The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,319 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by Bhishma on the subject of properly making gifts of kine, king Yudhishthira did all that Bhishma wished.  Verily, king Yudhishthira bore in mind the whole of that religion which the preceptor of the deities imparted unto the royal Mandhatri.  Yudhishthira from that time began to make always gifts of kine and to support himself on grains of barley and on cowdung as both his food and drink.  The king also began to sleep from that day on the bare earth, and possessed of restrained soul and resembling a bull in conduct, he became the foremost of monarchs.[370] The Kuru king from that day became very attentive to kine and always worshipped them, hymning their praises.  From that day, the king gave up the practice of yoking kine unto his vehicles.  Wheresoever he had occasion to go, he proceeded on cars drawn by horses of good mettle.’”

SECTION LXXVII

“Vaisampayana said, ’King Yudhishthira endued with humility, once again questioned the royal son of Santanu on the subject of gifts of kine in detail.’

“The king said, ’Do thou, O Bharata, once more discourse to me in detail on the merits of giving away kine.  Verily, O hero, I have not been satiated with hearing thy nectar-like words!’

“Vaisampayana continued, ’Thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just, Santanu’s son began to discourse to him once again, in detail on the merits attaching to the gift of kine.’

“Bhishma said, ’By giving unto a Brahmana a cow possessed of a calf, endued with docility and other virtues, young in years, and wrapped round with a piece of cloth, one becomes cleansed of all one’s sins.  There are many regions (in Hell) which are sunless.  One who makes the gift of a cow has not to go thither.  That man, however, who gives unto a Brahmana a cow that is incapable of drinking or eating, that has her milk dried up, that is endued with senses all of which have been weakened, and that is diseased and overcome with decrepitude, and that may, therefore, be likened to a tank whose water has been dried up,—­indeed, the man who gives such a cow unto a Brahmana and thereby inflicts only pain and disappointment upon him, has certainly to enter into dark Hell.  That cow which is wrathful and vicious, or diseased, or weak or which has been purchased without the price agreed upon having been paid,—­or which would only afflict the regenerate recipient with distress and disappointment, should never be given.  The regions such a man may acquire (as the rewards of other acts of righteousness performed by him) would fail to give him any happiness or impart to him any energy.  Only such kine as are strong, endued with good behaviour, young in years, and possessed of fragrance, are applauded by all (in the matter of gift).  Verily, as Ganga is the foremost of all rivers, even so is a Kapila cow the foremost of all kine.’

“Yudhishthira said, ’Why, O grandsire, do the righteous applaud the gift of a Kapila cow (as more meritorious) when all good kine that are given away should be regarded as equal?  O thou of great puissance, I wish to hear what the distinction is that attaches to a Kapila cow.  Thou art, verily, competent to discourse to me on this topic!’[371]

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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