(Chaitraratha Parva continued)
“Vaisampayana said, ’That bull among the Bharatas, Arjuna, hearing these words of the Gandharva, was inspired with feelings of devotion and stood shes (???—JBH), killing deer and wild boars. Once on a time, while out in quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The monarch arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed and illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage that best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the monarch by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya, and wild fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a cow yielding anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed, saying, ’O give’,—she always yielded the article that was sought. And she yielded various fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields, and milk, and many excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds of juice (taste?) and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of enjoyable things, O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating, and for licking and sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of various kinds. With these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was worshipped. And the king with his minister and troops became highly pleased. And the monarch wondered much, beholding that cow with six elevated limbs and the beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that were broad, and eyes prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in size, and high udders, and faultless make, and straight and uplifted ears, and handsome horns, and well-developed head and neck.
“And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and applauding the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, ’O Brahmana, O great Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand kine, or my kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).’
“Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, ’O sinless one, this cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the Pitris, as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for even thy kingdom.’ Viswamitra replied, ’I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a Brahmana devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in Brahmanas who are peaceful and who have their souls under perfect command? When thou givest me not what I desire in exchange even for ten thousand cows, I will not abandon the practice of my order; I will take thy cow even by force!’
“Vasishtha said, ’Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou art a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not to consider its propriety.’
“The Gandharva continued, ’Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes and persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha, to low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before him with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to leave the Rishi’s asylum.’