The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes importance of bull (and cow) which is chapter 48 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the forty-eighth chapter of the Srishti-khanda (section on creation) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 48 - Importance of Bull (and Cow)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Brahma said:

1-3a. O brāhmaṇic sage (Nārada), and hereafter, that brāhmaṇa who had fallen among the cāṇḍālas, lamented in various ways and went to sage Kaśyapa. Having gone to him, he said: “O best sage, tell me words beneficial to me (i.e. Instruct me in such a way that I would fare well in life). O greatest sage, act in such a way that I would be free from sin.”

The (sage) of great lustre, smiling a little said:

Kaśyapa said:

3b-4. After having seen the Mlecchas you yourself have become calm. Fasting on the day sacred to Hari, always remember Hari (i. e. Viṣṇu) by muttering the Gāyatri (hymn), (other) hymns, and by vows like Cāṇḍrāyaṇa.[1]

5. Day and night meditate upon Śaṅkara, and salute that lord. By means of a bath at a sacred place and by means of (reciting) hymns, you will see end of the mud (of sin).

6. Then O brāhmaṇa, destroying your sins by means of vows with more virtue, you will get (back) your brāhmaṇahood and salvation as a result of the destruction of sins.

7. Hearing the words of the sage, he then became satisfied. Having done various deeds of merit, he again obtained brāhmaṇahood.

8-9. Then having practised a severe penance he obtained heaven after a long time. All sin of a virtuous person perishes day by day; (but) the merit of a man of bad conduct perishes like collyrium. A brāhmaṇa miserable due to bad conduct, would go to (i.e. obtain) godhead by (good) conduct.

10. Then a brāhmaṇa (even) with his life at the point of departing, practises (good) deeds. So always do good deed mentally and physically.

11-12. By the advice of Kaśyapa, that brāhmaṇa became disciplined; and again conducting himself well, and having practised penance, he went to heaven. A brāhmaṇa of a bad conduct is doomed and condemned in heaven; but conducting himself well he is honoured.

Nārada said:

13. People get a good position (like salvation) after having worshipped best brāhmaṇas. O lord, what position does one get by troubling brāhmaṇas?

Brahmā said;

14. That man, who does not devoutly and according to his capacity worship great-souled brāhmaṇas whose bodies are tormented by hunger, goes to hell.

15. He, who, having made (a brāhmaṇa) scream by using harsh (words), dismisses him angrily, goes to the painful and terrible hell like Mahāraurava.

16. Returning from there he is born in the lowest species, like the insects. Then he becomes a diseased, poor person oppressed by hunger.

17-18a Therefore one should not insult a brāhmaṇa who being oppressed with hunger, has come to his house. He, who says, ‘I shall not give’ to gods, fire and brāhmaṇas, having gone through a hundred of animal-births, becomes (i.e. is born as) a cāṇḍāla.

18b-19a. He who kicks a brāhmaṇa, or a cow or his preceptor, certainly lives in the Raurava[2] hell; for him there is no acquittal.

19b-20. If through merit he gets (a human) birth (i.e. is born as a human being), he would be crippled. He becomes very wretched, is dejected and oppressed by grief. Getting three births like this, he may then get acquittal.

21. That man too who strikes a brāhmaṇa with fists, or with blows, with elbows or open hands remains till the end of the Kalpa in the burning Raurava hell.

22. Then he getting the birth (of) a cruel and violent dog, is after that born in the low castes as a poor man, suffering from pain in the belly.

23-24a. The man who raises his foot (to kick a brāhmaṇa) has śilīpada (i.e. elephantiasis) on his foot. Such a man becomes lame, or short-legged or has his foot amputated; or his limbs tremble due to paralysis.

24b-25. He, who, through anger, strikes his mother, father, a brāhmaṇa who has just returned from his preceptor’s house or an ascetic or a group of preceptors would live in the Kumbhīpāka hell for a long time; and having lived there, would thereafter be born in the species of worms.

26-27. He, who would talk hostile or harsh words to brāhmaṇas, would definitely have eight kinds of leprosy on his body, O son. They are: itch[3], cutaneous eruption[4], leprosy with circular spots[5], types of leprosy called Śukti[6] and Sidhmaka[7], Kālakuṣṭha, Śukla, and the very terrible progressive leprosy.

28. Then after use of drugs, merit runs away due to sin; and due to want of merit he would die as a line on water (disappears).

29. Among these (various kinds of leprosy) only three are said to be major (forms of) leprosy: Kālakuṣṭha, Śukla and the very terrible Taruṇa (i.e. progressive).

30. These three appear on the body of great sinners only due to the presence of great sins or due to contagion (with lepers).

31. People contract (this) disease by contagion or contact. A wise man should avoid (the lepers) from a distance; (and) should bathe after having touched (i.e. if he touches) them.

32. A man should bathe after having touched (i.e. if he touches) a fallen man, or a leper, or a cāṇḍāla eating the flesh of cows, or a dog, or a woman in her menses, or a bhilla.

33. The various kinds of leprosy settle on the body, here or in the next world, according to the sin (committed by a person). There is no doubt about it.

34. He who snatches a brāhmaṇa’s wealth—his livelihood earned justly—gets unfailing hell (i.e. certainly goes to hell), and is not reborn (i.e. permanently lives in hell).

35. Having seen or touched a wicked man, who is intent upon finding the weak points of brāhmaṇas, a man should enter water (i.e. should bathe) with his clothes on.

36. (If) a brāhmaṇa’s wealth (deposited with one) in confidence is enjoyed by one, it would burn one’s family upto the seventh (generation). A man who enjoys it after having snatched it by overpowering a brāhmaṇa burns ten preceding and ten succeeding (generations).

37. It is not poison that is called poison; but it is a brāhmaṇa’s wealth that is called poison. Poison kills one man only; but a brāhmaṇa’s wealth kills his sons and grandsons (also).

38. A man, who through ignorance cohabits with his mother or a brāhmaṇa woman or his preceptor’s wife, falls into the terrible Raurava (hell) and finds rebirth difficult.

39-40a. His manes fall into the (hells called) Kumbhipāka, Tapana, Avīci, Kālasūtra, Mahāraurava and Raurava; and they (i.e. great sages) have never granted acquittal from these.

40b-41a. He who takes away the life of a brāhmaṇa (goes to hell and) is never reborn (i.e. permanently slays in hell). Thousands of his men (i.e. relatives) fall into the Raurava hell.

Nārada said:

41b-42a. Please tell me if the sin for the murder of all brāhmaṇas is the same or why some sin becomes fearful.

Brahmā said:

42b-43a. O son, listen to the fearful sin; that is said to be a sin, which a brāhmaṇacide obtains by killing a brāhmaṇa and which is to be told hereafter.

43b-44. The sin that a man would get due to having killed a learned, restrained brāhmaṇa, who is endowed with (the knowledge of) the Vedas, is equal to the sin that he would have by killing lakhs of crores of thousands of brāhmaṇas. It would be tenfold of this by killing (i.e. if a man kills a brāhmaṇa who is) a Viṣṇu’s devotee.

45. Causing the members of his family to fall he does not get rebirth (i.e. lives in hell permanently). There is no end to (the sin accrued by) the killing of (a brāhmaṇa) well-versed in three Vedas.

46. There is no end to the sin of a man who kills a brāhmaṇa who is learned, whose conduct is good and who is purified by sacred hymns and (bathes at) sacred places.

47. That man, who sees a brāhmaṇa who ends his life on account of an injury, would be the killer of a brāhmaṇa.

48. That man, on account of whom, a brāhmaṇa is harassed with harsh words or behaviour or is beaten up is called the killer of a brāhmaṇa.

49. Here (i.e. in this world) that killing would be the killing of all the sages, ascetics, gods, the knowers of Brahman of (various) countries and kings.

50-52. So a man who gets (i.e. commits the sin of) killing a brāhmaṇa is roasted (in a hell) with (his) dead ancestors. A man should certainly honour a brāhmaṇa fasting himself unto death; and if he, free from sins, casts, his life for that man, he is smeared with (the sin of) terrible murders and not he whom he would tell about committing suicide, climbing up a tree or living by hollows of trees[8]. He who would commit suicide would be the killer of a brāhmaṇa in his (own) family.

53. He who causes abortion or kills a child or his sick preceptor, is himself the killer of a brāhmaṇa, and not he whom he mentions.

54. That mean brāhmaṇa, who kills a brāhmaṇa with his family, alone gets the sin and not he whom he mentions.

55. The sin of a Śūdra, who accomplishes his object by killing a Brāhmaṇa does not become otherwise (i.e. does not lessen) since the Brāhmaṇa is innocent.

56. O best of brāhmaṇas, the killer, who kills a desperado (ātatāyin) instantly appearing, is not smeared (i.e. tainted) with sins.

57. A man may kill in battle a brāhmaṇa desperado, desiring to kill, even though the desperado is a master of Vedanta. By (doing) that (act) he does not become the killer of a brāhmaṇa.

58. These six are desperados: One who sets fire, one who administers poison, one who snatches (anothers’ wealth), one who kills a person who is asleep, one who usurps another’s field or one who kidnaps another’s wife.

59. These four (also) are desperados: a wicked man, one who undertakes to kill a king, one who is intent on killing one’s forefathers, a king who is a follower of another king.

60. If a brāhmaṇa is not killed instantly it is not proper (to strike) to kill him again. By killing (i.e. by striking him again to kill) him a man definitely obtains sin due to his knowledge (that the brāhmaṇa was not instantly killed).

61. In the world there is none else, who, being the preceptor of the world, is fit for being worshipped. There is no greater sin than the sin which one gets by killing him.

62. He is fit to be worshipped like a deity by the hosts of gods and demons and by men. It is certain that there is none else who is equal to a brāhmaṇa.

Nārada said:

63. O best of gods, tell me accurately, following which profession a sinless brāhmaṇa should live.

64-65. That alms which is got without asking for is said to be commendable. Living by gleaning grains is better than that; it is the best of all kinds of livelihood, resorting to which the best sages go to the position of Brahman. A brāhmaṇa visiting a sacrifice should accept the fees offered as a remnant of (i e. offered at the end of) the sacrifice.

66. Brāhmaṇas should get money by reciting (Vedic texts) to others and by acting as priests at sacrifices. Reciting (Vedic texts to others), reciting them to themselves and averting evil by means of reciting sacred texts—this is the way of the life of brāhmaṇas.

67. Accepting presents is a respectable way of life. Those who maintain themselves by the study of religious texts are blessed; so also are those who live by (eating the fruits of) trees.

68-69. Those who live on the products of trees and creepers are blessed; so also are those who live on the crop (growing by the side) of roads. Killing for food is a sin. For its alleviation one should give excellent fresh grains to brāhmaṇas. Otherwise, here i.e. in the case of the murder of a being, there is the shortening of one’s life.

70. Therefore one should give profusely to the manes, deities and brāhmaṇas. In the absence (of a brāhmaṇa’s profession), the profession of a kṣatriya is followed by brāhmaṇas.

71-72a. A brāhmaṇa should fight in righteous battles (and thus) should practise the auspicious vow of a hero. The wealth which a brāhmaṇa gets from the king by following that profession (ofa warrior), is said to be pure (when spent) in giving presents at sacrifices in honour of manes (i.e. at śrāddhas) etc.

72b-74a. An innocent brāhmaṇa should always study archery along with the Vedas. He should fully (use) the missile called Śakti, a spear, a mace, a sword, and an iron bar; he should everywhere fight by mounting a horse, or an elephant or by using war-tricks, or fight by mounting upon a chariot or standing on ground.

74b-75. How can that religious merit be obtained by the expounders of Veda, (which merit) is certainly obtained by the brave men by protecting brāhmaṇas, gods, heaven, women, ascetics, good men and women, preceptors and kings?

76-77a. Having exhausted all his sins, he obtains heaven permanently. The brāhmaṇas who fall (i.e. are killed) in a battle (while fighting) face to face, go to the highest place, inaccessible to the expounders of Veda.

77b-79. Now listen to the proper description of a righteous war. They (who fight justly) fight face to face, do not attack a coward, do not pursue the enemy who is vanquished, or who does not have a weapon, or who flees (from the battlefield), or who does not fight, who is afraid, who has fallen or who is sinless, who is a bad śūdra, who is pleased with praise, or who has sought shelter or who has surrendered in a battle.

80-81. Those of a bad conduct, who, desiring victory kill (such a person) go to hell. This is the kṣatriya way of life and is praised by people of good conduct, resorting to which all best kṣatriyas go to heaven. The death of a kṣatriya (while fighting) face to face in a just war is auspicious.

82-83. He who is pure here, is also free from all sins, and dwells in heaven which is adorned with jewels, which has golden pillars, the ground of which is adorned with jewels, which is full of desired things, which is decorated with divine cloth.

84-87. In front of it stand the desire-yielding trees giving everything. It is adorned with wells, tanks, etc. and gardens. Divine damsels endowed with youth wait upon him. Hosts of the celestial nymphs always joyfully dance before him. Gandharvas sing songs and gods praise him. Thus, in due course a man would become a sovereign emperor; he would all alone enjoy all pleasures, would be free from diseases, and would have Cupid’s body (i.e. would be very handsome). His wives would have excellent beauty and would always be endowed with youth.

88. His sons would be righteous, fair, rich and liked by parents. Thus good kṣatriyas enjoy (these pleasures) in due order for seven births.

89-91 a. The warriors (fighting) unjustly dwell in hell for a long time. In this way the kṣatriya mode of life is practised by brāhmaṇas, vaiśyas, śūdras, by the low-born and by other mleccha-castes. All warriors of all castes (including) brāhmaṇas, who always fight justly, also go to the highest place.

9lb-93. That brāhmaṇa, the best one, who is not brave, who is timid and does not have (the knowledge of wielding) missiles and weapons, should follow the vaiśya way in a difficulty. Others may also follow the vaiśya way, or practise trade. A brāhmaṇa should practise agriculture or trade, but should not give up his duties as a brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa will be meeting with a sad plight by telling false things and exaggerating on account of (i.e. for profit in) trade.

94-96. A brāhmaṇa, by giving up wet money (i.e. dakṣiṇā) gets an auspicious (place). Making his livelihood from that (i.e. trade), he should by all means give it (i.e. wealth gained by practising trade) to a brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa should duly offer (oblations) at a śrāddha and into fire. He should not indulge in falsehood in balance (i.e. while weighing things), for balance (i.e. weighing correctly) is settled in (i.e. leads to) righteousness. Practising fraud in weighing he (i.e. one who practises fraud in weighing) goes to hell. In the case of those things also which are not weighed, he should avoid falsehood.

97-98. Thus one should not practise falsehood[9], because falsehood produces sin. There is no greater merit than truth, (and) there is no greater sin than falsehood. Therefore in all acts truth alone is important. (If) the merit of a thousand horse-sacrifices and truth are weighed (together), truth is superior to a thousand horse-sacrifices.

99-100. He, who, in all his acts, speaks the truth and avoids falsehood, crosses (i.e. overcomes) difficulties and eternally obtains (i.e. lives in) heaven. A brāhmaṇa should practise trade, (but) should certainly avoid falsehood.

101-105. He should deposit the profit into (i.e. with) sacred places, and should himself eat the remaining (i.e. enjoy himself with what remains). It is thousandfold more meritorious than troubling the body. In the act of earning (i.e.for earning) money men, through greed for wealth, enter dangerous water, a forest and a jungle resorted to by wild beasts, a mountain, or an inaccessible mountain-cave, and also the house—a fearful abode—of mlecchas. Abandoning their sons and wives, the greedy go away (from their residences). Others carry burdens on their shoulders, or in a boat or on a wheel (i.e. a carriage); others (earn money) by killing (others) or by (using) slings, (thus suffering from) great agony, and always at the cost of their life. O son, hoarding money is dearer to men than their own life.

106. He, who, having carefully and justly earned money by (practising) these (vocations), gives it to the manes, deities and brāhmaṇas, gets eternal (happiness).

107-108. These two are great sins in trading, fraudulent purchase and sale. A wise man should make money by avoiding these two sins. He obtains eternal (happiness) and is not smeared (i.e. tainted) with the trader’s sins.

109. A brāhmaṇa engaged in doing virtuous acts, may (also) practise agriculture. He should drive four bulls for half the (part of a) day.

110. In the absence of four (he should employ) three. He should give them rest. He should graze them on uncut grass in a a place free from thieves and tigers.

111-112. He should give (the bulls) an abode as desired (i.e. agreeable), and should himself gratify them. For a bull he should get prepared a cowpen free from trouble, and always free from cowdung, cow urine and leavings of food eaten.[10] He should not put filth in the cowpen which is the abode of all gods.

113. A wise man should get fashioned a cowpen like his own couch. He should make it completely free from cold air and dust.

114. He should look upon the bull as his own life, and the bull’s body similar to his own. Pleasure and pain are possible in the bull’s body as in his own body.

115-116. He, who practises agriculture in this manner, would not be smeared with the sins involved in driving bulls; he would be wealthy. He, who would trouble a weak bull or a sick one, and also a very young or a very old one, would kill (i.e. commit the sin of killing) a bull.

117. There is no doubt that he, who drives an uneven pair—a weak one and a strong one—commits the sin equal to that of (i.e. equal to that obtained by) killing a bull.

118. He who drives a bull without (feeding him with) grass, or he who prevents a bull who is eating (grass, from doing so), or keeps away through folly grass or water, commits a sin equal to that (of having killed a bull).

119. Driving a plough on a saṃkrānti[11] day or a full-moon day, or a new-moon day, brings in sin to one which is (equal to that brought in by) the murder of a myriad (bulls).

120. The man, who, on these days, worships (a bull) with various kinds of sandals, collyriums, flowers and oils goes to (i.e. lives in) heaven eternally.

121-122. He who everyday gives a handful of grass to a bull, has all his sins destroyed and he obtains (i.e. lives in) heaven eternally. As a brāhmaṇa is, so is a bull; the fruit ofthe worship of both is the same. On thinking (it is clear that) a brāhmaṇa is the chief among men, and a bull among beasts.

Nārada said:

123. O innocent one, you had told me that a brāhmaṇa was born from the mouth of Brahmā.[12] O lord, O creator, how is he then equal to bulls (i.e. a bull)? I have certainly a doubt.

Brahmā said:

124-125. Listen to the fact about brāhmaṇas and bulls. Formerly men brought about the unity (between the two) by offering the funeral rice-ball to them. Formerly a great lustrous projection sprang up from the mouth of Brahmā. It became divided into four parts: Vedas, Agni (i.e. fire), Bull and Brāhmaṇa.

126. From the lustre the Veda rose first, and also Agni. Then Brāhmaṇa and Bull separately sprang up.

127. At that time, I first fashioned together the four Vedas for the stability of all the people and worlds everywhere.

128. Agni, and also the brāhmaṇa should enjoy the oblations (meant) for gods. Know that clarified butter is a product of the cow. Therefore they are begotten (from the same source).

129. If these four more important ones are not there in the worlds, then the entire world and the immobile and the mobile are doomed.

130. The worlds always supported by these, remain in their natural condition. Natural condition is the nature of brahman. (So) they are said to be of the nature of Brahman.

131. Therefore a bull should be worshipped even by gods and demons. He, the noble one, is born as the mine of excellences in all acts.

132. He is actually of the form of all gods. He feels compassion for all beings. I have formerly only made (i.e. laid down) his work with reference to nourishing.

133. Therefore only I have given him a very auspicious boon. “It is certain that only in (i.e. after) one birth you will attain salvation.”

134. All bulls that die here only will come to my abode. There will not be even an iota of sin on their bodies.

135. A cow is a goddess, (while) the bulls are gods; the first goddess has three powers. The rise of the sacrifices is certainly due to his favour.

136. All (the products) of cows, viz. urine, dung, milk, curd, ghee, which are pure, purify the entire world.

137. Sin does not remain in the body on eating (or drinking) these. Therefore the religious people always eat (or drink) ghee, curd and milk.

138. The product of cows is the best of all things, is desirable and is most auspicious. He, in whose mouth there is no food (containing the product of a cow), has a stinking figure.

139. Food eaten is (effective) for five nights; milk for a month, curd for twenty nights; and ghee for a month.

140. Evil spirits eat the meal of him (i.e. while he is eating), who eats his meals continuously for one month without using the products of cow.

141. That merit done (i.e. collected) by eating the best and purest food, moistened with hot rice is crore-fold.

142-143a. All acts done after having eaten even other food, which is made fit for oblations by the sacred precepts, would be a lakh times more effective than the fruit one would get from whatever is vegetarian food.

143b-144a. Therefore a bull alone is recommended for all acts in every yuga. In all desired objects he always is the giver of the (fruit of) pious acts, love of worldly prosperity and sensual enjoyments and salvation.

Nārada said:

144b-145a. O lord of all worlds, tell me, so that I follow correctly: In (the performance of) whichacts or by (following) which procedure great merit is known to follow?

Brahma said:

145b-146. Having gone round once, a man should salute the wealth in the form of kine. Being free from all sins he obtains heaven for ever. As the preceptor of gods is adorable or as Viṣṇu is adorable (so is a bull).

147-148. Indra went round him seven times in grandeur. Listen to the religious merit of him, who, observing a fast, and having got up at day-break, takes a pot with water (and moves) among bulls, and sprinkles the water on the bull’s horns and then receives it on his head.

149-150a. The bath taken at the places known to be sacred and thronged by Siddhas and Cāraṇas and resorted to by great sages, is equal to the sprinkling done with the water from a cow’s horn.

150b-151a. That mortal, who, having got up in the morning, would touch a cow, ghee, honey, mustard and priyaṅgu (i.e. saffron) gets free from sin.

151b-153. ‘Cows are the givers of ghee and milk; they are the source of ghee; ghee is their product; they are the rivers of ghee, and the eddies of ghee. Let them always remain in my house. Ghee (remains) in all my limbs, ghee resides in my mind. Cows are always in front of me and behind me. Cows are (present) in all (my) limbs; I live among cows.’

154. All the sin of him, who, (every) morning and evening, having sipped water, recites this sacred hymn, perishes; and he is adored in heaven.

155. As is the bull, so is a brāhmaṇa; as is a brāhmaṇa, so is Hari, so is the Ganges; these are not said to be non-bulls.

156. Bulls are the kinsmen of men; men are the kinsmen of bulls. That house in which there is no bull is without kinsmen.

157. The Vedas with their six limbs and the pada and krama, reside in the mouth of cow. On the horns Hari and Keśava always stay together.

158. In the belly lives Skanda; and Brahmā always remains in the head. Śaṅkara lives in the forehead and Indra on the tip of the horn.

159-164a. The deities, Aśvins, live in the ears; the Moon and the Sun live in the eyes. God Garuḍa lives in the teeth, and Sarasvatī in the tongue. All the sacred places remain in the anus, and the Ganges in the urine. The sages live in the pores of the skin, and Yama lives in the backside of the face. Kubera and Varuṇa have resorted to the right side; the lustrous and very powerful Yakṣas reside in the left side. Gandharvas reside in the centre of the face, and the serpents on the tip of the nose. The celestial nymphs have resorted to the hind parts of the hoofs. The all-auspicious Lakṣmī resides in the cow-dung and cow-urine. Those who move in the sky reside on the tips of the feet; Prajāpati lives in the bellowing sound. The full four oceans reside in the udders of the cows.

164b-166a. A mortal who everyday bathes and touches a cow, gets relieved from all major sins. He who holds by (i.e. on) his head the dust raised by the hoofs of the cows, has (indeed) bathed in all the sacred places and is free from all sins.

Nārada said:

166b-167a. O best of preceptors, O Brahman, if you like, (please) tell me which fruit is obtained by presenting which (kind of) cow out of the cows of ten colours.

Brahmā said:

167b-168a. By giving a white cow to a brāhmaṇa, a man becomes wealthy. He always lives in a palace, and enjoying pleasure, becomes happy.

168b. A grey cow (i.e. presenting a grey cow) relieves (a man) from sins in (this) wilderness of the mundane existence and (takes him to) heaven.

169. The gift of a tawny cow (gives) an inexhaustible (fruit). By giving a black cow, a man does not sink. A yellowish white cow is difficult to get in the world. A yellowish cow delights the family.

170. A cow (i.e. the gift of a cow) with red eyes (is recommended) for (a man) who desires handsomeness. A black cow (i.e. the gift of a black cow) (is recommended) for (a man) who desires wealth. By presenting only a tawny cow a man is free from all sins.

171-173a. All the sin, such as committed in childhood, youth or old age, or by words, deeds, or conceived by mind, and the sin due to cohabitation with one with whom it is prohibited, or the sin of treachery towards a friend, and also (the sin due to) fraud in measuring or weighing, or falsehood with reference to a girl or a cow, of him, who presents a tawny cow, perishes.

173b-175a. A cow should be looked upon as the earth, having a big river extending over ten yojanas, and having large banks, with water-elephants in the water-forest—the extended ocean of water—as long as she does not release her embryo (i.e. does not bring forth a calf)—as long as the two feet and the face of the calf have not come out.

175b-1 77. A man should give a tawny cow with golden horns, endowed (decorated) with a piece of cloth and with all ornaments, with a reddish back, silver hoofs and bell-metal udders, adorned with sandal and flowers and with all ornaments, to a brāhmaṇa who has mastered the Vedas. All his sins perish, and he does not fall from the world (i.e. heaven) of Viṣṇu.

178. When she is being milked drops (of milk) fall on the earth. (From them) excellent gardens with many flowers, are produced.

179. Those who give cows (to brāhmaṇas) go there, where there are desire-yielding trees, where the rivers have thick milk, and where there are golden palaces also.

180. Brahmā has said that the fruit is the same (to him) who gives ten cows or one bull.

181. He should give one (bull) with ten (cows); the fruit of giving thousand is hundred (-fold). O Nārada, the fruit is to be carefully understood accordingly.

182. The ancestors of that son, who releases a bull on the earth dedicating it to those manes, are honoured in Viṣṇu’s world (i.e. heaven) as desired (by them).

183. Four weaned female calves for one bull are released. O son, this is the old rule everywhere.

184. Men enjoy heaven for thousands of years i.e. for as many years as there are hairs on (the bodies of) them.

185. That water which a bull tosses up with his tail would be (i.e. would serve as) nectar to the manes for a thousand years.

186. The ground or the clod that he tears—and also the mud (trodden by him) is Svadhā for the manes having a crore-fold effect.

187. If a man’s father is alive, (but) his mother is dead, a cow marked with sandal is given for her (going to the) heaven (i.e. the gift of such a cow takes the mother to heaven).

188. Such a giver pays off the debt of the manes. He gets (i.e. lives in) heaven eternally and is honoured like Indra.

189. A young milch cow, endowed with all (good) characteristics, and regularly bringing forth (calves) is auspicious and is said to be the earth.

190. The gift of him accompanied by a sacred hymn has the same fruit as the gift of the earth. (Such) a man, resembling Indra emancipates a hundred (members) of his family.

191. If the cow or her calf dies after a man steals a cow, he would remain in a well full of worms till the destruction of the beings (i.e. till deluge).

192. Having killed cows (i.e. he who kills cows) is cooked with manes in the terrible Raurava hell; the retridution [retribution?] lasts till that time.

193. A breaker of a bull or one who yokes (to a vehicle) or ties a bull set at liberty, will eternally get (i.e. go to) hell, birth after birth.

194. He who recites to others this most auspicious account even once, has all his sins perished, and enjoys with gods.

195. He who listens to this great (account), which is most auspicious, gets, at that moment only, free from sins committed during seven births.

Footnotes and references:


Cāndrāyaṇa—see note on 47.37 above.


Manu (4.88-90) gives the names of the following twenty-one hells: Tāmisra, Andhatāmisra, Mahāraurava, Raurava, Kālasūtra, Mahānaraka, Saṃjīvana, Mahāvici, Tapana, Sampratāpana, Saṃhāta, Sakākola, Kuḍmala, Pratimūrtika, Lohaśaṅku, Ṛjīṣa, Panthā, Śālmalī, Vaitaraṇī, Asipatravana, Lohadāraka. According to him, he, who accepts gifts from a king who does not rule properly, falls into these hells one by one.


Vicarcikā—itch, scab.


Maṇḍala—a kind of cutaneous eruption or leprosy with circular spots.


Dadrū—a cutaneous eruption—a kind of leprosy.




Sidhmaka—one of the eighteen kinds of leprosy.


This and many other verses here are not properly worded.


Cf. Mahābhārata 1.69.24a.


vighasa—leavings of food eaten.


Pasage esp. of the sun from one zodiacal sign into another.


Vipro Brahmamukhe... The famous Purusasūkta tells the same thing.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: