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SHREE SHOOKDEO, the sage, said,--O great king! all at once on their not seeing Shree Krishnù Chund, darkness clouded the eyes of the cowherdesses; and being much troubled in mind, they were agitated in the same degree, as a snake is alarmed at having lost the jewel on its head. Upon this, a cowherdess began to say,--"Tell me friend! where has Mohun gone, after having dispersed us. He was caressing me with his arms round my neck. He was but now engaged with us in festive songs and dances. Where has he gone, and did not any of you see him, while he was going away?"

On hearing these words, all the cowherdesses were exceedingly sad at their separation from Krishnù, and said, heaving deep sighs, "Where shall we go, what shall we do, to whom shall we call out? No one knows where he is, how shall we find Krishnù?"

Speaking thus, and being inflamed with the love of Huri, all the cowherdesses began to search for Huri in every direction: and singing his praises, (celebrating his many good qualities,) and weeping exclaimed, "Why have you left us, O lord of Bruj! we have given up every thing to you?"

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When they did not find Krishnù where they first searched, they advanced some distance, and said to each other, "We can see no one here, from whom shall we enquire where Krishnù has gone?" A cowherdess said, "Friends! a thought occurs to me, that all the beasts, birds and trees in this forest are saints and sages. They have descended upon the earth to behold the sports of Krishnù, enquire from them, who must have seen from their present position, and who will be able to point out where Huri has gone." On hearing this suggestion, the cowherdesses, who were very uneasy in their minds in consequence of their separation from Krishnù, began to question every animate and inanimate object:--"O fig tree and other trees! you have obtained your present lofty form through the performance of acts of virtue. You have been beneficent to others, assuming on earth the form of trees. You have endured the pains of heat, cold and rain, and remained standing for others' advantage. O bark, blossoms, roots, fruits and branches! with which you benefit others, be so kind as to tell us, whether Huri., who has stolen all our affections and wealth, has come here. O palm, mango, and kuchnari! have you seen Moorari going off in any direction? O chumpa and other trees! have you seen Bulbeer any where? O full blown toolsee! much beloved by Huri, whom he never allows to be separated from his body, have you met Krishnù to-day? Who will point out to us where he is? O jasmines of different kinds! has Shree Krishnù come in this direction?" The women of Bruj called out to the deer, "Have you seen Krishnù pass in this direction?"

Having recited thus much, Shree Shookdeo Jee said, O great king! the cowherdesses, enquiring in this way from animals, birds, trees and creepers, where Krishnù had gone, began, after the manner of Shree Krishnù to represent the death of Pootna, and to go through all the sports and amusements, which Huri had engaged in, and continued to search for him.

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At length after searching some time, and having gone some distance, they beheld the marks of Krishnù's feet, his lotus banner and iron goad, glittering on the sand.

The women of Bruj seeing the dust, which gods, men and sages search for, made an obeisance to it; and having placed it upon their heads, and entertaining a hope of meeting Krishnù proceeded onward; when lo! the traces of a woman's feet became visible near the marks of the feet, which they had first beheld. They were surprised at the sight, and advancing further, they found a beautiful looking glass, studded with gems, on a bed of soft leaves. They began to question it. When it would not speak in consequence of the pain of separation from a loved object, they asked each other, "Friend! why did he take this with him?" Then, one, who knew the mutual feelings of lovers and their beloved, replied, "Friend! when the lover sat down to plait the hair of his beloved, and his lovely form was concealed from sight, his beloved then took the looking glass in her hand, and showed it to her lover. Then the image of Shree's face was reflected from the mirror."

The cowherdesses were not at all angry at hearing this remark; but began to say, "She must have worshipped Shivù and Parvuttee well, and performed great penance, to be able to enjoy diversion with the lord of life in this retired manner, without fear." O great king! all the cowherdesses, intoxicated with love, were thus idly talking, and wandering about in search of Krishnù, whilst Shree Radhika Jee, deriving great enjoyment from Huri, and thinking her beloved in a state of subserviency to her, considering herself greater than all others, and indulging in great presumptuousness of mind, said, "O beloved! I am not able to walk, please carry me on your shoulders."

On hearing this, Shree Krishnù Chund, the annihilator of pride, and acquainted with the secrets of the heart, smiled, and sitting down, said to her, "Come and sit on my shoulders."

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[paragraph continues] When she put forth her hands to climb up, Shree Krishnù disappeared; and she remained standing in that posture, with her arms stretched out; just as lightning forces its way presumptuously from the clouds, or the angry moonbeams separate themselves from the moon. And the splendour of her fair form, escaping and spreading upon the earth, displayed as much beauty, as an elegant woman, standing upon ground of gold. Tears streamed from her eyes; and she could not drive away the bees, who overpowered by the sweet smell came and settled near her face. And heaving deep sighs, she wept so violently in her solitude in the jungle, distressed by the separation from Krishnù, that the animals, birds, trees and creepers, hearing her lamentations, began weeping also.

And thus she exclaimed, "O lord! best of lovers, where have you gone, O self-willed Beharee! I am the slave of the asylum of thy feet. O sea of beneficence! have compassion on me."

In the mean while the cowherdesses, continuing their search, came up to where she was; and throwing themselves on her neck, embraced her with the same degree of pleasure, as a man, who had lost great wealth, would experience in the midst of his losses, in recovering half of it. At length, observing that she was very much distressed, the cowherdesses, taking her with them, went in the great forest, and searched for Shree Krishnù Chund as long as the moonlight lasted. When they could not find their road in the jungle on account of the darkness, they all returned thence with a confident hope of meeting Krishnù, and came and sat down on that bank of the Jumna on which Shree Krishnù Chund had afforded them very great pleasure.

Next: Chapter XXXII