As soon as it was morning,Sudakshinadevi
brought fresh and fragrant flowers and
worshipped Nandini. The king held
the calf for Nandini to feed it, and then tied it in its
place. Then he released Nandini to
go for grazing. The queen also started to follow the cow, but he asked
her to stay in the ashrama. And then, to protect Nandini from any possible
danger, Dileepa himself, so famous as a king, started as her guard. When
the king starts out, it is the duty of his servants to follow as his guards.
So they also got ready to go. But Dileepa said: "None of you need come
for my protection. And I am enough to protect this cow." He sent them back.
Though he was a great king, Dileepa
did not feel it lowly to graze the cow.He looked after Nandini much better
than anycowherd who had ever served a cow. He put tasty tender grass into
Nandini'smouth. He chased off flies and other insects, which sat on her
and teased her.The cowroamed about, as it liked. Close on her heels was
king Dileepa. When she stood, he waited. He followed her, whatever the
direction she chose. If she lay down, he squatted nearby. Where she drank
water, there he also drank. He followed Nandini like her shadow.
Dileepa had now no royal emblems. He
had no crown or ornaments, no royal fan or the white umbrella. Yet the
luster of his body did not diminish. He was always watchful against wild
animals' causing any danger and remained close to Nandini, ready to shoot
them down with his arrows.
It was evening. Light was gradually
receding. Nandini made the spots of her jaunt clean and holy and remembering
young one, turned towards the hermitage.
The king was just by her side. Wild boars
jumping out from pits, peacocks strutting
towards the trees which were their homes and deer prancing on grassy plots,
were all prancing on grassy plots, were all sighted.
Dileepa found the whole forest a black
expanse. He walked behind the holy cow intently, as if the eyes were his
Nandini returned to the hermitage.
Sudakshina was overjoyed at its sight. She came with a cup of coloured
rice. She went round the cow respectfully, made an obeisance, and worshipped
her placing colored rice and vermilion on her forehead between the horns.
Though Nandini was very eager to see her own child, she received the courtesies
and worship offered by queen Sudakshina. The king and queen were both very
pleased. The king then prostrated before sageVasishtha who was sitting
with his wife Arundhati, and
then offered his evening worship.
After the calf fed itself with Nandini's milk and the rest of the milk
was drawn out, the king did other services to Nandini. He placed good grass
before her and also lighted a wick nearby. Nandini lay down. The royal
couple sat nearby; when Nandini slept, they also slept. When she got up
next morning they too got up.
It went on like this for twenty-one
days. The king always followed the cow like its
shadow. Day and night Dileepa and
Sudakshina followed the ritual of serving and worshipping Nandini.