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XXXVII. The Fate of Demons

Indeed, recollecting the boyish pranks of Krishna, and enabling others to listen to descriptions of those pranks were assignments that gave great delight to Suka! Therefore, as soon as he was asked, he began, "O king, there is no higher course for you during the few remaining days of life than devoting them to the contemplation of God. Is it not? The doings of the Lord are drops of nectar. Every one of them is a fountain of Ananda. Tell me which of them you wish to hear about. I shall describe to you the truth of each, and the glory I saw."

At this, king Parikshith said, "Master! I desire to hear of the wondrous way in which Gopala moved among the cowherd boys; that will give me such joy, that I can liberate myself from the hold of death-and-birth."

So, Suka said, "King! Gopala woke early, during the Brahma Muhurtha (the hours from 4 to 6); He finished wash quite soon and went into the cowshed, to select and separate the cows and calves that had to be taken to the pastures that day and gave them water to drink; he heaped grass before the animals that were to be left behind, so that they could feed their fill; He loosened the ropes from the posts to which the cows He wanted to take with Him were tied, and drove them out of the shed, into the area in front of His home; then, He went inside the house and, collecting His cold rice and curds packet, with a bit of pickles in it; He cautioned His elder brother that it was time to start; and, in order to alert His companions to be ready to join Him, He blew a horn, standing on the road. On hearing that call, the cowherd boys were activated quite suddenly; they finished their allotted tasks at home hurriedly; they bore the bundles of noontime food packets, and hastened to the house of Yasoda, the mother, ready for the task for which Krishna called them."

"Then the boys proceeded, playing on flutes, singing melodious tunes. Some of them responded to the 'kokils' that sang on trees, with echoing songs of their own. Others ran along the shadows of the birds that flew above. Some lay flat on the backs of the cows and sang merrily their favourite songs, all the while watching with eagerness what Gopala was doing and where He was. Thus, they moved on into the forest."

"Gopala would then place the flute tight in his loins: he would hold the noon day meal packet in his left hand and, raising His lovely silvery voice He would sing a charming song and slowly walk along. The cows too stepped in unison with the song, as if their feet kept time and delighted in doing so. They pointed their ears, to listen to the divine melody. They raised their heads in silent admiration and adoration. At last, they reached the banks of the tank."