Krishna Stealing Cloths

The story of Krishna stealing cloths of the bathing cowherd girls. Perhaps no other epics has dealt with such mischievous themes like the ones played by Lord Krishna.
One of the famous episode is of Krishna stealing cloths of the Gopis (cowhearld girls), while they were bathing in the river Yamuna

It’s a tradition for the Gopis to bath a secluded part of the river in groups, where men are prohibited.

They go into water nude, leaving the cloths on the river bank. The adolescent Krishna stealthily steals their cloths, climbs up a Kadambha tree nearby and hang the pieces of cloths in the branches.

Once they come to know of this the Gopis rushes back to the river to hide nakedness. Neck deep in water they implored Krishna to return their clothes. Krishna insists that they come to him one by one to get back the cloths!

Shivering in the cold water, they see no choice other than to obey him. Now they come out , covering their body with hand in shame. Krishna insists they raise their hands in obeisance to him before he would give the clothes back. Only then he would give the cloths back.
On a philosophical and mythical ground this story is interpreted in with various meanings, including Bhakti (unconditional devotion) , shedding everything for devotion, etc.

In Hampi you’ll find this theme (Krishna on the tree with Gopis pleading with their hands folded in reverence). There is one pillar with this theme carved on one of the the slender pillars of  the Kadalekalu Ganesha and another beautiful one at the Pattabhirama Temple, though a damaged due to vandalism.

Krishna Stealing Cloths  
Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis

Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis . Image from Pattabhirama Temple

Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis

Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis . Image from Pattabhirama Temple

 
Mythology
 
Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis

Krishna steeling cloths of the Gopis . Image from Pattabhirama Temple