is even higher than the region of the deities.
When given away, they rescue their givers. Men
of wisdom succeed in attaining to Heaven by making
gifts of kine. Yuvanaswa’s son Mandhatri,
Yayati, and (his sire) Nahusha, used always to give
away kine in thousands. As the reward of those
gifts, they have attained to such regions as are unattainable
by the very deities. There is, in this connection,
O sinless one, a discourse delivered of old.
I shall recite it to thee. Once on a time, the
intelligent Suka, having finished his morning rites,
approached with a restrained mind his sire, that foremost
of Rishis, viz
., the Island-born Krishna, who
is acquainted with the distinction between that which
is superior and that which is inferior, and saluting
him, said, ’What is that sacrifice which appears
to thee as the foremost of all sacrifices? What
is that act by doing which men of wisdom succeed in
attaining to the highest region? What is that
sacred act by which the deities enjoy the felicity
of Heaven? What constitutes the character of
sacrifice as sacrifice? What is that upon which
sacrifice rests? What is that which is regarded
as the best by the deities? What is that sacrifice
which transcends the sacrifices of this world?
Do thou also tell me, O sire, what is that which is
the most sacred of all things. Having heard these
words of his son, O chief of Bharata’s race,
Vyasa, the foremost of all persons conversant with
duties, discoursed as follows unto him.’
“Vyasa said, ’Kine constitute the stay
of all creatures. Kine are the refuge of all
creatures. Kine are the embodiment of merit.
Kine are sacred, and kine are sanctifiers of all.
Formerly kine were hornless as it has been heard by
us. For obtaining horns they adored the eternal
and puissant Brahmana. The puissant, Brahmana,
seeing the kine paying their adorations to him and
sitting in praya, granted unto each of them what each
desired. Thereafter their horns grew and each
got what each desired. Of diverse colours, and
endued with horns, they began to shine in beauty,
O son! Favoured by Brahman himself with boons,
kine are auspicious and yielders of Havya and Kavya.
They are the embodiments of merit. They are sacred
and blessed. They are possessed of excellent form
and attributes. Kine constitute high and highly
excellent energy. The gift of kine is very much
applauded. Those good men who, freed from pride,
make gifts of kine, are regarded as doers of righteous
deeds and as givers of all articles. Such men,
O sinless one, attain to the highly sacred region of
kine. The trees there produce sweet fruits.
Indeed, those trees are always adorned with excellent
flowers and fruits. Those flowers, O best of
regenerate persons, are endued with celestial fragrance.
The entire soil of that region is made of gems.
The sands there are all gold. The climate there
is such that the excellencies of every season are felt.
There is no more mire, no dust. It is, indeed,