The Mahabharata Home
"Maheswara said, 'Searching your memories, excellent are the duties ye all have recited. Listen all of you now to me as I declare some mysteries relating to religion and duty. Only those persons whose understanding has been set on religion and who are possessed of faith, should be instructed in respect of those mysteries of duty and religion that are fraught with high merits. Hear what the merits are that become his who, with heart free from anxiety, gives food everyday, for a month, to kine and contents himself with one meal a day throughout such period. The kine are highly blessed. They are regarded as the most sacred of all sacred things. Verily, it is they that are upholding the three worlds with the deities, the Asuras, and human beings. Respectful services rendered to them are fraught with high merit and grave consequences. That man who every day gives food to kine advances every day in religious merit. Formerly, in the Krita age I had expressed my approval of these creatures. Afterwards Brahman, born of the primeval lotus, solicited me (to show kindness towards kine). 1 It is for this reason that a bull to this day stands as the device on my standard overhead. I always sport with kine. Hence should kine be worshipped by all. Kine are possessed of great power. They are givers of boons. If worshipped, they would grant boons. That person who gives food to kine even for a single day receives from those beneficent creatures for that act a fourth part of the merits he may win by all his good acts in life.'"
275:1 Anujnatah literally implies permitted. These creatures, i.e., the kine, were permitted by me, means, perhaps, that they became my favourites. Brahman, it is said, solicited Maheswara to accept some kine in gift. The latter did accept some, and adopt from that time the device of the bull on his flag.
Next: Section CXXXIV