Nandini Be Mine!"
King Vishwamitra observed all this. It was a wonder of wonders. How could a poor hermit
residing in a forest entertain so
many people to a sumptuous meal of so high a standard? He asked Vashishta as to how such a
feat could be accomplished at such a short notice. When he came to
know that it was a boon granted byNandini, he was dumbfounded.
A little later he thought, "Being a king, I should have such a cow."
He addressed Vashishta thus: "Make a gift of this cow Nandini to me. In return I will
give you one lakh cows, jewels, fourteen thousand sturdy elephants and eight hundred
gem-studded chariots and many other valuables."
Vashishta replied, "0, great king, this cow Nandini has been gifted to me by
Kamadhenu, her mother, so that my daily sacrifices, rites, rituals and penance are
performed, as well as to entertain my guests in a befitting manner. That is all the riches
I possess. How can I part with it?"
Vishwamitra was unhappy with this reply. "Why do you, a sage residing in a forest,
require such a cow? I am a king. Such rare and worthy things rightly belong to the king.
Nandini should be mine, "he said.
Vashishta replied in a calm tone, "0 king, I have no power to gift her."