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Who fed milk to Krishna?

Krishna, one of the most widely revered and popular of all Hindu deities, is known for his playful nature and love of butter and milk as a young boy. But who were the special ones that got the honor of feeding milk to the young Krishna during his childhood in Vrindavan?

In the Hindu scriptures and tradition, there are a few key figures that stand out as having the privilege of feeding and taking care of Krishna during his early years. Though Lord Krishna was capable of taking care of himself, he allowed certain devotees to serve him out of their love and devotion. By understanding the symbolism behind these stories, we can appreciate the deeper spiritual truths and wisdom being conveyed.

Mother Yashoda

Perhaps the most prominent of Krishna’s caretakers was his foster mother, Yashoda. After Krishna’s birth, he was taken to Gokul where he was raised as the son of the village chief, Nanda, and his wife, Yashoda.

Yashoda doted on Krishna and took joy in feeding him at her breast. She would also feed him butter and milk in their home. Krishna loved to eat butter, which is seen as symbolic of the sweetness of God’s divine love. There are many charming stories of Krishna’s childhood where he is described as a mischievous toddler sneaking into the kitchen to steal butter from pots hanging overhead. Yashoda playfully scolded him for his butter-stealing ways, in a manner reminiscent of the affectionate relationship between mother and child.

Significance of Mother Yashoda’s Relationship with Krishna

– Yashoda’s maternal love for Krishna illustrates the Lord’s accessibility to pure devotees, regardless of their status or gender.

– Her ability to tie Krishna to a mortar with a rope shows the idea that God allows Himself to be bound by the love of his devotees.

– Their relationship exemplifies bhakti (loving devotion) and Madhurya rasa (sweet reverence) between the devotee and God.

– Stories of Yashoda feeding Krishna demonstrate that the Universal Creator is willing to accept loving service in childlike dependence from devotees.


Radha was Krishna’s beloved and famously fed him milk. She is considered Krishna’s eternal consort and the goddess of divine, ecstatic love.

As the legend goes, Radha was born to Vrishbhanu and Kirtida. She was considered to be the incarnation of Lakshmi. From the time Radha and Krishna met as children, they shared an unbreakable bond of pure love for one another. Radha loved to feed Krishna milk and he lovingly accepted.

Significance of Radha’s Relationship with Krishna

– Radha’s passionate devotion to Krishna is seen as supreme among his devotees, representing the human soul’s love for God.

– Radha’s willingness to serve Krishna demonstrates selfless love and devotion to the divine.

– Her milk offering to Krishna symbolizes nourishing God with loving care.

– The intimate bond between Radha-Krishna represents the possibility of union between the Jivatma (individual soul) and Paramatma (supreme soul).

The Cowherd Boys (Gopas)

Krishna’s friends, the cowherd boys – or gopas – of Vrindavan also had the chance to feed and care for Krishna. Though they were simple village boys, Krishna treated them with friendship. They relied on Krishna as their protector and leader in games and adventures.

The gopas would herd cows with Krishna, climbing trees, swimming, joking, and playing his flute. They brought him milk, cream, butter, and cheese as offerings. He kindly accepted their gifts and was happy simply to be among friends.

Significance of the Gopas’ Relationship with Krishna

– The gopas show that Krishna does not discriminate – he allows anyone to serve him out of love, including common workers.

– Their relationship illustrates the Lord’s accessibility and ability to transcend social roles and norms.

– Krishna’s bonds of friendship teach devotion devoid of formality, transaction or expectancy.

– By playing with the gopas, Krishna demonstrates that God is within everyone’s reach.


The 16th century Hindu mystic, Mirabai, was also famously devoted to Krishna. Though she lived much later, her poems and songs to Krishna depict her intense devotion and longing to serve him.

In her writings, Mirabai expresses that she would be happy to be a maid of Krishna, serving him milk and bread with love. She rejected riches, status and social expectations to focus her life completely on devotion to Krishna as her true love and provider.

Significance of Mirabai’s Relationship with Krishna

– Mirabai represents single-minded love, surrender, and abandonment of self-interest in favor of serving God.

– Her desire to feed and nurture Krishna even in meditation reflects the heights of devotion.

– Mirabai’s fearless passion for Krishna conveyed a timeless message that societal status means nothing in spiritual life.

– Her poems and songs popularized the concept of Krishna as the approachable universal lover and protector.


Nanda was Krishna’s foster father who loved him as his own son. As a village chief, he worked hard to provide Krishna with milk, yogurt, butter and everything needed for his care.

Nanda was an upright, compassionate man who was constantly overjoyed by Krishna’s sweet play and mischief. Along with Yashoda, he strove to raise Krishna with as ordinary a childhood as possible while safeguarding his divine nature.

Significance of Nanda’s Relationship with Krishna

– Nanda represents the ideal father – loving, responsible and dedicated to the child’s well-being.

– His treatment of Krishna illustrates that when God appears on earth, he accepts the care of devoted parents.

– Nanda showed that service to God bears fruit as immense joy, not as a chore.

– By raising Krishna, Nanda demonstrated that devotion must be anchored in a family tradition of respect and love.


Krishna’s willingness to receive milk from his caretakers and associates contains profound spiritual symbolism. Milk represents purity, nourishment and maternal care. The stories of those who fed Krishna convey that the Lord accepts even the smallest offering given in love and devotion. Anyone from a mother to a milkmaid can forge a deep connection with the divine by nurturing God with selfless caring. Feeding Krishna is a metaphor for nourishing the soul’s relationship with the Infinite through loving attention and service.

Krishna’s Caretaker Relationship with Krishna Significance
Mother Yashoda Foster mother who breastfed and cared for Krishna Represents maternal devotion and God’s accessibility
Radha Beloved consort who fed Krishna milk out of love Symbol of passionate devotion of the soul to God
Cowherd boys (gopas) Childhood friends and workers who offered Krishna milk and butter Show Krishna’s love for all and transcendence of social order
Mirabai 16th century mystic poet who longed to serve Krishna Embodied single-minded devotion and surrender
Nanda Foster father who raised and cared for Krishna Ideal father; showed devotion as service, not chore

In conclusion, Krishna allowed himself to be sustained with milk by special souls like Mother Yashoda, Radha, the gopas, Mirabai and Nanda. Their selfless care for God contains deep spiritual meaning and stands as an exemplar of devotion. Feeding Krishna milk demonstrates that the Infinite can be loved and nurtured through the simple expressions of humanity.