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SHREE SHOOKDEO JEE said,--O great king! on one occasion, a jewelled bedstead of pure gold with curtains was laid out in a golden palace, studded with gems. On the bedstead a bedding, white as foam, and decorated with flowers was spread. Pillows for the cheek, and the head of the bed exhaled perfumes. Vessels filled with camphor, rosewater, sandal and other perfumes were arranged on all sides of the bed. Pictures of all kinds were drawn on the walls; flowers, fruits, sweetmeats and confectionary were placed here and there in the recesses: and every thing, that could contribute to pleasure, was provided. Wearing a petticoat, and full loose robe of great splendour, on which were sewn real pearls; and a shining boddice, glittering cloth for the body, and a brilliant cloak, ornamented from head to foot; with red horizontal lines drawn across the forehead, a ring for the nose of large pearls, ornaments for the head, ear-rings, lines on the top of the head, where the hair is parted, marks between the eyebrows, ornaments for the ears, and forehead, a necklace composed of circular pieces of gold, a string of gold beads and coral, an ornament for the breast and decked out with numerous other jewels and ornaments,--bright as the moon,--of the colour of chumpa, with eyes like those of a deer, a voice like the kokila's (the Indian cuckoo) the gait of an elephant and

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waist of a lion, Shree Rookmunee Jee was reclining; and also Shree Krishnù Chund, the root of joy, of the colour of the clouds, a countenance like the moon, lotus eyes, wearing a peacock crown, a garland of various flowers reaching to the feet, dressed in yellow silk, with a scarf of the same colour, the sea of beauty, the light of the three worlds. They were enjoying the pleasures of mutual love, when suddenly Shree Krishnù said to Rookmunee, "O beautiful Rookmunee! I wish to say something to you, to which you must give me an answer; you are possessed of great beauty, and many excellent qualities of mind, and the daughter of Raja Bheekmuk; why did you reject Raja Sissoopal of Chunderee who was very mighty and renowned; in whose family kingly power has descended for seven generations, and from dread of whom I fled, and abandoning Muttra took up my abode in the sea, and to whom your mother, father and brother wished you to be married, and he himself came with a marriage procession; and having refused to marry him sent for me through a brahmin, thereby sacrificing all respect for the honour of your family, disregarding the opinion of the world and laying aside all fear of your parents and your brother? I am not worthy of you, nor equal to you in accomplishments, I am not a Raja, nor have I beauty, or mental superiority. Some beggars talked of my renown, whose praises of me you heard, and treasured up in your mind. A Raja came to marry you, accompanied by his army; you then sent an invitation to me. On my arrival, there was a fierce battle: and how was my honour saved? I took you away in sight of them all; and Bulram dispersed all their army. You wrote to me, requesting that I would deliver you out of the hands of Sissoopal; which wish of yours has been accomplished; and I have no desire, believe me, O lovely Rookmunee, you have not hitherto suffered any loss or injury; go and live with some powerful Raja, of high family, and excellent qualities of mind, who may be worthy of you."

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O great king! on hearing these words, Shree Rookmunee Jee was in a state of consternation, and fell staggering and reeling upon the earth; and struggling like a fish deprived of water, became senseless and heaved deep, long-drawn sighs, then her curls fell in the greatest disorder over her beautiful face, and became entangled with each other; like the moon wandering from her path, as a snake that has imbibed the water of immortality. On observing her condition, Shree Krishnù Chund rose up in a state of great agitation and alarm, thinking that she was about to die; and assuming a form with four arms, went up to her, and raising her from the ground with two hands placed her on his bosom; and began to fan her with the third hand, and arrange her hair with the fourth.

O great king! Nundlall (Krishnù) exerted himself greatly in consequence of his affection. He sometimes wiped his beloved's face with a silken cloth, and sometimes placed his soft, lotus-like hand on her breast: at length Shree Rookmunee revived. Huri then said, "Thou hast a very deep love for me, O beloved Rookmunee! and didst not retain a particle of firmness in thy mind. You thought that I really meant to abandon you; when I was only jesting and trifling with your affection. Be now of good cheer; and, recovering your spirits and animation, open your eyes." On seeing that Krishnù had taken her in his lap, she blushed, and was very much ashamed. She rose and stood up in great confusion; and, joining her hands, fell at his feet. Krishnù said, patting her on the back, "Beautiful creature! who becamest insensible from love, what I said in jest, you thought serious. It is not right to be angry, at what is said in joke; rise and banish all anger and affliction."

O great king! Shree Rookmunee Jee rose on hearing these words; and, joining her hands and bending her head, began to say to Krishnù, "You have spoken truly in saying that you are not worthy of me, because you are the husband of Luchmee, and the lord of Shivù and Bruhmù,

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who is equal to you in the three worlds? O lord of the world! whoever abandons you, and goes to (worships) any other, is like a man, who should give up singing the praises of Huri, and sing the praises of a vulture. And, O great king! with respect to what you said regarding some mighty and potent Raja, say where in the three worlds shall I find a Raja more powerful and greater than you? Bruhmù, Roodrù, Indrù and all the gods who bestow boons, are obedient to your commands. Through your favour, they make whomsoever they please great and powerful, renowned, celebrated and glorious, by conferring boons. And whatsoever persons perform a very difficult penance in honour of you, for a hundred years, attain to the dignity of Raja .And whoever forgetting and abandoning your worship, meditation, prayers, penance and guidance, do wicked acts, are of themselves utterly ruined and disgraced. O lord of compassion! it is your constant custom to descend in various forms and frequently upon the earth for the sake of your worshippers; and, having destroyed wicked demons, and removed the burthens of the world, you confer happiness on your own, and grant all their supplications. And, O lord! on whomsoever your great compassion is shed, and he thereby obtains wealth, royal power, youth, beauty and eminence; and subsequently being blinded by pride, forgets religion, penance, truth, mercy, worship and adoration, you reduce him to poverty; because the poor constantly meditate upon you, and keep you in remembrance, for this reason the poor man is acceptable to you. He, to whom your great mercy is shown, will always be without riches."

O great king! Rookmunee proceeded to say, "O lord of life, I will not do as Unba, the daughter of Indrudown, Raja of Benares, did, abandoning her husband, and going to the Raja Bheekmuk; and when he would not receive her, she returned to her own husband, who, after this, turned her out of doors; then having gone, and sat on the bank of the Ganges, she

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performed a great penance in honour of Muhadeo, who came there, and granted the boon she solicited. By means of that boon, she took her revenge upon Raja Bheekmuk. I certainly will not imitate such conduct. You have explained, O lord! that some beggars came, and extolled your greatness; and that I believed what they said, and sent a brahmin to you: the beggars who came, where Shivù, Bruhmù and Doorga. Narud, the sage, constantly praises your excellent qualities. Knowing you to be compassionate, I sent a brahmin; you came and brought destruction upon wicked men. Knowing her humility, you brought me, your servant, with you, and have raised me, lord! to greatness." Krishnù said in reply, "O beloved! you have had experience of my mind, thoughts and nature. You have attended upon me, and worshipped me, and known my love; for this reason the affections of my mind are fixed upon you."

O great king! Rookmunee was gratified by this speech of Huri's, and attended upon him.

Next: Chapter LXII