A throng of tender cowherd maidens came,
To worship Shiva’s consort, Parvati,
Down by the bank of holy Kalindi.
They set an image by the river’s brink,
And offered scents, and lamps, nice food and drink,
And to the mother goddess they all prayed,
And on this wise their heart’s desire conveyed,
“Hail holy mother goddess, Uma, hail!
Great consort of the mighty lord of all!
With folded palms we here before you stand,
May Nanda’s son become our dear husband,
O spouse of Shiva, this our only prayer,
That Nanda’s son become our husband dear.”
Thus when they did the great goddess implore,
They rose, and laid their garments on the shore,
Kalindi’s chilly waters entered in,
And, naked, ‘gan to splash, frolick, and swim;
They sang of Krishna’s marvels and his sports,
And fancied they would soon be his consorts.
Now on that day Haladhar stayed at home,
And Krishna with his cowherd friends did roam,
And came unto Kalindi’s shelving shore;
He, round his neck a flower garland wore,
And on his head a peacock feather bore;
And as down by the river bank he strayed,
Beheld those garments, in due order laid.
The garments, Krishna, o’er his shoulder flung,
And clomb a leafy tree, whereon he hung
The cowherd maiden’s costly silk sarees,
And left them there to wonton in the breeze.
Govinda then addressed a lofty speech,
The essence of self sacrifice to teach,
“O pious virgins! Who have for my sake
Made holy vows, come now, your garments take;
I jest not, no, nor am I being rude,
But since I see that you are bathing nude,
Must expiate the sin you have incurred,
So I from scripture and wise men have heard;
Forgather now, with palms together pressed,
The guilt abates when guilt has been confessed.
I speak the truth, nor never would I lie,
These comrades here my honour testify.
With smiles approach, I shall not you deceive,
That each may her own silk garment receive.”