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Studies in the Satapatha-Brahmana
Studies in the Satapatha-Brahmana
Description

Preface

 

The present discourse is an attempt at a critical and analytical study about the different aspects of the Satapatha Brahmana of the Sukla yajur-Veda. The Veda as a whole is said to be the fountain-source of ancient Indian culture and civilization. The Vedic literature, though generally taken to be religious in character, still abounds in facts which throw sufficient light on different aspects of the chequered history of the glorious past. In connection with the Vedic tradition, next to the Samhitas, the Brahmana, as a genre of literature, represents the second phase of Vedic culture during the period when the Aryan immigrants have already become settled on the Indian soil. While discussing their importance as the source of information, emphasis should be laid not only upon the religious and metaphysical, legendary and linguistic aspects, but on their social. economic and political value also.' Indeed, the actual picture of the later Vedic society the social changes comprising the evolution of caste-system, gradual ascendancy of the priestly-class, change of notion regarding the position of women, etc., besides the economic and political conditions of the then India would have remained unknown in the absence of this portion of the Vedic literature. In the wide range of this literature the Satapatha Brahmana stands in particular as an important landmark of information. By reason of its wide extent and varied content, it gives us abundant data of diverse incidental interest, associated with its main theme which is admittedly concerned with sacrifice as a dominating cult. This important ancient text has already drawn the attention of eminent scholars and we have from Julius Eggcling a complete translation of the text into English with extensive discussion and important notes. There are also some papers of interest or topics in fragments by scholars in our country and abroad. But to my knowledge and belief no wellnigh comprehensive or a systematic study of the Satapatha Brahmana seems to have been made as yet. There is scope for such study and the present work is one such humble attempt in this' regard.

 

The present study consists of six chapters. The first chapter· introduces discussion on the import of the term Brahmana from both the stand point of oriental and occidental scholars, together with a brief account of its charactaristics and importance.

 

The second chapter represented a very brief survey of some important Brahmanas just to show by way of comparison and contrast the nature and the characteristics of the Satapatha Brahmana, involving discussion about the question of its date and authorship.

 

The third chapter is dedicated to the task of elucidating the religious aspect in its reference to sacrificial rituals, priest-craft and godhead. The fourth chapter deals with traits of social and economic life and patterns of their development. The fifth chapter seeks to explore the cultural facets of the society, together with political norms and ideals, as can be gathered in the light of the Satapatha Brahmana. In the sixth chapter an attempt has been made for an assessment of literary merit and linguistic peculiarities of the text. The study has ended with a few concluding remarks and a bibliography appended thereto.

 

In preparing this book available works connected with the topic have been consulted and utilised as far as possible. Relevant texts have been quoted with translation from Julius Eggeling and their sources are indicated in the body or in the footnotes. In this connection this should be noted that I have consulted mainly the text of the Madhyandlna recension of the S. Br. and also that the term 'brahmana' used here should be taken in its exact sense excluding the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad portion (which forms the fourteenth book of S. Br.). In the treatment of this subject as a whole the study has been pursued more or less on objective stand-point. The views of commentators or of western scholars have also been examined wherever necessary. On the whole, every care has been taken by me to make the study a systematic and comprehensive treatment. At the same time it has been my object to make the book a 'readable' one and acceptable to those readers who desire to have a general and accurate knowledge about ancient India.

 

Before I close this preface I like to acknowledge my deep debt of gratitude 1;9 my esteemed teacher the late Dr Krishnagopal Goswami, M. A. P.R.S. Ph.D. F.R.A.S. (London), Ashutosh Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit. Calcutta University. under whose kind guidance and valuable assistance the present study took its final shape. I also like to convey gratitude to all my colleagues,' specially Principal Dr Subrata Gupta and Dr Mrs. Santana Mukherjee of the department of Political Science in my college. I also offer my gratefulness to Sri Shyamapada Bhattacharya of Sanskrit Pustaka Bhandar, Calcutta. who has ventured to bring out a book on ancient Vedic literature at this time when Sanskrit language has become the most neglected subject of study in our country. My sincere thanks are also due to everyone else who directly or indirectly has become helpful to me in my endeavour.

 

Contents

 

Preface

 

Chapter I: General introduction on the Nature of the Brahmana Literature.

1

Chapter II: Special characteristics of the Satapatha Brahmana studied in comparison with other Brahmana texts

26

Chapter III: Religious Condition

52

Chapter IV: Social and Economic Condition

142

Chapter V: Cultural Condition

178

Chapter VI: Linguistic and Literary Value

190

Conclusion

206

Bibliography

210

Index

217

 

Studies in the Satapatha-Brahmana

Item Code:
NAI152
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1993
Publisher:
Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages:
236
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 260 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
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Preface

 

The present discourse is an attempt at a critical and analytical study about the different aspects of the Satapatha Brahmana of the Sukla yajur-Veda. The Veda as a whole is said to be the fountain-source of ancient Indian culture and civilization. The Vedic literature, though generally taken to be religious in character, still abounds in facts which throw sufficient light on different aspects of the chequered history of the glorious past. In connection with the Vedic tradition, next to the Samhitas, the Brahmana, as a genre of literature, represents the second phase of Vedic culture during the period when the Aryan immigrants have already become settled on the Indian soil. While discussing their importance as the source of information, emphasis should be laid not only upon the religious and metaphysical, legendary and linguistic aspects, but on their social. economic and political value also.' Indeed, the actual picture of the later Vedic society the social changes comprising the evolution of caste-system, gradual ascendancy of the priestly-class, change of notion regarding the position of women, etc., besides the economic and political conditions of the then India would have remained unknown in the absence of this portion of the Vedic literature. In the wide range of this literature the Satapatha Brahmana stands in particular as an important landmark of information. By reason of its wide extent and varied content, it gives us abundant data of diverse incidental interest, associated with its main theme which is admittedly concerned with sacrifice as a dominating cult. This important ancient text has already drawn the attention of eminent scholars and we have from Julius Eggcling a complete translation of the text into English with extensive discussion and important notes. There are also some papers of interest or topics in fragments by scholars in our country and abroad. But to my knowledge and belief no wellnigh comprehensive or a systematic study of the Satapatha Brahmana seems to have been made as yet. There is scope for such study and the present work is one such humble attempt in this' regard.

 

The present study consists of six chapters. The first chapter· introduces discussion on the import of the term Brahmana from both the stand point of oriental and occidental scholars, together with a brief account of its charactaristics and importance.

 

The second chapter represented a very brief survey of some important Brahmanas just to show by way of comparison and contrast the nature and the characteristics of the Satapatha Brahmana, involving discussion about the question of its date and authorship.

 

The third chapter is dedicated to the task of elucidating the religious aspect in its reference to sacrificial rituals, priest-craft and godhead. The fourth chapter deals with traits of social and economic life and patterns of their development. The fifth chapter seeks to explore the cultural facets of the society, together with political norms and ideals, as can be gathered in the light of the Satapatha Brahmana. In the sixth chapter an attempt has been made for an assessment of literary merit and linguistic peculiarities of the text. The study has ended with a few concluding remarks and a bibliography appended thereto.

 

In preparing this book available works connected with the topic have been consulted and utilised as far as possible. Relevant texts have been quoted with translation from Julius Eggeling and their sources are indicated in the body or in the footnotes. In this connection this should be noted that I have consulted mainly the text of the Madhyandlna recension of the S. Br. and also that the term 'brahmana' used here should be taken in its exact sense excluding the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad portion (which forms the fourteenth book of S. Br.). In the treatment of this subject as a whole the study has been pursued more or less on objective stand-point. The views of commentators or of western scholars have also been examined wherever necessary. On the whole, every care has been taken by me to make the study a systematic and comprehensive treatment. At the same time it has been my object to make the book a 'readable' one and acceptable to those readers who desire to have a general and accurate knowledge about ancient India.

 

Before I close this preface I like to acknowledge my deep debt of gratitude 1;9 my esteemed teacher the late Dr Krishnagopal Goswami, M. A. P.R.S. Ph.D. F.R.A.S. (London), Ashutosh Professor and Head of the Department of Sanskrit. Calcutta University. under whose kind guidance and valuable assistance the present study took its final shape. I also like to convey gratitude to all my colleagues,' specially Principal Dr Subrata Gupta and Dr Mrs. Santana Mukherjee of the department of Political Science in my college. I also offer my gratefulness to Sri Shyamapada Bhattacharya of Sanskrit Pustaka Bhandar, Calcutta. who has ventured to bring out a book on ancient Vedic literature at this time when Sanskrit language has become the most neglected subject of study in our country. My sincere thanks are also due to everyone else who directly or indirectly has become helpful to me in my endeavour.

 

Contents

 

Preface

 

Chapter I: General introduction on the Nature of the Brahmana Literature.

1

Chapter II: Special characteristics of the Satapatha Brahmana studied in comparison with other Brahmana texts

26

Chapter III: Religious Condition

52

Chapter IV: Social and Economic Condition

142

Chapter V: Cultural Condition

178

Chapter VI: Linguistic and Literary Value

190

Conclusion

206

Bibliography

210

Index

217

 

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