'KAMA-KANCHANA' (Lust and Gold)


A BRAHMANA was laying out a garden. He looked after it day and night. One day a cow strayed into the garden and browsed on a mango sapling of which the brahmana used to take special care. When he saw the cow destroying his favourite plant, the brahmana became wild with rage, and gave such a severe beating to the animal that it died of the injuries received. The news soon spread like wild-fire that the brahmana had killed the sacred animal. When any one attributed the sin of that act to him, the brahmana, who professed himself to be a Vedantin, denied the charge, saying: '"No, I have not killed the cow; it is my hand that had done it; and as god Indra is the presiding deity of the hand, it is he who has incurred the sin of killing the cow, not I." Indra, in his heaven, heard of this. He assumed the shape of an old brahmana, and coming to the owner of the garden, said, "Sir, whose garden is this?"

Brahmana: Mine.

Indra: It is a beautiful garden. You have got a skilful gardener; for see how neatly and artistically he has planted the trees.

Brahmana: Well, sir, this is all my work. The trees were planted under my personal supervision and direction.

Indra: Very nicely done, indeed! Who has laid out this path? It is very well-planned and neatly executed.

Brahmana: All that has been done by me.

Then Indra said with folded hands, "When all these things are yours, and when you take credit for all the work done in this garden, it is not proper that poor Indra should be made responsible for killing the cow." (46)