Faith

Butter and pot symbolism

The real purpose of Lord Narayana’s leelas is not to amuse us, but to symbolically present to us matters of deep philosophical importance. There is a message for us even in His butter thieving, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. Why did Krishna steal butter? It was to indicate that since we are reluctant to surrender to Him totally, He will have to grab our attention and ensure that we surrender to Him. The butter thieving was like a sort of practice for Him, to later steal our hearts. But Krishna did not merely eat stolen butter, but He also broke the pots that had contained butter. What was the need for this? Here too, there is a symbolism. Just as the pots were the containers for the butter, so are our bodies the dwelling places for the atma. By breaking the pots, Krishna showed that once He had captured our hearts, He would break our connection to the body forever. In other words, there would be no more births for us.

This snatching of our hearts by the Lord is seen in the way He wed Rukmini. Rukmini had five brothers, goes the story. Why not any other number? The reason was that we have five indriyas, and they keep us from getting close to the Lord. If Rukmini is taken as representative of the jivatma, then it is her five brothers who keep this jivatma from reaching Lord Krishna — the Paramatma. Although Rukmini wants to marry Krishna, her five brothers make other plans for her. They choose Sisupala as her husband and want to keep Krishna away from her. That is precisely what our indriyas do. They take us down every path, except the right one, and keep us from thinking of the Lord. Hence they prevent us from being liberated. A willing Rukmini is abducted by Lord Krishna, showing the capturing of our hearts by the Lord, to liberate us.


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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 4:27:23 am | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/butter-and-pot-symbolism/article65532845.ece