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Chapter 78

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘In days of yore, king Saudasa born of Ikshvaku’s race,that foremost of eloquent men, on one occasion approached his familypriest, viz., Vasishtha, that foremost of Rishis, crowned with asceticsuccess, capable of wandering through every region, the receptacle ofBrahma, and endued with eternal life and put him the following question.’

“Saudasa said, ‘O holy one, O sinless one, what is that in the threeworlds which is sacred and by reciting which at all times a man mayacquire high merit?’

“Bhishma said, ‘Unto king Saudasa who stood before him with head bent inreverence, the learned Vasishtha having first bowed unto kine andpurified himself (in body and mind), discoursed upon the mystery relatingto kine, a topic that is fraught with result highly beneficial to allpersons.’

“Vasishtha said, ‘Kine are always fragrant. The perfume emanated by theexudation of the Amytis agallochum issues out of the bodies. Kine are thegreat refuge of all creatures. Kine constitute the great source ofblessing unto all.[374] Kine are the Past and the Future. Kine are thesource of eternal growth. Kine are the root of Prosperity. Anything givento kine is never lost. Kine constitute the highest food. They are thebest Havi for the deities. The Mantras called Swaha and Vashat areforever established in kine. Kine constitute the fruit of sacrifices.Sacrifices are established in kine. Kine are the Future and the Past, andSacrifice rest on them. Morning and evening kine yield unto the Rishis, Oforemost of men, Havi for use in Homa, O thou of great effulgence. Theywho make gift of kine succeed in transcending all sins which they mayhave committed and all kinds of calamities into which they may fall, Othou of great puissance. The man possessing ten kine and making a gift ofone cow, he possessing a hundred kine and making a gift of ten kine, andhe possessing a thousand kine and making a gift of a hundred kine, allearn the same measure of merit. The man who, though possessed of hundredkine, does not establish a domestic fire for daily worship, that man whothough possessed of a thousand kine does not perform sacrifices, and thatman who though possessed of wealth acts as a miser (by not making giftand discharging the duties of hospitality), are all three regarded as notworthy of any respect. Those men who make gift of Kapila king with theircalves and with vessel of white brass for milking them,–kine, that is,which are not vicious and which while given away, are wrapped round withcloths,–succeed in conquering both this and the other world. Suchpersons as succeed in making gift of a bull that is still in the prime ofyouth, that has all its senses strong, and that may be regarded as theforemost one among hundreds of herds, that has large horns adorned withornaments (of gold or silver), unto a Brahmana possessed of Vediclearning, succeed, O scorcher of foes, its attaining to great prosperityand affluence each time they take birth in the world. One should never goto bed without reciting the names of kine. Nor should one rise from bedin the morning without a similar recitation of the names of kine. Morningand evening one should bend one’s head in reverence to kine. As theconsequence of such acts, one is sure to attain to great prosperity. Oneshould never feel any repugnance for the urine and the dung of the cow.One should never eat the flesh of kine. As the consequence of this, oneis sure to attain to great prosperity. One should always take the namesof kine. One should never show any disregard for kine in any way. If evildreams are seen, men should take the names of kine. One should alwaysbathe, using cow-dung at the time. One should sit on dried cowdung. Oneshould never cast one’s urine and excreta and other secretions oncowdung. One should never obstruct kine in any way. One should eat,sitting on a cowhide purified by dipping it in water, and then cast one’seyes towards the west, Sitting with restrained speech, one should eatghee, using the bare earth as one’s dish. One reaps, in consequence ofsuch acts, that prosperity of which kine are the source[375]. One shouldpour libations on the fire, using ghee for the purpose. One should causeBrahmanas to utter blessings upon one, by presents of ghee. One shouldmake gift of ghee. One should also eat ghee. As the reward of such actsone is sure to attain to that prosperity which kine confer. That man whoinspires a vaccine form made of sesame seeds by uttering the VedicMantras called by the name of Gomati, and then adorns that form withevery kind of gems and makes a gift of it, has never to suffer any griefon account of all his acts of omission and commission,–Let kine thatyield copious measures of milk and that have horns adorned withgold,–kine viz., that are Surabhis or the daughters ofSurabhis.–approach me even as rivers approach the ocean! I always lookat kine. Let kine always look at me. Kine are ours. We are theirs.Ourselves are there where kine are!–Even thus, at night or day, inhappiness or woe, verily, at times of even great fear,–should a manexclaim. By uttering such words he is certain to become freed from everyfear.'”

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