Harry R. Schwartz

Code writer, sometime Internet enthusiast, attractive nuisance.

The author at the Palais du Luxembourg in Paris, November 2022. hacker news gitlab sourcehut pinboard librarything 1B41 8F2C 23DE DD9C 807E A74F 841B 3DAE 25AE 721B


British Columbia



A Thousand Cows


Published .
Tags: animals, history.

It’s time to talk about Yajnavalkya, the legendary Indian sage:

King Janaka of Videha once performed a lavish sacrifice and distributed many gifts. Many wise men from Kuru and Panchala attended the ceremony, and Janaka wanted to know who was the wisest among them. So he drove a thousand cows into a pen, and between the horns of each cow he fastened ten gold coins. Then he said: “Venerable brahmins, these cows are for the wisest among you. Let him take them away.”

None of the other brahmins dared to speak, but Yajnavalkya said to his pupil Samashrava: “Son, you can drive these cows home.” “Hero of seers!” his pupil exclaimed joyfully, and drove them home.

The other brahmins were furious. “How presumptuous!” they shouted. And Ashvala, the royal priest, asked: “Yajnavalkya, do you really believe you are the wisest of those assembled here?”

Yajnavalkya replied: “I salute the wisest, but I want those cows.”

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Moral: take the cows.

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