By Swami Harshananda
The Hindu scriptures prescribe various rules even for giving gifts. If a gift given to one is given again to another, even if it be by mistake, the giver has to suffer the consequences for this sin or undergo some punishment.
Nṛga was a famous king of the solar race. He donated a cow once to a brāhmaṇa. The cow somehow escaped from his house, returned to the palace and joined the herd. Not being aware of this, the king gifted it to another brāhmaṇa. When the first receiver of the gift started searching for his missing cow, he found it in the house of the second brāhmaṇa. As a dispute arose over its ownership, both of them went to the king seeking justice.
The inordinate delay of the king in meeting them to settle the dispute made them curse the king to become a chameleon. He was later rescued from that miserable condition by Lord Srīkṛṣṇa (vide Bhāgavata 10.64).
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore