The secrets behind “Makhan Chor Lila (Stealing butter)” by Krishna! A-Z Details!
A male devotee asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhuji. I’ll b highly obliged if you clarify to me the essence, critics and every pros and cons of The Makhan Chor Lila (stealing butter) of the Supreme Lord, as it has still been something unanswered to me and unclarified.”
WHY SHOULD KRISHNA, THE SUPREME LORD, STEAL BUTTER?
The sweetest lila of Krishna is Makhan Chor Lila (stealing butter) from His house and also from the surrounding houses.
When the women come and complain about Krishna’s cleaver way of stealing the butter from their houses, Yasodha tied Krishna with a rope.
This Makhan Chor Lila (stealing butter) is not just an act of stealing a material – butter.
There are great secrets behind this Makhan Chor Lila (stealing butter).
Let us see them along with the views of two acharyas!
(1) Butter is made by churning the yogurt made from cow’s milk. Milk represents Upanishads which are the essence of Vedas represented by cows. The starter to transform the milk to yogurt or curd is the “desire to know about the Absolute”. The extreme heat of one’s spiritual sacrifice boils the milk and the desire itself acts as the starter and transforms the milk into curd.
Churning represents the hard spiritual disciplines of a sadhaka to separate the butter representing the Absolute truth. Just like the truth is beautiful and pure, butter is pure, tasty and soft. After attaning this stage a devotee’ or sadhaka’s heart melts like butter with Pure Bhakthi and attitude of surrender.
This is what Krishna symbolically stole butter from the Gopikas in His Makhan Chor Lila (stealing butter).
(2) Stealing is to take something unlawfully or to take something that belongs to somebody else, illegally or without the owner’s permission. But all in the universe belongs to Lord Krishna.
(3) Lord Krishna is Bakthavatsala. Lord Krishna took voluntarily beaten rice from Kuchala (Sudhama) before before it was offered to Him (SB 10.81.3 to SB 10.81.8).
(4) During Krishna’s mission as messenger, Lord Krishna declined Duryodhana’s invitation for dinner, He went to Vidura’s house where He dined and took rest.
(5) According to Dharma Sastra one sixth of the earning is to be given as Daana (Donation). More over, Gopikas did not give butter even as prasad to Lord Krishna. These gopis were rishis earlier and prayed Lord Vishnu to live along with Him future. They made tapas and attained a stage similar to transferring from milk to butter. Lord Krishna accepted their prema and took the butter symbolically. In return gave moksha to all the gopis (Rishis) later.
Here also, Lord Krishna took butter voluntarily and in exchange gave moksha later, a good bargain! Rasa Lila was the immediate benefit for the gopikas!!
SRI CHANDRASEKARENDRA SWAMI EXPLAINS MAKHAN CHOR LILA (STEALING BUTTER)!
Kanchi Kamakodi Sri Chandrasekarendra Swami Sankaracharya had explained this nicely like this (Reproduced in my words):
“One should lead a life with only those materials without which he can not run his life. He should lead a simple life with essentials only.
We should reduce our requirements. Though it is difficult to control the desires initially, it will be alright afterwards.
Butter comes from milk only. But, milk mixes with the water. But, butter will not mix with water.
Butter will float on the water though it is on water surface only.
Thus, butter gives a great lesson for us. We should lead our life performing all our duties, but, without having attachment with the material world and its affairs, like butter remains on water, but, without mixing with it.
When we lead our life like this, Krishna too will swallow us andkeep us with Himself like He swallowed butter.
In other words, if we keep our mind and heart like butter (unattached), Krishna will enter into us and grab our mind and heart.
So, we should understand from this lila that Krishna considers our mind and heart like butter. He likes to steal the butter to show that he will steal our hearts too if we keep the heart like butter.
That is why, Krishna is called Navaneedha Chor or Siddha Chor.
This is the real purpose for which Krishna performed Makhan Chor Lila (Stealing Butter)!”
Beautiful. Isn’t it?
WHAT SRILA PRABHUPADA SAYS ABOUT MAKHAN CHOR LILA (STEALING BUTTER)?
(6) SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM:
Lord Krishna is sometimes described as a thief. He is very famous amongst His pure devotees as the Makhana-cora. He used to steal butter from the houses of neighbors at Vrindavana in His early age. Since then He is famous as a thief. But in spite of His being famous as a thief, He is worshiped as a thief, whereas in the mundane world a thief is punished and is never praised. Since He is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, everything is applicable to Him, and still in spite of all contradictions He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(7) NECTAR OF DEVOTION:
In enjoying Krishna’s attitude of stealing butter very stealthily, mother Yasodha experienced the ecstasy of maternal love by smelling His head, sometimes patting His body with her hand, sometimes offering blessings, sometimes ordering Him, sometimes gazing at Him, sometimes maintaining Him and sometimes giving Him good instructions not to become a thief. Such activities are in maternal ecstatic love. An important point to be observed in this connection is that the childish propensity of stealing is there even in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore this propensity is not artificial. However, in the spiritual relationship there is no inebriety to this stealing propensity, as there is in the material world.
(8) TEACHINGS OF QUEEN KUNTI:
Krishna is known as “the butter thief.” But Krishna’s stealing and our stealing are different. Because we are materially contaminated, our stealing is abominable, whereas on the spiritual, absolute platform the same stealing is so nice that it is enjoyable. Mother Yasoda therefore enjoys Krishna’s activities of stealing. This is the difference between material and spiritual.
In His village of Vrindavana He enjoyed Himself with His mother, brother and friends, and when He played the role of a naughty butter thief, all His associates enjoyed celestial bliss by His stealing. The Lord’s fame as a butter thief is not reproachable, for by stealing butter the Lord gave pleasure to His pure devotees. Everything the Lord did in Vrindavana was for the pleasure of His associates there. The Lord created these pastimes to attract the dry speculators and the acrobats of the so-called hatha-yoga system who wish to find the Absolute Truth.
(Why Krishna stole the clothes of the Gopis when they took bath in the river Yamuna? READ HERE!)