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Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1895], at

p. 97


On the duty of giving cows to Brāhmans, and the sin and danger of withholding the gift

1Give the gift, shall be his word: and straightway they have bound
   the Cow
  For Brāhman priests who beg the boon. That bringeth sons and
2He trades and traffics with his sons, and in his cattle suffers loss.
  Who will not give the Cow of Gods to Rishis children when
   they beg.
3They perish through a hornless cow, a lame cow sinks them in a
  Through a maimed cow his house is burnt: a one-eyed cow
   destroys his wealth.
4Fierce fever where her droppings fall attacks the master of the
  So have they named her Vasa, for thou art called uncontrollable.
5The malady Viklindu springs on him from ground whereon she
  And suddenly, from fell disease, perish the men on whom she
6Whoever twitches up her ears is separated from the Gods.
  He deems he makes a mark, but he diminishes his wealth
7If to his own advantage one applies the long hair of her tail, p. 98
  His colts, in consequence thereof. die, and the wolf destroys his
8If, while her master owneth her, a carrion crow hath harmed her
  His young boys die thereof, Decline o'ertakes them after fell
9What time the Dāsi woman throws lye on the droppings of the
  Misshapen birth arises thence, inseparable from that sin.
10For Gods and Brāhmans is the Cow produced when first she
   springs to life,
  Hence to the priests must she be given: this they call guarding
   private wealth.
11The God-created Cow belongs to those who come to ask for
  They call it outrage on the priests when one retains her as his
12He who withholds the Cow of Gods from Rishis' sons who ask
   the gift
  Is made an alien to the Gods, and subject to the Brāhmans'
13Then let him seek another Cow, whate'er his profit be in this.
  The Cow, not given, harms a man when he denies her at their
14Like a rich treasure stored away in safety is the Brāhmans' Cow.
  Therefore men come to visit her, with whomsoever she is born.
15So when the Brāhmans come unto the Cow they come unto their
  For this is her withholding, to oppress these in another life.
16Thus after three years may she go, speaking what is not under-
  He, Nārads! would know the Cow, then Brāhmans must be
   sought unto.
17Whoso calls her a worthless Cow, the stored-up treasure of the
  Bhava and Sarva, both of them, move round and shoot a shaft
   at him.
18The man who hath no knowledge of her udder and the teats
   thereof, p. 99
  She yields him milk with these, if he hath purposed to bestow
   the Cow.
19If he withholds the Cow they beg, she lies rebellious in his stall.
  Vain are the wishes and the hopes which he, withholding her,
   would gain.
20The Deities have begged the Cow, using the Brāhman as their
  The man who gives her not incurs the enmity of all the Gods.
21Withholding her from Brāhmans, he incurs the anger of the
  When mortal man appropriates the destined portion of the
22If hundred other Brāhmans beg the Cow of him who owneth
  The Gods have said, She, verily, belongs to him who knows the
23Whoso to others, not to him who hath this knowledge, gives the
  Earth, with the Deities, is hard for him to win and rest upon.
24The Deities begged the Cow from him with whom at first she
   was produced:
  Her, this one, Nārada would know: with Deities he drove her
25The Cow deprives of progeny and makes him poor in cattle who
  Retains in his possession her whom Brāhmans have solicited.
26For Agni and for Soma, for Kāma, Mitra and Varuna,
  For these the Brāhmans ask: from these is he who giveth not
27Long as her owner hath not heard, himself, the verses, let her
  Among his kine: when he hath heard, let her not make her
   home with him;
28He who hath heard her verses and still makes her roam among
   his kine.
  The Gods in anger rend away his life and his prosperity
29Roaming in many a place the Cow is the stored treasure of the
  Make manifest thy shape and form when she would seek her
   dwelling-place. p. 100
30Her shape and form she manifests when she would seek her
  Then verily the Cow attends to Brāhman priests and their
31This thought he settles in his mind. This safely goeth to the
  Then verily the Brāhman priests approach that they may beg the
32By Svadhā to the Fathers, by sacrifice to the Deities,
  By giving them the Cow, the Prince doth not incur the mother's.
33The Prince's mother is the Cow: so was it ordered from of old.
  She, when bestowed upon the priests, cannot be given back, they
34As molten butter, held at length, drops down to Agni from the
  So falls away from Agni he who gives no Cow to Brāhman
35Good milker, with rice-cake as calf, she in the world comes
   nigh to him,
  To him who gave her as a gift the Cow grants every hope and.
36In Yama's realm the Cow fulfils each wish for him who gave her
  But hell, they say, is for the man who, when they beg, bestow
   her not.
37Enraged against her owner roams the Cow when she hath been
  He deemed me fruitless is her thought; let him be bound in,
   snares of Death!
38Whoever looking on the Cow as fruitless, cooks her flesh at
  Brihaspati compels his sons and children of his sons to beg.
39Downward she sends a mighty heat, though amid kine a Cow
   she roams.
  Poison she yields for him who owns and hath not given her away.
40The animal is happy when it is bestowed upon the priests:
  But happy is the Cow when she is made a sacrifice to Gods.
41Nārada chose the terrible Vilipti out of all the cows Which the p. 101
  Gods formed and framed when they had risen up from sacri-
42The Gods considered her in doubt whether she were a Cow or
  Mirada spake of her and said, The veriest Cow of cows is she.
43How many cows, O Nārada, knowest thou, born among man-
  I ask thee who dost know, of which must none who is no
  Brāhman eat?
44Vilipti, cow, and she who drops no second calf, Brihaspati!
  Of these none not a Brāhmana should eat if he hope for emi-
45Homage, O Nārada, to thee who hast quick knowledge of the
  Which of these is the direst, whose withholding bringeth death
   to man?
46Vilipti, O Brihaspati, cow, mother of no second calf—Of these
   none not a Brāhman should eat if he hope for eminence.
47Threefold are kine, Vilipti, cow, the mother of no seeond calf:
  These one should give to priests, and he will not offend Prajā-
48This Brāhmans! is your sacrifice: thus should one think when he
   is asked,
  What time they beg from him the Cow fearful in the with-
   holder's house.
49He gave her not to us, so spake the Gods, in anger, of the Cow.
  With these same verses they addressed Bheda: this brought
   him to his death.
50Solicited by Indra, still Bheda refused to give this Cow.
  In strife for victory the Gods destroyed him for that sin of his.
51The men of evil counsel who advise refusal of the Cow,
  Miscreants, through their foolishness, are subjected to Indra's
52They who seduce the owner of the Cow and say, Bestow her
  Encounter through their want of sense the missile shot by
  Rudra's hand.
53If in his home one cooks the Cow, sacrificed or not sacrificed.
  Wronger of Gods and Brāhmans' he departs, dishonest, from
   the world.

p. 102

Next: Hymn 5: On the duty of giving cows to Brāhmans, and the sin and danger of withholding the gift