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And here I've thought all my life that cowgirls did nothing but ride around and warn people about stage holdups and everything! I'd just like to know how a girl would ever have a chance to know what was going on in the country, unless she heard the men talking while she poured their coffee. Only this bunch don't talk at all. They just gobble and go."

The Rasika Priya and the Bhagavata Purana, the texts so greatly favoured at Udaipur, were discarded and in their place Basohli artists produced a series of isolated scenes from Krishna's life the child Krishna stealing butter, Krishna the gallant robbing the cowgirls or exacting toll, Krishna extinguishing the forest-fire, Krishna the violent lover devouring Radha with hungry eyes.

Each picture has a passionate intensity its rich browns and reds, greens and blues endowing its characters with glowing fervour, while Krishna and the cowgirls, with their sharp robust forms and great intent eyes, display a brusque vitality and an eager rapturous vigour.

His weight cracks it but before the cart can collapse, Krishna kicks out so sharply that the demon dies and the cart falls to pieces. Hearing a great crash, the cowgirls dash to the spot, marvelling that although the cart is in splinters and all the pots broken, Krishna has survived. The third attack occurs when Krishna is five months old.

You are making an end of our friendship. Krishna says, 'Then you shall not have your clothes back. The cowgirls answer, 'Why do you treat us so? It is only for you that we have bathed all these days. Krishna answers, 'If that is really so, then do not be bashful or deceive me.

In years he is still a boy but we are suddenly confronted with what is to prove the very heart of the story his romances with the cowgirls. Although all of them are married, the cowgirls find his presence irresistible and despite the warnings of morality and the existence of their husbands, each falls utterly in love with him.

From this point of view, the cowgirls were as much the souls of men as Radha herself and to demonstrate God's all-pervasive love, Krishna must therefore love not only Radha but every cowgirl. Equally, in the circular dance, by inducing every cowgirl to think that she and she alone was his partner, Krishna was proving how God is available to all.

In their alarm the cowherds send word to Nanda and along with Yasoda, Rohini and the other cowgirls, he hastens to the scene. Krishna can no longer be seen and in her agitation Yasoda is about to throw herself in. Krishna, however, is merely playing with the snake. In a moment he expands his body, jumps from the coils and begins to dance on the snake's heads.

Since the incident at the river, they have been waiting for him to keep his promise. Krishna, however, has appeared blandly indifferent going to the forest, playing with the cowherds but coldly ignoring the cowgirls themselves. When autumn comes, however, the beauty of the nights stirs his feelings. Belatedly he recalls his promise and decides to fulfil it.

Udho is reduced to silence and can only marvel at the cowgirls' bliss in abandoning everything to think only of Krishna. Finally they send Krishna the message that if he really desires them to abandon loving him with their bodies and resort to penance, he himself must come and show them how to do it. Unless he comes, they will die of neglect.

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