Butter Pranks - Krishna in Gokula
Continuing from last week’s post on Krishna’s birth, Sadhguru narrates the many pranks Krishna played as a child in Gokula, and how he created a joy and blissfulness in the village.
Sadhguru: If you want to have a taste of Gokula, the land of Krishna’s childhood, we need all of you insane. The very essence of the early part of Krishna’s life is, with his very enchanting looks, his supposedly inimitable smiles, his flute, and the dance in his step, he just drove people into a new kind of frenzy that they had never known before. He turned a whole community totally insane; very blissfully insane. They just went mad about him.
Krishna very joyfully and proudly used to say, “I stole butter. If I didn’t steal butter, there would be no zest and excitement in the village.” Krishna and his friends opened the tiles on the roofs of other people’s homes and slipped in. The pots would be hung high so that the children could not reach them. So they climbed on each others’ shoulders and got them. When the pots were too high to reach, they took a stone and hit them. If the stone made a small hole in the pot, the curd and butter just poured out and they drank with their open mouths. Or sometimes it cracked and the whole pot crashed down, so they gobbled the content from the floor. They shared it among their friends, and always there was excess because there were just a few brave boys who would do this. So they called the monkeys and fed them.
All this sounds very romantic but it is like your refrigerator had been raided by your neighbor’s kids. So some women were angry, some were heartbroken, but they were not as paranoid as people are today. They got angry – the butter and curd were their livelihood. So they complained about Krishna constantly. When they came home to his mother to complain about what he had done, he very proudly said, “I would hide behind my mother and make loving eyes at them, so they would smile.” Even when they were angry, these Gopi women were wonderful.
Much culture, song, music and dance evolved around these simple pranks of Krishna and his friends. There were other aspects of his life, but one very basic thing why this happened is, he was irresistibly beautiful. So much has been said and sung about his physical beauty. Even as a child, people were just drawn to his physical self. In the northern part of the country where generally people were fair, he was dark complexioned. He was so attractive as a child that people were willing to overlook all the quite terrible pranks that he played.
Joyful and loving 24 hours a day
Today it is an unfortunate reality that there are any number of people in the world who have never even walked joyfully for 10 minutes by themselves. There are any number of people in the world who have not for one moment in their whole life sat in front of somebody really loving that person. Their whole life goes without even a moment of these things happening. For such people, there is no entry into Gokula. Gokula is a place where people romped about joyfully, even while doing their work. They sang, they danced, they loved.
Not knowing moments of joy is a crime against humanity. Being joyful, being loving 24 hours a day is not out of reach for a human being. Why Krishna is such a huge factor in the cultural ethos of this country is, this was a man who romped through his life, no matter what was happening. Right from his childhood, he went through many extreme situations. From the day he was born, people were trying to kill him.
In his childhood, any number of assassins came to execute him. Through various factors – sometimes through his super human capabilities – these attempts were warded off. But the most important factor is, he went through his life like a dance – joyfully, blissfully, lovingly. Wherever he was, whether he was in a battle or just about to behead his foe; whether he was in loving atmospheres, joyful atmospheres, or terrible atmospheres, there was a smile on his face. When it was necessary, he became stern. But the moment that necessity was over, in all kinds of extreme situations, he smiled and went through them. Unfortunately, people like to see this as a divine quality. A smile is a human quality. Human beings who have lost it are trying to export their joy to heaven.
As a child, Krishna exhibited various qualities of his own. Once, as an infant, when he was just about three months old, it happened to be one of the Pournami festivals. Full moon day was always a celebration in these pastoral cultures. Actually, every day was a celebration but the full moon day was a good excuse. So for the full moon day celebrations, in the afternoon itself, the families gathered at the riverside; they cooked, and in the evening, after eating, they danced. All the ladies were busy cooking, and the children were left here and there with somebody. Because it was sunny, the mother, Yashodha, left the three-month-old Krishna under a parked bullock cart for shade. He was sleeping for some time; then he woke up. Still he did not have the legs to move around and dance, but he wanted to be there. He saw that nobody was paying attention. So he just kicked the wheel of the cart and the whole cart crashed down.
That was the first display of his superhuman strength which he used whenever it was necessary. Otherwise, he lived as a normal human being, going through all the strife and struggle of any human being. But at certain moments, he exhibited qualities which were beyond what you call human.
Everybody was aghast that the cart crashed and they thought the child was crushed. But nothing had happened to the child. A few little boys who had seen this, said, “He kicked the cart; that’s why it fell down.” Nobody believed it, “What nonsense. A three-month-old child – how can he kick the cart?” All the adults dismissed it as wild imagination of these children. But he continued to exhibit such qualities again and again.
Editor’s Note: Sadhguru explores the life and path of Krishna. Watch the Leela series, available as a free webstream – one part every week.