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.
एवम् उक्ता वसिष्ठेन शबला शत्रु सूदन |
विदधे कामधुक् कामान् यस्य यस्य ईप्सितम् यथा || १-५३-१
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]
इक्षून् मधून् तथा लाजान् मैरेयान् च वर आसवान् |
पानानि च महाअर्हाणि भक्ष्यान् च उच्च अवचान् तथा || १-५३-२
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]
उष्ण आढ्यस्य ओदनस्य अपि राशयः पर्वतोपमाः |
मृष्ट अन्नानि च सूपाः च दधि कुल्याः तथैव च || १-५३-३
नाना स्वादु रसानाम् च खाण्डवनाम् - षाडबानाम् - तथैव च |
भाजनानि -भोजनानि - सुपूर्णानि गौडानि च सहस्रशः || १-५३-४
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]
सर्वम् आसीत् सुसंतुष्टम् हृष्ट पुष्ट जन आयुतम् |
विश्वामित्र बलम् राम वसिष्ठेन सुतर्पितम् || १-५३-५
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]
विश्वामित्रो अपि राजर्षिः हृष्ट पुष्टः तदा अभवत् |
स अन्तः पुर वरो राजा स ब्राह्मण पुरोहितः || १-५३-६
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]
स अमात्यो मंत्रि सहितः स भृत्यः पूजितः तदा |
युक्तः परम हर्षेण वसिष्ठम् इदम् अब्रवीत् || १-५३-७
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]
पूजितो अहम् त्वया ब्रह्मन् पूज अर्हेण सुसत्कृतः |
श्रूयताम् अभिधास्यामि वाक्यम् वाक्य विशारद || १-५३-८
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]
गवाम् शत सहस्रेण दीयताम् शबला मम |
रत्नम् हि भगवन् एतत् रत्न हारी च पार्थिवः || १-५३-९
तस्मात् मे शबलाम् देहि मम एषा धर्मतो द्विज |
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]
एवम् उक्तः तु भगवान् वसिष्ठो मुनि सत्तमः || १-५३-१०
विश्वामित्रेण धर्मात्मा प्रत्युवाच महीपतिम् |
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]
न अहम् शत सहस्रेण न अपि कोटि शतैः गवाम् || १-५३-११
राजन् दास्यामि शबलाम् राशिभी रजतस्य वा |
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]
न परित्यागम् अर्हा इयम् मत् सकाशात् अरिन्दम || १-५३-१२
शाश्वती शबला मह्यम् कीर्तिर् आत्मवतो यथा |
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]
अस्याम् हव्यम् च कव्यम् च प्राण यात्रा तथैव च || १-५३-१३
आयत्तम् अग्नि होत्रम् च बलिः होमः तथैव च |
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]
स्वाहा कार वषट् कारौ विद्याः च विविधाः तथा || १-५३-१४
आयत्तम् अत्र राज ऋषे सर्वम् एतन् न संशयः |
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.
सर्वस्वम् एतत् सत्येन मम तुष्टि करी तथा || १-५३-१५
कारणैः बहुभी राजन् न दास्ये शबलाम् तव |
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]
वसिष्ठेन एवम् उक्तः तु विश्वामित्रो अब्रवीत् तदा || १-५३-१६
संरब्धतरम् अत्यर्थम् वाक्यम् वाक्य विशारदः |
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]
हैरण्य कक्ष्या ग्रैवेयान् सुवर्ण अंकुश भूषितान् || १-५३-१७
ददामि कुंजराणाम् ते सहस्राणि चतुर् दश |
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]
हैरण्यानाम् रथानाम् च श्वेत अश्वानाम् चतुर् युजाम् || १-५३-१८
ददामि ते शतानि अष्टौ किन्किणीक विभूषितान् |
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]
हयानाम् देश जातानाम् कुल जानाम् महौजसाम् |
सहस्रम् एकम् दश च ददामि तव सुव्रत || १-५३-१९
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]
नाना वर्ण विभक्तानाम् वयःस्थानाम् तथैव च |
ददामि एकाम् गवाम् कोटिम् शबला दीयताम् मम || १-५३-२०
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]
यावत् इच्छसि रत्नानि हिरण्यम् वा द्विजोत्तम |
तावत् ददामि ते सर्वम् दीयताम् शबला मम || १-५३-२१
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]
एवम् उक्तः तु भगवान् विश्वामित्रेण धीमता |
न दास्यामि इति शबलाम् प्राह राजन् कथंचन || १-५३-२२
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]
एतदेव हि मे रत्नम् एतदेव हि मे धनम् |
एतदेव हि सर्वस्वम् एतदेव हि जीवितम् || १-५३-२३
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]
दर्शः च पौर्ण मासः च यज्ञाः चैव आप्त दक्षिणाः |
एतदेव हि मे राजन् विविधाः च क्रियाः तथा || १-५३-२४
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]
अतो मूलाः क्रियाः सर्वा मम राजन् न संशयः |
बहूना किम् प्रलापेन न दास्ये काम दोहिनीम् || १-५३-२५
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.
इति वाल्मीकि रामायणे आदि काव्ये बाल काण्डे त्रि पंचाशः सर्गः
© Dec, 2002, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : November 04]