“Just to stop the milk from spilling, mother Yashoda at once put Krishna aside and went to the oven. Left in that state by His mother, Krishna became very angry, and His lips and eyes became red in rage. He pressed His teeth and lips, and taking up a piece of stone, He immediately broke the butter pot. He took butter out of it, and with false tears in His eyes, He began to eat the butter in a secluded place.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 9)
Friend1: Everyone immersed in the culture of Krishna-bhakti has a particular fondness for Damodara-lila.
Friend2: Which is prominently remembered during the month of Kartika, which occurs around October-November.
Friend1: Where devotees sing the Damodarashtakam in praise of Bhagavan as Lord Damodara, the one tied to the mortar by mother Yashoda.
Friend2: Which was punishment for the transgression of intentionally breaking a pot of yogurt in anger. He ran away from the mother, knowing He would be in trouble. He also fed some of the spilled product to the monkeys, His good friends in the community of Vrindavana.
Friend1: A wonderful time of the year to celebrate such a joyous pastime. I might be spoiling the party here, but I know a skeptic or curmudgeon might raise the following objection.
Friend1: What was the starting point of that lila?
Friend2: What do you mean? Why did Yashoda bind her young child to a mortar?
Friend1: No, no. Why did Krishna break a pot of yogurt?
Friend2: Because Yashoda got up for a second to tend to something cooking in the kitchen.
Friend1: What was she in the middle of that she had to interrupt?
Friend2: Breastfeeding. You don’t know the story?
Friend1: Let’s talk about childrearing for a second. I know in the modern age things are a little different. Parents have to go to work. They likely have to leave the child by themselves for a large amount of time each day. Therefore, we get newer techniques such as “cry it out” and “let the baby sleep in their own room as soon as possible.”
Friend2: Sure, but not everyone adheres to those guidelines.
Friend1: One of the time-honored practices has been weaning the child off of breastfeeding. Sometimes, there is no choice. The mother’s production suddenly drops.
Friend2: Right, and as a person grows up they should be able to eat by themselves.
Friend1: In that light, isn’t there something wrong with the whole Krishna-Yashoda picture in that case? I get it that He asked to be breastfed. Why did Yashoda have to agree? Shouldn’t she have weaned Him off by then?
Friend2: Are you serious with this? We’re talking about Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If He asks for a full pizza pie for breakfast, any devotee would rush at the chance to feed Him. They wouldn’t think twice about the health or behavioral consequences.
Friend1: But hold on now. This is motherly affection. Yashoda is supposed to be the ideal mother. She isn’t actively aware that Krishna is Divine. Why didn’t she simply refuse His request?
Friend2: Because her love was too strong. She didn’t need to teach Him a lesson.
Friend1: Ah ha. What about tying Him to a mortar, then? Why the lesson in the second case and not the first?
Friend2: It wasn’t to teach Him a lesson. She didn’t want Him to run around and be afraid of her. Tying to the mortar was harmless. She didn’t think that would stop Him from wanting to be breastfed in the future. Devotees are willing to do anything for the Supreme Lord. They show love in the truest sense. There is no consideration of reciprocation. If the “parenting experts” of the day have a problem, big deal. Let us pray that mother Yashoda continues to have the same opportunity, that every devotee will be given such a blessing as to share their offerings with Damodara, who gladly accepts and never declines when the mood is pure.
Mood of sentiment considering,
When offering to Him delivering.
Lord through love only to accept,
Big or small not to reject.
With Yashoda milk from breast preferred,
To loving mother her son deserved.
Eventually to adult age reaching,
So not required strict lesson teaching.