(1) The son of Vyâsa said: 'One day [in their youth], o King, went the Yadu boys Sâmba, Pradyumna, Câru, Bhânu, Gada and others to a park to play. (2) Playing for a long time there looked they, being thirsty, for water and discovered they in a dry well an amazing creature. (3) There they saw a chameleon as big as a mountain and with a mind filled with wonder about it tried they, moved by compassion, to lift it up. (4) Attaching straps of leather and twisted ropes failed the boys to lift the creature out of the well and so reported they it excitedly to Krishna. (5) The Lotus-eyed Supreme Lord, the Maintainer of the Universe, taking a look saw it and picked it with His left hand easily up. (6) Being touched by the hand of Uttamas'loka, was immediately the chameleon form given up for the one of a heavenly being that was beautiful with a complexion of molten gold and wonderful ornaments, clothes and garlands. (7) Even though He was very well aware of what had led to this situation asked Mukunda, so that the people in general might know: 'Who are you, o fortunate one, from your excellent appearance I dare say you're an exalted demigod! (8) What action brought you, o good soul, to this condition that you certainly did not deserve; please tell Us, eager to know, all about yourself - that is, if you think it's the right time to speak about it here.'
(9) S'rî S'uka said: 'The king who thus was questioned by Krishna whose forms are unlimited, with his helmet as brilliant as the sun bowed down to Mâdhava and spoke to Him. (10) Nriga said: 'I, the ruler of man named Nriga [see 9.1: 11-12, 9.2: 17], am a son of [S'râddhadeva Manu and a younger brother of] Ikshvâku, o Master, maybe You've heard that I am counted among the men of charity. (11) What indeed would be unknown to You o Master, Witness of the Mind of all Beings, Whose vision is undisturbed by time; nevertheless I'll speak as You wish. (12) As many grains of sand there are on earth, as many stars there are in the sky or as many raindrops there are in a shower of rain, that many cows have I donated. (13) I gave cows complete with milk, being young, sweet, of beauty and endowed with other qualities; brown and fair, together with their calves, adorned with gold on their horns, silver on their hooves, fine cloth and garlands. (14-15) I, of pious works and performing worship with fire sacrifices, was of charity to the by me nicely decorated saintly, young, exceptional brahmins, dedicated to the truth, who are well-known for their austerity and vast knowledge of the Vedas and who with their families in need were of good qualities and character: I gave them cows, land, gold, houses, horses and elephants; marriageable girls with maidservants, sesame seeds, silver, bedding and clothing; jewels, furniture and chariots. (16) I unknowingly, gave of a certain first class dvija [a brahmin not accepting gifts anymore, see 7.11] away to another twice-born soul a cow, which having wandered off had mingled with my herd. (17) As the cow was led away was she spotted by her master who said: 'She's mine'. But he who had accepted the gift said thereupon: 'Nriga gave this one to me!'
(18) The two learned ones arguing in defense of their own interest said to me: 'You sir, as a giver have been a thief!' When I heard this I fell in perplexity.
(19-20) Embarrassed indeed in my religious duty I supplicated with both the men of learning in saying: 'Please give me this one cow, I'll give you in return a hundred thousand of the best quality! You both, please be of mercy with your servant who was unaware; save me from the danger of falling down into a dirty hell!'
(21) 'I'm not in want at all o King!' thus spoke the owner and went away.
'I'm not interested in all those other cows', said the other one and left.
(22) After this had happened was I by the messengers of Yamarâja taken to his abode and there questioned by the Lord of Death and Retribution [as follows], o God of Gods, o Master of the Universe [see also 5.26: 6, 6.1: 31 and 6.3]. (23) 'Do you first want to face the consequences of your bad deeds, o King, or rather enjoy the merit of your good deeds? As for your good deeds I can see that the shining world as a consequence of what you religiously gave in charity is limitless.'
(24) I thus said: 'I'll first face the load of my bad deeds o Godhead', and so said he: 'Then fall!' and as I was falling, o Master, saw I myself changed into a chameleon! (25) Being Your servant generous towards the brahmins, o Kes'ava, has not even today left the memory of the audience of You that I lost and hanker for [see also 5.8: 28]. (26) How, o Almighty One, can You in person be visible to me; You, the Supreme Soul who meditated by the masters of yoga are visible to the eye of a spotless heart - how, o Adhoks'aja, can I, whose intelligence was blinded by severe troubles, obtain the permission to perceive what is reserved for those whose material life out here is completed? (27-28) O, God of Gods, Master of the Universe, Lord of the Cows, Supreme Personality; o Path Laid out for Man, Master of the Senses, Grace of the Verses, Infallible and Undiminishing One, please permit me to leave, o Krishna, for the world of the gods, o Master; may wherever I reside my consciousness be of the shelter of Your feet! (29) My obeisances unto You the Source of All Beings, the Absolute of the Truth and the Possessor of Unlimited Potencies; I offer the Spiritual Pleasure of His Attraction, Krishna [*], the son of Vasudeva, the Lord of All forms of yoga [all forms of uniting in the consciousness], my respects.'
(30) Thus having spoken and having circumambulated Him got he, after touching His feet with his crown, permission to leave and boarded he, before all humans to see, a most excellent celestial chariot. (31) Krishna, the Supreme Lord, the son of Devakî, the God and Soul of Dharma devoted to the brahmins, addressed His personal associates and was thus of instruction to the royalty in general: (32) 'If even for someone of a greater potency than fire but the little property consumed [stolen or denied] of a brahmin indeed is indigestible, what then to say of kings who imagine themselves to be the Lord? (33) The hâlâhala [that was churned with Mandâra] I do not consider poison because there is an antidote for it [namely S'iva, see 8.7]; what belongs to a brahmin [though] I call real poison [in being misappropriated] because for such a thing there is no counteraction in the world. (34) Poison destroys the one who ingests it and fire is extinguished with water, but the fire that burns with the kindling wood of the belongings of a brahmin burns one's community down to the ground. (35) A brahmin's property enjoyed without permission destroys three generations [in a family line see **], but enjoyed with violence it are [like with governemental action or with corporate interests] ten previous and ten subsequent generations [whose honor will be contaminated, see also 9.8]. (36) Members of the royalty, blinded by royal opulence [see also B.G. 1: 44] do not foresee their own downfall in hell childishly hankering for the property of a good natured brahmin. (37-38) As many particles of dust were touched by the teardrops of generous brahmins who for the sake of their beloved cry over the means of support that were stolen from them, that many years will the kings and the other members of the royal family, who as usurpers of the brahmin's share failed to control, be cooked in the hell called Kumbhîpâka [5.26: 13]. (39) He then who steals what a brahmin owns, whether it was given by oneself or someone else, is for sixty thousand years born as a worm in feces. (40) Do not deliver Me the wealth belonging to a brahmin; the desire for it makes people short-lived, brings them defeat and deprives them of the kingdom; it turns them into snakes giving trouble to others. (41) Dear followers, do not be inimical towards a man of learning, not even when he has sinned; even striking you physically time and again or cursing you, should you always offer him your obeisances. (42) The way I take care to bow down always to the ones of learning, should also all of you be of that respect; he who does otherwise qualifies for being punished by Me. (43) The property indeed taken away from a brahmin leads to the downfall of the taker, even done unknowingly as, as we saw, happened to the person of Nriga with the cow of the brahmin.'
(44) After thus having educated the residents of Dvârakâ, entered the Supreme Lord Mukunda, the Purifier of All Worlds, His palace.'