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SHRED SHOOKDEO JEE said, when Shree Krishnù, having arrived near the Jumna, was standing under a tree, leaning on a club, all the cowherds' children and their companions came, and joining their hands said,--"O great king! we are very hungry; we have eaten all the food we brought with us, still our hunger has not gone off." Krishnù replied, "Observe that smoke, which appears some distance off. The inhabitants of Muttra are offering sacrifice secretly from fear of Kuns: go to them, and having mentioned my name, and made an obeisance, stand before them with hands joined; and from a distance ask for food with the same humility, as meek beggars ask for it."

The cowherds, after hearing this speech, went to the spot where the inhabitants of Muttra were sacrificing, (were seated preparing the sacrifice.) Having gone, and paid their respects, they said with the greatest humility, joining their hands,--"O great kings! Shree Krishnù Chund Jee has, with deferential respect, sent this message to you through us, he is very hungry, and would be much obliged if you would kindly send him something to eat." When the inhabitants of Muttra had heard this message from the cowherds, they replied angrily, "You must be very hungry to make such a request at this time; we will not give any one any thing until the

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sacrifice is completed, when we have made the offering; if any thing remains, we will distribute it." The cowherds, imploring them again earnestly, said with importunity,--"O great kings! it is an act of great virtue to give food to a hungry man, who comes to your house." They listened not to what the cowherds urged; but turning away from them, said to each other--"These are very foolish, low cowherds, who beg for food in the middle of a sacrifice." The cowherds, returning thence displeased and with great regret, came and said to Krishnù,--"O great king! we have forfeited our dignity and character by begging, and have not obtained any thing to eat: what shall we do now?" Shree Krishnù Jee said, "Go and ask their wives: they are very kind and virtuous. Observe their affection: on seeing you, they will give you food with the utmost respect and deference." Having heard this, the cowherds went to the place, where the wives were cooking, and said to them, "Shree Krishnù has become hungry, while pasturing cows in the jungle, and has sent us to you--if you have any thing to eat, give it us." They were delighted on hearing these words from the cowherds, and ran off and brought gold dishes, filled with food of all sorts and flavours--and would not admit any one hindering or preventing them.

A woman of Muttra, whose husband would not allow her to go, having meditated and quitted her body, arrived before them all, and joined Krishnù's party, in the same way that water mixes (or unites) with water. And after her the rest of the. women came to the place where Krishnù was standing with the cowherds' children under the shade of a tree, with his hand on a companion's shoulder, his figure bent, and a lotus in his hand. On approaching him they placed the dishes before him, and having made an obeisance, they said to each other, on beholding the countenance of Huri, "Friend! this is Nund's son; let us completely gratify our eyes by looking at the moonlike face of him, on whom we meditated upon hearing his

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name; and let us receive the fruit, (that is,) the darling object of our lives." Conversing thus, and joining their hands together, they began to say in a tone of solicitation to Krishnù, "O lord of compassion! except through your mercy, who can obtain a sight of you. Great is our good fortune to-day, that we have seen you, and got rid of all our sins in every birth!

"The foolish, avaricious proud priests, whose minds have been stained by the spirit, avarice and fascination of wealth, regarded God as man. How shall men, blinded by delusion, recognize the difference? Why should they not give food to him, to whom they offer up prayers, penance, sacrifice and love?

"O great king! that wealth, those mortals, and that modesty are advantageous, which may be useful to you; and likewise the penance, prayers and knowledge, by which your name is celebrated." After hearing this, Shree Krishnù Chund, having made enquiries about their welfare and condition, said, "Do not make obeisance to me, I am merely the child of the chief Nund. Do they who cause themselves to be worshipped by Brahmins' wives, obtain greatness in the world? knowing me to be hungry, you took compassion, and thought of me in the jungle. How shall I now entertain you? Brindabun, my home, is far off; how shall I be able to treat you with proper dignity and respect? If I were there, I would bring flowers and fruits, and place them before you. You have suffered inconvenience on my account by coming into the jungle; and I regret, that I have not been able to serve you in any way." He said again in the same complaisant manner, "It is a long time since you came here: be pleased now to go home, as the Brahmins, your husbands, will be expecting you; because the sacrifice is not propitious without the presence of the wife." Having heard this speech of Krishnù's, they said, joining their hands, "O great king! we fixing our affections on your lotus-like

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feet, have abandoned all feelings of consideration for our families and relatives. How can we return to those, in disobedience to whose injunctions we came here? If they will not admit us into their houses, where shall we live; for which reason it is better that we should remain under your protection. And lord, one of our women, from a wish to see you, was coming here, her husband stopped her, and the wife being distracted resigned her life." When Krishnù heard this, he laughed, and showed them the woman who had quitted her body, and said, "They who show love for Huri are never destroyed. She came here before you all." Having narrated thus much, Shree Shookdeo Jee said,--O great king! on seeing her, they were all astonished. Afterwards, when they recovered their understanding, they began to sing the virtues of Huri. In the meantime Krishnù having eaten the food they gave him, said to them, "Return home now, your husbands will not say any thing." When Shree Krishnù had thus explained to them, having made their salutations they took their departure and went home. And their husbands, engaged in thought and expressing great regret, continued saying, "We have heard a story in the Pooranùs, that at one time Nund and Jusodha performed great penance for a son; and Bhugwan came and gave them a promise, that he would descend upon the earth in the family of Judoo, and go to their house. He has been born, and it was he, who sent to procure food through the cowherds' children. What have we done in refusing food to Krishnù, when he asked it? To-day we have not gone into the presence of him, for whose sake sacrifice and religion have been established. We regarded Krishnù as a mortal, and did not listen to what the cowherds said. Accursed are our minds, and the performance of this sacrifice, that we did not recognize Bhugwan, and worship him. Our wives are superior to us, who went in such a spirited manner to behold Krishnù, and gave him food with their own hands, without having

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offered prayers, penance or sacrifice." Thus expressing their regret, the inhabitants of Muttra said in presence of their wives, joining their hands, "Great is your good fortune in having seen Huri, your lives have been most propitious."

Next: Chapter XXV