सोऽकामयत, मेध्यं म इदं स्यात्, आत्मन्व्यनेन स्यामिति । ततोऽश्वः समभवत्, यदश्वत्; तन्मेध्यमभूदिति, तदेवाश्वमेधस्याश्वमेधत्वम् । एष ह वा अश्वमेधं वेद य एनमेवं वेद । तमनवरुध्यैवामन्यत । तं संवत्सरस्य परस्तादात्मन आलभत । पशून्देवताभ्यः प्रत्यौहत् । तसमात्सर्वदेवत्यम् प्रोक्षितं प्राजापत्यमालभन्ते । एष ह वा अश्वमेधो य एष तपति, तस्य संवत्सर आत्मा; अयमग्निरर्कः, तस्येमे लोका आत्मानः । तावेतावर्कामेधौ । सो पुनरेकैव देवता भवति मृत्युरेव; अप पुनर्मृत्युं जयति, नैनम् मृत्युराप्नोति, मृत्युरस्यात्मा भवति, एतासां देवतानामेको भवति ॥ ७ ॥
इति द्वितीयं ब्राह्मणम् ॥ ७ ॥
so’kāmayata, medhyaṃ ma idaṃ syāt, ātmanvyanena syāmiti | tato’śvaḥ samabhavat, yadaśvat; tanmedhyamabhūditi, tadevāśvamedhasyāśvamedhatvam | eṣa ha vā aśvamedhaṃ veda ya enamevaṃ veda | tamanavarudhyaivāmanyata | taṃ saṃvatsarasya parastādātmana ālabhata | paśūndevatābhyaḥ pratyauhat | tasamātsarvadevatyam prokṣitaṃ prājāpatyamālabhante | eṣa ha vā aśvamedho ya eṣa tapati, tasya saṃvatsara ātmā; ayamagnirarkaḥ, tasyeme lokā ātmānaḥ | tāvetāvarkāmedhau | so punarekaiva devatā bhavati mṛtyureva; apa punarmṛtyuṃ jayati, nainam mṛtyurāpnoti, mṛtyurasyātmā bhavati, etāsāṃ devatānāmeko bhavati || 7 ||
iti dvitīyaṃ brāhmaṇam || 7 ||
7. He desired, ‘Let this body of mine be fit for a sacrifice, and let me be embodied through this,’ (and entered it). Because that body swelled (Aśvat), therefore it came to be called Aśva (horse). And because it became fit for a sacrifice, therefore the horse sacrifice came to be known as Aśvamedha. He who knows it thus indeed knows the horse sacrifice. (Imagining himself as the horse and) letting it remain free, he reflected (on it). After a year he sacrificed it to himself, and dispatched the (other) animals to the gods. Therefore (priests to this day) sacrifice to Prajāpati the sanctified (horse) that is dedicated to all the gods. He who shines yonder is the horse sacrifice; his body is the year. This fire is Arka; its limbs are these worlds. So these two (fire and the sun) are Arka and the horse sacrifice. These two again become the same god, Death. He (who knows thus) conquers further death, death cannot overtake him, it becomes his self, and he becomes one with these deities.
What did he (Hiraṇyagarbha) do with his mind attached to that body? He desired. How? ‘Let this body of mine be fit for a sacrifice, and let me be embodied through this.’ And he entered it. Because that body, bereft in his absence of its reputation and strength, swelled (Aśvat), therefore it came to be called Aśva (horse). Hence Prajāpati himself is named Aśva. This is a eulogy on the horse. And because on account of his entering it. the body, although it had become unfit for a sacrifice by having lost its reputation and strength, again became fit for a sacrificetherefore the horse sacrifice came to be known as Aśvamedha. For a sacrifice consists of an action, its factors and its results. And that it is no other than Prajāpati is a tribute to the sacrifice.
The horse that is a factor of the sacrifice has been declared to be Prajāpati in the passage, ‘The head of the sacrificial horse is the dawn,’ etc. (I. i. 1). The present paragraph is introduced to enjoin a collective meditation on that sacrificial horse which is Prajāpati, and the sacrificial fire which has already been described (as such)—viewing both as the result of the sacrifice. That this is the import of this section we understand from the fact that in the previous section no verb denoting an injunction has been used, and one such is necessary. The words, He who knows it thus indeed knows the horse sacrifice, mean; ‘He only, and none else, knows the horse sacrifice, who knows the horse and the Arka or fire, described above, as possessed of the features, to be presently mentioned, which are here shown collectively.’ Therefore one must know the horse sacrifice thus—this is the meaning. How? First the meditation on the animal is being described. Prajāpati, desiring to sacrifice again with the great sacrifice, imagined himself as the sacrificial animal, and letting it, the consecrated animal, remain free or unbridled, reflected (on it). After a complete year he sacrificed it to himself, i.e. as dedicated to Prajāpati (Hiraṇyagarbha), and dispatched the other animals, domestic and wild, to the gods, their respective deities. And because Prajāpati reflected like this, therefore others also should likewise fancy themselves, in the manner described above, as the sacrificial horse and meditate: ‘While being sanctified (with the Mantras), I am dedicated to all the gods; but while being killed, I am dedicated to myself. The other animals, domestic and wild, are sacrificed to their respective deities, the other gods, who are but a part of myself.’ Therefore priests to this day similarly sacrifice to Prajāpati the sanctified horse that is dedicated to all the gods.
He who shines yonder is the horse sacrifice. The sacrifice which is thus performed with the help of the animal is being directly represented as the result. Who is he? The sun who illumines the universe with his light. His body, the body of the sun, who is the result of the sacrifice, is the year, that period of time. The year is called his body, as it is made by him. Now, since the sun, as the horse sacrifice, is performed with the help of fire, (the latter also is the sun). Here the result of the sacrifice is being mentioned as the sacrifice itself: This terrestrial fire is Arka, the accessory of the sacrifice. Its limbs, the limbs of this Arka, the fire that is kindled at the sacrifice, are these three worlds. So it has been explained in the passage, ‘His head is the east,’ etc. (I. ii. 3). So these two, fire and the sun, are Arka and the horse sacrifice, as described above—the sacrifice and its result respectively. Arka, the terrestrial fire, is directly the sacrifice, which is a rite. Since the latter is performed with the help of fire, it is here represented as fire. And the result is achieved through the performance of the sacrifice. Hence it is represented as the sacrifice in the statement that the sun is the horse sacrifice. These two, fire and the sun, the means and the end, the sacrifice and its result, again become the same god. Who is it? Death. There was but one deity before, who later was divided into action, its means and its end. So it has been said, ‘He differentiated himself in three ways’ (I. ii. 3). And after the ceremony is over, he again becomes one deity, Death, the result of the ceremony. He who knows this one deity, horse sacrifice or Death, as, ‘I alone am Death, the horse sacrifice, and there is but one deity identical with myself and attainable through the horse and fire’—conquers further death, i.e. after dying once he is not born to die any more. Even though conquered, death may overtake him again. So it is said, death cannot overtake him. Why? Because it becomes his self, the self of one who knows thus. Further, being Death, the result, he becomes one with these deities. This is the result such a knower attains.