Page images
PDF
EPUB

hobhanoo, the father of Radha. He was prince in a pastoral country, where people possessed their wealth in flocks of cows and buffaloes, sheep and goats. The vestiges of his fortress are seen in walls of huge slabs piled on each other in long lines. Crowning the cliff is a temple, which is ascended by a noble staircase counting four hundred steps, built, a few years ago, by a pious Baboo of Calcutta. In one of the rooms is seen Radha -mourning to herself in her lone widowed heart under separation and disappointment. The adjoining chamber is occupied by the 'Duenna sage' Burrayee, her maternal grandmother. Near the foot of the cliff are observed large life-sized statues of her parents, Birsbobhanoo and Kritika, and of her brother Sreedam.

Next to Nanda-gaon, remarkable for having been the seat of Nanda, under whose roof Krishna had been brought up in concealment. They have erected to his memory a life-sized wooden statue with the clothing and turban of a modern Vrij-bashee. Likewise, there is a statue of his wife Jushoda—a big matronly lady. The statues are replaced on decay, as they have been recently done. Here is shown the cradle of Krishna, preserved among the treasures of the place was also the dairy from which he used to steal milk and butter in his infancy.

Passing on towards Seyce, is reached the ancient boundary of Vrij, marked by a pillar like the stile of Theseus between Ionia and Peloponnesus. Thence to the Jumna, which is crossed near the real Bushtur-hurun ghaut, and the scene of Brahma's stealing the flocks.

[ocr errors]

The next place of note is Maharan, the Rajah of which had submitted, and been favourably received by Mahmood. But a quarrel arising between the soldiers of the two parties, the Hindoos were massacred and driven into the river, and the Rajah, conceiving himself to be betrayed, destroyed his wife and children, and then put an end to his own life. In Mahavan, the principal image is dedicated to Buldeo, whose name and worship may be suspected to have been derived from the Baal of the Assyrians and Babylonians. The complexion of Buldeo is white, and that of Krishna black or azure. It is an ethnological question raised by Sleeman, why Krishna has an African, and Buldeo a Caucasian or Aryan countenance ? That the former was aboriginally descended by his mother's side, is a partial answer to ; that question.

Gokul is almost an island of the Jumna, and one of the prettiest spots in the holy land. The scene here is as pastoral as it had been three thousand and five hundred years ago. Large herds of heavy-uddered kine remind us of the days of Nanda,—though their number is far short of nine lacs, possessed by that shepherd-chief of old. Krishna had been brought over to this place to be concealed from the knowledge of Kunsa. He is worshipped in a large building under the representation of a 'wee thing 'in his 'swaddling clouts,' with several toys before him—the playthings of an infant. The statues of Vasudeb and Devaki, in another apartment, are certainly out of place in this town. Long had the original image of Gokulnath lain unnoticed in a ravine

on the invasion of the Mahomedans, till in the sixteenth century it was taken and set up by Bullubha Acharya. The self-same image had again to fly from the persecutions of Aurungzebe, and is to this day an exile from Vrij. But an idol has been substituted in his room, which now forms the principal object of worship. The Gossain who enjoys the honours and advantages of being his high-priest, is said to be a descendant of Bullubha. He is a young man of about twenty, and of a swarthy complexion, whom we saw to go to bathe in Muttra, riding upon an elephant. In Gokul are still pointed out the marks of the ancient Pootna-khal. The haggard Pootna had been sent by Kunsa to take away the life of Krishna. She came under the guise of a nurse, with poison on her nipples; but the infant god, not more than seven days old, gave such a pull at them that she dropped down dead. In falling she resumed her real shape of a she-demon-covering no less than six square miles: and it took several thousand swains of Gokul to drag her corpse to the river, cut her up, and burn her, to prevent the pestilence that must have ensued.

From Gokul back again to Brindabun. The pilgrim has now gone over all the ground consecrated br the pasturage, the miracles, the sports, and the loves of Krishna. He has seen all the hallowed places of the Bhagbut, to see which it is his business to come to this holy land. It is time for him not to pack up and return.. Taking a farewell stroll through the town, and paying off our rent to the landlady, we made haste to start by sunset. The tradesman has only one regret, that he could not catch a glance from the lady of his heart. The thirsty doctor has kept away from grog for a period, which he does not remember to have ever done since the dawn of his senses. The lawyer has not one feeling of regret to quit a land in which money has to be expended and not made-in which love-suits take the place of law-suits. The scholar was full of rhymes and fare- wells in his head for the Vrij-bashees and fair Vrijbashinees. Three ruths and as many carts had come to take us away and our baggage. Before the door of our lodge had gathered a large crowd of Pandas and beggars. The scene of leave-taking was as full of stir as it had been in the days of Krishna and Buldeo—though, like them, we had not to leave behind us a single Vrij-bashinee to pine after us. It was nearly an hour after gloaming, and as we were mounting the ruths, to turn our backs against Brindabun, a policeman came up, and repeating his stories of robberies on the way, warned us to abandon the idea of travelling in the night. He said that the country was in a distracted state, that scarcity of food was driving men to desperation, and that our heavy train of baggage might tempt hungry people to break through the restraints of law. Indeed, the country now bore a rather suspicious character, and we had no mind of trusting ourselves to the tender mercies of a Jaut bandit. But we were unwilling to turn aside from the path in which we had fairly started, and arranging ourselves to go in a compact party mustering twelve people in number, we did not think it would be foolhardy to proceed in the teeth of the advice we received. Two of the Pandas volunteered to reach us half way to Muttra. It was past ten when we got safe into that city-making, perhaps, after all, a lucky escape from the perils on the road—to sit with a hearty appetite to the supper prepared by our medical friend, and to take his leave that very night to return to Agra.

« PreviousContinue »