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Chapter 81

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Yudhishthira said, ‘Tell me, O grandsire, what is that which is the mostsacred of all sacred things in the world, other than that which has beenalready mentioned, and which is the highest of all sanctifying objects.’

“Bhishma said, ‘Kine are the foremost of all objects. They are highlysacred and they rescue men (from all kinds of sin and distress). Withtheir milk and with the Havi manufactured therefrom, kine uphold allcreatures in the universe. O best of the Bharatas, there is nothing thatis more sacred than kine. The foremost of all things in the three worlds,kine are themselves sacred and capable of cleansing others, Kine residein a region that is even higher than the region of the deities. Whengiven away, they rescue their givers. Men of wisdom succeed in attainingto Heaven by making gifts of kine. Yuvanaswa’s son Mandhatri, Yayati, and(his sire) Nahusha, used always to give away kine in thousands. As thereward of those gifts, they have attained to such regions as areunattainable by the very deities. There is, in this connection, O sinlessone, a discourse delivered of old. I shall recite it to thee. Once on atime, the intelligent Suka, having finished his morning rites, approachedwith a restrained mind his sire, that foremost of Rishis, viz., theIsland-born Krishna, who is acquainted with the distinction between thatwhich is superior and that which is inferior, and saluting him, said,’What is that sacrifice which appears to thee as the foremost of allsacrifices? What is that act by doing which men of wisdom succeed inattaining to the highest region? What is that sacred act by which thedeities enjoy the felicity of Heaven? What constitutes the character ofsacrifice as sacrifice? What is that upon which sacrifice rests? What isthat which is regarded as the best by the deities? What is that sacrificewhich transcends the sacrifices of this world? Do thou also tell me, Osire, what is that which is the most sacred of all things. Having heardthese words of his son, O chief of Bharata’s race, Vyasa, the foremost ofall persons conversant with duties, discoursed as follows unto him.’

“Vyasa said, ‘Kine constitute the stay of all creatures. Kine are therefuge of all creatures. Kine are the embodiment of merit. Kine aresacred, and kine are sanctifiers of all. Formerly kine were hornless asit has been heard by us. For obtaining horns they adored the eternal andpuissant Brahmana. The puissant, Brahmana, seeing the kine paying theiradorations to him and sitting in praya, granted unto each of them whateach desired. Thereafter their horns grew and each got what each desired.Of diverse colours, and endued with horns, they began to shine in beauty,O son! Favoured by Brahman himself with boons, kine are auspicious andyielders of Havya and Kavya. They are the embodiments of merit. They aresacred and blessed. They are possessed of excellent form and attributes.Kine constitute high and highly excellent energy. The gift of kine isvery much applauded. Those good men who, freed from pride, make gifts ofkine, are regarded as doers of righteous deeds and as givers of allarticles. Such men, O sinless one, attain to the highly sacred region ofkine. The trees there produce sweet fruits. Indeed, those trees arealways adorned with excellent flowers and fruits. Those flowers, O bestof regenerate persons, are endued with celestial fragrance. The entiresoil of that region is made of gems. The sands there are all gold. Theclimate there is such that the excellencies of every season are felt.There is no more mire, no dust. It is, indeed, highly auspicious. Thestreams that run there shine in resplendence for the red lotuses bloomingupon their bosoms, and for the jewels and gems and gold that occur intheir banks and that display the effulgence of the morning Sun. There aremany lakes also in that region on whose breasts are many lotuses, mixedhere and there with Nymphoea stellata, and having their petals made ofcostly gems, and their filaments adorned with a complexion like that ofgold. They are also adorned with flowering forests of the Nerium odorumwith thousands of beautiful creepers twining round them, as also withforests of Santanakas bearing their flowery burdens. There are riverswhose banks are variegated with many bright pearls and resplendent gemsand shining gold. Portions of those regions are covered with excellenttrees that are decked with jewels and gems of every kind. Some of themare made of gold and some display the splendour of fire. There stand manymountains made of gold, and many hills and eminences made of jewels andgems. These shine in beauty in consequence of their tall summits whichare composed of all kinds of gems. The trees that adorn those regionsalways put forth flowers and fruits, and are always covered with densefoliage. The flowers always emit a celestial fragrance and the fruits areexceedingly sweet, O chief of Bharata’s race. Those persons that are ofrighteous deeds, O Yudhishthira, always sport there in joy. Freed fromgrief and wrath, they pass their time there, crowned with the fruition ofevery wish. Persons of righteous deeds, possessed of fame, sport there inhappiness, moving from place to place, O Bharata, on delightful vehiclesof great beauty. Auspicious deed, bands of Apsaras always amuse themthere, with music and dance. Indeed O Yudhishthira, a person goes to suchregions as the reward of his making gifts of kine. Those regions whichhave for their lords Pushan, and the Maruts of great puissance, areattained to by givers of kine. In affluence the royal Varuna is regardedas pre-eminent. The giver of kine attains to affluence like that ofVaruna himself. One should, with the steadiness of a vow, daily recitethese Mantras declared by Prajapati himself (in respect of kine).Viswarupa and viz.,–Yugandharah, Surupah, Vahurupah, andMatara.[379]–He who serves kine with reverence and who follows them withhumility, succeeds in obtaining many invaluable boons from kine whobecome gratified with him. One should never, in even one’s heart, do aninjury to kine. One should, indeed, always confer happiness on them. Oneshould, always reverence kine and worship them, with bends of one’s head.He who does this, restraining his senses the while and filled withcheerfulness, succeeds in attaining to that felicity which is enjoyed bykine (and which kine alone can confer). One should for three days drinkthe hot urine of the cow. For the next three days one should drink thehot milk of the cow. Having thus drunk for three days hot milk, oneshould next drink hot ghee for three days. Having in this way drunk hotghee for three days, one should subsist for the next three days on aironly. That sacred thing by whose aid the deities enjoy regions offelicity, that which is the most sacred of all sacred things, viz., gheeshould then be borne on the head.[380] With the aid of ghee one shouldpour libations on the sacred fire. By making gifts of ghee, one shouldcause the Brahman to utter benedictions on oneself. One should eat gheeand make gifts of ghee. As the reward of this conduct, one may thenattain to that prosperity which belongs to kine. That man who, for amonth, subsists upon the gruel of barley picked up every day from cowdung becomes cleansed of sins as grave as the slaughter of a Brahman.After their defeat at the hands of the Daityas, the deities practisedthis expiation. It was in consequence of this expiation that theysucceeded in regaining their position as deities. Verily, it was throughthis that they regained their strength and became crowned with success.Kine are sacred. They are embodiments of merit. They are high and mostefficacious cleansers of all. By making gifts of kine unto the Brahmanasone attains to Heaven. Living in a pure state, in the midst of kine, oneshould mentally recite those sacred Mantras that are known by the name ofGomati, after touching pure water. By doing this, one becomes purifiedand cleansed (of all sins). Brahmanas of righteous deeds, who have beencleansed by knowledge, study of the Vedas, and observance of vows,should, only in the midst of sacred fires or kine or assemblies ofBrahmanas, impart unto their disciples a knowledge of the Gomati Mantraswhich are every way like unto a sacrifice (for the merit they produce).One should observe a fast for three nights for receiving the boonconstituted by a knowledge of the import of the Gomati Mantras. The manwho is desirous of obtaining a son may obtain one by adoring theseMantras. He who desires the possession of wealth may have his desiregratified by adoring these Mantras. The girl desirous of having a goodhusband may have her wish fulfilled by the same means. In fact, one mayacquire the fruition of every wish one may cherish, by adoring thesesacred Mantras. When kine are gratified with the service one rendersthem, they are, without doubt, capable of granting the fruition of everywish. Even so, kine are highly blessed. They are the essential requisitesof sacrifices. They are grantors of every wish. Know that there isnothing superior to kine.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by his high-souled sire, Suka, enduedwith great energy, began from that time to worship kine every day. Dothou also, O son, conduct thyself in the same way.'”

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