“Yudhishthira said, ‘Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me on the giftof kine that is fraught with great merit. In the case of kings observantof their duties, that gift is most meritorious.
“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.
“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.'
“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.’
“Vasishtha said, ‘Kine are yielders of ghee and milk. They are thesources of ghee and they have sprung from ghee. They are rivers of ghee,and eddies of ghee.
“Vasishtha said, ‘The kine that had been created in a former agepractised the austerest penances for a hundred thousand years with thedesire of attaining to a position of great pre-eminence.
“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.,
“Vaisampayana said, ‘King Yudhishthira endued with humility, once againquestioned the royal son of Santanu on the subject of gifts of kine indetail.’
“Yudhishthira said, ‘I desire, O king, to hear thee discourse in detailupon those high ordinances which regulate gifts of kine, for it is bymaking gifts (of kine) according to those ordinances that one attains toinnumerable regions of eternal felicity.’
“Yudhishthira said, ‘I have been greatly assured, O thou of puissance, bythee thus discoursing unto me of duties. I shall, however, giveexpression to the doubts I have.