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XII, 4. The necessity of giving away sterile cows to the Brahmans.

1. 'I give,' he shall surely say,'the sterile cow to the begging Brahmans'--and they have noted her--that brings progeny and offspring!
2. With his offspring does he trade, of his cattle is he deprived, that refuses to give the cow of the gods to the begging descendants of the Rishis.
3. Through (the gift of) a cow with broken horns his (cattle) breaks down, through a lame one he tumbles into a pit, through a mutilated one his house is burned, through a one-eyed one his property is given away.
4. Flow of blood attacks the cattle-owner from the spot where her dung is deposited: this understanding there is about the vasâ (the sterile cow); for thou (sterile cow) art said to be very difficult to deceive!
5. From the resting-place of her feet the (disease) called viklindu overtakes (the owner, or the cattle). Without sickness breaks down (the cattle) which she sniffs upon with her nose.
6. He that pierces her ears is estranged from the gods. He thinks: 'I am making a mark (upon her),' (but) he diminishes his own property.
7. If any one for whatsoever purpose cuts her tail then do his colts die, and the wolf tears his calves.
8. If a crow has injured her hair, as long as she is with her owner then do his children die: decline overtakes them without (noticeable) sickness.
9. If the serving-maid sweeps together her dung, that bites as lye, there arises from this sin disfigurement that passeth not away.
10. The sterile cow in her very birth is born for the gods and Brâhmanas. Hence to the Brahmans she is to be given: that, they say, guarantees the security of one's own property.
11. For those that come requesting her the cow has been created by the gods. Oppression of Brahmans it is called, if he keeps her for himself.
12. He that refuses to give the cow of the gods to the descendants of the Rishis who ask for it, infringes upon the gods, and the wrath of the Brâhmanas.
13. Though he derives benefit from this sterile cow, another (cow) then shall he seek! When kept she injures (his) folk, if he refuses to give her after she has been asked for!
14. The sterile cow is as a treasure deposited for die Brâhmanas: they come here for her, with whomsoever she is born.
15. The Brâhmanas come here for their own, when they come for the sterile cow. The refusal of her is, as though he were oppressing them in other concerns.
I& If she herds up to her third year, and no disease is discovered in her, and he finds her to be a sterile cow, O Nârada, then must he look for the Brâhmanas.
17. If he denies that she is sterile, a treasure deposited for the gods, then Bhava and Sarva, both, come upon him, and hurl their arrow upon him.
18. Though he does not perceive upon her either udder, or tits, yet both yield him milk, if he has prevailed upon himself to give away the sterile cow.
19. Hard to cheat, she oppresses him, if, when asked for, he refuses to give her. His desires are not fulfilled, if he aims to accomplish them without giving her away.
20. The gods did ask for the sterile cow, making the Brâhmana their mouthpiece. The man that does not give (her) enters into the wrath of all of these.
21. Into the wrath of the cattle enters he that gives not the sterile cow to the Brâhmanas; if he, the mortal, appropriates the share deposited for the gods.
22. Even if a hundred other Brâhmanas beg the owner for the sterile cow, yet the gods did say anent her: 'The cow belongs to him that knoweth thus.'
23. He that refuses the sterile cow to him that knoweth thus, and gives her to others, difficult to dwell upon is for him the earth with her divinities.
24. The gods did beg the sterile cow of him wilh whom she was born at first. That very one Nârada recognised and drove forth in company with the gods.
25. The sterile cow renders childless, and poor in cattle, him that yet appropriates her, when she has been begged for by the Brâhmanas.
26. For Agni and Soma, for Kâma, for Mitra, and for Varuna, for these do the Brâhmanas beg her: upon these he infringes, if he gl ves her not.
27. As long as the owner does not himself hear the stanzas referring to (the giving away of) her, she may herd among his cattle; (only) if he has not heard (them) may she pass the night in his house.
28. He that has listened to the stanzas, yet has permitted her to herd among the cattle, his life and prosperity the angry gods destroy.
29. The sterile cow, even when she rambles freely, is a treasure deposited for the gods. Make evident thy true nature when thou desirest to go to thy (proper) stable!
30. She makes evident her nature when she desires to go to her (proper) stable. Then indeed the sterile cow puts it into the minds of the Brahmans to beg (for her).
31. She evolves it in her mind, that (thought) reaches the gods. Then do the Brahmans come to beg for the sterile cow.
32. The call svadhâ befriends him with the Fathers, the sacrifice with the gods. Through the gift of the sterile cow the man of royal caste incurs not the anger of (her), his mother.
33. The sterile cow is the mother of the man of royal caste: thus was it from the beginning. It is said to be no (real) deprivation if she is given to the Brahmans.
34. As if he were to rob the ghee ladled up for Agni (the fire) from the (very) spoon, thus, if he gives not the sterile cow to the Brahmans, does he infringe upon Agni.
35. The sterile cow has the purodasa (sacrificial cake) for her calf, she yields plentiful milk, helps in this world, and fulfils all wishes for him that gives her (to the Brahmans).
36. The sterile cow fulfils all wishes in the kingdom of Yama for him that gives her. But they say that hell falls to the lot of him that withholds her, when she has been begged for.
37. The sterile cow, even if she should become fruitful, lives in anger at her owner: 'since he did regard me as sterile (without giving me to the Brahmans), he shall be bound in the fetters of death!'
38, He who thinks that the cow is sterile, and (yet) roasts her at home, even his children qnd grandchildren Brihaspati causes to be importuned (for her).
39. Fiercely does the (supposed) sterile cow burn when she herds with the cattle, though she be a (fruitful) cow. She verily, too, milks poison for the owner that does not present her.
40. It pleases the cattle when she is given to the Brahmans; moreover, the sterile cow is pleased, when she is made an offering to the gods (Brahmans).
41. From the sterile cows which the gods, returning from the sacrifice, created, Nârada picked out as (most) terrible the viliptî.
42. In reference to her the gods reflected: 'Is she a sterile cow, or not?' And Nârada in reference to her said: 'Of sterile cows she is the most sterile!'
43. 'How many sterile cows (are there), O Nârada, which thou knowest to be born among men?' About these do I ask thee, that knowest: 'Of which may the non-Brâhmana not eat?'
44. Of the viliptî, of her that has born a sterile cow, and of the sterile cow (herself), the non-Brâhmana, that hopes for prosperity, shall not eat!
45. Reverence be to thee, O Nârada, that knowest thoroughly which sterile cow is the most terrible, by withholding which (from the Brahmans) destruction is.incurred.
46. The viliptî, O Brihaspati, her that has, begotten a sterile cow, and the sterile cow (herself), the non-Brâhmana, that hopes for prosperity, shall not eat!
47. Three kinds, forsooth, of sterile cows are there: the viliptî, she that has begotten a sterile cow, and the sterile cow (herself). These he shall give to the Brahmans; (then) does he not estrange himself from Pragâpati.
48. 'This is your oblation, O Brâhmanas,' thus shall he reflect, if he is supplicated, if they ask him for the sterile cow, terrible in the house of him that refuses to give her.
49. The gods animadverted in reference to Bheda and the sterile cow, angry because he had not given her, in these verses-and therefore he (Bheda) perished.
50. Bheda did not present the sterile cow, though requested by Indra: for this sin the gods crushed him in battle.
51. The counsellors that advise the withholding (of the sterile cow), they, the rogues, in their folly, conflict with the wrath of Indra.
52. They who lead the owner of cattle aside, then say to him: 'do not give,' in their folly they run into the missile hurled by Rudra.
53. And if he roasts the sterile cow at home, whether he makes a sacrifice of her, or not, he sins against the gods and Brâhmanas, and as a cheat falls from heaven.

Next: XI, 1. The preparation of the brahmaudana, the porridge given as a fee to the Brahmans