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SHREE SHOOKDEO, the sage, said,--Raja! when Shree Krishnù Chund had spoken in this agreeable manner, all the cowherdesses, laying aside their anger, and being greatly rejoiced, arose, and having united with Huri, began to indulge in every kind of pleasure, delight and pastime; when Krishnù had recourse to his deceptive power, and divided his body into numberless particles, desiring to give pleasure to them all; and engaging in their sports with the greatest affection, Shree Krishnù Chund, having assumed as many bodies as there were cowherdesses, took them all with him to the circular terrace, where he had before gone; and again began engaging in festive dances and songs.

The cowherdesses, in pairs, joined their hands, and Huri was in the midst of them. Each thought he was at their side, and did not recognize him near any one else. They placed their fingers within his fingers, and whirled about with the greatest enjoyment, taking Huri with them. The son of Nund in the midst of the cowherdesses was like thick masses of clouds, surrounded on all sides by lightning. The dark-blue Krishnù amongst the fair women of Bruj was like a sapphire on a necklace of gold.

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O great king! standing thus together, the cowherdesses and Krishnù began to tune various kinds of musical instruments, preluding difficult airs, and played and sang, producing great varieties of tone, and singing whilst they danced. And so delighted were they, that they seemed to lose all recollection of their very existence. Sometimes the breast of one was uncovered, and the diadem of another slipped off. At one place, the pearl necklaces of some were broken, and the pearls fell on the ground: at another, garlands of flowers were strewed about. The drops of perspiration on their foreheads glittered like strings of pearls; and the ringlets of the cowherdesses were spread in such a loose and dishevelled manner over their faces, that they resembled young snakes, who had flown up, and then become fastened to the moon, from an eager desire to obtain the water of life.

Sometimes a cowherdess, singing in high tones, accompanied Krishnù's flute: and sometimes one of them sang without accompaniment. And when any one of them, having stopped Krishnu's flute, poured forth the same notes from her own voice, he was as much fascinated as a child on beholding its own image in a mirror.

Thus singing and dancing, and practising all kinds of coquetry and ogling, they passed the hours in mutual enjoyment, and being pleased with each other, they laughed and embraced and made a propitiatory offering of their dresses and ornaments. At that time, Bruhmù, Roodrù, Indrù and all the gods and celestial musicians, seated in their chariots with their wives, looked down upon the festivities, and showered down flowers with delight. And the wives, gazing on this scene of pleasure with eager desire, thought to themselves, that if they could be born in Bruj, they also might join in festivities with Huri. And to such a pitch were the musical notes and tones carried, that on hearing them, the air was stilled, and water ceased to flow; and the moon, together with the whole of the stars, was astonished, and poured down the water of life from its rays.

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[paragraph continues] The night was prolonged so that six months passed away, whence that night was named, Bruhmù's night.

Having proceeded thus far with the history, Shree Shookdeo Jee said,--O lord of the earth! whilst engaged in these festive sports, a whim seized Krishnù, and he went with the cowherdesses to the banks of the Jumna. Going into the water and engaging in aquatic pastimes, after he had got rid of his fatigue, he came out; and having accomplished the wishes of them all, said to them, "There are four ghurees of the night remaining; go all of you to your homes." The cowherdesses were sad at these words, and said, "Lord! how shall we go home, leaving your lotus-like feet? Our greedy minds do not approve of what you have suggested." Shree Krishnù replied, "Meditate on me in the manner that religious devotees meditate; and wherever you may be, I will always be with you." They were gratified at these words, and taking leave returned home; and no one at their houses was aware that they had not been all along at their respective house.

Having heard thus much of the history, Raja Pureechit said to Shree Shookdeo, the sage,--"O kind to the poor! Shree Krishnù Chund had come upon the earth to destroy evil spirits, and remove the burthens of the world, and, having conferred happiness on saints and religious men, to promote piety. Explain to me, why he engaged in festivities with other men's wives; as it is the act of a dissolute person to enjoy himself with another man's wife?" Shookdeo Jee replied, Raja! you do not understand this mystery, and regard the deity as a mortal. His body is glorious and pure, by remembrance of whom sin is obliterated, just as any thing falling into fire, itself becomes fire.

What cannot the powerful do? because by their acts they overcome fate: as Shivù took poison, and after having taken it made of it an ornament for his neck, and formed a black snake into a necklace. Who can understand his actions? Beings with

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power do nothing for themselves, but confer boons on all petitioners, who worship and hold them in remembrance.

The nature of Krishnù is this; that he seems to associate with all: but if you consider, you will perceive, that he appears as separate as the lotus leaf from the water. I have already narrated to you the history of the cowherdesses' birth, and that Dewee and the mystical prayers of the Vedas were born, and came to Bruj to see and touch Huri. And in this manner Shree Radhika also, having obtained a blessing from Bruhmù, was born to be a servant to Krishnù Chund; and remained in the service of her master.

Shree Shookdeo Jee continued, O great king! we are told to believe all the acts that Krishnù performed, but not to turn our thoughts to the manner in which, and the means by which, they were performed. Whoever celebrates the fame of the lord of the cowherdesses, obtains, fearless and unmoved, the highest dignity. And the same benefits which are procured by bathing in the sixty-eight places of pilgrimage, are procured by celebrating the great renown of Shree Krishnù.

Next: Chapter XXXV