Satapatha Brahmana Part V (SBE44), Julius Eggeling tr. , at sacred-texts.com
13:2:8:11. Now the gods, when going upwards, did not know (the way to) the heavenly world, but the horse knew it: when they go upwards with the horse, it is in order to know (the way to) the heavenly world. 'A cloth, an upper cloth, and gold,' this 1 is what they spread out for the horse 2:
thereon they quiet (slay) it, as (is done) for no other victim; and thus they separate it from the other victims.
13:2:8:22. When they quiet a victim they kill it. Whilst it is being quieted, he (the Adhvaryu) offers (three) oblations 1, with (Vâg. S. XXIII, 18), 'To the breath hail! to the off-breathing hail! to the through-breathing hail!' he thereby lays the vital airs into it, and thus offering is made by him with this victim as a living one 2.
13:2:8:33. With, 'Ambâ! Ambikâ! Ambâlikâ 3! there is no one to lead me,'--he leads up the (four)
wives 1: he thereby has called upon them (to come), and, indeed, also renders them sacrificially pure.
13:2:8:44. With (Vâg. S. XXIII, 19), 'We call upon thee, the host-leader of (divine) hosts, O my true lord!' the wives walk round (the horse), and thus make amends to it for that (slaughtering 2): even thereby they (already) make amends to it; but,
indeed, they also fan 1 it. Thrice they walk round 2; for three (in number) are these worlds: by means of these worlds they fan it. Thrice again they walk round 3,--that amounts to six, for there are six seasons: by means of the seasons they fan it.
13:2:8:55. But, indeed, the vital airs depart from those who perform the fanning at the sacrifice. Nine times they walk round 4; for there are nine vital airs: vital airs they thus put into their own selves, and the vital airs do not depart from them. 'I will urge the seed-layer, urge thou the seed-layer!' (the Mahishî says 5);--seed, doubtless, means offspring and cattle: offspring and cattle she thus secures for herself. [Vâg. S. XXIII, 20,] 'Let us stretch our feet,' thus in order to secure union. 'In heaven ye envelop yourselves' (the Adhvaryu says),--for that is, indeed, heaven where they immolate the victim: therefore he
speaks thus.--'May the vigorous male, the layer of seed, lay seed!' she says in order to secure union.
320:1 The 'iti' seems superfluous; Harisvâmin explains it by 'etat trayam.' For a similar use of the particle, see XIII, 2, 2, 1.
320:2 That is, they spread them on the ground for the horse to lie upon. Differently St. Petersb. Dict., 'they spread over the horse;' but see Kâty. XX, 6, 10 comm.; and Harisvâmin:--vâso yad antardhânâyâlam, adhivâso yad âkkhâdanâyâlam, tak ka vâsasa upari staranîyam, tayor upari hiranyam nidheyam, tasmims traye enam adhi upari samgñapayanti;--and he then remarks that these three objects here do not take the place of the stalk of grass which, in the ordinary animal sacrifice, is thrown on the place where the victim is to be killed and cut up (III, 8, 1, 14; Kâty. VI, 5, 15-16), but that the stalk is likewise put down on this occasion. Similarly the comm. on Kâtyâyana, where it is stated that the stalk of grass (or straw) is first laid down, and then the others thereon. Indeed, as was the case in regard to the stalk of grass--representing the barhis, or layer of sacrificial grass on the vedi--so here the fourfold underlayer is intended to prevent any part of the sacrificial material (havis)--the victim in this case--from being spilt. The p. 321 upper garment (or cloth) must be sufficiently large to allow its being afterwards turned up so as to cover the horse and the queen consort.
321:1 Prior to these, however, he offers the two 'Paripasavya,' i.e. 'oblations relating to the victim,'--or, perhaps, 'oblations performed in connection with the carrying of fire round the victim,' for this last ceremony is performed for all the victims (whereupon the wild beasts placed between the stakes are let loose) before the killing of the horse. See III, 8, 1, 6-16.
321:2 For the symbolic import of this, see III, 8, 2, 4.
321:3 These are just three variants used in addressing a mother (Mutter, Mütterchen, Mütterlein), or, indeed, as here, any woman (good lady! good woman!. Acc. to Kâty. XX, 6, 12, this is the formula which the assistant priest (the Neshtri, or, according to others, the Pratiprasthâtri, cf. Kâty. VI, 5, 27-28) makes the king's wives say whilst leading them up to the slain horse to cleanse it. It is, moreover, to be preceded by the formula used, at this juncture, at the ordinary animal sacrifice, viz. 'Homage be to thee, O wide-stretched one, advance unresisted unto the rivers of ghee, along the paths of sacred truth! Ye divine, pure waters, carry ye (the sacrifice) to the gods, well-prepared! may ye be well-prepared preparers!' (III, 8, 2, 2-3). The words 'Ambâ!' &c. are, according to Mahîdhara, addressed by the women to one another. The latter part of the formula as given in the Vâg . Samh. (viz. 'the horse sleeps near Subhadrikâ, dwelling in Kâmpîla') is apparently p. 322 rejected (? as antiquated, or inauspicious) by the author of the Brâhmana. The ceremony of lying near the dead horse being looked upon as assuring fertility to a woman, the formula used here is also doubtless meant to express an eagerness on the part of the women to be led to the slaughtered horse, representing the lord of creatures, Pragâpati. On this passage compare the remarks of Professor Weber (Ind. Stud. I, p. 183), who takes the formula to be spoken by the queen consort to her three fellow-wives; and who also translates the words 'na mâ nayati kas kana' (nobody leads me) by 'nobody shall lead me (by force to the horse; but if I do not go) the (wicked) horse will lie near (another woman such as) the (wicked) Subadhrâ living in Kâmpîla.'--Harisvâmin's commentary on this passage is rather corrupt, but he seems at all events to assume that each of the four wives apostrophizes the others with the above formula (probably substituting their real names for the words 'ambâ,' &c.):--lepsam (? lipsâm) tâvad esha patnîvaktrakah (? patnîvakiratah) prâpnoti, katham, ekaikâ hi patnî itarâs tisra âmantrya seshâh paridevayamânâ drisyate, he ambe he ambike he ambâlike yûyam apunyâ nîshpâdotv asya (?) samîpam, sa ka pakshapâtî kutsitoऽsvako mayi yushmâkam sasasti meva (!) subhadrikâm kâmpîlavâsinîm ida (? iha) surûpâm na tu mâm kaskit tatra nayatîti; sasastîty eva vartamânasâmîpye vartamânavad (Pân. III, 3, 131) ity âsannasevane drashtavyah.--This barbarous ceremony was evidently an old indigenous custom too firmly established in popular practice to be easily excluded from the sacrificial ritual. That it had nothing to do with Vedic religion and was distasteful to the author of the Brâhmana is evident from the brief way in which he refers to it, and from the far-fetched symbolic explanations attached to the formulas and discourses.
322:1 Viz. from their ordinary place near the Gârhapatya he leads them whilst holding jars of water in their hands.
322:2 Apahnuvate vismaranty evâsmai etat pradakshinâvartanena samgñapanam unnayanti, comm.
323:1 Thus Harisvâmin:--dhuvate dhûnane(na) upavâgayanti, evam asvam râgânam iva vyaganair etat,--'they shake themselves,' St. Petersb. Dict.; and, indeed, it is doubtless by the flutter of the garments produced in walking round first one way and then another, that the fanning is supposed to be produced.
323:2 Viz. in sunwise fashion (pradakshinâ), that is so as to keep the object circumambulated on one's right side.
323:3 Viz. in the opposite, the 'apradakshinam' way, as is done in the sacrifice to the departed ancestors. They do so with the text, 'We call upon thee, the dear Lord of the dear ones, O my true lord!'
323:4 Viz. another three times in the sunwise way. Having completed their circumambulation, the king's wives cleanse the horse's apertures of the vital airs (mouth, nostrils, eyes, &c.), as the Sacrificer's wife did at the ordinary animal sacrifice (III, 8, 2, 4), which they do with the text, 'We call upon thee, the treasure-lord of treasures, O my true lord!'
323:5 Cf. III, 5, 2, 1 seqq.