The Mahabharata Home
"Vasishtha said, 'Kine are yielders of ghee and milk. They are the sources of ghee and they have sprung from ghee. They are rivers of ghee, and eddies of ghee. Let kine ever be in my house! Ghee is always my heart. Ghee is even established in my navel. Ghee is in every limb of mine. Ghee resides in my mind. Kine are always at my front. Kine are always at my rear. Kine are on every side of my person. I live in the midst of kine!--Having purified oneself by touching water, one should, morning and evening, recite these Mantras every day. By this, one is sure to be cleansed of all the sins one may commit in course of the day. They who make gifts of a thousand kine, departing from this world, proceed to the regions of the Gandharvas and the Apsaras where there are many palatial mansions made of gold and where the celestial Ganga, called the current
of Vasu, runs. Givers of a thousand kine repair thither where run many rivers having milk for their water, cheese for their mire, and curds for their floating moss. That man who makes gifts of hundreds of thousands of kine agreeably to the ritual laid down in the scriptures, attains to high prosperity (here) and great honours in Heaven. Such a man causes both his paternal and maternal ancestors to the tenth degree to attain to regions of great felicity, and sanctifies his whole race. Kine are sacred. They are the foremost of all things in the world. They are verily the refuge of the universe. They are the mothers of the very deities. They are verily incomparable. They should be dedicated in sacrifices. When making journeys, one should proceed by their right (i.e., keeping them to one's left). Ascertaining the proper time, they should be given away unto eligible persons. By giving away a Kapila cow having large horns, accompanied by a calf and a vessel of white brass for milking her, and covered with a piece of cloth, one succeeds in entering, freed from fear, the palace of Yama that is so difficult to enter. One should always recite this sacred Mantra, viz.,--Kine are of beautiful form. Kine are of diverse forms. They are of universal form. They are the mothers of the universe. O, let kine approach me!--There is no gift more sacred than the gift of kine. There is no gift that produces more blessed merit. There has been nothing equal to the cow, nor will there be anything that will equal her. With her skin, her hair, her horns, the hair of her tail, her milk, and her fat,--with all these together,--the cow upholds sacrifice. What thing is there that is more useful than the cow? Bending my head unto her with reverence, I adore the cow who is the mother of both the Past and the Future, and by whom the entire universe of mobile and immobile creatures is covered. O best of men, I have thus recited to thee only a portion of the high merits of kine. There is no gift in this world that is superior to the gift of trine. There is also no refuge in this world that is higher than kine.'
"Bhishma continued, 'That high-souled giver of land (viz., king Saudasa), thinking these words of the Rishi Vasishtha to be foremost in point of importance, then made gifts of a very large number of kine unto the Brahmanas, restraining his senses the while, and as the consequence of those gifts, the monarch succeeded in attaining to many regions of felicity in the next world.'" 1
117:1 Bhumidah is literally, a giver of land. King Saudasa, the commentator explains, was known by the name of Bhumidah in consequence of his liberality in the matter of giving away land unto the Brahmanas.
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