The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast, O grandsire, discoursed to me the topic of gifts of kine in speaking of the Rishi Nachiketa Thou hast also impliedly discoursed, O puissant one, on the efficacy and pre-eminence of that act. Thou hast also told me, O grandsire of great intelligence, of the exceedingly afflicting character of the calamity that overtook the high-souled king Nriga in consequence of a single fault of his. He had to dwell for a tong time at Dwaravati (in the form of a mighty lizard) and how Krishna became the cause of his rescue from that miserable plight. I have, however, one doubt. It is on the subject of the regions of kine. I desire to hear, in detail, about those regions which are reserved for the residence of persons that make gifts of kine.'
"Bhishma said, 'In this connection is recited the old narrative of the discourse between Him who sprang from the primeval lotus and him who performed a hundred sacrifices.'
"Sakra said, 'I see, O Grandsire, that those who are residents of the region of kine transcend by their resplendence the prosperity of the denizens of heaven and pass them by (as beings of an inferior station). This has raised a doubt in my mind. Of what kind, O holy one, are the regions of kine? Tell me all about them, O sinless one! Verily, what is the nature of those regions that are inhabited by givers of kine? I wish to know this of what kind are those regions? What fruits do they bring? What is the highest object there which the denizens thereof succeeds in winning? What are its virtues? How also do men, freed from every kind of anxiety, succeed in going to those regions? For what period does the giver of a cow enjoy the fruits that are borne by his gift? How may persons make gifts of many kine and how may they make gifts of a few kine? What are the merits attaching to gifts of many kine and what those that attach to gifts of a few only? How also do persons become givers of kine without giving any kine in reality? Do thou tell me all this. How does one making gifts of even many kine, O puissant lord, become the equal of one that has made gift of only a few kine? How also does one who make gifts of only a few kine succeed in becoming the equal of one who has made gifts of many kine? What kind or Dakshina is regarded as distinguished for pre-eminence in the matter of gifts of kine? It behoveth thee, O holy one, to discourse unto me on all this agreeably to truth.'"
Next: Section LXXIII