Sri Krishna’s Butter Stealing Pastimes

Danagati Das
By Danagati Das 2.5k Views Add a Comment 7 Min Read

One day Yashoda told Krishna, “It’s Your birthday today. Go and bring a female calf here and worship her.”

Krishna became very happy. He went out and chose a very beautiful female-calf. She was as white as a swan. The calf was very healthy, stout and strong, and was jumping here and there. Krishna wanted to catch her, but couldn’t because she was jumping so much. After a great struggle He managed to catch hold of her, intending to bring her into the courtyard. He tried to tie up her four legs, but the calf refused to let Him, and they had another wrestling match.

Somehow or other, Krishna managed to bring her into the courtyard. As He was doing so, He noticed a pot hanging from a rope. He immediately understood that this pot was full of sweet butter. In an instant, His intense desire for the butter made Him forget that He was supposed to bring the calf in.

But how could He reach the butter? It was hanging high up in the rafters, and there were no ladders or anything to stand on. When He was with His friends, He would climb on their backs, one by one, higher and higher, until He could reach the butter. However, none of His friends were with Him, and He had no stick. So What to do?

After considering carefully, Krishna thought, “I can reach the butter very easily if I stand on this calf.” He climbed up on the calf’s back, and when He stood upright He was just high enough to put His hand into the pot.

At that moment, the calf suddenly jumped away. Krishna had put His whole arm into the pot, so when the calf ran away, He was left dangling there. Now He called out fearfully, “O Mother! Mother! Mother!” and cried bitterly.

Mother Yashoda was churning butter, and when she heard Krishna weeping and crying for her, she smiled and ran out to help Him. As soon as she saw Him hanging high above the ground, she understood what had happened.

“You stay like that!” she told Him. “I’m not going to touch You. And I’ll punish You for being naughty. I won’t help You!”

Krishna began to weep more loudly: “Mother! Mother! Mother!”

Of course, Yashoda brought Him down. Krishna was charmingly mischievous in His boyhood, and that is why He garnered so much love and affection from all the Gopis, especially His mother.

One day when no one was looking, Krishna began His pastimes of stealing fresh butter. Startled upon seeing His own reflection in a jewelled inlaid pillar, He shivered in fear and said, “O dear brother, do not tell mother. I will save some butter for You and You may enjoy too.”

Watch­ing her mischievous son from a hidden place, Mother Yaśodā heard these sweet broken words with great relish. Then she innocently appeared before Krishna and Rama.

Pointing to His effulgent reflection, Krishna said, “O Ma! Being very greedy, this boy came here today in order to steal your butter. Although I forbade Him, He did not listen to Me. And when I got angry with Him, He also got angry. But I am not at all greedy for butter.”

One day while Yaśodā was outside the house engaged in some domestic activities, inside the house Krishna stole butter again. When Yaśodā re­turned and called out, “O my darling Krishna! Where are You and what are You doing?”

Hearing her, Krishna became afraid and stopped stealing butter. Pausing for a moment, He answered, “Mother! My hand started burning from the shining effulgence of My ruby bangles, so I stuck it in this butter pot to relieve the pain.”

Pleased by her son’s clever words, Yaśodā said, “Hey Vatsa! Please come sit on my lap. Oh My darling, show me the burns on Your hand.”

Then Yaśodā kissed Krishna’s hand and consoled Him, saying, “Ahh…ahh… Look, Your hand has been burned. So let me remove these ruby bangles.”

When Krsna become old enough, he started leaving his home in adventure of stealing butter from the Gopis houses.

Complaints were coming to Mother Yaśodā, continually.

One time, the Gopis had an istaghosti (meeting) to discuss how to catch this Krsna in the act of stealing their butter. The Gopis decided to place bells over the pots and when He would try to steal the butter, bells would ring and they would hear Him, and so catch Him.

So, Krsna went on with His business of stealing butter from the Gopis houses as usual. But then He noticed that all the doors to the houses of the Gopis were open. Usually, they were locked. Krsna could smell something was going on.

He entered a house very carefully, and climbing on the shoulders of a friend, He saw the bells hanging over the pots and knew it was a trap.

Krsna told the bell That it should not ring when he takes the butter. So, the Lord took the butter and started to distribute the butter to His friends.

When He was about to eat the butter, the bell sounded.

Krsna said to the bells, why did you ring, I told you not to ring.

The bells said, “Krsna, You told us not to ring but in the scriptures it said that when your devotees offer food to you, They should ring the bell. Therefore, when you are eating, we have to ring.

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Danagat das is a disciple of His Holiness Partha Sarathi Das Goswami. He joined Iskcon in 1993 after reading Science of Self-Realization. He stayed as a brahmacari at Sri Sri Radha Radhanath Temple of Understanding for 8 years When he left the tenple, he started his career in the radio industry. In 2005, He joined LotusfM, an predominantly Indian Radio Station, a branch of the SABC. After 15 years at SABC, He landed a position as Station Manager at a community radio station and then at a campus Radio station at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Umlazi. He know has a weekly show on Hare Krsna Community Radio on Saturday from 7am to 9am. He also runs his own Radio Training Academy.
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