Friday, 5 July 2013

When duty calls…

We all know that Krishna loved butter. He used to go to any lengths to steal butter. No matter where the Gopikas hid the butter, Krishna found it and shared it with his friends. This butter-eating saga was getting a little too much and the Gopikas went to Ma Yashoda (Krishna’s mother) and started complaining to her. Yashoda was perplexed. Her son was as equally endearing and helpful as he was naughty and troublesome.

Nevertheless, as complaints grew, Yashoda decided to do something about this. She called Krishna and asked him to stop stealing butter. Krishna feigned innocence, hugged his seemingly angry mother and told her that the Gopikas were jealous of them and that they were complaining to create problems between them. Yashoda could do nothing. Krishna’s words melted her heart like a hot knife melts butter!

But after the little prankster left for his next round of the ‘butter stealing’ adventure, Yashoda decided to catch Krishna ‘red-handed’.She took a huge pot and filled it with butter. She hung it high up on the ceiling and hung a bell over it. “The minute Kanhaiya puts his hand into the pot the bell will ring and I am going to catch him. I will teach this little boy a lesson” vowed his mother. 

As expected, Krishna and his friends arrived home and their eyes fell upon the pot. They looked at each other, exchanging greedy glances. In an instant, the group of little boys vanished and in their place stood a human pyramid with Krishna on top of it, all ready to dip his beautiful and tender fingers into the pot. Just as he was about to put his hands into the pot, he saw the bell. The smile that adorned his lips was beyond compare and the bell was mesmerised!

In a very soft and cajoling voice, Krishna addressed the bell. “Hey, bell! Listen. Just don’t ring until my friends and I finish eating the butter”, he told the bell. Then he put his hands into the pot and brought out generous helpings of butter and passed it to his friends. The bell remained silent. His friends told Krishna that they all had eaten enough and it was Krishna’s turn. As the Lord dipped his finger into the silky layers of the butter laced with his mother’s unequaled love, the bell screamed his presence. The whole room echoed with the heavenly call of the holy bell!

Krishna stopped in his track and turned angrily towards the bell. The bell, sensing his Lord’s anger, became silent. After the few moments of silence, which to the bell seemed ages, it began in a quivering voice. “Oh! Lord,” the bell addressed his maker, “Is it not my duty to ring when anything is offered to you? Do I not ring when there is a ‘naivedhya’?” inquired the bell of his Lord.

Krishna, for once, was forced to accept the bell’s reasoning. 

“Duty above all” is the message the Lord sent to humanity through this episode.