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HAVING narrated thus much, Shree Shookdeo said,--I will relate, in five sections, according to the light of my understanding, the manner in which Huri engaged in pleasures and festive songs and dances with the cowherdesses.

When Shree Krishnù Jee stole the clothes, he gave a promise to the cowherdesses, that he would engage with them in festive songs and dances in the month of Kartik. From the time the promise was made, the cowherdesses, entertaining a hope of its accomplishment, and of engaging in festive songs and dances with Krishnù, became dispirited in mind, and constantly endeavoured to propitiate the month of Kartik. By lucky accident, while they were engaged in propitiation, the pleasure-giving season, including Assin and Kartik came.

From the time the month of Kartik commenced, heat, cold and rain were destroyed. Tanks were filled with pure water. Lotuses flourished in full bloom. The white lotus, partridge and loving couples are filled with delight on beholding the moon at night. The female ruddy goose is dirty, and the lotus withered, who regard the sun as friendly to them.

Shree Shookdeo, the sage, then said,--O lord of the earth! Shree Krishnù Chund having come forth on the night of the full moon in the month of Kartik, saw the stars scattered in the

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sky--the light of the moon was spread abroad on all sides, a cool, fragrant, gentle breeze was blowing; and on one side a thick forest of great beauty exhibited its many ornaments. Beholding such a scene it came into his mind, that he had made a promise to the cowherdesses to engage in festive songs and dances with them in the season, comprising the month of Assin and Kartik, and that it was necessary for him to fulfil this promise. Thinking of this, and coming to the jungle, Krishnù played upon the flute. Having heard the notes of the flute, all the young women of Bruj, who were filled with desire of Krishnù, on account of their separation from him, were very much frightened. At length having laid aside all feeling for kindred and family modesty, abandoning their household occupations, they put on their ornaments and came forth in the greatest confusion. One cowherdess, in attempting to go off, was stopped by her husband on the road, who brought her back home, and would not allow her to go. Upon this she meditated upon Huri, and having quitted her body arrived before them all. Shree Krishnù Chund having seen her affection immediately granted her deliverance of the soul from the body, and exemption from further transmigration.

At this point of the history, Raja Pureechit said to Shree Shookdeo Jee,--"O lord of kindness! the cowherdess did not esteem and regard Shree Krishnù Jee as the deity, but merely as an object of sense, for which she felt desire in her mind; how came it to pass that she obtained this state of deliverance and exemption? Please explain this to me, that the doubts of my mind may disappear?" The sage replied, O incarnation of justice! even mortals, who without knowledge celebrate the greatness of Shree Krishnù Chund, obtain without doubt this religious deliverance and exemption. Just as a man who drinks the water of life without knowing it, will be immortal; in like manner he who knowingly drinks it, will derive full benefit from its excellent qualities. All men are aware, that the virtues and benefits of blessings

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must manifest themselves. And the same holds good with reference to the glory of the adoration of Huri. In whatever manner a man may worship him, he will obtain deliverance. Muttering prayers, rosaries, sectarial marks on the body and forehead, are all utterly useless and unprofitable, if the mind is wavering and infirm. But if the mind be true, Ram is pleased with them. And I will explain the various ways, in which different persons have acknowledged Shree Krishnù, and obtained deliverance. Nund and Jusodha looked upon him as their son; the cowherdesses as their gallant; Kuns worshipped him through fear; the cowherds' children prayed to him as their friend; the Pandoos regarded him as their most dearly loved; Sissoopal acknowledged him as an enemy. The descendants of Judoo made him one of their own family --and jogees, and devotees with long hair, and sages meditated on him as the deity. But in the end, all obtained the blessing of deliverance and exemption. What reason is there for wonder that a single cowherdess should have obtained this blessing by meditating on Krishnù?

Having heard this explanation, Raja Pureechit said to Shree Shookdeo, the sage, "O lord of favour! my doubts have vanished: do me the kindness to proceed now with the narrative."

Shree Shookdeo said,--O great king! The meeting of the cowherdesses with Krishnù, the light of the world, and sea of beauty, to meet whom they rushed forth in crowds, may be compared to the violent rushing of rivers in the rains to mix with the sea.

The splendid manner in which Shree Krishnù was decorated, baffles description. Ornamented from head to foot, and in the guise of a juggler, he appeared so fascinating, beautiful and elegant, that the women of Bruj were lost in delight at beholding his splendid appearance. Mohan, having enquired after their health, asked them in a rather dry, rough manner, "Whether they had been very much frightened travelling at night, when

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goblins and spirits appear abroad, over a dreadful road, and with all their clothes and ornaments put on in the greatest disorder?

"How did you come to this immense forest, abandoning all affection for your relatives and family? Such obstreperous, violent conduct is unbecoming in women. It is said, that a wife should perform her duties with strict obedience to her husband, whoever he may be; whether she marry one who is a coward, wicked, foolish, deceitful, ugly, a leper, one-eyed, blind, decrepit, lame or poor. From acting thus, her welfare and reputation in the world are derived. It is the highest excellence in a high-born, chaste woman not to leave her husband for a second. And the wife, who having abandoned her own husband, goes to another, obtains in each birth a residence in the regions below." Krishnù added, "You have come here and seen the thick forests, pure moonlight, and the beautiful banks of the Jumna; you had better now return home, and minister affectionately to your husbands."

On hearing these words from the mouth of Shree Krishnù, all the cowherdesses at once lost their reason, and were overwhelmed with the boundless sea of thought. Afterwards they looked down, and heaved deep sighs, and dug up the earth with their toes. The tears, which streamed from their eyes, were like the falling pearls of a broken necklace.

At length being much depressed with grief, they said weeping to Krishnù, "You are a great impostor; first of all by playing on the flute you stole away, unawares, our mind and thoughts, now being altogether without compassion, and practising deceit, you wish to destroy us by harsh speeches." Again they said, "We have left our families, relatives, homes, husbands, and have put out of our minds the reproach of our relations, to which our conduct has exposed us. We are deprived of our husbands: there is no one to protect us. Grant us an asylum, O lord of Bruj! persons who live under your protection, desire not wealth, corporal form,

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modesty or greatness. You are their lord in each successive birth, O god, in the form of life! To what home shall we go: our souls are wrapped up in affection for you."

On hearing these words, Shree Krishnù smiled, and calling the cowherdesses said to them, "If you really have such great affection for me, engage with me in festive songs and dances."

On hearing these words, the cowherdesses abandoned all grief, and gathered round him with delight from all sides, and began to feast their eyes with beholding the face of Krishnù.

The cloud-coloured Krishnù stood in the midst; and the women, engaged in diversions, appeared like golden creepers, growing from under a dark-coloured hill. Shree Krishnù had before intimated to his delusive power, that he would engage in festivities, and had ordered the power to raise a fine building, remain in it, and grant all the desires and wishes, which any one might form.

O great king! the delusive power, on hearing the order, went to the banks of the Jumna, and having made a large, round golden terrace, studded with pearls and diamonds, and surrounded it on all sides with pillars of sprouting plantains, in which were wreaths and garlands of flowers of all kinds, came and informed Shree Krishnù Chund of what he had done. He was delighted at hearing it, and taking all the women of Bruj with him, went to the banks of the Jumna.

On arrival, they saw that the splendour of the circular terrace, which had been made for their festivities, was four times more brilliant than the moon's orb. The sand, which surrounded it, appeared like the light of the moon. There was a fragrant, cool, sweet breeze blowing. And on one side the verdure of all the forests displayed its numerous beauties in the brightness of the night.

On viewing this scene the cowherdesses were highly pleased, and having gone to the bank of a tank, named Manusrowur, which was near the terrace, and putting on pleasing, elegant dresses and ornaments, adorning themselves from head to foot,

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they brought sweet-toned lutes, timbrels and other musical instruments; and being intoxicated with love, abandoning all reflection and modesty, they began to play, sing and dance with Krishnù. At that time, Shree Gobind, in the assembly of cowherdesses, appeared as beautiful as the moon amidst stars.

Having recited so much of the history, Shree Shookdeo Jee said,--O great king! when the cowherdesses, having utterly abandoned reason, looked upon Huri in the course of their festivities, as their natural husband, and considered him as subservient to themselves. Shree Krishnù Chund reflected in his mind,--"The cowherdesses now think me in their power, and regard me, in their minds, as their natural lord; they have become ignorant, abandoning all modesty, and twine themselves round my neck, and embrace me with great affection; they have all utterly forgotten knowledge and meditation; I will now leave them, as they have increased their pride; I will see what they will do, and how they will live without me in the jungle." Having thus reflected, and taken Shree Radhika with him, Shree Krishnù Chund disappeared.

Next: Chapter XXXI