Josephine asked me the other day
“How can you call a thief your ‘God’?
I asked her, “Who are you talking about?”
She said, “Your Lord Krishna – who else?”
I laughed outright at that – She looked at me
I asked her, “Who called him a thief?”
She said, “Well, not exactly!
I mean, Madhu was singing bhajans!
She kept on repeating two phrases, “Navneeta Chora”; “Chitha Chora”
When asked what it meant, she said
The former means “the butter thief”!
And the latter means ‘ the one who robbed his devotees”
I was told about “Raas Lila”- the love-dance of Krishna and the Gopis!
That intrigued me, for a thief or a playboy in ordinary terms
Can’t be synonymous with God and Divinity!
Is there something to it that is much deeper?
I told her, ” You’re right!
Bhagavatam is the story of Lord Krishna!
It portrays a different picture of God!
God takes birth as man, from time to time!
He sent his son to Earth as Lord Jesus
The Prophet also brought the Divine Revelation!
He sends the God-Gurus to Earth to redeem man!
Similarly, The Lord took the form of Lord Krishna and lived on this Earth!
” I’ve read the Ramayana and the Mahabharatha.”
I want to read the Bhagavat Gita
But tell me, why is Krishna called ‘the butter thief’?
Why is it said that he robbed the gopis?
I mused for a while, then told her,
“Krishna, in his childhood, used to steal butter
He was very fond of eating butter!
His foster-mother Yashoda used to keep a lot of butter for him!
But Krishna was very mischievous
He took the greatest delight in sneaking into others’ houses
He used to take his friends along
The butter-pot used to be kept hanging from the ceiling!
Krishna’s friends used to form the ladder
One climbing on top of the other, for him, to climb up
He used to climb up and reach the pot
Eat butter, himself, and share it with all his friends!
My friend laughed at that and said
“Oh! It was a child-like mischief; not a serious theft!”
I said, “Yeah! The Gopis called him a thief in good humour, in mock anger, in love and longing!
They loved him! They didn’t mean it!”
Krishna was also called ” the thief” by the Gopis, for a second reason!
My friend said, ” What was that? Did he take to bad ways when he grew up”?
I laughed outright, at that, and said,
“Nay, of course, when, while growing up with the Gopis, He had robbed them!
He had robbed them of their heart, or, they had lost their hearts to Him!
The love of the Gopis for Krishna was such that
Sleeping, waking, dreaming, doing their household chores
They reminisced his face, his smile, his pranks, the good times they had together!
And their love and longing of Lord Krishna became manifold when he left Vraj for e’er!
The thought itself of the good times they had with Krishna in Vraj used to make them nostalgic!
Krishna, the cowherd, had his brother, with him
When he took the cattle to graze; his entourage comprised of the Gopas and the Gopis
They were playmates! They played, they fought, they reconciled, they sang, they danced!
The Gopas and the Gopis were also spectators to the various miracles of the Lord!
They saw him killing Asuras or demons
They saw him subduing the Lord of the Naagas – and standing on his head and dancing in glee!
They knew he was a God-child
The ‘Raas-Lila’ or the love-dance is the ultimate experience
A depiction of the devotee and the Lord celebrating together
The devotees were depicted as the Gopis, and dancing with each Gopi was Krishna!
God took a separate form for each Gopi; one-to-one – yet- one for all and all for one!
Between the Gopis and Krishna was platonic love
The highest expression of love, soul-to-soul, spirit-to-spirit
The Gopis were raised in His Love to the sublime state of existence
Their Consciousness was not in their physical bodies!
Hence their love was sans all its earthly connotations!
Sans mind, sans lust, sans the desire to possess the one they loved!
The Gopis are the symbols of man’s capacity to merge with God
Though living in this body, and doing all wordly duties!
Every devotee, when he attains this state, is a Gopa or a Gopi!
I can’t imagine there is anything
More than this to attain in a human birth!
Moksha, liberation, Merging with the Divine is this!
It’s the ‘is’ state of consciousness!
The Gopis had attained inmortality!
And, they came to this Earth, and lived, as His Gopis, to show the way!
Divine Love is not just every devotee’s dream! It’s a possibility!