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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
extent of their power, gifts of kine, and as the reward of those acts they have attained to heaven and are shining in effulgence for such righteousness.  One should, on the eighth day of the moon that is known by the name of Kamyashtami, make gifts of kine, properly won, unto the Brahmanas after ascertaining the eligibility of the recipients (by the ordinances already laid down).  After making the gift, one should then subsist for ten days together upon only the milk of kine, their dung and their urine (abstaining from all other food the while).  The merit that one acquires by making a gift of a bull is equal to that which attaches to the divine vow.  By making a gift of a couple of kine one acquires, as the reward thereof, a mastery of the Vedas.  By making a gift of cars and vehicles with kine yoked thereto, one acquires the merit of baths in sacred waters.  By making a gift of a cow of the Kapila species, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins.  Verily, by giving away even a single cow of the Kapila species that has been acquired by legitimate means, one becomes cleansed of all the sins one may have committed.  There is nothing higher (in point of tastes) than the milk which is yielded by kine.  The gift of a cow is truly regarded as a very superior gift.  Kine by yielding milk, rescue all the worlds from calamity.  It is kine, again, that produce the food upon which creatures subsist.  One, who, knowing the extent of the service that kine do, does not entertain in one’s heart affection for kine, is a sinner that is certain to sink in hell.[355] If one gives a thousand or a hundred or ten or five kine, verily, if one gives unto a righteous Brahmana even a single cow which brings forth good calves at proper intervals, one is sure to see that cow approach one in heaven in the form of a river of sacred water capable of granting the fruition of every wish.  In respect of the prosperity and the growth that kine confer, in the matter also of the protection that kine grant unto all creatures of the earth, kine are equal to the very rays of the sun that fall on the earth.[356] The word that signifies the cow stands also for the rays of the sun.  The giver of a cow becomes the progenitor of a very large race that extends over a large part of the earth.  Hence, he that gives a cow shines like a second sun in resplendence.  The disciple should, in the matter of making gifts of kine, select his preceptor.  Such a disciple is sure to go to heaven.  The selection of a preceptor (in the matter of the performance of pious deeds) is regarded as a high duty by persons conversant with the ordinances.  This is, indeed, the initial ordinance.  All other ordinances (respecting the gift of kine) depend upon it.[357] Selecting, after examination, an eligible person among the Brahmanas, one should make unto him the gift of a cow that has been acquired by legitimate means, and having made the gift cause him to accept it.  The deities and men and ourselves also, in wishing good to other, say, ’Let the merits attaching to gifts be thine in consequence of thy righteousness!’ Even thus did the judge of the dead speak unto me, O regenerate Rishi.  I then bowed my head unto the righteous Yama.  Obtaining his permission I left his dominions and have now come to the sole of thy feet.’”

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