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Chapter 83

Mahabharata English - ANUSASANA PARVA

“Bhishma said, ‘They who make gifts of kine, and who subsist upon theremnants of things offered as libations on the sacred fire, are regarded,O Yudhishthira, as always performing sacrifices of every kind. Nosacrifice can be performed without the aid of curds and ghee. The verycharacter as sacrifice which sacrifices have, depends upon ghee. Henceghee (or, the cow from which it is produced) is regarded as the very rootof sacrifice. Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of kine is applauded as thehighest. Kine are the foremost of all things. Themselves sacred, they arethe best of cleansers and sanctifiers. People should cherish kine forobtaining prosperity and even peace. The milk, curds, and ghee that kineyield are capable of cleansing one from every kind of sin. Kine are saidto represent the highest energy both in this world and the world that isabove. There is nothing that is more sacred or sanctifying than kine, Ochief of Bharata’s race. In this connection is recited the ancientnarrative, O Yudhishthira, of the discourse between the Grandsire and thechief of celestials. After the Daityas had been defeated and Sakra hadbecome the lord of the three worlds all creatures grew in prosperity andbecame devoted to the true religion. Then, on one occasion, the Rishis,the Gandharvas, the Kinnaras, the Uragas, the Rakshasas, the Deities, theAsuras, the winged creatures and the Prajapatis, O thou of Kuru’s race,all assembled together and adored the Grandsire. There were Narada andParvata and Viswavasu and Haha-Huhu, who sang in celestial strains foradoring that puissant lord of all creatures. The deity of wind borethither the fragrance of celestial flowers. The Seasons also, in theirembodied forms, bore the perfumes of flowers peculiar to each, unto thatconclave of celestials, that gathering of all creatures of the universe,where celestial maidens danced and sang in accompaniment with celestialmusic. In the midst of that assembly, Indra, saluting the Lord of all thedeities and bowing his head unto him with reverence, asked him, saying,’I desire, O Grandsire, to know why the region of kine is higher, O holyone, than the region of the deities themselves who are the lords of allthe worlds. What austerities, what Brahmacharya, O lord, did kine performin consequence of which they are able to reside happily in a region thatis even above that of the deities?’ Thus addressed by Indra, Brahman saidunto the slayer of Vala, ‘Thou hast always, O slayer of Vala, disregardedkine. Hence, thou art not acquainted with the glorious pre-eminence ofkine. Listen now to me, O puissant one, as I explain to thee the highenergy and glorious pre-eminence of kine, O chief of the celestials! Kinehave been said to be the limbs of sacrifice. They represent sacrificeitself, O Vasava! Without them, there can be no sacrifice. With theirmilk and the Havi produced therefrom, they uphold all creatures. Theirmale calves are engaged in assisting at tillage and thereby producediverse kinds of paddy and other seeds. From them flow sacrifices andHavya and Kavya, and milk and curds and ghee. Hence, O chief of thedeities, kine are sacred. Afflicted by hunger and thirst, they beardiverse burdens. Kine support the Munis. They uphold all creatures bydiverse acts, O Vasava, kine are guileless in their behaviour. Inconsequence of such behaviour and of many well-performed acts, they areenabled to live always in regions that are even above ours. I have thusexplained to thee today, O thou of a hundred sacrifices, the reason, OSakra of kine residing in a place that is high above that of the deities.Kine obtained many excellent forms, O Vasava, and are themselves giversof boons (to others). They are called Surabhis. Of sacred deeds andendued with many auspicious indications, they are highly sanctifyingListen to me also, O slayer of Vala, as I tell thee in detail the reasonwhy kine,–the offspring of Surabhi,–have descended on the earth, O bestof the deities. In day of yore, O son, when in the Devayuga the highsoused Danavas became lords of the three world, Aditi underwent theseverest austerities and got Vishnu within her womb (as the rewardthereof). Verify, O chief of the celestials, she had stood upon one legfor many long years, desirous of having a son.[382] Beholding the greatgoddess Aditi thus undergoing the severest austerities, the daughter ofDaksha, viz., the illustrious Surabhi, herself devoted to righteousness,similarly underwent very severe austerities upon the breast of thedelightful mountains of Kailasa that are resorted to by both the deitiesand the Gandharvas. Established on the highest Yoga she also stood uponone leg for eleven thousand years. The deities with the Rishis and thegreat Nagas all became scorched with the severity of her penances.Repairing thither with me, all of them began to adore that auspiciousgoddess. I then addressed that goddess endued with penances and said, ‘Ogoddess, O thou of faultless conduct, for what purpose, dost thou undergosuch severe austerities. O highly blessed one, I am gratified with thypenances, O beautiful one! Do thou, O goddess, solicit what boon thoudesirest. I shall grant thee whatever thou mayst ask.’ Even these were mywords unto her, O Purandara. Thus addressed by me, Surabhi answered me,saying, ‘I have no need, O Grandsire, of boons. Even this, O sinless one,is a great boon to me that thou hast been gratified with me.’ Unto theillustrious Surabhi, O chief of the celestials who said so unto me, Olord of Sachi, I answered even in these words, O foremost of the deities,viz., ‘O goddess, at this exhibition of thy freedom from cupidity anddesire and at these penances of thine, O thou of beautiful face, I havebeen exceedingly gratified. I, therefore, grant thee the boon ofimmortality. Thou shalt dwell in a region that is higher than the threeworlds, through my grace. That region shall be known to all by the nameof Goloka. Thy offspring, ever engaged in doing good acts, will reside inthe world of men. In fact, O highly blessed one, thy daughters willreside there. All kinds of enjoyment, celestial and human, that thoumayst think of, will immediately be thine. Whatever happiness exists inHeaven, will also be thine, O blessed one.’ The regions, O thou of ahundred eyes, that are Surabhi’s are endued with means for thegratification of every wish. Neither Death, nor Decrepitude, nor fire,can overcome its denizens. No ill luck, O Vasava, exists there. Manydelightful woods, and delightful ornaments and objects of beauty may beseen there. There many beautiful cars, all excellently equipped, whichmove at the will of the rider, may be seen, O Vasava, O thou of eyes likelotus-petals, it is only by Brahmacharya, by penances, by Truth, byself-restraint, by gifts, by diverse kinds of righteous deeds, bysojourns to sacred waters, in fact, by severe austerities and righteousacts well-performed, that one can attain to Goloka. Thou hast asked me, OSakra, and I have answered the in full, O slayer of Asuras, thou shouldstnever disregard kine.’

“Bhishma continued, ‘Having heard these words of the self-born Brahman, OYudhishthira, Sakra of a thousand eyes began from that time to worshipkine every day and to show them the greatest respect. I have thus toldthee everything about the sanctifying character of kine, O thou of greetsplendour. The sacred and high pre-eminence and glory of kine, that iscapable of cleansing one from every sin, has, O chief of men, been thusexplained to thee. That man who with senses withdrawn from every otherobject will recite this account unto Brahmanas, on occasions when Havyaand Kavya are offered, or at sacrifices, or on occasions of adoring thePitris, succeeds in conferring upon his ancestors an inexhaustiblefelicity fraught with the fruition of every wish. That man who is devotedto kine succeeds in obtaining the fruition of every wish of his. Indeed,even those women that are devoted to kine succeed in obtaining theaccomplishment of every wish of theirs. He that desireth sons obtaineththem. He that desireth daughters obtaineth them. He that desireth wealthsucceedeth in aquiring it and he that desireth religious merit succeedethin winning it. He that desireth knowledge acquireth it and he thatdesireth felicity succeedeth in acquiring it. Indeed, O Bharata, there isnothing that is unattainable to one that is devoted to kine.'”

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