Does Shri Krishna steal butter or our heart?
Shri Krishna Makhan Chor Ya Chit
From the book LEKH aur UPDESH – compiled in Hindi
by Smt Dhiruben Patel .
Pravachan Dated 11-8-1938.
Today we shall know the mystery of Shri Krishna’s act of stealing the butter. Many people try and call Him a thief and that is because they have not taken the trouble to know the esoteric meaning of this leela. We should say that not only is He a thief but a King of all thieves.
Ved Bhagwan also says the same—
“Taskaranaam Pataye Namo Namah” (Shukla Yajur Ved 16,21)
It means –”I salute to the king of thieves, again and again.
He was a thief but not in the common way that we understand. Normally, a thief is a person who steals our things without our knowledge and consent .Have you thought of Shri Krishna as a common thief like that?
The Gopis wholeheartedly wished that Krishna accepts the butter from them. When a devotee offers something to the Lord and that too with Shraddha ( श्रद्धा- faith) and devotion then is it not natural that the Lord accepts the gift offered to Him? He is bound to accept such offers by His own declaration in the Geeta where He said—
“Whoever offers me with devotion a leaf, a flower , a fruit or water, that I accept, offered by the pure minded with affection.”
(Bhagwad Geeta Ch 9 Shloka 26).
Since He says that the offering has to be with faith this can be testified in the anecdote of Garga Rishi when he came for the naming ceremony at Nand Baba’s house.
Yashoda Ma asked him to first cook some food and eat as the rituals would take a long time. She gave him all the necessary ingredients like ghee, milk etc. After the food was ready he first offered it to the ParamPita ParamAtma. He kept the food and chanted –”O! Govind ,all this is given by you to me so I offer it to you first. Please accept it.”
Little Krishna ate up the food as soon as he had said these words. When the Rishi opened his eyes he saw the child eating the milk pudding and so he beckoned Yashoda.
The embarrassed mother handed over more ingredients so that the Rishi could prepare the food afresh.
Garga Rishi made a halwa quickly and repeated the earlier invocation with his eyes shut in devotion.
When he opened his eyes he saw Krishna licking the halwa. Yashoda was aghast when the Rishi showed his anger and she quickly locked up the child in a room and kept the key with herself.
When the incident occurred for the third time Krishna ultimately told His mother-“Why are you angry with me? I am only doing my duty towards my devotee by accepting whatever he is offering. The devotee would otherwise be hurt and I do not like to hurt my devotee.”
When the Lord did not drink the milk offered by Namdev the devout devotee was heartbroken. He decided to give up his life if the Lord did not accept the offering of milk.
“Baithe hai tere dar par ,kuch karke uthenge Ya vassal hi hoga ,Ya mar ke uthenge”
Devotees force the Lord to accept their offerings. The gopis also offered not only the butter but also their `Tan Man and Dhan’ (तन मन धन ) to the small child-Bal Mukund.
The gopikas say –”Prabho our heart is full of devotion ,love and also regard.”
Love for a person older than oneself is called `Bhakti’ भक्ति , just like the son and father and teacher and pupil’s love for each other.
Love between two equals is called `Preeti’ प्रीति.
Attachment-`Moha’ मोह is the emotion an elder has for the younger.
The epitome of bhakti is to have all these three kinds of emotions for the Lord.
The gopis say that they have all these three emotions for the Lord so that they can become deserving of His love and that they love no one else in the same manner.
We too can similarly reach the pinnacle of devotion when we see all relationships like that of mother, father, friend, husband in that one Lord .
These days it is very rare to find such people . We go to temples and recite-
Tvameva Maata Cha Pita Tvameva
Tvameva Bandhu Cha Sakha Tvameva
Tvameva Vidya Dravinam Tvameva
Tvameva Sarvam Mama Deva Deva.
त्वमेव माता च पिता त्वमेव ।
त्वमेव बन्धुश्च सखा त्वमेव ।
त्वमेव विद्या द्रविणम् त्वमेव ।
त्वमेव सर्वम् मम देव देव ॥
The moment we leave the temple the Lord is neither father nor mother. The worldly parents become our parents. The perishable things are considered our wealth.
The gopis say-“Lord we have considered you to be everything to us .
We are not hypocrites .You are not fair as you take our hearts away and leave the framework of our body behind. You are now on the throne and have forgotten us even though we had offered our complete being and not just our hearts! You have not been kind O Lord.”
Did you all understand the real meaning of Makhan chori from this? The gopis themselves offered their hearts to Him. They remembered Him even while doing mundane chores like eating, sleeping, sweeping the floor, removing butter. They felt immense joy and indebtedness when He accepted their butter. How can we have the courage to call Him a thief under such circumstances?
Would you welcome a thief in your house by saying-“Please come and pick up all my belongings .If it is dark now then please wait till day break so that you can see everything .If you are in a hurry we shall bring a lamp and also assist you by carrying everything that you are taking.”
Have you ever behaved in such a manner with a thief? The normal reaction would be to catch hold of the thief.
(Swamiji in Vrindavan with A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
Now we shall reflect on the various allegations that have been thrown at Him .The gopis love for the Lord was pure and once when He visited the house of one of the gopis He ate up all the butter since no one was at home.
He fled as soon as they arrived.
Seeing Him escape they called out –”O delicate one (komal kalevar),so what if you have taken the butter .Why are you running away ? This butter belongs to you only and please do not go out in the sun .Come back and stop running.”
There is one more emotion hidden here. They fear Krishna’s feet will be scorched by running out in the hot sun and when His feet get scorched their hearts too would be burnt because the feet of the Lord reside in the heart of the devotees.
The Vedas have called Him the King of thieves(taskar) and to have the darshan of this Chit Chor (the one who steals the heart)the Moghul Queen Taj Begum left the muslim religion and became a hindu.
According to the social laws that are prevalent today a minor of 7 or 8 years is innocent so how then can we call this child Krishna a thief?
This title is not applicable to Him .
Nand Nandan ( the son of Nanda) was merely four or five years old then.
At the age of seven He had lifted the Goverdhan Mountain as mentioned by Shri Vyasji.
At the age of five or six He stole the clothes of the gopis.(Cheer Haran Leela).
Next we shall know the reason for Krishna not accepting the butter that His mother Yashoda made and offered Him.
The Lord wanted the fragrance of milk ,curds and ghee to emit from everyone who lived in Bharat.