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The Shatapatha Brahmana (शतपथ ब्राह्मण śatapatha brāhmaṇa, "Brahmana of one-hundred paths", abbreviated ŚB) is one of the prose texts describing the Vedic ritual, associated with the Shukla Yajurveda. It survives in two recensions, Madhyandina (ŚBM, of the vājasaneyi madhyandina śākhā) and Kanva (ŚBK, of the kāṇva śākhā), with the former having the eponymous 100 brahmanas in 14 books, and the latter 104 brahmanas in 17 books. Linguistically, it belongs to the Brahmana period of Vedic Sanskrit, dated to the first half of the 1st millennium BCE (Iron Age India).

Among the points of interest are the mythological sections embedded in it, including myths of creation and the Deluge of Manu. The text describes in great detail the preparation of altars, ceremonial objects, ritual recitations, and the Soma libation, along with the symbolic attributes of every aspect of the rituals.

The 14 books of the Madhyandina recension can be divided into two major parts. The first 9 books have close textual commentaries, often line by line, of the first 18 books of the corresponding samhita of the Yajurveda. The following 5 books cover supplementary and ritualistically newer material, besides including the celebrated Brhadaranyaka Upanishad as most of the 14th and last book.

The Shatapatha Brahmana was translated into English by Prof. Julius Eggeling, in the late 19th century, in 5 volumes published as part of the Sacred Books of the East series.

References

  • W.P Lehmann and H. Ratanajoti, Typological syntactical Characteristics of the Śatapathabrāhmaṇa, JIES 3:147-160.

See also

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