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that the Supreme Being contains the whole universe in himself.]
Once, seeing a festival in preparation, he inquired the reason. They told him it was in honour of Indra, by whose propitiation rain would descend to revive vegetables, and refresh man and beast. He asked whether any rain fell in those places where men did not propitiate Indra; and he received no answer. He then told them that rain fell by the power of an Almighty Being, of whom Indra himself stood in need. That good and evil, pleasure and pain, were the ordained lot of each individual, and Indra had nothing to do with it. He therefore proposed that a portion of the offerings prepared for the festival should be given to the Bramins, another portion to the cows, and the remainder distributed among the poor. This proposal was greatly admired by wise men in the assembly, but those of more narrow views deemed it improper that a child should presume to interfere with the affairs of the gods. However, they were in the end governed by his advice. Indra, displeased at the loss of his offerings, sent a deluge of rain. Crishna told the people to take refuge on a mountain, with their flocks and herds. When they had done so, he lifted the mountain on his little finger and held it above the storm, with as much ease as if it had been a lotus-blossom.
In the performance of these miracles, he assumed no other appearance than the infantine one, which belonged to him when he took on himself the veil of mortality. He wore no panoply but the sacred shell, and the innocence of a little child. Men, seeing the wonders he performed, told Nanda he could not possibly be his son ; that he must be the Great Being, who is exempt from birth and death. He replied: “Yes, it must indeed be so. When I named him Crishna, on account of his colour, the priest told me he must be the God, who had taken different bodies, red, white, yellow, and black, in his various incarnations, and now he had assumed a black colour again, since in black all colours are absorbed."
When Indra discovered who was disguised in the form of that wonderful child, he was abashed at his own presumption, and threw himself at his feet with most submissive apologies. Crishna readily forgave him. The Ginarers and Gandharvas, who accompanied Indra, threw down a shower of blossoms; new leaves burst forth from trees and shrubs; the waters of the river rose up with transport, and sprinkled rubies and diamonds.
Meanwhile, a prophetic voice had told Cansa: "The boy who is destined to destroy thee is born, and is now living." As soon as he heard that, he gave orders that all the male children throughout his kingdom should be put to death. Among the sculptures in the cave-temple at Elephanta, is a conspicuous figure with a drawn sword, surrounded by slaughtered infants. It is supposed to al. lude to this part of Crishna's history. All methods taken to destroy the divine child proved ineffectual. The messenger, whom the king sent to kill him, found him near the river. As he approached, he saw reflected in the water an image of Crishna radiant in celestial beauty, and innumerable Spirits standing before him, with their hands joined in adoration. He immediately did the same, and thus united in their worship of the incarnate god: "O thou Supreme Onel thy essence is inscrutable, but its shadow is in all bodies, like the image of the sun reflected in vases of water. If the vase be broken, where is the image ? Yet the sun is neither increased by the vases, or dimin. ished by their fracture. In like manner, thou art all in all. The understanding of finite man cannot reach thy almighty power. Well may it escape the sight of myself and other mortals, who are a prey to earthly desires, when the mightiest spirits, even Brahma and Siva, are lost in astonishment. I, who know nothing, fly to thee for protection. Show mercy upon me, and enable me to see and know thee.” When Crishna asked why he seemed so amazed, he replied:“O Sovereign Lord, thou well knowest what I have seen in the water." The divine child merely smiled, and passed on.
He knew the secret thoughts of all who came into his presence, and could at once detect Evil Spirits under any disguise they might assume. A terrible bull with fiery eyes was sent to destroy him. But he said calmly: “I know what Evil Spirit thou art in that disguise. If any disease makes thee thus frantic, I will cure thee.” The furious beast rushed forward to kill him, but Crishna seized him and twisted his enormous head from his body. At another time he was swallowed by a crocodile, but he burned him so intolerably, that the ravenous animal threw him up, and cast him from his mouth unhurt.
He is described as a youth of perfect beauty ; with breast broad and high, waist of elegant proportions, graceful limbs, a foot like the lotus-blossom, smooth skin, ruby lips, and a smile of ineffable sweetness. Women left their work unfinished, to run and gaze after him, as he passed by. In the family of Nanda, he had for companions young dairy-maids, called Gopias. In early youth, he selected as favourites nine of these damsels, with whom he spent his leisure hours in dancing and playing on the flute. Cama, God of Love, found no greater joy than spending his nights with them in dance and song. Crishna played so ravishingly, that the animals gathered round him, enchanted by his tones. In that beautiful season when earth resumes the green livery of spring, and the bow of heaven beams benediction on the human race, he peculiarly delighted in music. One delightful evening, when a warm sweet air breathed around, when the moon was shining in meridian splendour, and Spirits in honour of it clothed themselves in rose-coloured robes, with chains of pearl and rubies, he wandered forth playing on his flute. The waters stood still to hear him, hungry calves let their mother's milk drop on the ground while they listened, and the birds lost all power over their wings. The Gopias all left their occupations to hurry after those fascinating sounds. He advised them to return home, and not risk their comfort in this world and happiness in the next, by neglect or ill conduct toward their husbands; since the
Vedas, which are the very words of Brahma, declare that a husband, however defective or criminal, is in the place of the Supreme to his wife. They replied that when frenzy seized the mind, all duties and all worldly motives were forgotten ; that intoxicated as they were by the sound of his flute, it was in vain to preach to them duty to their husbands; that when he ordered them to leave him, their feet would not move, but if he called them toward him, they flew. So ardent and concentrated was their affection, that their souls became illuminated, and they comprehended who Crishna was. They told him they well knew he was the Supreme Being, and that whoever would be united to him must renounce all other connections, as they did ; that he might separate himself from them corporeally, if he would, but he could not escape from their hearts and minds, which would remain forever fixed on him. Perceiving them thus sincerely inflamed, and hurried away from themselves by the ardour of desire, he took each of them in his arms, and treated them all with equal tenderness. All the transport and happiness to be found in the world were in the hearts of the Gopias. They exclaimed: "O happy trees of this wood, under whose thick shade Crishna delights to slumber. Honoured above all animals are these, which the Almighty himself leads to pasture. Happy above all is the flute, which rests forever on his divine lip, from which he produces those heavenly sounds that steal away the souls of Sooras and Assooras. How blest are we, whom he condescends to love!" When Crishna promised always to continue his kindness to them, they became elated with the happiness and elevation of the fourteen spheres of the universe. They all rose up, and taking hold of his hands began to dance. His form multiplied in proportion to the number of his partners, and he gave his hand to each. Every one believed he was close by her side, and all their eyes were directed toward him alone. If one became fatigued, she sat down, holding his hand and looking toward him, or stood with her arm round his neck, leaning on his shoulder in the most graceful and affectionate manner. Brahman Siva, and subordinate Deities came as spectators, and offered all manner of flowers. Many of the blossoms fell to the ground, from the bosoms of the dancers, and bees, attracted by their fragrance, swarmed around them. The listener who once came within sound of that flute, or heard the musical tinkling of the dancers' feet, was unable to depart, nor could the birds stir a wing. After a thousand sports, they all went to bathe, and renewed their caresses in the river Jumna. The enjoyment of Crishna with the Gopias, and of the Gopias with Crishna, is a mystery, and cannot be described.
Cansa heard the fame of this wonder-working youth, and tried various means to entice him to his palace, that he might employ him in some task sure to end in his destruction. Crishna always eluded his snares, till he knew the predestined time had arrived for him to kill the tyrant. He then quitted his pastoral life, and returned to the place of his birth. After conquering in all manner of perils, contrived by the jealousy of the king and the malignity of wicked Spirits, he at last attacked Cansa, tore the crown from his head, and dragged him a long way on the ground by his hair. While thus dragged along, the soul of the tyrant became liberated of the three worlds; for whether sleeping or waking, he had never, for one moment, been able to refrain from thinking of his predestined destroyer, and at the moment of death he had beatific visions of him; for whoever, constantly and sincerely, whether in love or enmity, bent his heart toward the Deity, incarnated as he was in that human form, was sure to obtain liberation.
When Crishna heard the lamentations of the king's wives and brothers, he pitied them, and advised them to strive for resignation to the unavoidable decrees of fate. Then he went to the place where his father and mother were imprisoned, fell at their feet, and said: “Be happy in the life of that son, for whose sake his earthly parents have suffered so much danger and distress." At that moment, they knew he was the Almighty, and worshipped him with