Little Krishna was was the apple of Yashoda’s eyes and the pride of Nanda. Chubby, cute, with big eyes, beautiful curls framing His face and the most innocent, mesmerising smile. But we all know the mischief behind that smile. While everyone in the village doted on him and loved His little pranks, Yashoda would receive several complaints of Him stealing curd or butter, breaking pots in the process, letting loose young calves and charming all the village children. In spite of repeated warnings, Krishna continued to be naughty. And Yashoda found herself torn between her love for her son and the need to discipline Him. He melted away her anger with his heart warming smile and crawl his way back into her good books. Yashoda was always worried about his behaviour.
One day, Yashoda was resting in the afternoon along with Krishna. Krishna woke up and called over His friends. Forming a pyramid, He reached up to the pots of curd and butter hanging high above the ground. As little Krishna tugged at the pots with his tiny fingers, the pots came down crashing to the floor. Yashoda heard the sound and woke up with a start. She saw that Krishna was not next to her. Worried for His safety, she began frantically looking for Him around the house. She couldn’t stop herself from imagining the worst that could have happened. And her eyes scoured the house for a hurt and crying Krishna. Instead she found Him sitting in the middle of the courtyard covered in butter. He was laughing and playing it while feeding the butter to His friends who were doing the same. A wave of relief swept over her once she realised that Krishna was unhurt. But the next emotion that bubbled up was anger. She knew Krishna was responsible for the mess and eating of all the curds and butter which she had collected for the upcoming festival. She was not as angry about the lost butter as she was about the fact that Krishna had climbed up so high to reach the pots. What if he had fallen?
In her anger, she dragged Krishna to the backyard and tied him up to huge stone mortar. Krishna got an earful about His disobedience and was left alone standing tied to the mortar. Yashoda rushed to her room angry, upset, feeling miserable.
Nanda saw Yashodha in a sad mood and enquired the reason. She described the events that had occurred.
She was cursing herself for punishing Krishna. He was just a baby. How could a mother be so cruel? She began to question her capabilities. Was she a good mother? She couldn’t get Him to listen to her. She was always worried for his safety. She loved Him above everything and everyone and yet she seemed to be scolding Him more often than showering Him with love. The feeling of guilt enveloped her and she wanted to go and untie Him immediately. But at the same time, she wanted Krishna to be more careful and obedient, for His own good.
Understanding his wife’s dilemma, Nanda calmed her down with kind words- words that were full of wisdom. He said, “Parents have the tough responsibility of guide their child to walk the right path. Just showering a child with love and gift is not healthy. Parents have the most important task of moulding the child’s character. For this they may try to explain through stories or persuade with different baits to get them to listen. Sometimes, they may have to resort to scolding and punishing the child so that he or she understands the gravity of the mistake and remembers never to repeat it. All of this is born out of the love for the child and the deep-seated interest in his or her well being. This becomes necessary till the child grows old enough to understand and bear the consequences of his actions.” He said, “Love without discipline is attachment. Discipline with love builds character. Whenever you shower Krishna with love or punishment, offer it to the Lord. He will take care.” What an ironic statement! But Yashoda was put out of her misery.
She untied Krishna, sat him down and lovingly explained why she had punished him. She asked Him to offer His actions to the Lord and so did she. Little Krishna smiled with His arms folded and eyes closed as He accepted her offerings and showered her with all His love and grace. Krishna always showed lot of understanding once he received a punishment from His mother. Yashoda once overheard Him telling His friends that parents scold them only because they love them a lot. When they scold or even give any punishment, children should understand that it is meant for the correction of their behaviour and definitely not to hurt them physically.
Yashoda beamed with pride and all the children followed Krishna’s teaching