Symbolim of Divine Play: Bala Krishna, the Charming Butter Thief

Divine Child Krishna, or Bala Krishna, is the youthful representation of the revered Hindu deity, Krishna. This incarnation embodies the celestial nature of the Supreme Self, the eternal divine force that underpins the entire cosmos.

In the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holy scriptures, Krishna unveils himself as this ‘Supreme Self’, a deity that permeates all of existence, animating it from within. This perception of Krishna, espoused by the Bhagavad Gita and reiterated by Adi Shankara in the 8th century, aligns him with the concept of the cosmic or supreme Self.

In the 20th century, psychologist Carl Jung resonated with this understanding of Krishna. He recognized the Divine Child as a symbol of the Self, a reflection of the individuated wholeness of one’s psyche. According to Jung, the birth of the divine child represents the self’s emergence into consciousness.

Thus, the narratives revolving around Bala Krishna serve as allegories of the Self’s intrinsic nature, shedding light on the importance of self-compassion in our spiritual journey. By embracing our divine child within, we learn to extend forgiveness, understanding, and kindness to ourselves, nurturing our growth and transformation.

One such tale from the Krsna-karnamrta depicts Krishna as a butter thief:

Upon being caught red-handed in a butter pot, Bala Krishna is confronted by a woman:

“Who are you, boy, and what are you doing here? Why is your hand in the butter pot?”

To which, Bala Krishna jovially responds, “Kind lady, I was merely searching for a certain calf. Don’t fret for a moment.”

This interaction highlights the essential role of compassion in our spiritual and personal evolution. Even in his mischief, Bala Krishna’s response, gentle and light-hearted, echoes the power of compassion and understanding, both towards ourselves and others.

The symbolic association between Bala Krishna and butter is quite profound. Butter, derived from churning milk, is akin to the spiritual consciousness that surfaces through our endeavors. Engaging in spiritual practices is akin to churning the milk, manifesting the sanctified butter of spiritual awareness.

Milk, a universal symbol of maternal nourishment, epitomizes the abundance of Mother Nature. In Hinduism, the cow, a provider of milk, is revered as sacred. A paragon of selflessness, the cow only consumes water, grass, and grain, yet provides the spiritually nourishing milk.

This narrative aligns with the Hindu mythological tale of Samudra Manthan, which revolves around the churning of the ocean of milk, yielding the nectar of immortality. In the depicted image, Bala Krishna presents a spherical butter ball, reminiscent of a mandala, symbolizing the Self. This offering emphasizes the spiritual effort and self-compassion required for achieving Self-realization.


  • Wilson, Frances Ann LilaSuka. Krishna -karnamrita
  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The deeper meaning of Janamashtami
  • The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious (Collected Works of C.G. Jung Vol.9 Part 1)


I invite you to share your comments and insights on the path to awakening compassion. Your feedback is valuable and helps me gain a deeper understanding of your perspective. Together, we are embarking on a journey towards compassion. Please keep in mind that although I read and appreciate all comments, I am unable to respond individually. Nevertheless, your input plays a vital role in shaping the conversation and fostering a meaningful dialogue. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Let’s awaken into compassion together!

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