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In the Bhagvad, Lord Krishna is portrayed stealing butter and milk from the Gopis. He teased them, broke their dahi handis, etc.

Why did he do so?

Why are the acts of stealing and teasing women allowed for him but not for other men?

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  • I think he didn't stole for himself always, he also used to distribute that amongst monkeys...
    – Mr. Alien
    Jun 21, 2014 at 7:47
  • @Mr.Alien hehe, right. But, stealing is stealing. (I am not trying to file a case on him, I am just trying to clear my thinking.) Jun 21, 2014 at 8:01
  • great question ! First, Krishna is God, not normal human. He did acts impossible for humans like lifting Govardhana hill. If you can lift the hill, then you can also steal butter. Second, there are saints who have devoted most of their lives to enjoying the fact that krishna stole butter and teased women and they've realized there is a deep philosophy hidden behind these acts, and it's definitely not like a normal man stealing or teasing.
    – mar
    May 4, 2017 at 11:55

2 Answers 2

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In Bhagavata itself, this is explained.

According to Hindu philosophy, the aim of each human life is to attain or realize the Parabrahma or Paramathma.

The meaning of the relation between Lord Krishna and the Gopis represents the Paramathma and Jeevathma. This was most eternal and can not be compared with other devotees of Krishna.

Krishna wanted to give the Gopis a sign from his early childhood that he was about to steal their hearts. By engaging in stealing, the Gopis started to complain to Ma Yasodha about Krishna. He was actually making the Gopis think of him always. Since he did these things, the Gopis started to think about Krishna in each and every one of their actions. Since the Yadavas' life was associated with cattles, the simplest way to do this trick was to steal butter and milk. And by doing this, Lord Krishna prepared them for the Rasaleela. Thus, Paramathma (Krishna) and Jeevathmas (Gopis) showed that everything is the one and only ParaBrahma. Thus, Lord Krishna lead them to Moksha through eternal love and devotion.

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    Reference of 'Bhagawata" is too broad. Pl. cite the chapter, verses.
    – Vineet
    Nov 11, 2018 at 10:01
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This is termed as "leela".

And leela can only be performed by the Lord, not we normal people. And that's why - the acts of stealing and teasing women allowed for Sri Krishna, but not for other men!

A similar doubt was raised by goddess Pārvatī to god Shiva too, on the actions of the Lord. Shiva beautifully answers them.

Chapter 245, Uttara-Khaṇḍa, Padma-Purāṇa


Pārvatī asked:

  1. How would he, Janārdana, who had descended on the earth for the protection of Dharma, approach others’ wives?

Rudra said:

  • 175 to 177. O you of an auspicious face, he does not differentiate between his own body and those of others. The entire world is his body. There is nothing different from it. Due to his naturally being the lord, the master of the soul and the lord of the world, the noble one does not recognise the difference between a male and a female. So also due to his power of removing sins the (all-) pervading lord, the highest soul, the god, is not at a fault, O fortunate one.

English Translation by N.A. Deshpande


As an important thing to consider is that all those gopis were exalted sages in their previous birth, who out of their intense desire for the Lord were born to experience his 'divine past-times' (leela), as I discuss in this Answer.

The actions of the Lord can never and should never be compared to and emulated by a normal person, because Lord incarnates as deliverer from the dukha (mundane misery and sorrow of the world), while we, the normal people, are born in the dukha. His actions are leela, free from the aberrations of karma and effect (Srimad Bhagavad Geeta 4.14), while normal men are bound by their karmas.

And therefore, the acts of stealing and teasing women allowed for Sri Krishna, but not for other men!

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  • But isn't it contradictory to BG 3.21-23 where Sri Krishna Himself says that even though not needed for Him, He follow his prescribed Karma since other men follow His footsteps.
    – RishX
    Jun 20 at 3:06

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