Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana Book 10 Chapter 22:1-14

Book 10: Twenty-two Chapter (First Half)

Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 10: Chapter 22: Verses 1-14
The Lord steals away the garments of cowherd maids

Sri Suka began again : In the first month (Margasirsa) of the Hemanta season (consisting of the months of Margasirsa and Pausa) the maids of Vraja, ruled over by Nanda, observed a vow of worshipping Goddess Katyayani, subsisting on only such food as is fit to be offered to the sacrificial fire. Having taken a dip in the waters of the Kalindi (Yamuna) at daybreak and making an image of sand on the river bank, they worshipped the Goddess (in that image), 0 protector of men, with sandal-paste etc., fragrant flowers, propitiatory oblations (such as cocoanut), incense and lights, other offerings (such as articles of wearing apparel, ornaments etc.), high and low, as well as with tender leaves, fruits and (unbroken) grains of rice. The aforesaid virgins performed worship, each muttering the following prayer_"Goddess Katyayani, the great deluding potency (of the Lord), possessed of infinite Yogic powers, O supreme Ruler (of the universe in a female form), (pray) make Sri Krsna (the Darling of Nanda, the cowherd chief) my husband ! Hail to You!" With their mind(and heart) set on Sri Krsna the maidens thus observed the (sacred) vow for a (whole) month and worshipped Goddess Bhadrakali with due ceremony praying: "Let the Darling of Nanda be our husband.'
Rising early in the morning when called by their names (by other girls), they loudly sang the praises of Sri Krsna as they went with their hands mutually clasped to bathe in the Kalindi everyday. Arriving at the river on a certain day (the last day of the month, viz., the full moon, when they were going to conclude their vow) and leaving their clothes on the bank as usual, they merrily sported in the water glorifying Sri Krsna. Coming to know of this and surrounded by His companions, Sri Krsna, the Lord of (all) Masters of Yoga, went there in order to reward their act (of worship). Taking their clothes, He hastily climbed up a Kadamba tree (near by) and, indulging in fun with the laughing boys, so the tradition goes, jestingly spoke as follows-"Coming here, 0 maids, receive you each your own raiment at will. I speak the truth and am not jesting since you are (all) exhausted by (observing) the vow. Never has a lie been told by Me before; these boys know it. Take your clothes one by one or all together (as you please), 0 slender-waisted ones." Perceiving that joke of the Lord the cowherd maids were overwhelmed with love. Abashed to see one another, they felt inclined to laugh, but did not come out (of the water). When Sri Krsna (the Protector of cows) remarked thus, the cowherd maids, whose mind was enraptured by the joke and who stood shivering, immersed as they were up to the neck in the cold water, spoke to Him (as follows):- "Pray, do no wrong by us. We know you well to be the beloved son of Nanda, the cowherd chief, and praised all over Vraja, 0 dear Krsna ! Please return our clothes; we are shivering (with cold).



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