Sri Krishna lay ill. His pure, tender body was inflamed with fever. No drugs or charms had any effect. The Mother, Yashoda, felt deeply worried. She asked Krishna, “Shyama, my darling, we have tried everything within our power but your fever keeps mounting. Won’t you tell me what will make you well once again?”
Sri Krishna smiled and said, “Ma, only one thing can cure me”. “What is it my child? Tell me that I may procure it without delay”.
Krishna said, “Mother, apply the dust of the feet of someone who loves me dearly on my forehead and I shall get well”.
“That is easily done!” said Yashoda, “The whole town is full of gopis and gopas who love you more than life itself. Soon I shall bring what you need”.
Yashoda goes out. She enters the house of a gopi. “Welcome, Mother,” says the gopi. “What can I do for you?”
Yashoda explains to her the situation and asks for the dust of the gopi’s feet. As the gopi listens to this strange request, the colour of her countenance changes, “Mother!” she says, you know fully well that there is nothing in the world I would keep from Beloved Shyama. I would gladly lay down my life for his sake. But this I can never do. For it is laid down in the scriptures that a devotee goes to hell if the dust of her feet touches the forehead of the Lord”.
Yashoda moves from house to house. All the gopis and gopas tell her that if Sri Krishna wants their heads, they will gladly sever them with their own hands and place them at His feet. But they will never commit a crime of which the penalty is hell.
At last, Yashoda meets Radha. To her, she makes the same request. And Radha says to her, “Mother! All that I have belongs to Shyama. Take what you will the dust of my feet or the crown of my head! All, is consecrated to the Lord!”
Surprised, Yashoda says, “Radha, do you know what it means? Whoever gives the dust of her feet to the Lord has to go to hell!”
Calmly answers Radha, “Blessed, indeed, would I be if for the sake of the Lord I go to hell! Take the dust of my feet, Mother, and do not delay. If only that the Lord gets well, I shall gladly endure the tortures of a hundred hells!” Yashoda is speechless. In silent wonder she gazes at Radha’s face. Yashoda picks up a little of the dust of Radha’s feet and returns home to find Krishna hale and hearty. Yashoda now realizes that Krishna’s fever was his Leela to bring out the selfless devotion of Radha.