“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have heard that the dung of the cow is endued withSree. I desire to hear how this has been brought about. I have doubts, Ograndsire, which thou shouldst dispel.'
“Bhishma said, ‘In this connection is cited the old story, O monarch, ofthe conversation between kine and Sree, O best of the Bharatas! Once on atime the goddess Sree, assuming a very beautiful form, entered a herd ofkine. The kine, beholding her wealth of beauty, became filled withwonder.’
“The kine said, ‘Who art thou, O goddess? Whence hast thou becomeunrivalled on earth for beauty? O highly blessed goddess, we have beenfilled with wonder at thy wealth of beauty. We desire to know who thouart. Who, indeed, art thou? Whither wilt thou proceed? O thou of verysuperior splendour of complexion, do tell us in detail all we wish toknow.’
“Sri said, ‘Blessed be ye, I am dear unto all creatures. Indeed, I amknown by the name of Sri. Forsaken by me, the Daityas have been lost forever. The deities, viz., Indra, Vivaswat, Soma, Vishnu, Varuna, and Agni,having obtained me, are sporting in joy and will do so for ever. Verily,the Rishis and the deities, only when they are endued with me, havesuccess. Ye kine, those beings meet with destruction into whom I do notenter. Religion, wealth, and pleasure, only when endued with me, becomesources of happiness. Ye kine who are givers of happiness, know that I ampossessed of even such energy! I wish to always reside in every one ofyou. Repairing to your presence, I solicit you. Be all of you endued withSri.
“The kine said, ‘Thou art fickle and restless. Thou sufferest thyself tobe enjoyed by many persons. We do not desire to have thee. Blessed bethou, go wheresoever thou pleasest. As regards ourselves, all of us arepossessed of good forms. What need have we with thee? Go wheresoever thoulikest. Thou hast already (by answering our questions) gratified usexceedingly.’
“Sri said, ‘Is it proper with you, ye kine that you do not welcome me? Iam difficult of being attained. Why then do you not accept me? It seems,ye creatures of excellent vows, that the popular proverb is true, viz.,that it is certain that when one come to another of one’s own accord andwithout being sought, one meets with disregard. The Gods, the Danavas,the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas, the Rakshasas and human beingssucceed in obtaining me only after undergoing the severest austerities.You who have such energy, do ye take me. Ye amiable ones, I am neverdisregarded by any one in the three worlds of mobile and immobilecreatures.’
“The kine said, ‘We do not disregard thee, O goddess. We do not show theea slight! Thou art fickle and of a very restless heart. It is for thisonly that we take leave of thee. What need of much talk? Do thou gowheresoever thou choosest. All of us are endued with excellent forms.What need have we with thee, O sinless one?’
“Sri said, ‘Ye givers of honours, cast off by you in this way, I shallcertainly be an object of disregard with all the world. Do ye show megrace. Ye are all highly blessed. Ye are ever ready to grant protectionunto those that seek your protection. I have come to you soliciting yourprotection. I have no fault. Do you rescue me (from this situation). Knowthat I shall always be devoted to you. I am desirous of residing in anyparts, however repulsive, of your bodies. Indeed, I wish to reside ineven your rectum. Ye sinless ones, I do not see that ye have any part inyour bodies that may be regarded as repulsive, for ye are sacred, andsanctifying, and highly blessed. Do ye, however, grant my prayer. Do yetell me in which part, of your bodies I shall take up my residence.’
“Bhishma continued, ‘Thus addressed by Sri, the kine, always auspiciousand inclined to kindness unto all who are devoted to them, took counselwith one another, and then addressing Sri, and unto her, O king, thesewords.’
“The kine said, ‘O thou of great fame, it is certainly desirable that weshould honour thee. Do thou live in our urine and dung. Both these aresacred, O auspicious goddess!
“Sri said, ‘By good luck, ye have shown me much grace implying yourdesire to favour me. Let it be even as ye say! Blessed be ye all, I havereally been honoured by you, ye givers of happiness!
“Bhishma continued, ‘Having, O Bharata, made this compact with the kine,Sri, there and then, in the very sight of those kine, rendered herselfinvisible. I have thus told thee, O son, the glory of the dung of kine, Ishall once again discourse to thee on the glory of kine. Do thou listento me.”