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prayers and praises. When he perceived that they knew him to be the Universal Lord, while so much remained for him to fulfil as an avatar on this earth, he again plunged them into forgetfulness, so that they once more supposed him to be their son. As his youth had been passed among shepherds, they deemed it necessary to commence an education for him, suited to the caste of Cshatryas, or rajahs, to which he belonged. They accordingly procured a learned Bramin to teach him all the Vedas. To save appearances, he staid awhile with his tutor, though in reality he learned the whole circle of sciences in one day and one night. At parting with his teacher, he requested him to ask whatever boon he most desired. He replied: “ Above all things, I desire to have my two dead sons restored to life.” Crishna assured him it should be done. He descended to the abodes of departed souls, summoned the god of those regions, and demanded the two sons of his tutor. commands were obeyed with profound submission. He restored the young men to life, and brought them to their father. He was constantly performing similar miracles of beneficence. He lulled tempests, cured lepers, and restored the old and crippled to youth and beauty. His mother having expressed a wish to see her infant sons, who had been murdered by command of their cruel uncle, he went to the regions of departed spirits, and brought them to her. As soon as she saw them, the milk began to flow in her breasts. When the babes had tasted of the milk, and Crishna had passed his hand over them, an eagle descended from above and bore them up to Paradise, in sight of all the people.
The Coros were enemies of the Yadavas, and persecuted them greatly. Crishna conquered them in a great battle, and placed the rightful prince on the throne. But though he fulfilled his destined mission in fighting against oppressors, his prevailing characteristics were benevolence and tenderness. His kindness was freely extended to all. If he visited a pious rajah, who offered him chains of gold and strings of finest pearl, he was often at the same moment in some humble shed with a devout Bramin, who was too poor to offer him anything but fruit and flowers, He gave no preference to one over the other, knowing that their religious merits were equal, though their external conditions were so very different.
It is said that Bhreegoo, a celebrated saint, wishing to test his divinity, kicked him, to see whether it would make him angry. Crishna stooped and examined his foot with the utmost tenderness. “This breast of mine is extremely hard," said he. "You surely must have hurt yourself." Bhreegoo, weeping with joy, exclaimed: “This must indeed be the true Lord of the three worlds."
To certain princes, who bowed low before him, he declared that he took more pleasure in repentant sinners, than he did in stainless devotees, who had passed their whole lives in austerity and prayer.
In all the concerns of life, he strictly obeyed the injunctions of the Vedas. Morning, noon, and evening, he performed the prescribed ablutions and prayers. He washed the feet of Bramins with all humility, and distributed among them cows with gilded horns. He neglected none of the purifications appointed for actions proper to human nature, which are every day committed. If it be asked how that divine essence could have any need of purification, the answer is, that it was by reason of his material form. He took part in the public business of the Yadavas, and when he sat in council with them, it would be degrading to that assembly to compare it to the moon and stars shining in midnight glory. After performing his public and private duties, musicians and singers were introduced, and every kind of innocent and elegant diversion beguiled the remaining hours of the day.
He lived in the midst of beauty and magnificence. His carriage, studded with jewels, glittered like the sun; and when he rode forth, women mounted on the roofs of the houses, to gaze after it as long as it was possible. The father-in-law of Cansa had solemnly sworn to revenge his death, and he accordingly attacked the city of Matra. Crishna, to save the inhabitants from all danger, called up an island from the ocean, and transported them all thither. By his command, Visvakarma, the architect of his celestial Paradise, constructed a wonderful city called Dwarka. The walls were of gold, and the pavements glittered with precious stones. The houses were pure crystal, supported by pillars of coral, with canopies of golden cloth, festooned with strings of pearl. The apartments were illuminated with resplendent rubies, and over the roofs floated clouds of fragrant smoke, from the constant burning of aromatics. Numerous temples towered toward the sky, and incense from their altars perfumed the whole atmosphere. Learned Bramins were everywhere chanting the Vedas, like intoxicated bees buzzing round aromatic Nenuphar. Peacocks sported among the trees, and nightingales sung. In the garden was a river, whose banks were all gold and jewels. It appeared red, from the reflection of the rubies, but it was perfectly white. It was the Water of Life. In the most splendid of the palaces lived his first wife Rakmini, who was an incarnation of his celestial consort Lacshmi. In this city dwelt Crishna, with his sixteen thousand wives, like lightning in a cloud. Beautiful children played in the courts, and graceful slave-girls attended on their mistresses. When Nareda, god of music, visited this Paradise, Crishna rose from his seat and stepped forward to welcome him. He caused water to be brought, and himself washed the feet of his guest, pouring the remainder of the water on his own head. Nareda was oppressed by such marks of distinction, and replied reverently: "If it be thy august will to perform these services for me, it is as a father and mother perform services for their children, out of their own voluntary good will. No one can measure thy mercy and benevolence. Thy avatar is for the purpose of protecting the good and punishing the wicked. Men, who are buried in the pit of their passions, have no possibility of escape from their control, except by thy mercy in consenting to be born into this transient world." Having curiosity to know whether Crishna lived with his
sixteen thousand wives in rotation, or was always present with each of them, he resolved to take the first opportunity of going into their various houses. In one, he found Crishna at a banquet; in another, listening to the Pouranas; in another, he had set the women to quarrelling, and amused himself with looking on; in another, he was listening to the songs of beautiful slave-girls; in another, giving orders for digging a well; in another, distributing milch cows to the poor. Go as quickly as he would, he found Crishna everywhere present. Each of his wives thought he preferred no one to herself, and that he wished for no other. [This is probably an allegorical allusion to the intimate union of Deity with multifarious forms of the universe.]
After the Coros were conquered, the rightful prince of the Yadavas reigned thirty-six years in peace and prosperity. Then came calamities and bad omens of every kind. A black circle surrounded the moon, and the sun was darkened at noonday; the sky rained fire and ashes; those animals which it was reckoned fortunate to meet on the right hand were met on the left; flames burned dusky and livid; demons carried away the ornaments of the women and the weapons
and no one could impede them; at sunrise and sunset, thousands of figures were seen skirmishing in the air; Crishna's horses took fright, and ran away with his carriage into the pathless regions of the atmosphere, far beyond the ken of mortals; Spirits hovered in the air, wailing, and crying out, “ Arise ye and flee !” Crishna knew that these prodigies foreboded the extinction of the Yadavas, and his own exit from his material form. He remembered the prophecy concerning himself, "O Crishna, take care of the sole of thy foot.” He seated himself in a jungle, full of melancholy thoughts, and summoned all his force, mental and corporeal, while his spirit stood ready to depart. A hunter, seeing him there, mistook him for an animal, and discharged an arrow, which pierced him in the foot. Immediately a great light enveloped the earth, and illumined
the whole expanse of heaven. Crishna, attended by Ce lestial Spirits, and luminous as on that night when he was born in the house of Vasudeva, pursued, by his own light, the journey between earth and heaven, to the bright Paradise whence he had descended. All men saw him, and exclaimed, "Lo, Crishna's soul ascends its native skies!"
One of the titles of Crishna is “Pardoner of Sins ;" another is “Liberator from the Serpent of Death.” In allusion to this last title, and likewise to his death-wound in the foot, the image of Crishna is sculptured in their ancient temples, sometimes wreathed in the folds of a serpent, that is biting his foot, sometimes treading victoriously on the head of a serpent.
Hindoo theology is everywhere intimately connected with astronomy. Each planet had its presiding Spirit, supposed to be interested in the affairs of men, and therefore to be propitiated by prayers and offerings. In the following prayer, Crishna is addressed as the Spirit of the Sun: “Be auspicious to my lays, O Crishna, thou only god of the seven heavens, who swayest the universe through the immensity of space and matter. O universal and resplendent Sun! Thou mighty governor of the heavens ; thou sovereign regulator of the connected whole; thou sole and universal deity of mankind; thou gracious and supreme Spirit; my noblest and most happy inspiration is thy praise and glory. Thy power I will praise, for thou art my sovereign Lord, whose bright image continually forces itself on my attentive, eager imagination. Thou art the Being to whom heroes pray in perils of war; nor are their supplications vain, when thus they pray; whether it be when thou illuminest the eastern region with thy orient light, when in thy meridian splendour, or when thou majestically descendest in the west."
All the Hindoo avatars are painted bluish-black, or dark azure. In allusion to Orishna's being the Spirit of the Sun, his colour is called “the brilliant pupil of the eye of the universe.” He is represented as more splendidly dressed than any of the avatars. He wears robes of golden yel.