The object in the crawling infant’s right hand is a ball of butter, which baby Krishna
loves. Extremely fond of butter (navanitapriya), Krishna was known to steal butter and other milk products not only from his mother’s kitchen but also from the houses of other gopis of Vrindavana. The purpose of this lila was as much to highlight the significance of all diary products derived from the sacred cow as much as to give delight to the women of Vrindavana.
The earliest known representation of the infant Krishna with a butterball is on a terracotta plaque in the eighth century Buddhist temple in Paharpur, Bangladesh. This sculpture was however carved in the north-eastern state of Orissa.
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