Of all the interesting episodes of young Krishna’s life, none is more interesting or significant than the one where Yasoda ties Him up, said Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse. Krishna asks His mother for some butter, but she says that He can have some at night. Krishna asks her what night means. Yasoda tells Him that darkness characterises night. Krishna then shuts His eyes, and says that it is now dark. Does that mean it is now night, He asks innocently. After some time, He pretends to have fallen asleep, and Yasoda having put the butter and buttermilk safely away, leaves the child, and goes to tend the cows. Krishna, immediately gets up, and makes a hole in the pot containing butter. But only a little butter comes through the hole. So wanting to have more of the butter, Krishna puts His little hand in the pot, and brings out again only a small quantity of butter. There is a lesson for us here too. To each of us is given something to enjoy in this world, and we must not be greedy. Whatever we may want, ultimately we only get what we are destined to get. Nothing is going to change that. The Lord, in His own way, demonstrates this by putting His hand into the pot and coming up with the same quantity of butter.
Krishna, after eating the butter, kicks the pot of buttermilk, causing the buttermilk to flow out. He then comes back to His bed and pretends to be asleep. The butter He ate is like the atma. He is anxious for the Jivatmas to surrender to Him. He kicked the pot of buttermilk to show that He kicks the enemies of His bhaktas.
When Yasoda finds that Krishna has been up to mischief, she searches for a rope to tie Him up with. She finds many frayed pieces of ropes and strings them together and ties Him up. He could easily have broken free. And yet He remains tied, because of Yasoda’s love for Him. In the Mahabharata, Kunti recalls this episode, and says that Krishna, when tied up, had cried so much, that the kohl which Yasoda had applied in His eyes, had run down His cheeks, leaving black marks on His face. There can be no greater proof of the Lord’s simplicity than this episode.