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SHREE SHOOKDEO, the sage, said,--O lord of the earth! when Oodho Jee had finished counting his beads, he came forth from the river, and putting on his clothes and ornaments sat down in his ruth. As he came near Nund's village on his way from the banks of the river, the cowherdesses, who had come for water, saw his ruth from afar coming along the road. On seeing it, they began to say to each other, "Whose ruth is this? that is coming towards us, let us see, and afterwards proceed on our journey?" One of them said, "Friend, I hope that deceitful creature, Akroor, has not come, who took off Shree Krishnù Chund to live at Muttra, and caused him to kill Kuns." Another said, "Why has this treacherous wretch come again, he has already taken away the root of our lives, and what more will he take away?"

O great king! carrying on various conversations of this kind, the women of Bruj stood still, having taken the waterpots from their heads, and placed them on the ground. In the mean while as the ruth came near some of the cowherdesses having seen Oodho a short way off, said to each other, Friend! why this is some one of a black colour with lotus-like eyes, and a crown on his head; wearing a garland that reaches to his feet, dressed in yellow silk, and with

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a scarf of the same colour. He is sitting on a ruth like that of Shree Krishnù, and is looking at and coming towards us." One of them remarked, "This person has been at Nund's house since yesterday; his name is Oodho, and Shree Krishnù Chund has sent some message by him."

On hearing these words, the cowherdesses, observing a retired spot, and laying aside all propriety and reserve, rushed towards Oodho Jee--and regarding him as the friend of Krishnù, they made obeisance, and enquired after Krishnù, standing on all sides of the ruth, with joined hands. Seeing their affection Oodho Jee left his ruth; and the cowherdesses having seated him under the shade of a tree, sat themselves down on all sides of him, and began to say in a most affectionate manner: "You have done well, Oodho, in coming, and bringing us news of Krishnù. You associate constantly with him; please inform us what message he has sent. You have been sent here only for the sake of his father and mother; he thinks of no one else. We have sacrificed every thing for him; our souls are entangled in his feet. He is occupied with his own affairs exclusively; and has given pain to all by his departure. And as birds leave trees without fruit, Huri in like manner has abandoned us; and although we have given up every thing to him, he has not become ours."

O great king! when the cowherdesses, filled with delight in their love for Krishnù, had talked thus for some time, Oodho, perceiving the great sincerity of their love, was about to rise to make a salutation, when a cowherdess, who saw a bee on a flower, addressed Oodho, under pretence of addressing the bee--"O bee! thou hast imbibed the sweetness of Krishnù's lotus-like feet; and, therefore, thou hast obtained the name of the honey maker. Thou art the friend of one who is deceitful; and, therefore, he has sent you as his messenger, do not touch our feet, because we know that all of a black colour are treacherous, such as you are, such is Krishnù; therefore, do not make salutations to us. In the same way that

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you roam from flower to flower, tasting its sweets, and belong not to any particular one, Huri does not love any one, or belong to any one." Whilst the cowherdess was thus speaking another bee came; on seeing it, a cowherdess, named Seelta, said, "O bee, remain apart, and go and tell this in Muttra, where there is a hump-backed queen, and where Shree Krishnù Chund dwells. Why need I speak of one birth; in each succeeding birth your behaviour is the same? The Raja Buli gave up every thing, and you sent him to the infernal regions; and drove from her home one so virtuous as Seeta without fault on her part. Since they were thus treated, what had we to expect?" After this, all the cowherdesses in a body, joining their hands, said to Oodho; "Oodho Jee! we have lost our lord by the absence of Krishnù, take us away with you."

Shree Shookdeo Jee said,--O great king! when the cowherdesses had thus spoken, Oodho Jee said, "I will explain the contents of the letter Krishnù has sent by me, to which listen attentively. He has written, that you must give up all hope of sexual pleasure, and offer devotion to him; and that he will never be separated from you; and he has added, that from the day you began to meditate on him, none have been so much loved by him as you." Oodho added, "You have established a never-ending love for the first male, the immortal Huri; and regarded him as your lord, whom all else celebrate as the invisible, imperceptible, inscrutable being, and as earth, wind, water, fire and air dwell in the body, so Krishnù dwells in you; but through the influence of his delusive powers seems to be apart. Bear him in mind and meditate upon him. He always promoted the advantage of his worshippers; and by his remaining near meditation and religious knowledge are utterly destroyed. For this reason Huri has gone to live at a distance. And Shree Krishnù Chund gave me also to understand, that playing on the flute he invited you into the jungle, and when he saw

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the strength of your love and passion for him, he took part in your festivities; when you forgot his divinity, the lord of Judoos disappeared. When having recovered understanding, you again meditated upon Huri, he, knowing the piety of your minds, presented himself to you."

O great king! when Oodho had thus spoken, the cowherdesses said angrily, "We have heard all your speeches; stand apart from us now. You tell us to cultivate knowledge and understanding, and perform penance, and tell us to abandon meditation and look up at the sky. You call him Narayun, in whose sports our minds have been deeply engaged. Why has he become an invisible and imperceptible being, who has conferred happiness on us from his childhood? And how has he, who was endowed with all good qualities and great personal beauty, become a being without qualities and form? Who will pay any attention to what you have said, considering that our souls are wrapped up in his beloved body?" One of them rose up and said, "Let us endeavour to conciliate Oodho: say nothing to him, but listen to what he says, and watch his looks." Another said, "It is not his fault, the hump-backed woman (Koobja) has sent him here. He is now merely repeating what Koobja has taught him to say. Krishnù would never speak as Oodho has spoken since his arrival at Bruj. We are pierced with thorns at hearing such speeches, and cannot endure listening to them. He tells us to abandon all thought of sexual pleasure, and engage in devotion; when would Krishnù speak thus? Prayers, penance, fasting, vows and prescribed rules of conduct are all acts becoming widows. May Shree Krishnù live in every age, having conferred happiness on us all. Who makes use of ashes, and of cow-dung while her husband is alive? Say, where does this custom prevail? Our vows, penance and fasts consist in showing our love for Nund and Nundun constantly. Who can possibly blame you, Oodho? this is a dance of Koobja's getting up."

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Having recited thus much, Shree Shookdeo, the sage, said, O great king! when Oodho had heard these affectionate words of the cowherdesses, he regretted and was ashamed that he had mentioned the subject of penance to them, and remained silent; with downcast looks. One of the cowherdesses enquired after Bulram, and said, "Does he ever think of and call to mind our childish love?" Another replied, "Friend! you are all cowherdesses and common village women, and the women of Muttra are beautiful, by whom Huri has been captivated, and is engaged in sports with them, why should he now think of us? Since he went to reside there, he has become the beloved of other women; had we known beforehand this would happen, we would not have let him go away. Regrets are now of no avail, it is better to lay aside grief, and hope for his return. Because, as during eight months the earth, forests and hills, endure heat in expectation of rain, which comes in due course and cools them; in like manner Krishnù will also come to us." One said, "Huri has accomplished all his business, and has destroyed his enemies, and taken possession of their government, why should he come to Brindabun, and leave his kingly power to tend herds? O companions! give up all expectations of his coming. The case is quite hopeless; and we ought not to think any more about it." One of them said, in great distraction of mind, "Why should we give up all hope of Krishnù? On seeing the forests, hills and the banks of the Jumna, where Shree Krishnù and Bulbeer engaged in sports, our recollection of Huri, the lord of our hearts, returns forcibly." She then said, "This village of Bruj has become a sea of grief: his name is a boat in the midst of the stream. Krishnù will take across all who are immerged in the waters of absence and separation. Why has he forgotten, that he is lord of the cowherdesses? Is he not ashamed on account of his name?" On hearing these words, Oodho, reflecting, began to say, "Happy are these cowherdesses! and blessed be their firmness,

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in having given up all else, and become absorbed in meditation upon Shree Krishnù Chund."

O great king! Oodho Jee saw and praised their love, when at the same time all the cowherdesses rose up, and brought him to their homes with great respect and dignity. Perceiving their affection, he dined with them; and after resting he made them all very happy by telling them stories of Shree Krishnù. All the cowherdesses, having then performed poojah to Oodho Jee, and placed many presents before him, said with joined hands and the greatest humility, "Oodho Jee! go and say to Huri, lord! formerly you were very kind to us, and used to take us by the hand about with you; but since you have obtained power, you have written to us about penance at the suggestion of that strumpet, Koobja. We, poor, impure creatures, have never been initiated by a spiritual preceptor in any mystical prayer: what knowledge can we possibly possess; from our childhood we have loved him, and what do we know of the customs of penance? Why has Huri not come himself to tell us what penance to perform? This is not a subject to send a message about. Oodho! go and explain to him, that our lives are ebbing out, let him come and preserve them."

O great king! when they had thus spoken, the cowherdesses were delighted in fixing their thoughts on Huri; and Oodho, having made the usual salutation, took leave and, returned thence in his ruth to Brindabun. He remained there for some days; and on his way back he visited and stayed a few days at each of the places, where Shree Krishnù Chund had been engaged in sports. At length after some days he returned to Brindabun, and having gone to Nund and Jusodha, said with joined hands, "Owing to your friendship, I have stayed for some time at Bruj, and now, with your permission, will go to Muttra." On hearing these words, the Ranee Jusodha went into the house, and brought forth milk, curds, butter and sweetmeats in large quantities; and presenting them to Oodho,

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said, "Give these to our beloved Shree Krishnù and Bulram, and tell our sister, Dewukee, to send them both to us without any delay." Having communicated this message, the wife of Nund began to weep. Then Nund Jee said to Oodho, "What more need we say to you? You are yourself possessed of great sense, understanding and knowledge, and many excellent qualities; intercede for us with Krishnù in such a way that he, taking into consideration the sufferings of the inhabitants of Bruj, may come to us quickly, and not forget us altogether."

After having thus spoken, when Nund Rae shed tears, and all the inhabitants of Bruj, male and female, standing round, began also to weep, Oodho Jee consoled them, and restored them to composure of mind by his explanations; and, accompanied by Rohnee, took his departure for Muttra; and after journeying some time, arrived at the abode of Shree Krishnù Chund. On seeing him, Shree Krishnù and Buldeo rose and embraced him, and enquired in the most affectionate manner regarding his health, and the news of Brindabun, "Say Oodho Jee! are Nund and Jusodha, and the inhabitants of Bruj all well, and do they ever think of us?" Oodho Jee replied, "O great king! I am quite unable to describe the greatness of Bruj, and the love of its inhabitants; you are their life; night and day do they think of you, and their love for you is as complete as a perfect worship, performed with all prescribed ceremonies. I mentioned to them your advice regarding the performance of penance; but I have learnt from them the manner, in which adoration should be offered." Oodho Jee, having communicated this intelligence, added, "O merciful to the poor! what more need I say you are acquainted with the secret thoughts of each mind; and understand me without any lengthened explanation on my part, that all things in Bruj, animate and inanimate, are greatly distressed at not being able to see and touch you; and the only hope they have is, that you may return."

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On hearing these words, the two brothers were greatly dispirited; and Oodho Jee, taking leaving of Shree Krishnù Chund, conveyed the message of Nund and Jusodha to Basoodeo and Dewukee, and went home. Rohnee Jee was filled with joy at meeting with Shree Krishnù and Bulram, and abode in her own house.

Next: Chapter XLIX