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Satapatha Brahmana Part III (SBE41), Julius Eggeling tr. [1894], at

p. 143






6:1:1:11. Verily, in the beginning there was here the non-existent 1. As to this they say, 'What was that non-existent?' The Rishis, assuredly,--it is they that were the non-existent 2. As to this they say, 'Who were those Rishis?' The Rishis, doubtless, were the vital airs: inasmuch as before (the existence of) this universe, they, desiring it, wore themselves out (rish) with toil and austerity, therefore (they are called) Rishis.

6:1:1:22. This same vital air in the midst doubtless is Indra. He, by his power (indriya), kindled those (other) vital airs from the midst; and inasmuch as he kindled (indh), he is the kindler (indha): the kindler 3 indeed,--him they call 'Indra' mystically

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[paragraph continues] (esoterically), for the gods love the mystic. They (the vital airs), being kindled, created seven separate persons 1 (purusha).

6:1:1:33. They said, 'Surely, being thus, we shall not be able to generate: let us make these seven persons one Person!' They made those seven persons one Person: they compressed two of them 2 (into) what is above the navel, and two of them (into) what is below the navel; (one) person was (one) wing (or side), (one) person was (the other) wing, and one person was the base (i.e. the feet).

6:1:1:44. And what excellence, what life-sap (rasa) there was in those seven persons, that they concentrated above, that became his head. And because (in it) they concentrated the excellence (srî), therefore it is (called) the head (siras). It was thereto that the breaths resorted (sri): therefore also it is the head (siras). And because the breaths did so resort (sri) thereto, therefore also the breaths (vital airs, and their organs) are elements of excellence (srî). And because they resorted to the whole (system) therefore (this is called) body (sarîra).

6:1:1:55. That same Person became Pragâpati (lord of generation). And that Person which became Pragâpati is this very Agni (fire-altar), who is now (to be) built.

6:1:1:66. He verily is composed of seven persons, for this Person (Agni) is composed of seven persons 3,

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to wit, the body (trunk) of four, and the wings and tail of three; for the body of that (first) Person (was composed of) four, and the wings and tail of three. And inasmuch as he makes the body larger by one person, by that force the body raises the wings and tail.

6:1:1:77. And as to the fire which is deposited on the built (altar),--whatever excellence, whatever life-sap there was in those seven persons, that they now concentrate above, that is his (Pragâpati's) head. On that same (head) all the gods are dependent (srita), for it is there that offering is made to all the gods: therefore also it is the head (siras).

6:1:1:88. Now this Person Pragâpati desired, 'May I be more (than one), may I be reproduced!' He toiled, he practised austerity. Being worn out with toil and austerity, he created first of all the Brahman (neut.), the triple science. It became to him a foundation: hence they say, 'the Brahman (Veda) is the foundation of everything here.' Wherefore, having studied (the Veda) one rests on a foundation; for this, to wit, the Veda, is his foundation. Resting on that foundation, he (again) practised austerity.

6:1:1:99. He created the waters out of Vâk (speech, that is) the world; for speech belonged to it 1: that was

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created (set free). It pervaded everything here; and because it pervaded (âp) whatsoever there was here, therefore (it is called) water (âpah); and because it covered (var), therefore also it (is called) water (vâr).

6:1:1:1010. He desired, 'May I be reproduced from these waters!' He entered the waters with that triple science. Thence an egg arose. He touched it. 'Let it exist! let it exist and multiply!' so he said. From it the Brahman (neut.) was first created, the triple science. Hence they say, 'The Brahman (n.) is the first-born of this All.' For even before that Person the Brahman was created 1: it was created as his mouth. Hence they say of him who has studied the Veda, that 'he is like Agni;' for it, the Brahman (Veda), is Agni's mouth.

6:1:1:1111. Now the embryo which was inside was created as the foremost (agri): inasmuch as it was created foremost (agram) of this All, therefore (it is called) Agri: Agri, indeed, is he whom they mystically call 2 Agni; for the gods love the mystic. And the tear (asru, n.) which had formed itself 3 became the 'asru' (m.): 'asru' indeed is what they mystically call 'asva' (horse), for the gods love the

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mystic. And that which, as it were, cried 1 (ras), became the ass (râsabha). And the juice which was adhering to the shell (of the egg) became the he-goat (ag2). And that which was the shell became the earth.

6:1:1:1212. He desired, 'May I generate, this (earth) from these waters!' He compressed it 3 and threw it into the water. The juice which flowed from it became a tortoise; and that which was spirted upwards (became) what is produced above here over the wafers. This whole (earth) dissolved itself all over the water: all this (universe) appeared as one form only, namely, water.

6:1:1:1313. He desired, 'May it become more than one, may it reproduce itself!' He toiled and practised austerity; and worn out with toil and austerity, he created foam. He was aware that 'this indeed looks different, it is becoming more (than one): I must toil, indeed!' Worn out with toil and austerity, he created clay, mud, saline soil and sand, gravel (pebble), rock, ore, gold, plants and trees: therewith he clothed this earth.

6:1:1:1414. This (earth), then, was created as (consisting of) these same nine creations. Hence they say, 'Threefold (three times three) is Agni;' for Agni is this (earth), since thereof the whole Agni (fire-altar) is constructed.

6:1:1:1515. 'This (earth) has indeed become (bhû) a foundation!' (he thought): hence it became the earth (bhûmi). He spread it out (prath), and it

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became the broad one (or earth, prithivî). And she (the earth), thinking herself quite perfect 1, sang; and inasmuch as she sang (gâ), therefore she is Gâyatrî. But they also say, 'It was Agni, indeed, on her (the earth's) back, who thinking himself quite perfect, sang; and inasmuch as he sang (gâ), therefore Agni is Gâyatra.' And hence whosoever thinks himself quite perfect, either sings or delights in song 2.


143:1 Or, perhaps, In the beginning this (universe) was indeed nonexistent. Thus J. Muir, Or. S. T. IV, p. 22, of which translation of this cosmogonic myth considerable use has been made here. It need scarcely be remarked that 'idam' is constantly used in an adverbial sense in the Brâhmana.

143:2 In the original, 'the non-existent' is the subject of the clause, not the predicate as would appear from the translation. A similar transposition seems often advisable in English, for the sake of emphasis, and on other grounds. Muir's rendering, 'The Rishis say that in the beginning there was non-existence,' is a mistake.

143:3 The nominative here is striking, and vivid, cf. paragraph 11 below. In corresponding passages of the preceding books, the accusative would stand here; eg. II, 1, 2, 4, saptarshîn u ha sma vai purarkshâ ity âkakshate; similarly III, 1, 2, 3.

144:1 That is, living beings or souls, individualities, which, in their combined form, are here imagined to take the shape of a bird. Muir's rendering, 'males,' can scarcely commend itself.

144:2 Literally, 'those two.'

144:3 The fire-altar is usually constructed so as to measure seven p. 145 man's lengths square; the particular length being that of the Sacrificer. This, however, is the smallest size allowed for an altar, there being altogether ninety-five different sizes specified, varying between seven and 101 man's lengths square.

145:1 Or, perhaps, to him (Pragâpati). Sâyana merely says,--vâg evâsya sâsrigyata, vâk sahakâri rasanam abhavat, tad asrigyatety arthah; sâ vâk sahakâri rasanam prâgâpatya(m) srishtam sad idam sarvam âpnot.--On the part which Vâk (the personification of the Brahman or Veda) takes by the side of Pragâpati in the creation p. 146 of the universe, and the parallelism between Vâk and λόγοσ, see Weber, Ind. Stud. IX, p. 473 seq.; Muir, Or. S. T. V, p. 391. Thus Pañk. Br. XX, 14, 2, 'Pragâpati alone existed here. He had Vâk indeed as his own, as a second to him.'

146:1 Muir takes this differently,--Further, (as) the Veda was first created from that Male, therefore it was created his mouth. This translation, however, takes no account of the particle 'hi.'

146:2 For the construction, see above, paragraph 2, with note *3*.

146:3 Literally, which had flowed together. It is explained as the embryonic liquid in the amnion, or innermost membrane enveloping the foetus.

147:1 ? Or, that part (of the egg) which made a noise (in cracking).

147:2 The word 'aga' is apparently fancifully taken here in the sense of 'unborn (a-ga).'

147:3 That is, the earth when as yet in the form of the egg-shell.

148:1 Abhimâninîstrîvigrahâ yasmâd agâyad tasmâd iyam Gâyatrî, Sây.--'Because, like a haughty woman, she (the earth) sang, therefore she is Gâyatrî.'

148:2 On this illustration, which might either be taken as applying to men in easy circumstances, not troubled with cares;--or, perhaps, to a new-born child which cries out lustily, and likes to be sung to,--Sâyana only remarks,--tasmâd u haitad iti svabhâvânuvâdah, kâryadharmena kâranadharmânupâdanâya.

Next: VI, 1, 2. Second Brâhmana