by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291
This page describes importance of giving a cow at prayaga which is chapter 42 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-second chapter of the Svarga-khanda (section on the heavens) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.
1-24. O king, hear again the greatness of Prayāga, going where, a man is freed from all sins. There is no doubt about it. Except Prayāga, there is absolutely no eternal place for the afflicted and the poor who are of a firm resolve. A man who having reached the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā, would cast his life, goes in an aeroplane having the colour of heated gold and resembling the sun, (and) rejoices in heaven in the company of gandharvas and celestial nymphs. The best sages say that (such) a man obtains desired objects. He rejoices with all auspicious things, divine and full of gems, is accompanied by various flags and surrounded by excellent damsels. He when asleep is awakened by the sound of songs and musical instruments. As long as he does not call to mind (his earthly) existence (or life), he is honoured in heaven. Then deprived of heaven, having fallen from there due to the (fruit of) his deeds being exhausted, he is born in a rich family full of (i.e. accomplished with) gold and gems. He recollects that holy place, and merely by remembering it he goes there. The best sages say that a man, being in a region or in a forest or in a foreign country, or in his own house, who would cast his life (there) by just remembering Prayāga, obtains (i.e. goes to) Brahmā’s world, where the golden land is full of all desired objects, and to which world the seers and sages go. Due to the deeds done by him in this world a man rejoices along with the sages on the charming, auspicious bank of Mandākinī crowded with thousands of women. In heaven he is honoured by siddhas, cāraṇas, gandharvas and deities. Then fallen from heaven, he would be a lord in Jambudvīpa. Then repeatedly thinking about auspicious deeds, he undoubtedly becomes virtuous and endowed with wealth in this world. He who is well-settled in truthfulness by deeds, speech and mind, and gives gifts in between (the region of) Gaṅgā and Yamunā (gets liberation). He, who accepts gold, jewels, pearls or grains at his own rite or in honour of the manes, or in the worship of deities, has his visit to the holy places rendered fruitless as long as he gets the fruit of that (i.e. accepting gifts). Thus a man should not accept (gifts) at a holy place and a sanctuary. A twice-born should be careful about all omens. He who gives a tawny, red-coloured, golden-horned, silver-hoofed milch-cow with a piece of cloth round her neck (to a brāhmaṇa) at Prayāga (gets liberation). Having properly secured at Prayāga a learned, good, tranquil, pious brāhmaṇa, master of the Vedas, and wearing white garments, that cow should be given to him at the confluence of Gaṅgā and Yamunā. Costly garments, various jewels (should also be given). The man (who gives such a gift) is honoured in heaven for as many thousand years as there is hair on the limbs of the cow, O best one. The cow is born there where he is born. Due to that act he does not see (i.e. go to) horrible hell. Having reached Uttara Kuru, he rejoices for an inexhaustible period. (Instead of giving) hundreds and thousands of bulls he should give one milch-cow. One cow would liberate sons, wife and servants. Therefore, of all gifts, the gift of a cow is the best. In a terrible, insurmountable difficulty due to a horrible sin, a cow alone protects (a man). Therefore (a cow) should be given to a brāhmaṇa.