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Satapatha Brahmana Part IV (SBE43), Julius Eggeling tr. [1897], at

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8:1:1:11. He lays down the Prânabhritah (breath-holders) 1: now, the Prânabhritah being--the vital

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airs, it is the vital airs he thereby bestows upon (Agni). He lays them down in the first layer;--that which is the first layer is the forepart (ground-part) of Agni: it is thus in front that he puts (into Agni) the vital airs, whence there are (in creatures) these (orifices of the) vital airs in front.

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8:1:1:22. He lays them down by ten and ten, for there are ten vital airs; and even though 'ten-ten' may mean many, times, here they mean only ten. Five times he puts on ten (bricks) each time; for it is those five (kinds of sacrificial) animals he bestows, and there are ten vital airs in each .animal: upon all of them he thus bestows the vital airs. He lays down (the bricks) so as not to be separated from the animals: he thus bestows vital airs not separated from the animals. He lays them down on every side: on every side he thus bestows on them (orifices of) the vital airs.

8:1:1:33. And again why he lays down the Prânabhritah. From Pragâpati, when relaxed (by producing creatures), the vital airs departed. To them, having become deities, he spake, 'Come ye to me, return ye unto me that wherewith ye have gone out of me!'--'Well then, create thou that food which we will await here looking on!'--'Well then, let us both create!'--'So be it!'--So both the final airs and Pragâpati created that food, these Prânabhrit (bricks).

8:1:1:44. In front (of the altar) he lays down (ten bricks 1,--the first) with (Vâg. S. XIII, 54), 'This one in front, the Existent,'--in front, doubtless, is Agni; and as to why he speaks of him (as being) 'in front,' it is because they take out the fire (from the Gârhapatya) towards the front, and attend on Agni towards the front 2. And as to why he says 'the

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existent (bhuva),' Agni is indeed the existent, for it is through Agni that everything exists (bhû) here. Agni, indeed, having become the breath, remained in front 1: it is that very form 2 he now bestows (on Agni).

8:1:1:55. [The others with], 'His, the Existent's son, the Breath,'--from out of that form, fire, he (Pragâpati) fashioned the breath;--'Spring, the son of the breath,'--from out of the breath he fashioned the spring-season 3;--'The Gâyatrî, the daughter of the Spring,'--from out of the spring-season he fashioned the Gâyatrî metre;--'From the Gâyatrî the Gâyatra,'--from out of the Gâyatrî metre he fashioned the Gâyatra 4 hymn-tune;--'From the Gâyatra the Upâmsu,'--from out of the Gâyatra hymn-tune he fashioned the Upâmsu-graha 5;--

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[paragraph continues] 'From the Upâmsu the Trivrit,'--from out of the Upâmsu-graha he fashioned the nine-versed hymn-form;--'From the Trivrit the Rathantara,'--from out of the Trivrit-stoma he fashioned the Rathantara-prishth1.

8:1:1:66. 'The Rishi Vasishth2,'--the Rishi Vasishtha, doubtless, is the breath: inasmuch as it is the chief (thing) therefore it is Vasishtha (the most excellent); or inasmuch as it abides (with living beings) as the best abider (vastri), therefore also it is Vasishtha.--'By thee, taken by Pragâpati,'--that is, 'by thee, created by Pragâpati,'--'I take breath for my descendants (and people)!'--therewith he introduced the breath from the front. Separately he lays down (these ten bricks): what separate desires there are in the breath, those he thereby lays into it. Only once he settles them 3: he thereby makes it one breath; but were he to settle them each separately, he assuredly would cut the' breath asunder. This brick is trivrit (threefold): the formula, the settling, and the sûdadohas 4, that is threefold, and threefold is Agni,--as great as

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[paragraph continues] Agni is, as great as is his measure, so much he lays down (on the altar) by so dying.

8:1:1:77. And on the right (south) side 1 with (Vâg. S. XIII, 55), 'This one on the right, the all-worker,'--the all-worker (visvakarman), doubtless, is this Vâyu (the wind) who blows here, for it is he that makes everything here; and because he speaks of him as (being) 'on the right,' therefore it is in the south that he blows most. Vâyu, indeed, having become the mind, remained in the right side (of the body): it is that form (part) he now bestows (on Agni).

8:1:1:88. 'His, the all-worker's child, the Mind,'--from out of that (all-working) form, the wind, he fashioned the mind;--'the summer, the son of the mind,'--from out of the mind he fashioned the summer season 2;--'the Trishtubh, the daughter of Summer,'--from out of the summer season he fashioned the Trishtubh metre;--'from the Trishtubh the Svâra tune,'--from out of the Trishtubh metre he created the Svâra hymn-tune 3;--'from

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the Svâra the Antaryâma,'--from out of the Svâra-sâman he fashioned the Antaryâma-graha;--'from the Antaryâma the Pañkadasa,'--from out of the Antaryâma-cup he fashioned the fifteen-versed hymn-form;--'from the Pañkadasa the Brihat,'--from out of the Pañkadasa-stoma he fashioned the Brihat-prishtha.

8:1:1:99. 'The Rishi Bharadvâga,'--the Rishi Bharadvâga, doubtless, is the mind;--'vâga' means 'food,' and he who possesses a mind, possesses (bharati) food, 'vâga;' therefore the Rishi Bharadvâga is the mind.--'By thee, taken by Pragâpati,'--that is, 'by thee, created by Pragâpati;'--'I take the mind for my descendants!'--therewith he introduced the mind from the right side. Separately he lays down (these ten bricks): what separate desires there are in the mind, those he thereby lays into it. Only once he settles them: he thereby makes it one mind; but were he to settle them each separately,

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he assuredly would cut asunder the mind. This brick is threefold: the meaning of this has been explained.


1:1 The construction of the first of the five layers of the altar which, as far as the special bricks are concerned, is now nearing its completion, may be briefly recapitulated here. The altar (agni) is constructed in the form of a bird, the body (âtman) of which consists of a square, usually measuring four man's lengths, or forty feet (Indian=c. 30 ft. Engl.) on each side. The ground of the 'body' having been ploughed, watered, and sown with seeds of all kinds of herbs, a square mound, the so-called uttaravedi, measuring a yuga (yoke= 7 ft. Ind.) on each side, is thrown up in the middle of the 'body,' and the whole of the latter then made level with it. In the centre of the 'body' thus raised, where the two 'spines'--connecting the middle of each of the four sides of the square with that of the, opposite side--meet, the priest puts down a lotus-leaf, and thereon the gold plate (a symbol of the sun) which the Sacrificer wore round his neck during the time of initiation. On this plate he then lays a small gold figure of a man (representing Agni-Pragâpati, as well as the Sacrificer himself), so as to lie on his back with the head towards the east; and beside him he places two offering-spoons, one on each side, filled with ghee and sour curds p. 2 respectively. Upon the man he then places a brick with naturally-formed holes in it (or a porous stone), a so-called Svayam-âtrinnâ (self-perforated one), of which there are three in the altar, viz. in the centre of the first, third, and fifth layers, supposed to represent the earth, air, and sky respectively, and by their holes to allow the Sacrificer (in effigy) to breathe, and ultimately to pass through on his way to the eternal abodes. On this stone he lays down a plant of dûrvâ grass--with the root lying on the brick, and the twigs hanging down--meant to represent vegetation on earth, and food for the Sacrificer. Thereupon he puts down in front (east) of the central stone, on the 'spine,' a Dviyagus brick; in front of that, on both sides of the spine, two Retahsik; then in front of them, one Visvagyotis; then again two Ritavyâh; and finally the Ashâdhâ, representing the Sacrificer's consecrated consort. These bricks, each of which is a pada (foot, Ind.) square, occupy nearly one-third of the line from the centre to the middle of the front side of the 'body' of the altar. South and north of the Ashâdhâ, leaving the space of two bricks, he places a live tortoise, facing the gold man, and a wooden mortar and pestle respectively. On the mortar he places the ukhâ, or fire-pan, filled with sand and milk; and thereon the heads of the five victims, after chips of gold have been thrust into their mouths, nostrils, eyes, and ears. At each of the four ends of the two spines' he then puts down five Apasyâh bricks, the middle one lying on the spine itself, with two on each side of it. The last set of five bricks, those hid down at the north (or left) end of the 'cross-spine,' are also called Khandasyâh by the Brâhmana. He now proceeds to lay down the Prânabhritah, meant to represent the orifices of the vital airs, in five sets of ten bricks each. The first four sets are placed on the four diagonals connecting the centre with the four corners of the body of the altar, beginning from the corner (? or, according to some, optionally from the centre), in the order S.E., N.W., S.W., N.E.; the fifth set being then laid down round the central stone at the distance (or, on the range) of the retahsik bricks. See the diagram at p. 17.

3:1 Whilst standing in front (east) of the altar, he puts down the first set of ten bricks on the line from the south-west corner (or right shoulder) of the altar towards the centre. The formulas with which each set of ten bricks are deposited are spread over three paragraphs, the first of which gives that of the first brick, the second those for two to eight, the third for the last two.

3:2 Viz. in taking out the fire from the Gârhapatya and transferring p. 4 it to the Âhavanîya, as well as in approaching the sacrificial fire for offerings. It should also be borne in mind that the altar (agni) is built in form of an eagle flying towards the east, or front.

4:1 See VII, 5, 1, 7, 'The breath is taken in from the front backwards.'--In the text 'prâno hâgnir bhûtvâ purastât tasthau,' I take 'prânah' to be the predicate.

4:2 At VII, 4, 1, 16, the vital air is called Pragâpati's (Agni's) pleasing form (or part).

4:3 For a similar connection of the East with the Gâyatrî, the Rathantara, the Trivrit, the Spring, and the Brahman (priesthood) see V, 4, I, 3, (part iii, p. 91).

4:4 The Gâyatra-sâman is the simplest, and by far the most common of all hymn-tunes. It is especially used in connection with the trivrit-stoma, or nine-versed hymn, and is invariably employed for the Bahishpavamâna-stotra. It is also the tune of the first triplet both of the Mâdhyandina and Ârbhava-pavamâna; as well as for all the four Âgya-stotras.

4:5 See part ii, pp. 238 seqq., where this soma-cup is repeatedly connected with the Gâyatrî. Though its pressing is performed by three turns of eight, eleven, and twelve beatings respectively, representing the three chief metres, it is expressly stated (IV, 1, 1, 14) p. 5 that he who is desirous of obtaining holiness, should press eight times at each turn.

5:1 For this and the other Prishtha-sâmans see part iii, introd. pp. xvi, xx seqq.

5:2 In Taitt. S. IV, 3, 2, 1, this formula is connected with the preceding one,--'from the Rathantara (was produced) the Rishi Vasishtha.' Similarly in the corresponding passages of the subsequent sets of bricks.

5:3 The sâdana, or settling, consists in the formula, 'By that deity, Aṅgiras-like, lie thou steady!' being pronounced over the bricks. See VI, 1, 2, 28.

5:4 For the sûdadohas verse, the pronunciation of which, together with the 'settling,' constitutes the two necessary (nitya) ceremonies, see part iii, p. 307.

6:1 Whilst standing on the right (south) side of the altar he lays down the third set of ten Prânabhritah, viz. those on the diagonal from the south-west corner (or right thigh) towards the centre. Whilst, in the actual performance, these bricks are only laid down after those referred to in paragraphs 1-3 of the next Brâhmana, the author, in his explanation of the formulas, follows the course of the sun from left to right.

6:2 For a similar combination of the south with the Trishtubh metre, the Brihat-sâman, the Pañkadasa-stoma, the summer season, and the Kshatra, see V, 4, 1, 4 (part iii, p. 91).

6:3 Svâra-sâman is called a chanted verse which has no special concluding nidhana, or finale, but in which the svarita (circumflex), or first rising then falling pitch (eg., f-g-f) of the final vowel, takes the place of the finale; whence 'svâra' is often explained by 'svaranidhana,' i.e. having the svara (svarita) for its nidhana. See p. 7 Pañk. Br. IX, 3, 11, where a svâra-sâman is prescribed in case the Udgâtris have previously committed an excess in their chanting. The last tristich of the Mâdhyandina-pavamânastotra of the Agnishtoma, the Ausana-sâman (to Sâma-v., vol. ii, pp. 27-29), is chanted in this way, probably in order to make good the excess committed in the preceding triplet, the Yaudhâgaya (ii, pp. 25, 26), in which each verse is chanted with three nidhanas, one at the end, and two inserted inside the sâman. Lâty. Srautas. VI, 9, 6, the svâra-sâmans thus treated are called 'padânusvârâni;' whilst those with which the musical syllables 'hâ-i' are used with a similar effect, are called 'hâikârasvârâni.' As an instance of the former, the Ausana (Sâma-v., vol. iii, p. 8r) is adduced, and of the latter the Vâmadevya (iii, p. 89). It is not only the final syllable of a sâman, however, that may be modulated in this way, but also that of a musical section of the sâman; cf. Pañk. Br. X, 12, 2, where the Udgîtha is to be so treated to make up for the preceding Prastâva, chanted without a Stobha. Sacrificial calls such as the 'Svâhâ' and 'Vashat' are also modulated in this way,' ib. VII, 3, 26; XI, 5, 26.

Next: VIII, 1, 2. Second Brâhmana