Vishvamitra Asks Vasishta for the Desire Cow


Vishvamitra tries to gain Kaamadhenu, but Sage Vashishta persistently refuses Vishvamitra's bargains and barters [exchange]. 'When an ordinary cow alone is held sacred and it is an un-marketable commodity, how then can Shabala, milk-er 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.

Chapter [Sarga] 53 – in Detail

Oh, enemy-chastener Rama, when the Divine Cow Shabala is spoken in this way by Sage Vashishta, then that milk-er 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]

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 [in truth] apposite [relevant or apt] to royalties and army-men. [1-53-2]

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 [full] with daintily [tasty] 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 [resembling something heavily sweet and cloying] dumplings [usually baked dessert of fruit wrapped in dough] of cane sugar. [1-53-3, 4]

Oh, Rama, all of the men in the forces of Vishvamitra, who are already rejoiced and regaled [feast with delicacies] 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]

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 [expressing great joy] and energetic. [1-53-6]

When honored 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]

You showed me a generous hospitality whereby I am esteemed by an estimable [valuable] sage like you, oh, expert in sententiousness [moralistic in expression], now I wish to say for myself to which you may please listen. [1-53-8]

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 [to put to use] this cow to me. As rule this cow also belongs to me.' Thus Vishvamitra said to Vashishta. [1-53-9, 10a]

When Vishvamitra addressed him in that way, the reverential [having a quality of honor] sage Vashishta, who is a virtue-souled eminent saint, on his part replied the king in this way. [1-53-10b, 11a]

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]

Abandoning her from my proximity is unmeet for her, oh, enemy-subjugator [conqueror], you cannot even subjugate [to make submissive] me terroristically [by terror] and try to wean [to detach from a source of dependence] 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]

This cow makes the journey of my life possible. Oblations [the act of making a religious offering] 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]

This cow is the bedrock [basis] for everything in its entirety, and regarding diverse and numerous indoctrinations [to instruct especially in fundamentals], 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]

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]

Though Vashishta spoke thus Vishvamitra being an expert in sententiousness [moralistic in expression] then spoke this sentence compellingly and argumentatively. [1-53-16b, 17a]

I bestow upon you fourteen thousand elephants adorned with golden girdles, golden necklace and golden goads [a pointed rod used to urge on an animal]. [1-53-17b, 18a]

I will grant you eight hundred golden chariots whichever can be yoked [linked] on with four whitely-white horses trimmed up with the sets of tintinnabulating [a jingling or tinkling sound] bells. [1-53-18b, 19a]

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]

I award ten million diversely colored and differently divisionalized cows, whichever of them will be came of age as milk-er, thereby, let this do-all cow Shabala be given to me. [1-53-20]

Or, oh, eminent Brahman, if you yearn [desire] 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]

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]

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 [to overlay with thin covering of gold] chariots, horses or elephants... really, this alone is my everything, thus I need nothing from you... and actually, this alone is my alter-ego [a trusted friend], thus you cannot separate me from myself. [1-53-23]

This alone is my darsha, paurna 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]

Oh, king, all of my activities are instated [invested] in this cow, then wherefore a lot of palavering [to talk profusely or idly] a bargain or barter? I do not give away this milk-er any wish. So said Vashishta to Vishvamitra, and thus Sage Shataananda continued his narration of the legend of Sacred Cow. [1-53-25]

Thus, this is the 53rd chapter in Bala Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate