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

p. 276



13:1:2:11. Now, unsuccessful in the sacrifice, assuredly, is what is performed without a formula. (With Vâg. S. XXII, 2,) 'This rope did they take, at the first age of the truth, [the sages, at the rites: it hath been with us at this Soma-sacrifice, declaring the course in the gaining of the truth],' he takes the halter of the horse in order to supply a formula for the success of the sacrifice. It (the rope) is twelve cubits long,--twelve months make a year: it is the year, the sacrifice 1, he secures.

13:1:2:22. Concerning this they say, 'Is the rope to be made twelve cubits long, or thirteen cubits long?' Well, that year is the bull among the seasons, and the thirteenth (or intercalary) month is an excrescence of the year; and this Asvamedha is the bull among sacrifices; and inasmuch as the bull has an excrescence (hump), one may add on a thirteenth cubit to the rope as an excrescence to this (Asvamedha): even as the bull's hump is attached 2 (to his back), suchlike would this be.

13:1:2:33. [He puts the halter on the horse, with Vâg. S. XXII, 3, 4,] 'Encompassing 3 thou art,'--

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therefore the offerer of the Asvamedha conquers all the quarters 1;--'the world thou art,'--the world he thus conquers;--'a ruler thou art, an upholder,'--he thus makes him a ruler and upholder;--'go thou unto Agni Vaisvânara,'--he thus makes him go to Agni Vaisvânara (the friend of all men);--'of wide extent,'--he thus causes him to extend in offspring and cattle;--'consecrated by Svâhâ (hail!),'--this is the Vashat-call 2 for it;--'good speed (to) thee for the gods!'--he thus makes it of good speed for the gods;--'for Pragâpati,'--the horse is sacred to Pragâpati: he thus supplies 3 it with his own deity.

13:1:2:44. But, verily, he who fetters the horse without announcing it to the Brahman and the gods is liable to incur injury. He addresses the Brahman (the superintending priest) by saying, 'O Brahman, I will fetter the horse for the gods, for Pragâpati: may I prosper therewith!' and having made the announcement

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to the Brahman, he ties up the horse, and thus incurs no injury. 'Fetter it for the gods, for Pragâpati: prosper thou therewith!' thus the Brahman urges him, and supplies it (the horse) with its own deity. He then sprinkles it (with water): the (symbolic) meaning of this is the same as before 1.

13:1:2:55. He sprinkles 2 it, with (Vâg. S. XXII, 5), 'I sprinkle thee (so as to be) acceptable to Pragâpati,'--for Pragâpati is the most vigorous of the gods: it is vigour he bestows on it, whence the horse is the most vigorous of animals.

13:1:2:66. 'I sprinkle thee, acceptable to Indra and Agni,'--for Indra and Agni are the most powerful of the gods: it is power he bestows on it, whence the horse is the most powerful of animals.

13:1:2:77. 'I sprinkle thee, acceptable to Vâyu,'--for Vâyu is the swiftest of gods: it is speed he bestows on it, whence the horse is the swiftest of animals.

13:1:2:88. 'I sprinkle thee, acceptable to the All-gods,'--for the All-gods are the most famous of gods: it is fame he bestows on it, whence the horse is the most famous of animals,---'I sprinkle thee, acceptable to all the gods.'

13:1:2:99. Concerning this they say, 'Seeing that the horse is sacred to Pragâpati, wherefore (does he say), "I sprinkle thee" for other deities also?' Well, all the gods are concerned in the horse-sacrifice;

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when he says, 'I sprinkle thee for all the gods,' he makes all the gods take a concern in the horse-sacrifice; whence all the gods are concerned in the horse-sacrifice. But his wicked enemy seeks to lay hold of him who performs the horse-sacrifice, and the horse is a thunderbolt;--having killed the four-eyed dog, he--with 'Undone 1 is the man! undone is the dog!'--plunges 2 it under the horse's feet: it is by means of the thunderbolt

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he thus stamps him down; and the wicked enemy does not lay hold of him.


276:1 Or, possibly, it is for the space of a year that he secures the sacrifice, but see part iv, introduction, p. xxiii.

276:2 Lit., spread out.

276:3 Some such meaning as this (or perhaps 'encompassed, encircled') seems to be assigned by the author to 'abhidhâh,' with evident reference to 'abhidhânî,' halter,' from 'abhi-dhâ,' 'to fasten, enclose.' The St. Petersburg Dict., on the other hand, takes it in the sense of 'naming, denoting' (? inasmuch as the horse gives the name to the horse-sacrifice); whilst Mahîdhara explains it by 'that which is named or praised.'

277:1 In epic times the Asvamedha is commonly performed by kings who have been successful in the 'digvigaya,' or conquest in all quarters.

277:2 'Vashat' is the sacrificial call uttered by the Hotri at the end of the 'yâgyâ,' or offering-verse of a regular oblation (âhuti) as distinguished from minor libations, such as homas and âghâras, which require no 'yâgyâ' and for which the sacrificial call--marking the pouring out of the libation into the fire--is 'svâhâ!' The meaning of 'vashat' is doubtful; but it would seem to be connected either with the root 'vaksh,' to grow, to wax, or with 'vah,' to bear; and would thus mean either 'may it prosper!' or 'may he (Agni) bear it (to the gods)!' By the mention of the Svâhâ in our formula the horse is, as it were, marked as dedicated to the gods.

277:3 Or, perhaps, he causes it to succeed by means, or with the help, of its own deity.

278:1 For the sprinkling of (the material for) oblations see I, 1, 3, 6 seq.; and an animal victim in particular, III, 7, 4, 3.

278:2 According to Kâty. XX, 1, 37, he goes with the horse to stagnant water, and there sprinkles it. It would seem that the horse stands in the water during this ceremony.

279:1 Mahîdhara explains 'parah' by 'parâbhûtah, adhaspadam nîtah,' i.e. defeated, laid low. Perhaps it may mean, 'Away is the man, away the dog!' As given in the Vâg. Samh., this is only the last part of the formula, pronounced by the Sacrificer; whilst during the killing of the dog, he is made to say, 'Whosoever seeketh to slay the steed, him Varuna besetteth.'--According to Kâty. XX, 1, 38 seqq., the priest says to an Âyogava (the offspring of a Sûdra father and a Vaisya mother)--or, to a lewd man, according to others--'Kill the four-eyed dog!' whereupon the man kills a dog by means of a club of Sidhraka wood; and (the priest?), by means of a rattan hoop (? or mat, kata, comm. kataka), makes the dead dog float beneath the horse. According to the comment. on Kâty. XX, 1, 38, in case a four-eyed dog--i.e. a (two-faced) one 'yasya dve mukhe' and hence looking in the four (intermediate) directions (vidis), Sây.--is not available (!), a dog with marks about the eyes should be used. The mention of the 'four-footed' dog in the formula is, however, doubtless meant merely symbolically, as representing evil threatening the Sacrificer from every quarter.

279:2 Harisvâmin seems to connect this with the sprinkling of the horse itself--prokshanam suna upaplâvanam ukyate--perhaps in the sense that the water flowing down from the sprinkled horse would soak the dog, in which case the horse would apparently be supposed to stand on the dry ground. See, however, comm. on Kâty. XX, 2, 2, 'Svânam asvasyâdhahpradese galamadhye plâvayati târayati.' The 'offerings of drops' to be performed immediately after this ceremony might seem to be offered with reference to the drops of water flowing from the horse, and as it were falling outside the sacrifice; but see paragraph 5.

Next: XIII, 1, 3. Third Brâhmana