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



10:2:3:11. Now this Vedi (altar-ground, viz. the Mahâvedi of the Soma-sacrifice) is just that (right) measure for the Vedi of the sevenfold 3 (fire-altar).

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[paragraph continues] Having fixed upon (the place for) the sacrificial ground, he enters the Patnîsâla 1 by the front (east) door, and having thrown up (the ground) for the Gârhapatya, he sprinkles it with water. From the raised (site) of the Gârhapatya he strides seven steps eastward. From there he measures off a fathom 2 towards the east, and having, in the middle thereof, thrown up (the ground) for the Âhavanîya, he sprinkles it with water. From the front part of the fathom he strides three steps eastward: that is the end of the Vedi 3.

10:2:3:22. Now, there are here, including the fathom (as one), eleven steps 4 between the end of the Vedi and the (original) Gârhapatya;--the Trishtubh consists

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of eleven syllables, and the Trishtubh is a thunderbolt, and the Trishtubh means strength: it is thus by the thunderbolt, and by strength, that the Sacrificer from the very first drives off the fiends, the Rakshas, from the mouth of the sacrifice.

10:2:3:33. This is the womb of the Vedi, for it was from that womb that the gods begat the Vedi. And that (space of a) fathom which was (marked off), is the womb of the Gârhapatya 1, for it was from that womb that the gods begat the Gârhapatya; and from the Gârhapatya the Âhavanîya.

10:2:3:44. From the (western) end of the Vedi he measures off the Vedi 2 thirty-six steps long eastward, thirty (steps) broad behind, and twenty-four (steps broad) in front,--that makes ninety. This, then, is the Vedi measuring ninety steps: thereon he lays out the sevenfold Fire-altar.

10:2:3:55. As to this they say, 'How does this sevenfold (Person, the fire-altar,) correspond to this Vedi (measuring ninety steps)?' Well, there are these

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ten vital airs in a man 1, four limbs, and the trunk as the fifteenth; in the same way in the second, and in the same way in the third (man),--in six men this makes ninety; and one man remains over. Now, (that seventh) man is fivefold--hair, skin, flesh, bone, and marrow (fat), and this Vedi also is fivefold--the four regions (quarters), and the body (of the altar) as the fifth 2: thus this sevenfold (altar) does indeed correspond to this Vedi.

10:2:3:66. Now, some, intending to construct higher forms (of altars), increase (the number of) these steps and this fathom accordingly, saying, 'We enlarge the womb in accordance therewith;'--but let him not do so; for the womb does not enlarge along with the child that has been born 3, but, indeed, only as long as the child is within the womb, does the womb enlarge, and so long, indeed, the growth of the (unborn) child here (lasts) 4.

10:2:3:77. Indeed, those who do it in that way, deprive this Father Pragâpati of his due proportions; and they will become the worse for sacrificing, for they deprive Father Pragâpati of his due proportions.

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[paragraph continues] As large as this Vedi 1 of the sevenfold (fire-altar) is, fourteen times as large he measures out the Vedi of the one hundred and one-fold (altar).

10:2:3:88. He now measures off a cord thirty-six steps 2 (yards) long, and folds it up into seven (equal) parts: of this he covers (the . space of) the three front (eastern) parts (with bricks), and leaves four (parts) 3 free.

10:2:3:99. He then measures (a cord) thirty steps long, and lays it sevenfold: of this he covers three parts (with bricks) behind, and leaves four (parts) free 4.

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10:2:3:1010. He then measures (a cord) twenty-four steps long, and lays it sevenfold: of this he covers three parts in front (with bricks), and leaves four (parts) free 1. This, then, is the measuring out of the Vedi.

10:2:3:1111. Now as to the (other) forms of the fire-altar. Twenty-eight man's lengths long (from west to east) and twenty-eight man's lengths across is the body (of the altar), fourteen man's lengths the right, and fourteen the left wing, and fourteen the tail. Fourteen cubits (aratni) he covers (with bricks) on the right, and fourteen on the left wing, and fourteen spans (vitasti) on the tail. Such is the measure of (an altar of) ninety-eight man's lengths with the additional space (for wings and tail).

10:2:3:1212. He now measures a cord of three man's lengths, and lays it sevenfold: of this he covers (the space of) four parts (with bricks) on the body (of the altar), and three parts on the wings and tail.

10:2:3:1313. He then measures one three cubits long, and lays it sevenfold: of this he covers (the space of) three parts on the right, and three on the left wing, and leaves four (parts) free.

10:2:3:1414. He then measures one a span long, and lays it sevenfold: of this he covers (the space of) three parts on the tail, and leaves four (parts) free. In this way does this one hundred and one-fold (Agni) correspond to this Vedi.

10:2:3:1515. As to this they say, 'When thirteen man's lengths are over, how is it that these do not deviate

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from the right proportions (of the altar) 1?' Well, what right proportions there were in the case of that seventh man's length 2, these same proportions (also apply) to all these (redundant man's lengths).

10:2:3:1616. And they also say, 'When Pragâpati had formed the body he filled it up with these (redundant lengths) wherever there was anything defective in it; and therefore also it is rightly proportioned.'

10:2:3:1717. As to this some say, 'The first time they construct a simple (altar 3), then the one higher by one (man's length), up to the one of unlimited size.' Let him not do so.

10:2:3:1818. Sevenfold, indeed, Pragâpati was created in the beginning. He went on constructing (developing) his body, and stopped at the one hundred and one-fold one. He who constructs one lower than a sevenfold one cuts this Father Pragâpati in twain: he will be the worse for sacrificing as one would be by doing injury to his better. And he who constructs one exceeding the one hundred and one-fold one steps beyond this universe, for Pragâpati is this universe. Hence he should first construct the sevenfold (altar), then the next higher up to the one hundred and one-fold one, but he should not construct one exceeding the one hundred and one-fold

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one, and thus, indeed, he neither cuts this Father Pragâpati in twain, nor does he step beyond this universe.


306:3 That is, measuring seven times the length of a man standing with upstretched arms.

307:1 That is, 'the wife's hall,'--the sacrificial hall or shed, usually called Prâkînavamsa or Prâgvamsa, measuring 20 cubits by 10 (part ii, p. 3, note 2), in which the original fires and vedi of ishtis are enclosed at the Soma-sacrifice; see the plan, part ii, p. 475.

307:2 A fathom (vyâma) is the space between the tips of the two middle fingers of a man standing with outstretched arms, this being considered the man's height. In this paragraph, the author roughly recapitulates the main dimensions of the sacrificial ground used for ishtis, which will also be required for the present purpose. The dimensions here supplied will give about the distance of eight steps between (the centres of) the Gârhapatya and Âhavanîya fires required by I, 7, 3, 23. In the middle of the space of a fathom here alluded to as the easternmost space of the hall, the (original square) Âhavanîya is laid down, but this ultimately makes way for the new circular Gârhapatya hearth built of bricks and having the whole of this 'fathom' for its diameter.

307:3 That is, the hindmost (western) point of the (easterly line of the) Mahâvedi of the Soma-sacrifice, where the peg, called 'antahpâtya,' is driven in, being three steps east from the post of the front door of the Prâkînavamsa (and hence three steps from the future circular Gârhapatya hearth built of bricks).

307:4 Literally, these are (ten) steps, having the fathom as an eleventh (space or step).

308:1 That is, the brick-built Gârhapatya of the Agnikayana on which the Ukhya Agni, having been carried about by the Sacrificer for a year, is transferred from the fire-pan (ûkhâ), and from which afterwards the fire of the great altar is derived. This new Gârhapatya has been raised on the site of the old (square) Âhavanîya (the so-called 'sâlâdvârya' or hall-door fire), on which the fire in the pan, the Ukhya Agni, was kindled (esha âhavanîyo vakshyamânâyâs kayanamahâveder gârhapatyo bhavati; Sây.). The pan containing this fire was then placed half a fathom south of (the centre of) the old Âhavanîya, and hence so as to stand quite close to the brick-built Gârhapatya raised in its place, and forming a circle with a diameter of one fathom. Thus this 'space of a fathom' is here quite correctly referred to as the original source of the fires of the Agnikayana.

308:2 For the dimensions of the Mahâvedi here referred to, see part ii, p. 111 seq.

309:1 That is, in the first of these seven persons or men, making up the sacrificial man (yagña-purusha), Pragâpati; that first man being the Sacrificer himself, as supplying the standard for these measures.

309:2 That is, the fifth region, situated in a vertical direction, this being represented by the fire-altar which rises upwards.

309:3 Somewhat differently Professor Delbrück, Altind. Syntax, p. 444, 'The womb does not grow in proportion with the embryo produced therein.'

309:4 The argument of the author apparently is, that the planned enlargement of the fire-altar is an enlargement of the child Agni, after he has been born, and does not involve an increased size of the original sacrificial ground of the Prâkînavamsa.

310:1 That is, of course, the Mahâvedi on which the (ordinary) fire-altar is raised, and which is enlarged in proportion to the size of the altar. The intermediate sizes of the fire-altar between the two extremes here alluded to increase each by four square 'man's lengths' (the man being measured with upstretched arms), or by one man's length on each side of the body of the altar; the largest possible altar thus measuring 101 man's lengths on each side.

310:2 A step, or pace (prakrama) is equal to 3 feet (pada), a foot measuring 12 finger-breadths (aṅgula),--these measures being, however (at least theoretically), relative to the Sacrificer's height.

310:3 That is to say, he stretches the cord along the ground from the (western) 'end of the Vedi' eastwards, and marks off on the ground three-sevenths of the cord on the eastern side, that part of the Vedi being afterwards covered by the brick-built altar, whilst the remaining space behind is required for the Sadas and Havirdhâna sheds, &c. If we take the Mahâvedi to be 108 feet long (= 36 prakramas) this would allow 15 3/8 feet for each part, or some 46 feet for the length of the part to be covered with bricks, and this measure, being equal to seven man's lengths, would allow 6 4/7 feet for a man's length (including the upstretched arms). Between the altar and the front (eastern) edge of the Vedi a space of one foot is, however, to be left.

310:4 That is, he stretches the cord across (north to south) and marks off the three central divisions of it as forming the hind side of the altar (leaving two-sevenths of the string free on either side). This gives 12 5/7 (out of 90) feet for each part, or 38 4/7 feet for the back, or western, side of the altar.

311:1 This gives 10 2/7 (out of 72) feet for each part, or 30 6/7 feet for the front, or eastern, side of the altar. The measurements here given are intended as a refinement on the usual square shape of the fire-altar.

312:1 Or, from the right total (sampad) which the altar ought to obtain. By paragraph 7, the altar is to be made fourteen times as large as the sevenfold one; and the latter being said to be in exact proportion with Pragâpati (in paragraph 3), the larger altar would thus show an excess of thirteen man's lengths over the rightly proportioned altar.

312:2 Viz. in paragraph 5.

312:3 That is, one of a single man's length on each side.

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