“Upon hearing this from Krishna's playmates, mother Yashoda, who was always full of anxiety over Krishna's welfare, picked Krishna up with her hands to look into His mouth and chastise Him. Her eyes fearful, she spoke to her son as follows.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.8.33)
The good mother has one primary duty: to see to it that her child is protected. The child doesn’t have any other protector in the early years. The father is likely out all day earning a living, and the mother is better suited to provide the care anyway. She nurtured the embryo and carried it to term in her womb for nine months, so what does anyone else really know about her child? She is the first caregiver, so she is ideally suited to look after her child in the early years, when they first start the discovery process in their new world.
It is in this area that the child can run into trouble. So many new things have to be discovered. The parent already knows about these things from their own discovery that they likely started many years back. Indeed, given the length and breadth of the material creation and the limited abilities of the conditioned, fallible living entity, it is impossible to know everything at any one point in time. Even if you were to gather every piece of information and feed it into your brain, you wouldn’t be able to recall everything at a moment’s notice.
If, in a relational database management system, you have your database tables aligned properly and the right indexes on the columns necessary for the lookup of data, you still can have some latency when running your queries. You need to tweak the text of your query so that the command can access the right columns and the proper indexes maintained on the system. Nevertheless, in a large system there are so many other factors to consider, such as concurrency, hardware limitations, and the constant addition of new data. This makes data retrieval an unpredictable process.
If you were to retrieve all of the data in the system in a single request, your client application would have a difficult time handling such an overload of information. The data is placed into a database for a reason; the records are meant to be accessed individually per each instance of an entity, at least in a typical transactional application anyway. In the cases where you need aggregate data, still only a subsection is accessed by the client, namely the summary information.
This is one way to understand the difficulty the human being faces with respect to trying to remember all the information they have discovered throughout their lifetime. The other issue is trying to make light of that information after it is retrieved. We may have run millions of experiments within a specific field of science, but we then need to know what to take away from the results. Are there any discoverable patterns? Has anything new been learned that can then be used in subsequent tests? Or better yet, have we learned a new way to alter our behavior for the better?
This is all too much to deal with for the new child, who can’t even do something as simple as walk. Eating is another major chore, for they need to know what to eat, how often, and from what sources. A long time ago, a particularly enchanting child in the spiritually infused town of Vrindavana was accused of having eaten dirt. This was not a good thing, for earth is meant to act as a container or a foundation. The earth suffers so much from the movements of other living entities. In the Vedic tradition, the earth is considered to be the most forgiving, as though it suffers earthquakes every now and then, it remains tolerant of the many kinds of impact it absorbs.
“O Lord of Koshala, even the Earth, who is the mother of the world and respected by everyone, suffers distress in the form of earthquakes.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 66.10)
The earth is assigned its role by the higher authorities, and it can serve a variety of smaller functions within that role. Sadly, consumption as food is not one of them. Earth can be used to make pots, to act as roads, and to grow crops, but its substance is not considered edible. But the young child that is just discovering all that life has to offer has no idea about this. Therefore there is every chance that they can take a fistful of dirt in their hand and then drop it into their mouth.
The fist in question was the most charming in the world. It had previously been used to give money to a fruit vendor who had visited the home. The parents, Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda, used to purchase fruit from a vendor by giving grains in return; the grains were thus a type of currency. The paper notes of today are supposed to represent an equal amount of a specific commodity held within the treasury of the government. Currency can represent pretty much anything, as in days past even cigarettes have been used as a means of exchange. In a future time, that same delightful fist would help in ridding the world of an evil king who had previously killed seven of this child’s older siblings.
The focus on this occasion was the wellbeing of the child. The friends and elder brother made the accusation to mother Yashoda that her son Krishna had eaten earth. The children used to play out in the fields during the daytime, and Krishna was the center of their universe. Wherever He went, they followed. If there was trouble, Krishna would save them. At the same time, if they wanted to have fun, they would play with Krishna and also eat lunch with Him.
Krishna was their leader, so He wasn’t always keen on listening to others. The children knew that if He ate dirt, or if at least He would be accused of doing the same, they could take the matter up with Yashoda, who had previously tied Krishna to a mortar after He had done something bad, when that charming little fist broke a pot of butter in anger and then dipped into that spilled supply. That fist then held the butter made from the sweet milk of Nanda Maharaja’s special cows and enjoyed it.
As if to go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum, that same fist had now purportedly been used to eat dirt. Ah, what was Yashoda to do with her naughty son? Previously He went into the homes of the neighbors to steal their butter. He also broke the pot of butter in her home out of anger. Now He was accused of eating dirt. Yashoda took the matter very seriously. She picked up her young son and was ready to look into His mouth. Never mind that looking into someone else’s mouth is not something you look forward to. Just thinking of someone else’s mouth while they are eating is unpleasant enough, but for the caring mother the only concern was the safety of her child. If He was eating dirt, He needed to be reprimanded. If not, an explanation for the accusation needed to be forthcoming. Why should He make His mother worry so much all the time?
Oh, but that sweetheart of Vrindavana with the delightful fists had a larger objective in mind. He has been mesmerizing the world since the beginning of time. He has also delighted the devotees with transcendental affection that only strengthens during times of concern. Yashoda’s motherly affection increased every time Krishna apparently did something bad, and on this occasion she was lured into the pleasant trap of seeing the universal form, the entire creation within the blessed child’s mouth.
Yogis, mental speculators, and fruitive workers alike have tried their hardest to envision that universal form, to see the entire creation in a single glance. That vision gives evidence to the fact that there is a God, that there is a meaning behind this complex thing we call life. In reality, that vision is only the beginning point, an insignificant reward that just hints at the Supreme Controller’s true potency. The higher benefit is getting the chance to love that darling of Vrindavana, to show Him unlimited affection, day after day. The sincere souls devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead pray to have that devotion in life after life, and just as He delighted mother Yashoda with His pastimes, the charming butter thief of Vrindavana grants their wishes accordingly.
On the earth children are known to sometimes play,
Roll on the ground but never should they think of eating clay.
Against her son Krishna was this accusation made,
New worry for mother who always for God’s protection prayed.
Stealing butter, breaking pots, Krishna always mischievous,
But eating dirt was a matter to take very serious.
In her caring arms her son she took,
So that in His mouth she could have a look.
More than dirt to be found, everything seen instead,
To the vision of universal form her son led.