As Yasoda churns the curd, Krishna pretends to have fallen asleep. Taken in by His acting, she puts away the buttermilk, from which she has extracted the butter.
She keeps the butter in a pot, and goes away. The moment she leaves, Krishna gets up, eats the butter, and kicks the pot of buttermilk. The buttermilk spills over the room. He lies down on the buttermilk covered floor, and continues to pretend to be asleep.
Yasoda comes back, and it is clear to her who the culprit is. She is not prepared to forgive Krishna this time. So she takes hold of His hand and leads him out to the garden to tie Him up. On the way she picks up a useless piece of rope, a rope that has been patched up in several places.
She also finds a pounding stone that is not being used, and begins to tie Krishna to the stone. The whole incident is full of philosophical importance, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse.
Why is the adjective ‘useless' used for the rope? The Lord is tied up only by the bhakti of devotees. But it should be bhakti of the proper kind. The so-called bhakti that seeks favours from Him all the time, the bhakti that is shown towards Him with a view to fulfilling worldly desires, is not the bhakti that He desires. He becomes a slave only to those whose bhakti seeks nothing in return. So our bhakti must be like the useless rope, not a means to seek something. The ‘useless' pounding stone is the atma.
How many of us are interested in the atma? It is the body and its pleasures that interest us. Many of us see the atma as useless. We keep the body in the shade, but cast the atma out to be scorched under the Sun. But it is what we see as useless that the Lord sees as desirable.
He eats the butter, but shuns buttermilk. Doesn't the butter come from buttermilk? So why does He not drink the buttermilk? The butter denotes the atma, and the buttermilk the body.
The atma is housed in the body, but are not the two different? The Lord, by His act, showed the importance of the atma, and the insignificance of the body.