‘God is a Thief: He has Stolen My Heart’


By London Swaminathan
Post No. 901 Dated 11th March 2014

Pure Love Gopis and Mirabai

Please read my earlier posts on Gopis, post number 895: ‘’Swami Vivekananda on Gopis and Krishna’’ and 859 (Tamil article about Gopis).

Lord Shiva is praised as the Leader of the Robbers and Thieves in many places in Rudra hymn in the Yajur Veda. Scholars have given various interpretations in their commentaries for words such as ‘’Taskaranam, Sthayunam’’ in the Rudra. One of the interpretations is God is one who steals our heart.

The Boy Wonder of Tamil Language Tiru Jnana Sambadar who started singing thousands of hymns from the tender age of three, in his very first verse, called Lord Shiva, as the ‘’Thief who stole my heart’’ (Ullam Kavar Kalvan in Tamil). Without stooping at the first verse, he repeated the word ‘Thief Who Stole My Heart’ in all the ten verses in the first hymn. Every Saivite Tamil boy knows this verse (‘Thodudaiya Seviyan’ in Tamil).


In Northern part of India we see the same theme in the hymns of Mirabai and Gopis. They fell in love with Lord Krishna. God is a magnet and the devotee is iron. So the attraction is natural. As long as the iron is not rusty with bad thoughts and habits, it naturally sticks to magnet—the God.

Krishna has Stolen my Heart!

Here are two stories told by Swami Ramdas:

“Mirabai was a great devotee of Sri Krishna. She was married although she had dedicated her life to Krishna. Even after marriage she was always found singing and worshipping Krishna. She was pining for her divine lord and was perfectly indifferent to the world.


Mirabai belonged to the royal family and was married to a Prince of Udaipur. On account of her devotional nature, all in the royal household were against her and she underwent untold persecution through the hands of her sister-in- law and others in the palace. Her husband was kind and good to her. One day the prince came to her and said, “I am your wedded husband and so I am entitled to your love and affection. But whenever I come to you, I find you intoxicated with divine ecstasy. You have no time even to talk to me. My earnest wish is that you should give me also a portion of your love. What do you say?”

“My lord what you say is perfectly right. As a dutiful wife I should love you and serve you. But what can I do? Krishna, to whom I have dedicated my life when I was yet girl, has stolen my heart entirely. He has filled it with Himself so much so that there is no place left for you. I am helpless. Even if I wish to love you, I cannot do so. So understanding my position, you should be gracious enough to forgive me”
( I have published similar stories about two Tamil women Karaikal Ammaiyar and Andal: -swami)


Gopis’ Love

Many people are mistaken in their belief that the love between the Gopis and Krishna was of an ordinary nature on the physical level. This was not so. Their love was on the higher spiritual level. When the Gopis merely thought of Him, they were lost in Him and were raised to such a state of ecstasy that, for the time being, they forgot their bodies and their surroundings. All worldly inclinations, desires and thoughts were drowned in that ecstasy. The physical pains and attachments to the nearest kith and kin were all obliterated.

Once it so happened that a Gopi asked her daughter in law to light the lamp in the house, getting fire from the neighbouring house. In those days, there were no electric lights or even match boxes. The daughter in law went with a cotton wick soaked in oil to light it from the lamp at the neighbour’s house. She placed the wick on the fire when, just at the moment, somebody said, “Krishna is at the door”. Her eyes turned towards the door and she beheld Krishna standing there. She was so struck by the sight of Krishna that she stood gazing at Him, oblivious of the time and the fact that her hand was holding the wick over the fire. The wick having taken the fire was burning. The flame was licking her fingers, but she was not aware of it. She did not feel the pain, for she was unconscious of her body. The mother in law found out after a long wait that her daughter in law did not come, went to see what the matter was. She saw her looking at Krishna, entranced and enchanted by his presence, although her fingers were burning.


That was the love of the Gopis for Krishna, their Adored One. Their love was of the purest and the holiest type. Devotees reach this climax of love when they utterly absorbed in god—their heart’s Beloved.

Source: Stories As Told By Swami Ramdas, Published for Anandashram by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay-7, Year 1969.
Contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

garba dance

Swami Vivekananda on Krishna and Gopis

beauiful krishna radha

Sri Krishna with Radha

Compiled by London Swaminathan
Post No. 895 Dated 8th March 2014

Swami Vivekananda says,
“Krishna can never be understood until you have studied the Gita, for he was the embodiment of his own teaching. Every one of these incarnations came as a living illustration of what they came to preach. Krishna, the preacher of the Gita, was all his life the embodiment of that Song Celestial; he was the great illustration of non-attachment. He gives up his throne and never cares for it. He, the leader of India, at whose word kings come down from their thrones, never wants to be a king. He is the simple Krishna, ever the same Krishna who played with the Gopis”.

“ Ah, the most marvellous passage of his life, the most difficult to understand, and which none ought to attempt until he has become perfectly chaste and pure, that most marvellous expansion of love, allegorised and expressed in that beautiful play in Vrindaban , which none can understand but he who has become mad with love, drunk deep of the cup of love! Who can understand the throes of love of the Gopis – the very ideal of love, love that wants nothing, love that does not even care for anything in this world, or the world to come?”

Garba Dance

“They hated every adjective that was applied to Krishna; they did not care to know that he was the Lord of Creation, they did not care to know that he was almighty, they did not care to know that he was omnipotent, and so forth. The only thing they understood was that he was infinite Love, that was all. The Gopis understood Krishna only as the Krishna of Vrindaban. He, the leader of the hosts, the King of Kings, to them was the shepherd and the shepherd forever.”

“ I do not want wealth, nor many people, nor do I want learning; no, not even do I want to go to heaven. Let me born again and again, but Lord, grant me this, that I may have love for Thee, and that for love’s sake”.

“A great land mark in the history of religion is here , the ideal of love for love’s sake, work for work’s sake, duty for duty’s sake and it is for the first time fell from the greatest of Incarnations, Krishna, and for the first time in the history of humanity, upon the soil of India. The religions of fear and of temptations were gone forever, and in spite of the fear of hell, and temptation of enjoyment in heaven, came the grandest of the ideals, love for love’s sake, work for work’s sake, duty for duty’s sake”.

Let me repeat, Impure Fools!

“And what a love! I have told you just now that it is very difficult to understand the love of the Gopis. There are about wanting fools, even in the midst of us, who cannot understand the marvellous significance of that most marvellous of all episodes. There are, let me repeat impure fools, even born of our blood, who try to shrink from that as if something impure. To them I have only to say, first, make yourselves pure; and you must remember that he who tells the history of the love of the Gopis is none else but Shuka deva. The historian who records this marvellous love of the Gopis is one who was born pure, the eternally pure Shuka, the son of Vyasa. So long as there is selfishness in the heart, so long is love of god impossible; it is nothing but shop keeping. I give you something, O Lord, you give me something in return. And says the Lord – if you do not do this, I will take good care of you when you die. I will roast you all the rest of your lives, perhaps, and so on. So long such ideas are in the brain, how can one understand the mad throes of the Gopis’ love?”

“O for one, one kiss of those lips! One who has been kissed by Thee, his thirst for Thee increases for ever, all sorrows vanish, and he forgets love for everything else but for Thee and Thee alone”. Ay , forget first the love for gold, and name and fame, and for this little trumpery world of ours. Then, only then, you will understand the love of the Gopis, too holy to be attempted without giving up everything, too sacred to be understood until the soul has become perfectly pure. People with the ideas of sex, and of money, and of fame, bubbling every minute in the heart, daring to criticise and understand the love of the Gopis! That is the very essence of the Krishna Incarnation. Even the Gita, the great philosophy itself, does not compare with the madness of enjoyment, the drunkenness of love, where disciples and teachers and teachings and books and all these things have become one, even the ideas of fear, and God, and heaven. Everything has been thrown away. What remains is the madness of love. It is forgetfulness of everything, and the lover sees nothing in the world except that Krishna and Krishna alone, when the face of every being becomes a Krishna, when his own soul has become tinged with the Krishna colour. That was the great Krishna!”

“Do not waste your time upon little details. Take up the framework, the essence of the life”.
Source: Selections from The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta 700 014, Year of publication 1990.


Reference to Gopis in Tamil Literature

One of the earliest references to Gopis bathing in the River Yamuna and Krishna bending the trees so that the shepherd girls can get leaves to hide their bodies come from 2000 year old Sangam Tamil Literature. The reference is in verse 59 by Madurai Marudan Ilanagan in Akananauru.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa on the Gopis

How wonderful was the intensity of their Love! At the very sight of the Tamala tree, they were seized with the madness of Love. This was also the case with Gauranga. Looking at a forest before him, he thought that it was brundhavan. Oh! If one is favoured with but a particle of this ecstatic love! What devotion! This devotion the Gopis had, not only full to the brim but over flowing in super abundance.
Once Radha, to prove her chastity, carried on her head a pitcher filled with water. The picture had a thousand holes, but not a drop of water spilled. People began to praise her, saying, “ Such a chaste woman the world will never see again!” Then Radha said to them: Why do you praise me? Say, Glory unto Krishna! Hail Krishna! I am only his handmaid”.

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