The Loveable Thief
Sadhguru recounts how Krishna was loved by everyone in his community despite his relentless butter-thieving!
Sadhguru: When Krishna grew a little older, at around five, six years of age, his butter thieving pranks got more organized, and people who were losing their butter got more and more distressed. Constantly, people were coming to his mother and complaining, “Your boy, please keep him at home!” So, mother Yashodha scolded him but he had his way with her. If she scolded him, he knew how to cry immediately. He would put his face down on the floor and just cry and bawl, waiting for her to attend. He even goes to the extent of saying, “I did get angry but not like other people. When other people got angry, for example my elder brother Balarama, he screamed, he stamped his foot, he paced up and down; I could see he was wasting a lot of his energy. Even my mother used to get angry. When she really got angry she wasted her energy knitting her brows, twitching her nose and throwing herself around. I did not get angry like that. I just got angry to the extent it was necessary.”
He continued to play all his tricks but one day he got a real scolding. Then he decided that these people who are constantly complaining about him would have to be taught a lesson. He began to plan what he would have to do. In the middle of the afternoon one day, he was walking near the river bank and he found all the gopis were having bath in the river. There were young women, old women, girls, all kinds. Krishna thought this would be a good opportunity to have some fun, and went and hid in the bushes. He saw where all the gopis had kept their clothes on the river bank before going into the river.
In those days, separate times of the day were fixed for men and women to bathe in the river. When it was time for the women to bathe, no one would come there so they had total freedom in the river. Krishna bundled up all their clothes, climbed up a tree and just quietly sat there. The women, busy playing in the water and having a bath, didn’t notice anything. When it was time to come out, they came out and saw to their horror that their clothes were missing. They screamed and yelled because they had no clothes now. Where were they to go? When they started screaming and howling, he started playing sweet notes on his flute. Then they screamed and abused him and said, “Come down you fool.” But Krishna just continued to play his flute, not bothered by what they were saying to him. Then from screaming and scolding they came down to pleading and begging and after much begging, he told them, “If you want your clothes, we will make a deal. You don’t go and complain to my mother again and again. You get that?” They were ready to agree to anything because they were naked and had no clothes.
Krishna took out the clothes and when everyone had their clothes, he got down and playing his flute, walked away. Among themselves the women said, “Oh, what a terrible boy! What a sweet boy! Aren’t we glad he’s only seven and not seventeen.”
Krishna is such a huge factor in the cultural ethos of this country because this is a man who romped through his life, no matter what was happening. Though Krishna stole butter from everyone’s homes and played tricks and all kinds of pranks on them, still, everyone loved him because he was in tune with them. He was in perfect tune with life around him. Only when you feel in tune with someone you will feel pleasantness. When you don’t feel in tune with someone, they don’t have to do anything wrong to you, if you just look at them – unpleasantness. When you are in tune, being loving, being joyful, being like a flower is very natural to you because that is how this being is made.
Krishna stealing gopi's clothes, painting in Bundi Garh palace from Wikipedia