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Satapatha Brahmana Part V (SBE44), Julius Eggeling tr. [1900], at



11:5:1:11. The nymph Urvasî loved Purûravas 3, the son of Idâ. When she wedded him, she said,

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[paragraph continues] 'Thrice a day shalt thou embrace 1 me; but do not lie with me against my will 2, and let me not see thee naked, for such is the way to behave to us women.'

11:5:1:22. She then dwelt with him a long time, and was even with child of him, so long did she dwell with him. Then the Gandharvas 3 said to one another, 'For a long time, indeed, has this Urvasî dwelt among men: devise ye some means how she may come back to us.' Now, a ewe with two lambs was tied to her couch: the Gandharvas then carried off one of the lambs.

11:5:1:33. 'Alas,' she cried, 'they are taking away my darling 4, as if I were where there is no hero and no man!' They carried off the second, and she spake in the selfsame manner.

11:5:1:44. He then thought within himself, 'How can that be (a place) without a hero and without a man where I am?' And naked, as he was, he sprang

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up after them: too long he deemed it that he should put on his garment. Then the Gandharvas produced a flash of lightning, and she beheld him naked even as by daylight. Then, indeed, she vanished: 'Here I am back,' he said, and lo! she had vanished 1. Wailing with sorrow he wandered all over Kurukshetra. Now there is a lotus-lake there, called Anyatahplakshâ: He walked along its bank; and there nymphs were swimming about in the shape of swans 2.

11:5:1:55. And she (Urvasî), recognising him, said, 'This is the man with whom I have dwelt.' They then said, 'Let us appear to him!'--'So be it!' she replied; and they appeared to him 3.

11:5:1:66. He then recognised her and implored her (Rig-veda X, 95, I), 'Oh, my wife, stay thou, cruel in mind 4: let us now exchange words! Untold, these secrets of ours will not bring us joy in days to

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come;'--'Stop, pray, let us speak together!' this is what he meant to say to her.

11:5:1:77. She replied (X, 95, 2), 'What concern have I with speaking to thee? I have passed away like the first of the dawns. Purûravas, go home again: I am like the wind, difficult to catch;'--'Thou didst not do what I had told thee; hard to catch I am for thee, go to thy home again!' this is what she meant to say.

11:5:1:88. He then said sorrowing (X, 95, 14), 'Then will thy friend 1 rush away 2 this day never to come back, to go to the farthest distance: then will he lie in Nirriti's 3 lap, or the fierce wolves will devour him; Thy friend will either hang himself, or start forth; or the wolves, or dogs, will devour him!' this is what he meant to say.

11:5:1:99. She replied (X, 95, 15), 'Purûravas, do not die! do not rush away! let not the cruel wolves devour thee! Truly, there is no friendship with women, and theirs are the hearts of hyenas 4;'--

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[paragraph continues] 'Do not take this to heart! there is no friendship with women: return home!' this is what she meant to say.

11:5:1:1010. (Rig-veda X, 95, 16), 'When changed in form, I walked among mortals, and passed the nights there during four autumns 1 ate a little ghee, once a day, and even now I feel satisfied therewith 2.'--This discourse in fifteen verses has been handed down by the Bahvrikas 3. Then her heart took pity on him 4.

11:5:1:1111. She said, 'Come here the last night of the year from now 5: then shalt thou lie with me for one night, and then this son of thine will have been born.' He came there on the last night of the year, and lo, there stood a golden palace 6! They then

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said to him only this (word) 1, 'Enter!' and then they bade her go to him.

11:5:1:1212. She then said, 'To-morrow morning the Gandharvas will grant thee a boon, and thou must make thy choice.' He said, 'Choose thou for me!'--She replied, 'Say, Let me be one of yourselves!' In the morning the Gandharvas granted him a boon; and he said, 'Let me be one of yourselves!'

11:5:1:1313. They said, 'Surely, there is not among men that holy form of fire by sacrificing wherewith one would become one of ourselves.' They put fire into a pan, and gave it to him saying, 'By sacrificing therewith thou shalt become one of ourselves.' He took it (the fire) and his boy, and went on his way home. He then deposited the fire in the forest, and went to the village with the boy alone. [He came back and thought] 'Here I am back;' and lo! it had disappeared 2: what had been the fire was an Asvattha tree (ficus religiosa), and what had been the pan was a Samî tree (mimosa suma). He then returned to the Gandharvas.

11:5:1:1414. They said, 'Cook for a whole year a mess of rice sufficient for four persons; and taking each time three logs from this Asvattha tree, anoint them with ghee, and put them on the fire with

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verses containing the words "log" and "ghee": the fire which shall result therefrom will be that very fire (which is required).'

11:5:1:1515. They said, 'But that is recondite (esoteric), as it were. Make thyself rather an upper aran1 of Asvattha wood, and a lower arani of Sami wood: the fire which shall result therefrom will be that very fire.'

11:5:1:1616. They said, 'But that also is, as it were, recondite. Make thyself rather an upper arani of Asvattha wood, and a lower arani of Asvattha wood: the fire which shall result therefrom will be that very fire.'

11:5:1:1717. He then made himself an upper arani of Asvattha wood, and a lower arani of Asvattha wood; and the fire which resulted therefrom was that very fire: by offering therewith he became one of the Gandharvas. Let him therefore make himself an upper and a lower arani of Asvattha wood, and the fire which results therefrom will be that very fire: by offering therewith he becomes one of the Gandharvas.


68:3 King Purûravas, of the lunar race of kings, is considered the p. 69 son of Budha (the planet Mercury, and son of Soma). On this myth (based on the hymn Rig-veda S. X, 95) see Prof. Max Müller, Oxford Essays (1856), p. 61 seqq.; (reprinted in Chips from a German Workshop, II, p. 102 seqq.); A. Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers and des Göttertranks, p. 81 seqq. (2nd ed. p. 73 seqq.); Weber, Ind. Streifen I, p. 16 seqq.; K. F. Geldner, in Pischel and Geldner's Vedische Studien I, p. 244 seqq.; cf. H. Oldenberg, Religion des Veda, p. 213.

69:1 Vaitasena dandena hatâd,--vaitaso dandah pumvyañganasya nâma; uktam hi Yâskena, sepo vaitasa iti pumspragananasyeti (Nir. III, 22), Sây.

69:2 Akâmâm kâmarahitâm suratâbhilâsharahitâm ka mâm mâ sma nipadyâsai nigrihya mâm prâpnuyâh, Sây.

69:3 The Gandharvas are the natural companions and mates of the Apsaras, or nymphs.

69:4 Literally, 'my son,'--madîyam putratvena svîkritam uranadvayam, Sây.

70:1 Cf. C. Gaedicke, Der Accusativ im Veda (1880), p. 211. Previous translators had assigned the words 'punar emi' (I come back) to Urvasî; and in view of the corresponding passage in paragraph 13, the new interpretation is just a little doubtful.

70:2 The text has 'âti,' some kind of water-bird--galakarapakshiviseshah, Sây.--(probably Gr. νῆσσα; Lat. anas, anat-is; Anglo-S. æned, Germ. Ente).

70:3 That is, they became visible, or rather recognisable to him by showing themselves in their real forms,--pakshirûpam vihâya svakîyena rûpena prâdur babhûvuh, Sây.--In Kâlidâsa's plays, both Urvasî and Sakuntalâ become invisible by means of a magic veil (tiraskarinî, 'making invisible') with which has been compared the magic veil by which the swan-maidens change their form. A. Weber, Ind. Stud. I, p. 197; A. Kuhn, Herabkunft, p. 91.

70:4 Manasâ tishtha ghore,--possibly it may mean, 'O cruel one, be thou constant in (thy) mind;' or, as Kuhn takes it, 'pay attention, O cruel one.' Sâyana, however, takes it as above.

71:1 This is a doubtful rendering (Max Müller; Gespiele, A. Weber) of 'sudeva,'--Göttergenoss (the companion of the gods), Kuhn; 'dem die Götter einst hold waren' (he who was formerly favoured by the gods), Grassmann; Sudeva, Ludwig.

71:2 Or, will fall down (Max Müller, Weber); sich in’s Verderben stürzen (will rush to his destruction), Kuhn;--forteilen (hasten away), Grassmann; verloren gehen (get lost), Ludwig; sich in den Abgrund stürzen, Geldner;--'mahâprasthânam kuryât' (he will set out on the great journey, i.e. die), Sâyana. The Brâhmana seems to propose two different renderings,--to throw oneself down (hang oneself), or, to start forth.

71:3 Nirriti is the goddess of decay or death.

71:4 The meaning of 'sâlâvrika,' also spelled 'sâlâvrika' (? house-wolves), is doubtful; cf. H. Zimmer, Altindisches Leben, p. 8. Prof. Weber, Ind. Stud. I, p. 413, makes the suggestion that 'wehrwolves' may be intended.

72:1 The words 'râtrîh saradas katasrah' may also be taken in the sense of 'four nights of the autumn' (Max Müller, A. Kuhn). It needs hardly to be remarked that 'nights' means days and nights, and 'autumns' years.--Sâyana takes the passage in the sense of 'four delightful (râtrîh ramayitrîh) autumns or years.'

72:2 Literally, I walk (or go on, keep) being satisfied therewith. Prof. Geldner, however, takes it in an ironical sense, 'das Bischen liegt mir jetzt noch schwer im Magen' ('even now I have quite enough of that little').

72:3 That is, the theologians of the Rig-veda. As Prof. Weber points out, the hymn referred to, in the received version, consists not of fifteen but of eighteen verses, three of which would therefore seem to be of later origin (though they might, of course, belong to a different recension from that referred to by the Brâhmana).

72:4 Or, according to Prof. Geldner, 'Then he touched her heart (excited her pity).'

72:5 Literally, the yearliest night, i.e. the 360th night, the last night of a year from now, or, this night next year: it is the night that completes the year, just as 'the fifth' completes the number 'five;'--samvatsaratamîm samvatsarapûranîm antimâm râtrim, Sây. Cf. Delbrück, Altind. Syntax, p. 195.

72:6 Hiranyavimitâni hiranyanirmitâni saudhâni, Sây.

73:1 Thus also A. Kuhn, and Sâyana, tato hainam ekam ûkur etat, prapadyasveti,--enam Purûravasam tatratyâ ganâ idam ekam ûkuh, Sây.--The word 'ekam' might also be taken along with 'enam' (Max Müller, Weber, Geldner),--'they said this to him alone' (? they bade him enter alone without his attendants).

73:2 See above, paragraph 4 and note on p. 70. According to the other interpretation we should have to translate:--He then deposited the fire in the forest, and went to the village with the boy alone, thinking, 'I (shall) come back.' [He came back] and lo! it had disappeared.

74:1 That is, a churning-stick used for producing fire; see part i, p. 275; p. 294, note 3.

Next: XI, 5, 2. Second Brâhmana