"Yudhishthira said, 'I have heard that the dung of the cow is endued with Sree. I desire to hear how this has been brought about. I have doubts, O grandsire, which thou shouldst dispel.' 1
"Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old story, O monarch, of the conversation between kine and Sree, O best of the Bharatas! Once on a time the goddess Sree, assuming a very beautiful form, entered a herd of kine. The kine, beholding her wealth of beauty, became filled with wonder.'
"The kine said, 'Who art thou, O goddess? Whence hast thou become unrivalled on earth for beauty? O highly blessed goddess, we have been filled with wonder at thy wealth of beauty. We desire to know who thou art. Who, indeed, art thou? Whither wilt thou proceed? O thou of very superior splendour of complexion, do tell us in detail all we wish to know.'
"Sri said, 'Blessed be ye, I am dear unto all creatures. Indeed, I am known by the name of Sri. Forsaken by me, the Daityas have been lost for ever. The deities, viz., Indra, Vivaswat, Soma, Vishnu, Varuna, and Agni, having obtained me, are sporting in joy and will do so for ever. Verily, the Rishis and the deities, only when they are endued with me, have success. Ye kine, those beings meet with destruction into whom I do not enter. Religion, wealth, and pleasure, only when endued with me, become sources of happiness. Ye kine who are givers of happiness, know that I am possessed of even such energy! I wish to always reside in every one of you. Repairing to your presence, I solicit you. Be all of you endued with Sri.
"The kine said, 'Thou art fickle and restless. Thou sufferest thyself to be enjoyed by many persons. We do not desire to have thee. Blessed be thou, go wheresoever thou pleasest. As regards ourselves, all of us are possessed of good forms. What need have we with thee? Go wheresoever
thou likest. Thou hast already (by answering our questions) gratified us exceedingly.'
"Sri said, 'Is it proper with you, ye kine that you do not welcome me? I am difficult of being attained. Why then do you not accept me? It seems, ye creatures of excellent vows, that the popular proverb is true, viz., that it is certain that when one come to another of one's own accord and without being sought, one meets with disregard. The Gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas, the Rakshasas and human beings succeed in obtaining me only after undergoing the severest austerities. You who have such energy, do ye take me. Ye amiable ones, I am never disregarded by any one in the three worlds of mobile and immobile creatures.'
"The kine said, 'We do not disregard thee, O goddess. We do not show thee a slight! Thou art fickle and of a very restless heart. It is for this only that we take leave of thee. What need of much talk? Do thou go wheresoever thou choosest. All of us are endued with excellent forms. What need have we with thee, O sinless one?'
"Sri said, 'Ye givers of honours, cast off by you in this way, I shall certainly be an object of disregard with all the world. Do ye show me grace. Ye are all highly blessed. Ye are ever ready to grant protection unto those that seek your protection. I have come to you soliciting your protection. I have no fault. Do you rescue me (from this situation). Know that I shall always be devoted to you. I am desirous of residing in any parts, however repulsive, of your bodies. Indeed, I wish to reside in even your rectum. Ye sinless ones, I do not see that ye have any part in your bodies that may be regarded as repulsive, for ye are sacred, and sanctifying, and highly blessed. Do ye, however, grant my prayer. Do ye tell me in which part, of your bodies I shall take up my residence.'
"Bhishma continued, 'Thus addressed by Sri, the kine, always auspicious and inclined to kindness unto all who are devoted to them, took counsel with one another, and then addressing Sri, and unto her, O king, these words.'
"The kine said, 'O thou of great fame, it is certainly desirable that we should honour thee. Do thou live in our urine and dung. Both these are sacred, O auspicious goddess!
"Sri said, 'By good luck, ye have shown me much grace implying your desire to favour me. Let it be even as ye say! Blessed be ye all, I have really been honoured by you, ye givers of happiness!
"Bhishma continued, 'Having, O Bharata, made this compact with the kine, Sri, there and then, in the very sight of those kine, rendered herself invisible. I have thus told thee, O son, the glory of the dung of kine, I shall once again discourse to thee on the glory of kine. Do thou listen to me."
121:1 Sri is the goddess of Prosperity. The answer of Bhishma will explain the question fully.