dog's corpse

John Smith jds10 at
Thu Aug 28 11:52:38 UTC 1997

On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Dominique.Thillaud wrote:

> Dear Indologists,
> 	Louis Renou, in L'Inde classique, I, ' 726, says, before the
> azvamedha, must be throwed a dog's corpse under the horse's legs.
> 	Does anyone know the meaning of this act ?

Satapatha Brahmana (in Eggeling's transl: Part V, p. 279): "...
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 is the man! undone is the dog!' --
plunges it under the horse's feet: it is by means of the thunderbolt he
thus stamps him down; and the wicked enemy does not lay hold of him."

There are two lengthy footnotes to this passage, which I shan't type up,
and they also refer one on to other texts (Samhita and Sutra). It appears
that the sacrificial priest tells a mixed-caste woman or a lewd man to
kill the four-eyed dog before passing it below the horse. "If a four-eyed
dog is not available(!), a dog with marks about the eyes should be used."

John Smith

Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at
Faculty of Oriental Studies   *  Tel. 01223 335140 (Switchboard 01223 335106)
Sidgwick Avenue               *  Fax  01223 335110
Cambridge CB3 9DA             *

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list