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Swallowing the forest fire.
One day, as the cowherd boys were fully absorbed in playing, their cows, as well as the buffalo and goats, wandered off into the dense forest, being hungry for newer grass. Finally, after wandering from place to place, the animals came to an area that was overgrown with sharp cane. There was a forest fire nearby, and the heat made the cows thirsty and distressed.
When Krishna, Balarama and the other cowherd boys noticed that the cows were missing, they felt remorse for having neglected them. They searched in the adjoining areas, but could not find where the cows had gone. Next, they looked carefully for the cows’ hoof prints, and then they followed the path that had been created by the eaten grass and foliage crushed by the herd. All the boys were in great anxiety, for they had lost the very source of their livelihood.
Within the Munja forest the cowherd boys finally found their cows, that had lost their way and were crying. Krishna began calling the cows by name, in a voice that resounded like a rumbling cloud. Upon hearing their names, the cows responded with great joy. But, the previously mentioned fire began to rage out of control on all sides. Like a chariot driver, the wind swept the fire onward, so that tongues of flame extended everywhere, threatening all moving and non-moving entities.
The cowherd boys became very afraid and so they approached Krishna and Balarama for shelter, while saying, “O Krishna! Krishna! O Rama! Please save us, Your devotees, for we are about to be burned by this forest fire and so have come to take shelter of You.”
Upon hearing these pleas, Lord Krishna told the cowherd boys, “Just close your eyes and do not be afraid.”
The boys replied, “Alright” and immediately closed their eyes. Then, the Supreme Lord, the master of all mystic power, opened His mouth and swallowed the terrible fire, thus saving His friends from danger.
When the cowherd boys opened their eyes, they were amazed to find that not only were they saved from the fire, but also, they were back at the Bhandira tree! Understanding that they had been rescued by the Lord’s mystic power, they began to consider that He must be a demigod.
It was now late in the afternoon, and so Krishna, accompanied by Balarama, turned the cows back toward home. While playing His flute in a special way, Krishna entered the cowherd village, in the company of His friends, who were all chanting His glories.
The young gopis took the greatest pleasure in seeing Govinda come home, because for them a moment’s separation from the Lord seemed like a hundred milleniums.