Book I : Bala Kanda - The Youthful Majesties
Vishvamitra tries to gain Kaamadhenu, but Sage Vashishta persistently refuses Vishvamitra's bargains and barters. 'When an ordinary cow alone is held sacred and it is an un-marketable commodity, how then can Shabala, a milker of any wish, be given away or bartered for other riches...' is the argument of Vashishta. Yet, Vishvamitra goes on his bidding, but in vain.
evam uktā vasiṣhṭhena śhabalā śhatru sūdana |
vidadhe kāmadhuk kāmān yasya yasya īpsitam yathā || 1-53-1
1. shatru suudana = oh, enemy-chastener, Rama; vasiSThena evam uktaa = by Vashishta, this way, [she who is] spoken to; kaamadhuk = desire, milker; shabalaa = cow with amazing coloured skin - Shabala; yasya yasya yathaa iipsitam = whose, whose, as to how, fancied; all those; kaamaan = fancies; of foodstuffs; vidadhe = bestowed.
"Oh, enemy-chastener Rama, when the Divine Cow Shabala is spoken in this way by Sage Vashishta, then that milker bestowed each and every fancy, fancied by each and every fancier, according to one's own fancy." Thus Sage Shataananda continued the legend of Shabala or Kaamadhenu, as a part of the legend of Vishvamitra to Rama and others. [1-53-1]
ikṣhūn madhūn tathā lājān maireyān cha vara āsavān |
pānāni cha mahāarhāṇi bhakṣhyān cha uchcha avachān tathā || 1-53-2
2. ikSuun madhuun tathaa laajaan = sugar-cane [and its dishes,] honey [and its dishes,] like that, cornflakes, [rice-flakes etc.,]; vara aasavaan [aasanaan] = best, liquors [or, with best wineglasses]; maireyaan ca = arracks [Arabic 'arak 'sweat', 'arak al-tamr 'alcoholic spirit from dates in Arabia, and from sugar-cane and rice in India,] also; mahaa arhaaNi paanaani ca = highly [very,] apposite to [royalties and army-men,] drinks, further; tathaa = like that; ucca avacaan = verily, diverse; bhakSyaan ca = foodstuffs, also; [shabala vidadhe = Shabala, bestowed.]
Shabala bestowed dishes of sugar cane and honey, and flakes of all sorts, like cornflakes, rice-flakes, also best arracks and liquors in best wineglasses, further, the drinks and foodstuffs that are very diverse and verily apposite to royalties and army-men. [1-53-2]
uṣhṇa āḍhyasya odanasya api rāśhayaḥ parvatopamāḥ |
mṛṣhṭa annāni cha sūpāḥ cha dadhi kulyāḥ tathaiva cha || 1-53-3
nānā svādu rasānām cha khāṇḍavanām - ṣhāḍabānām - tathaiva cha |
bhājanāni -bhojanāni - supūrṇāni gauḍāni cha sahasraśhaḥ || 1-53-4
3. [atra = there]; uSNa aaDhyasya odanasya api = heat, rich in [steamy,] foods, even; parvata upamaaH raashayaH = mountain, similar, stacks - have come up; mR^iSTa annaani ca = palatable, foodstuffs [side dishes, desserts of rice,] also; suupaaH ca = cooked pulse's dumplings, also; tathaiva = like that; dadhi kulyaaH ca = curds, cascades of, also; naanaa svaadu rasaanaam ca = varied, daintily, soft-drinks, also; khaaNDavanaam = sugar-candies, [or, SaaDabaanaam = juices with six kinds of tastes]; tathaiva ca = like that, also; su puurNaani = fully, replete with; bhaajanaani = dishes, [silver hollowware; or, bhojanaani = delectable foodstuffs;] gauDaani ca = [foodstuffs made from the] treacly dumplings of cane sugar, also; sahasrashaH = in thousands; in no time they have come up.
There emerged mountainous stacks of steamy foodstuffs, palatable side-dishes and desserts of rice etc., also the dumplings of cooked pulses, like that the cascades of curds and the other milk products likes butter, ghee, cheese etc. Thousands of silver dishes and hollowware fully replete with daintily soft drinks, like that full with sugar-candy preparations, and with preparations that comprise all the six tastes have come up together with delectable foodstuffs made out of treacly dumplings of cane sugar. [1-53-3, 4]
sarvam āsīt susaṃtuṣhṭam hṛṣhṭa puṣhṭa jana āyutam |
viśhvāmitra balam rāma vasiṣhṭhena sutarpitam || 1-53-5
5. raama = oh, Rama; vishvaamitra balam = Vishvamitra's, forces; sarvam eva = all, like that; vasiSThena su tarpitam = by Vashishta, well, feasted; su santuSTam = well, gladdened ; hR^iSTa puSTa jana aayutam aasiit = rejoiced, regaled, men, consisting, it became.
"Oh, Rama, all of the men in the forces of Vishvamitra, who are already rejoiced and regaled by the regular feasts accorded by their king Vishvamitra, are now comparatively well gladdened when feasted by Sage Vashishta, in which they rejoiced and regaled, for a good measure. [1-53-5]
viśhvāmitro api rājarṣhiḥ hṛṣhṭa puṣhṭaḥ tadā abhavat |
sa antaḥ pura varo rājā sa brāhmaṇa purohitaḥ || 1-53-6
6. tadaa = then; sa antaH pura varaH = with, palace, chamber's, best inmates [royal ladies]; sa braahmaNa purohitaH = with, court-scholars, royal-priests; raajarSiH = kingly sage; vishvaamitraH raajaa api = Vishvamitra, king, even; hR^iSTa puSTaH abhavat = exultant, energetic, became.
"Partaking that feast together with the best royal ladies of palace chambers, and with the court-scholars and the court-priests even the king Vishvamitra, who by his nature is a kingly sage, became exultant and energetic. [1-53-6]
sa amātyo maṃtri sahitaḥ sa bhṛtyaḥ pūjitaḥ tadā |
yuktaḥ parama harṣheṇa vasiṣhṭham idam abravīt || 1-53-7
7. tadaa = then; puujitaH = one who is honoured - Vishvamitra by Vashishta; sa amaatyaH mantri sahitaH = with, advisers, minister, along with; sa bhR^ityaH = with, attendants - Vishvamitra; parama harSeNa yuktaH = high, admiration, along with; vasiSTham idam abraviit = to Vashishta, this, spoke.
"When honoured along with his advisers, ministers and attendants by way of receiving a royal banquet, king Vishvamitra then in high admiration spoke this to Vashishta. [1-53-7]
pūjito aham tvayā brahman pūja arheṇa susatkṛtaḥ |
śhrūyatām abhidhāsyāmi vākyam vākya viśhārada || 1-53-8
8. brahman = oh, Brahman; puuja arheNa = for esteem, meetly [sage of your like]; tvayaa = by you; aham puujitaH = I am, reverenced [esteemed]; su sat kR^itaH = well, good, done [shown generous hospitality]; vaakya vishaarada = oh, sentence, expert of; vaakyam abhidhaasyaami = [a] word, I wish to tell - I say for myself; shruuyataam = that may be listened.
" 'You showed me a generous hospitality whereby I am esteemed by an estimable sage like you, oh, expert in sententiousness, now I wish to say for myself to which you may please listen. [1-53-8]
gavām śhata sahasreṇa dīyatām śhabalā mama |
ratnam hi bhagavan etat ratna hārī cha pārthivaḥ || 1-53-9
tasmāt me śhabalām dehi mama eṣhā dharmato dvija |
9, 10a. bhagavan = oh, godly sage; gavaam shata sahasreNa = cows, by [barter of] hundred, thousands; mama shabalaa diiyataam = to me, Shabala [do-all cow,] may be given; etat = this [cow]; ratnam hi = gemstone [treasure,] indeed; paarthivaH ratna haarii ca = king, gemstones [treasures,] stealer [gatherer]; dvija = oh, Brahman; tasmaat = therefore; shabalaam me dehi = Shabala, to me, be bestowed; eSaa dharmataH mama = this [cow,] as a rule, mine - belongs to me.
" 'Oh, godly sage, this Shabala may be given to me for a barter of a lakh, a hundred thousand, cows. Indeed this do-all cow is a treasure, and the kings are the gatherers of treasures. Therefore bestow this cow to me. As rule this cow also belongs to me.' Thus Vishvamitra said to Vashishta. [1-53-9, 10a]
evam uktaḥ tu bhagavān vasiṣhṭho muni sattamaḥ || 1-53-10
viśhvāmitreṇa dharmātmā pratyuvācha mahīpatim |
10b, 11a. vishvaamitreNa = by Vishvamitra; evam uktaH tu = that way, who is spoken to - Vashishta, on his part; bhagavaan muni sattamaH dharmaatmaa = reverential one, saint, the eminent, virtue-souled one; vasiSThaH = Vashishta; mahiipatim prati uvaaca = to the king, in turn, spoke - replied.
"When Vishvamitra addressed him in that way, the reverential sage Vashishta, who is a virtue-souled eminent saint, on his part replied the king in this way. [1-53-10b, 11a]
na aham śhata sahasreṇa na api koṭi śhataiḥ gavām || 1-53-11
rājan dāsyāmi śhabalām rāśhibhī rajatasya vā |
11b, 12a. raajan = oh, king; aham = I; gavaam shata sahasreNa = cows, by hundred, thousand; shabalaam na daasyaami = Shabala, not, I will afford; koTi shataiH api = by millions, hundreds of [of cows,] even; na = I do not give; rajatasya raashibhiH = of silver, lots; vaa = either - I do not give.
" 'I cannot afford Shabala, neither by the barter of a hundred thousand cows, nor by hundreds of millions of cows, nor by lots and lots of silver, either. [1-53-11b, 12a]
na parityāgam arhā iyam mat sakāśhāt arindama || 1-53-12
śhāśhvatī śhabalā mahyam kīrtir ātmavato yathā |
12b, 13a. arindama = oh, enemy-subjugator; iyam = this - cow; mat sakaashaat = from my, proximity; parityaagam = for abandoning; na arhaa = not, she is proper one; aatmavataH = to self-respectful ones; kiirtiH yathaa = respectability, as with; shabalaa mahyam shaashvatii = Shabala is, for me, everlasting [inseparable.]
" 'Abandoning her from my proximity is unmeet for her, oh, enemy-subjugator, you cannot even subjugate me terroristically and try to wean this cow away from me, as Shabala is everlastingly and inseparably mine, as with the everlasting and inseparable respectability of a self-respectful person. [1-53-12b, 13a]
asyām havyam cha kavyam cha prāṇa yātrā tathaiva cha || 1-53-13
āyattam agni hotram cha baliḥ homaḥ tathaiva cha |
13b, 14a. havyam ca = oblations [for gods,] also; kavyam ca = oblations [for manes,] also; tathaiva ca = like that, also; praaNa yaatraa = [my] life's, journey - cow which makes the journey of my life possible; agni hotram ca = for Ritual-fire, enkindler of, also; baliH = sacrifices - which accords material for sacrifices; tathaiva ca = like that, also; homaH = conducting sacred rituals of = "#B3003A"> homa-s [Oxford: hom, n. (also = "#B3003A"> homa ) 1 the soma plant, 2 the juice of this plant as a sacred drink of the Parsees, [Persian = "#B3003A"> hom, hum, Avestan = "#B3003A"> haoma]; asyaam aayattam = in her [in cow,] take basis - dependant on her.
"This cow makes the journey of my life possible. Oblations to gods or manes, enkindling of Ritual-fire, religious sacrifices, homa-s, the sacred rituals conducted as darsha, paurNa maasi, all are dependent on her. [1-53-13b, 14a]
svāhā kāra vaṣhaṭ kārau vidyāḥ cha vividhāḥ tathā || 1-53-14
āyattam atra rāja ṛṣhe sarvam etan na saṃśhayaḥ |
14b, 15a. raaja R^iSe = oh, kingly, sage; svaahaa kaara vaSaT kaarau = swaahaa, syllabified utterances, vaSaT, add-on syllabics; tathaa = thus; vi vidhaaH vidyaaH ca = divers and numerous, indoctrinations, also; etat sarvam = everything, in entirety; atra = in this matter [of cow]; aayattam = dependent on; samshayaH na = doubt, is not there.
"This cow is the bedrock for everything in its entirety, and regarding diverse and numerous indoctrinations, and even for add-on syllabics like svaaha, vaSaT, they are all dependent on this cow, there is no doubt about it. [1-53-14b 15a]
When the Fire-Ritual, or homa is conducted each pouring of fluid oblation or each dropping of solid oblation into Fire-Altar is associated with Vedic-hymns addressing the particular receiver-deity, annexed with syllabics like: svaahaa, svaahaa kaaraaH at the end of each chant like indraaya svaahaa, indraaya idam na mama... varuNaaya svaahaa, varuNaaya idam na mama... 'to Indra this is scarified, this is for Indra, not mine... to Rain-god this is sacrificed, this is for Rain-god, not mine...' So also the vaSaT is annexed to the hymns addressed to manes. To learn Veda-s one shall be eligible to perform a Fire-ritual, and if Fire-ritual is performed, some basic Vedic hymns are to be learnt, and all this is a cyclic affair, requiring much paraphernalia. This cow supplies everything at wish, without a hassle, either to the teacher or to the taught.
sarvasvam etat satyena mama tuṣhṭi karī tathā || 1-53-15
kāraṇaiḥ bahubhī rājan na dāsye śhabalām tava |
15b, 16a. etat = this one - cow; satyena mama sarvasvam = in truth, to me, everything; [sadaa = always]; tuSTi karii = gratification, doer [ever-gratifier]; raajan = oh, king; tathaa = in that way; bahubhii kaaraNaiH = by so many, reasons; shabalaam tava na daasye = Shabala, to you, not, I afford.
" "In truth, this cow is everything to me and ever-gratifier, that way by so many reasons, oh, king, I cannot afford Shabala to you or to anyone." So said Vashishta to Vishvamitra. [1-53-15b, 16a]
vasiṣhṭhena evam uktaḥ tu viśhvāmitro abravīt tadā || 1-53-16
saṃrabdhataram atyartham vākyam vākya viśhāradaḥ |
16b, 17a. vaakya vishaaradaH vishvaamitraH = sententiousness, expert, Vishvamitra; vasiSThena evam uktaH = by Vashishta, thus, [though] spoken; tadaa = then; ati artham = verily, reasoning [argumentatively]; sam rabdha taram = with, hastiness, muchly [compellingly]; [idam] vaakyam abraviit = [this] sentence, spoke.
Though Vashishta spoke thus Vishvamitra being an expert in sententiousness then spoke this sentence compellingly and argumentatively. [1-53-16b, 17a]
hairaṇya kakṣhyā graiveyān suvarṇa aṃkuśha bhūṣhitān || 1-53-17
dadāmi kuṃjarāṇām te sahasrāṇi chatur daśha |
17b, 18b. hairaNya kakSyaa graiveyaan = golden, girdles, necklets; suvarNa ankusha bhuuSitaan = golden, goad, adorned with; kunjaraaNaam = such elephants; catur dasha sahasraaNi = four, ten, thousands - fourteen thousand; te dadaami = I bestow, upon you.
" 'I bestow upon you fourteen thousand elephants adorned with golden girdles, golden necklets and golden goads. [1-53-17b, 18a]
hairaṇyānām rathānām cha śhveta aśhvānām chatur yujām || 1-53-18
dadāmi te śhatāni aṣhṭau kinkiṇīka vibhūṣhitān |
18b, 19a. shveta ashvaanaam catur yujaam = with very white, horses, four, to yoke on; hairaNyaanaam rathaanaam ca = golden, chariots, also; kinkiNiika vibhuuSitaan = set of tintinnabulating bells, trimmed up with; aSTau shataani = eight, hundred; te dadaami = to you, I will give.
" 'I will grant you eight hundred golden chariots whichever can be yoked on with four whitely-white horses trimmed up with the sets of tintinnabulating bells. [1-53-18b, 19a]
hayānām deśha jātānām kula jānām mahaujasām |
sahasram ekam daśha cha dadāmi tava suvrata || 1-53-19
19b, c. su vrata = on superbly, vowed sage; desha jaataanaam = in countries, born in [famous countries for best horse breeding]; kula jaanaam = of [high] pedigree, born in; mahaa ojasaam = with great [fleetly,] animation [galloping]; hayaanaam = horses; ekam dasha ca = one, ten, also - eleven; sahasram = a thousand - eleven thousand horses; tava dadaami = to you, I grant.
" 'I grant you, oh, superbly vowed sage, eleven thousand fleetly galloping horses of high pedigree born in best countries of best horse breeding. [1-53-19b, c]
nānā varṇa vibhaktānām vayaḥsthānām tathaiva cha |
dadāmi ekām gavām koṭim śhabalā dīyatām mama || 1-53-20
20. naanaa varNa vi bhaktaanaam = diverse, colours, verily [differently,] divisionalized; tathaiva ca = like that, also; vayaH sthaanaam = in age, staying [come of age]; gavaam = of cows; ekaam koTim = one, crore [ten millions]; dadaami = I award; mama shabalaa diiyataam = to me, Shabala, may be given.
" 'I award ten million diversely coloured and differently divisionalized cows, whichever of them will be came of age as milker, thereby, let this do-all cow Shabala be given to me. [1-53-20]
yāvat ichchhasi ratnāni hiraṇyam vā dvijottama |
tāvat dadāmi te sarvam dīyatām śhabalā mama || 1-53-21
21. dvija uttama = oh, Brahman, the eminent; ratnaani vaa hiraNyam vaa = gemstones, either, gold, or; yaavat icChasi = how much, you yearn; [tat] sarvam = [all,] everything; taavat = that much; te dadaami = I gift; shabalaa mama diiyataam = Shabala, to me, be given.
" 'Or, oh, eminent Brahman, if you yearn either for gems or gold, I gift that much of everything as much as you can yearn, let Shabala be given to me." Thus Vishvamitra entreated again. [1-53-21]
evam uktaḥ tu bhagavān viśhvāmitreṇa dhīmatā |
na dāsyāmi iti śhabalām prāha rājan kathaṃchana || 1-53-22
22. dhiimataa vishvaamitreNa evam uktaH = by shrewd [king,] Vishvamitra, thus, who is spoken; bhagavaan = reverential sage Vashishta; raajan = oh, king; kathamcana = whatever - may happen; shabalaam na daasyaami = Shabala, not, I surrender; iti pra aha = thus, clearly, said.
When the shrewd king Vishvamitra spoke to the reverential sage Vashishta, that sage has clearly said, 'whatever it is oh, king, I do not surrender Shabala, the cow.' [1-53-22]
etadeva hi me ratnam etadeva hi me dhanam |
etadeva hi sarvasvam etadeva hi jīvitam || 1-53-23
23. etat eva = this, alone; me ratnam hi = for me, gem, indeed; etat eva hi me dhanam = this, alone, truly, for me, wealth [treasure]; etat eva sarvasvam hi = this, alone, for me, everything, really,; etat eva jiivitam hi = this, alone, life [alter ego,] actually.
" 'Really this alone is my gemmy cow, thus I do not require your jewels or gems... truly, this alone is my treasure, thus I do not require your gilded chariots, horses or elephants... really, this alone is my everything, thus I need nothing from you... and actually, this alone is my alter-ego, thus you cannot separate me from myself. [1-53-23]
darśhaḥ cha paurṇa māsaḥ cha yajñāḥ chaiva āpta dakṣhiṇāḥ |
etadeva hi me rājan vividhāḥ cha kriyāḥ tathā || 1-53-24
24. raajan = oh, king; me = my; darshaH ca = darsha, also - Vedic-rituals; paurNa maasaH ca = poorna maasa Vedic-rituals, also; aapta dakSiNaaH = worthwhile, donations; yaGYaaH caiva = Vedic-rituals, like that, also; tathaa = like that; vividhaaH kriyaaH ca = divers, activities, also; etat eva hi = this, alone, indeed.
" 'This alone is my darsha, puurNa maasa rituals, and like that this alone is all my Vedic-rituals with worthwhile donations and oh, king, this essentially is of service in diverse activities of mine. [1-53-24]
ato mūlāḥ kriyāḥ sarvā mama rājan na saṃśhayaḥ |
bahūnā kim pralāpena na dāsye kāma dohinīm || 1-53-25
25. raajan = oh, king; mama sarvaaH kriyaaH = my, all, for activities; ataH muulaaH = in it [in cow,] instated; sanshayaH na = doubt, there is no; bahuunaa pralaapena kim [prayojanam] = by a lot of, palavering, what is [the us]; kaama dohiniim = wishes, milker; na daasye = not, I give away.
" 'Oh, king, all of my activities are instated in this cow, then wherefore a lot of palavering a bargain or barter? I do not give away this milker any wish." So said VashishtaT to Vishvamitra, and thus Sage Shataananda continued his narration of the legend of Sacred Cow. [1-53-25]
Sacredness of the Cow
If cow is held sacred in India it is held precious all over the world. Whatever is given by a cow, from its milk to cow-dung, it is put to use, even for medicinal purposes, which is evident from insulin and smallpox vaccines. Regarding go mahaatmyam 'sacredness of cow' Bheeshma speaks at length about the sacredness of cow to Yudhishtar, in Anushaashanika Parva of Maha Bharata.
anena sakala vaidika karma vidyaa jiivanaadi karatvena ati pavitratena ca gavaam ati mahatmyam gavaam vikrayato paryaapta vR^ittikaanaam atyaashaa niShedhaH ca trayam api suucitam - dk
yaj~naiH avaapyate somaH sa ca goShu pratiShTitaH |
goShu somaH pratiShTitaH - tattariiya shruti
havyam kavyam tarpaNam shaanti karma yaanam vaaso vR^iddha baalasya tuShTiH | svaahaa kaara vaShaT kaarau goShu nityam pratiShTitau | gaavo yaj~nasya hi phalam goShu yaj~naaH pratiShTitaaH | gavaam muutra puriiShasya nodvijeta kathamcana | na ca aasaam maamsam ashniiyaat gavaam puShTim tathaa aapnuyaat | naa ataH para taram daanam na ataH puNya taram phalam | tvacaa lomnaa atha shR^ingaiH vaalaiH kShiireNa medasaa | yaj~nam vahati sambhuuyakim asya tat abhyadhikam tataH || mahaa bhaarate anushaashanika parvaaNi yudhiShTaram prati bhiiShma uvaaca :
evam shruti smR^iti itihaasa puraaNa aadiShu bahu prakaareNa pratipaadyamaanam - go mahaatmyam - vaacaama gocaram iti dikpradarshana maatram kR^itvaa - vasiShTaH - viramyate - dk
Here, on hinting in an indirect way about go mahaatmyam 'the sacredness of the cow...' and its un-marketability, Sage Vashishta paused his negation, hoping that Vishvamitra will realise, as he is also well-versed in scriptures.
iti vālmīki rāmāyaṇe ādi kāvye bāla kāṇḍe tri paṃchāśhaḥ sargaḥ
© Dec, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]
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