. 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.
2:1:1:22. In the first place he (the Adhvaryu) draws (three) lines (with the wooden sword on the Gârhapatya fire-place 2). 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).
2:1:1:33. He 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.
2:1:1:44. Water (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 1. This is why he brings water.
2:1:1:55. He then brings (a piece of) gold. Now Agni at one time cast his eyes on the waters 2: 'May I pair with them,' he thought. He came together with them; and his seed became gold 3. 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 1, 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.
2:1:1:66. He 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 2: 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.
2:1:1:77. He then brings (the earth of) a mole-hill (âkhu-karîsha) 3. 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 1 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.
2:1:1:88. He 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,--
2:1:1:99. They 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.'
2:1:1:1010. Accordingly, 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 1.
2:1:1:1111. And 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.
2:1:1:1212. These then are the five equipments 2: for fivefold is the sacrifice, fivefold the animal victim; and five seasons there are in the year.
2:1:1:1313. Now, 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 1, since it is from the lower part (nyûna, i.e. of the body) that offspring is here brought forth. Thus also a progressive improvement 2 (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.
2:1:1:1414. Here 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 3. Let him for that reason bring (the objects) together.
276:1 The verb here translated by 'to equip,' is sam-bhri, 'to carry, or bring, together, to collect;' and then 'to make the necessary preparations, to prepare;' hence sambhâra, 'the preparation, outfit,' the technical term for the objects employed in the preparation of the fire-place, with the view of symbolically ensuring success to the fire. In paragraphs 3 seq. the primary meaning 'to bring (together)' has been used, except where it seemed desirable to preserve its technical sense.
276:2 The three lines drawn across the fire-place form a necessary part of its lustration; see p. 2. According to the Paddhati on Kâty. IV, 8, the Adhvaryu first makes the fivefold lustration of the hearth, and thereupon again draws the mystic lines (? or draws the outline of the fire-place, cf. Kâty. IV, 8, 16) and proceeds with the sambharas; viz. he sprinkles the lines with water, while the sacrificer takes hold of him from behind; then puts down a piece of gold, and on it throws salt soil and the mould of a molehill, with which he forms the hearth-mound (khara)--circular in p. 277 the case of the Gârhapatya, square the Âhavanîya, and semicircular the Dakshinâgni; but each equal in area to a square aratni or cubit. Along the edge of the mound he then lays pebbles close to each other [50 on the Gârhapatya, 73 on the Âhavanîya, and 22 on the Dakshinâgni, according to the Schol. on Kâty. IV, 8, 16]. According to some authorities, the piece of gold is laid on the top of the mound. He thus prepares successively the Gârhapatya, Âhavanîya, and Dakshina hearths; afterwards, if required, those of the Sabhya and Avasathya fires, which are, like the Gârhapatya, of circular form.
277:1 An etymological play on the word ap, âpah, 'water,' and the verb âp, 'to obtain, pervade.'
277:2 In the version of this myth given Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 8, the waters courted by Agni are called Varuna's wives.
277:3 Tâh sambabhûva tâsu retah prâsiñkat tad hiranyam abhavat.
278:1 Sâyana interprets enena na dhâvayati by 'he does not clean (his teeth) with it;'--the St. Petersb. Dict. by 'he does not get himself conveyed (driven) by it.' The Kânva text has: Tasmâd enad apsv evânuvindanty apsu punanty apsu by enat prâsiñkan nainena dhâvayanti na kim kana kurvanti.
278:2 Cf. Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 2: 'The sky and the earth were (originally) close together. On being separated they said to each other, "Let there he a common sacrificial essence (yagñiyam) for us!" What sacrificial essence there was belonging to yonder sky, that it bestowed on this earth, that became the salt (in the earth); and what sacrificial essence there was belonging to this earth, that it bestowed on yonder sky, that became the black (spots) in the moon. When he throws salt (on the fire-place), let him think it to be that (viz. the black in the moon): it is on the sacrificial essence of the sky and the earth that he sets up his fire.'
278:3 On the mythic connection of (the white, sharp teeth of) the p. 279 âkhu (mole, mouse, rat), as of that of the boar, with the thunderbolt, see Dr. A. Kuhn's ingenious remarks, 'Herabkunft des Feuers and des Göttertranks,' p. 202. According to Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 3, Agni at one time concealed himself from the gods, and having become a mole, dug himself into the earth; so that the mole-hills thrown up by him, have some of Agni's nature attaching to them. The Taittirîyas also put on the hearth the earth of an ant-hill, which the Brâhmana (in the same way as our author does of the molehill) represents as the savour (or marrow, essence) of the earth.
279:1 The primary meaning of karîsha is 'that which is scattered, or strewn about,' hence 'refuse, rubbish' (and âkhu-karîsha, 'mole-cast'). Its secondary meaning, as is that of purîsha, is 'manure' (or perhaps also 'soft, rich mould'), an article naturally valued by an agricultural population. See I, 2, 5, 17, where purîsha is taken symbolically to represent cattle.
280:1 The corresponding myth of Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3, 5, though very different from ours, yet presents one or two points of resemblance. According to it, nothing was to be seen in the beginning except water and a lotus-leaf standing out above it. Pragâpati (being bent on creating the firm ground) bethought himself that the lotus-stalk must rest on something; and having assumed the form of a boar, he dived and brought up some of the earth. This he spread out (prath) on the lotus-leaf, whence originated the earth (prithivî), which he then fastened down by means of pebbles. Hence the latter are put on the hearth in order to afford a firm foundation for the fire.
280:2 According to the authorities of the Black Yagur-veda there are not five, but fourteen sambhâras, seven of which are taken from the earth, viz. sand, salt, a mole-hill, an ant-hill, mire from a dried-up pool, pebbles, and gold; while the remaining seven consist of pieces of wood from the asvattha, udumbara, palâsa (? two pieces), samî, and vikankata trees, and from some tree that has been struck by lightning. The sprinkling of water about the fire-place is not counted by them as a sambhâra, but as one of the usual acts of lustration. Taitt. Br. I, 1, 3 seq.
281:1 Or, a deficient pairing is effected (on account of the uneven number). I do not quite understand Sâyana's interpretation of the passage, the published text of the commentary being apparently corrupt in one or two places, The Kânva text reads: Tad âhuh shad vâ ritavah samvatsarasyeti yadi vai shal ritavah samvatsarasya nyûnam u vai pragananam nyûnâd vâ imâh pragâh pragâyante, &c.
281:2 Literally, 'a prevailing (or advancing) better-to-morrow,' svahsreyasam uttarâvat.
281:3 The drift of the author's reasoning evidently is that it is safer, by putting those objects on the fire-place, to make sure of the magic benefits of those symbols being really secured to the fire, and thereby to the sacrificer. The Kânva text of this paragraph, though differently worded, yields the same sense; except that it refers to p. 282 the sacrificer himself and to the wishes he entertains in collecting the objects.