Chapter XL - 147 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"King! Though there was no paucity of servants, it was Yasoda the mistress of the house who, according to traditional custom, did all the chores of the household. Boiling the milk, curdling it, churning it and preparing butter - all these activities were personally done by her. One day, she woke up as usual, at the beginning of the Brahma-muhurtham (4.30 a.m.); she took her bath and went through the early morning duties, and later, placing the milk-pot before her, she started churning the contents, vigorously pulling the ropes which kept the churn-rod steady in the liquid - all the while singing sweet hymns on God."

"Meanwhile, Gopala (Krishna) came forward with slow but steady steps to the place where the mother was churning and gave a sudden sharp pull at the end of her Sari; Yasoda was startled at this unexpected pull; she turned round and was most pleasantly surprised, when she found it was her mischievous child, Krishna! Putting a stop to the churning, she took Krishna into her arms and fondled Him, 'Dear Son! Its not dawn yet! Why have you got up from bed so soon? Go, my darling! Sleep again for a few minutes!' But, the divine child lisped most entrancingly that it was hungry, and began sobbing pathetically, to confirm its yearning for being fed. The mother's heart melted; she placed the churning rod on one side and covered the pot with a lid; then, she took Krishna on her lap, sitting just where she was; while she was feeding Him at her breast, she stroked His head, gently and softly. Just then, she heard the noise of a pot rolling down from the oven in the kitchen inside; she suspected, it was the mischief of the cat; she lifted the child from her lap and placed it on the floor, for, she had to run in to examine what had happened! When Yasoda disappeared into the next room, Krishna was incensed at her behaviour, dropping Him in the middle of His feed. He saw the pot before His eyes, and turned all His anger towards it. He gave it a hard blow with the churning rod, and when the curds flowed along the floor, He collected the butter and stuffed it into His mouth, and hastened out of the room, lest He be admonished. When Yasoda came into the room, she saw the pot broken, the curds on the floor, the butter gone! And, Krishna had made Himself scarce! Knowing this to be the handiwork of Gopala, she searched for Him in every nook and corner."

"She could not find Him anywhere. She went into the neighbouring houses and inquired whether He was found by any one there. Everyone declared that they had not come across the child; they did not know where He was. Yasoda was really frightened. 'He must have run away dreading punishment for having broken the pot and let flow its contents! Poor child! It has run out into the darkness!', she thought. She searched house after house, in the street. At last, she caught Him in the act of taking down a pot of butter, from a sling, where the mistress of the house had kept a series of pots full of milk, curds and butter. Krishna was standing on an upturned mortar so that He could lift the butter pot and bring it down safe, to be shared with His comrades!"

"Seeing Him, Yasoda shouted, 'You thief! Are you behaving like this, in every house? When the poor Gopis complained to me about your thefts, I used to blame them without verifying their charge, and send them away. I have now seen it with my own eyes! Yet, I can scarce believe my eyes! O, how mistaken I was all these days! I cannot let you escape hereafter. No. If I let you off, on the plea that you are a child, later, it will lead you on to calamitous crime. I must punish you effectively now, and not pardon you at all. When the child of a great family turns thief, it is a disgrace to the entire clan. The ill-fame cannot easily be wiped off. The reputation of our family will suffer.'"