One of the best known lilas of Krushna is Makhan Chori
stealing of butter.
Like many other lilas of Krushna, this too is much misunderstood and mis-labelled as an act of naughtiness by an Indian divinity !
In SMB, the whole lila is described in just 4 simple shloaks !!!!
Since than, 4 billion versions of the makhan-chori lila, songs, stories, plays and movies have been made on the theme !!!!
In most cases, it is blown out of proportion and bears no resemblance to the original story.
In SMB, the gopies have come to tell Yashodaji of the latest pranks by her toddler - a child who is just learning to walk. As such, toddler Krushna is doing what every 2-3 year old does - eating, drinking, playing, making a mess - as and when He pleases ! Within these 4 shlokas, Gopies also describe how Krushna frees the calves before the cows have been properly milked.
Like a concerned mother, Shri Yashodaji taught her beloved son a precious lesson, so that He would never steal again. She ties Him up for a short while - curing Him of any desire to "steal" ever again.
All parents have to deal with this ! Toddlers often come home with toys from the nursery or their friend's house and parent have to teach them that this is not acceptable. Usually, there is a bit of tantrum, but parents persevere and usually children are out of this phase very soon. Its tough for a child to deal with this, but just because he / she brought someone elses's toy home one day, doesn't mean we brand them as thieves forever !! Sadly, that's what we have done to Krushna ! We have given his "stealing" a cult status and have blown it all out of proportion. Just because Krushna ate makhan for a few weeks in Sarasvat Kalpa, we can't possible ask Him to continue to do that now or indeed now "steal" our karmas etc !
Here is my social and spiritual take on this lila - as to why Shri Krushna performed
the Makhan-Chori lila.
Krushna noticed that the people of Vraj were not strong - physically, financially or spiritually. He set about finding a remedy for that.
Earth is capable of providing all we need.
There is a lack of organisation and lack of understanding.
People are not living in tune
with nature or their surrounding. For example,
people living in arid African plains are planting roses, so as to supply
Often, in our blind rush to get to the top, we ignore the very people we are doing all this for ! People of Vraj were doing just that.
Krushna put a stop to it.
He insisted that
1) the calves get their due share of the milk.
2) cows are treated as Jiva / creatures in their own right, not just some resource.
3) children get the nurture they need in terms of food, love, time etc.
He did not plead with them, go on hunger strike or take out marches.
He carried out his work in the most effective way possible with sweetness Madurya.
Krushna, along with his friends started eating the butter, that was theirs by right, in the houses of the Vrajvasis themselves. It was an open thing no breaking of doors or windows to gain illegal entry. If a member of the house invites you in, how can that be termed as breaking an entry ? Theft is when you deprive the rightful owner of what belongs to them. If the children of the house share the butter with their friends, how can that be theft ? The butter surely belongs to the family and as a family, they are entitled to eat it and share it as they see fit !
Initially, the gopies saw these impromptu picnics as a drain on their resources, and hence complained to Yashodaji. But than, seeing their children getting healthier and happier, they stopped complaining. Which mother would not want her son to get better ? This "madhur revolution", brought health and happiness to Vraj and parents were soon willing partners in this change.
Karma treats everyone equally.
Even God !
As the Lord had taken makhan without the permission of the gopies, He too had to suffer the consequences of this action.
Even though it wasn't theft, it was done without permission of the head of the house - and hence, it attracted some punishment !
God, willingly took on the
He was tied to a khandaniyo (crusher / large wooden mortar) by mother Yashoda.
The ropes were unwilling / unable
to tie Him, but, the Lord commanded them to tie Him up.
It was an essential part of the avatar lila.
When you willingly take on
punishment for your deeds, the deeds and their future karmas are crushed - hence the
The Lord initiated yet another lila whilst being tied. He freed the sons of Kuber from their tree like existence. Yamalarjun thanked the Lord for his mercy before returning to their father. In any situation, no matter how dire, see the bright side of life and see how you can help others !
When everyone in Vraj was happy with the idea of making sure their children, cows and calves were properly taken care of, Krushna moved on to the next lila !
Here are some nice paintings of Krushna eating
Krushna eating makhan with his friends and monkeys
Gopies talking about the Makhan chori lila
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