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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 chapters (adhyayas), 7,624 kandikas (parts) in 14 books, and the latter 104 chapters, 6,806 kandikas in 17 books.
Date of composition
Jan N. Bremmer dates it to around 700 BCE. According to Julius Eggeling, the final version of the text was committed in 300 BCE, although some of its portions are "far older, transmitted orally from unknown antiquity".
Among the points of interest in the text are its mythological sections, including the myths of creation and the Deluge of Manu. The creation myth has several similarities to other creation myths, including the use of primordial water (similar to the Bible), the explanation of light and darkness, the separation of good and evil, and the explanation of time. 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 of Madhyandina School was translated into English by Julius Eggeling, in the late 19th century, in 5 volumes published as part of the Sacred Books of the East series. The English translation of Kanva School was done by W.E. Caland in 3 parts.
- Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 404. ISBN 0816073368.
- Keith, Aitareya Aranyaka, p. 38 (Introduction): "by common consent, the Satapatha is one of the youngest of the great Brahmanas"; footnotes: "Cf. Macdonell, Sanskrit Literature, pp. 203, 217. The Jaiminiya may be younger, cf. its use of aadi, Whitney, P.A.O.S, May 1883, p.xii."
- Jan N. Bremmer (2007). The Strange World of Human Sacrifice. Peeters Publishers. pp. 158–. ISBN 978-90-429-1843-6. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- The Satapatha Brahmana. Sacred Books of the East, Vols. 12, 26, 24, 37, 47, translated by Julius Eggeling [published between 1882 and 1900]
- Klaus K. Klostermaier (2007). A Survey of Hinduism. SUNY Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-7914-7082-2.
- Sunil Sehgal (1999). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism: T-Z, Volume 5. Sarup & Sons. p. 401. ISBN 81-7625-064-3.
- Weber, The Catapatha-Brahmana, Berlin, 1949.
- Max Müller, The Satapatha-Brahmana, Madhyandina School,Vol. 12.Part1, Book 1 and 2, Clarendon Press, 1882; reprint by Motilal Banarsidass, 1972.
- Moriz Winternitz, A History of Indian Literature (Vol.I), Second edition 1972.
- W. P. Lehmann and H. Ratanajoti, Typological syntactical Characteristics of the Śatapathabrāhmaṇa, JIES 3:147-160.