Category Archives: short story

Devotional Service daily

Some time back we had done a play with kids, It was more of an exercise for children to understand how we can practise bhakti on a daily basis.

What happens is though the philosophy is clear to us, we don’t really know how to practise. So this was a small exercise as to how to really practise bhakti.

The response was good. This was a musical play and the children actually enjoyed presenting it and later on some of the kids came and told that now we have actually understood how life should be. Needless to say the satisfaction that I got that day was immeasurable.

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Actor 1: Devotional service do they say….but how to do that; do tell me. They are so many things to do, how do I do it in a day…

Actor 2: So many?? They are just 9, you forgot or what? Prahlad Maharaj said:

             śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam 

So easy..

Actor1: I know, I know But how to do that in a day. How do I do that in a simple way??

( All together moving in circle Hmm, hmmm)

Actor 3: Sravanam…. Means listening. I can listen carefully to what matajis say. I can attend lectures in temples too.

Actor 4: We can read devotional books and listen to  each other’s notes on it

(All together hmmm)

Actor 4:Kirtanam thats singing. Thats easy. Hare Krishna, hare Krishna ( all together singing maha mantra moving here and there)

Actor 5: We can sing in school, at temple and at home too. Hare Krishna, hare Krishna….

(all together)

Actor 5: Vishnu smaranam…….always remembering Vishnu. How to follow that in a day?? Remembering the Lord in every way…., how do I do that?

(All thinking….how to do that, how to do that)

Actor 6: I know I know Vishnu Smaranam means remembering Him always, right?

Actor 3: Say then: How will you do that?

Actor 6: ‘Get up in the  morning, Go to the altar and say; ‘Thank you for this wonderful day Krishna’

(All together: Thank you, Thank you)

Have your bath and then say thank you Krishna for I have water and a nice place to take bath in

(All together: Thank you, Thank you)

Before having your breakfast thank the Lord for the yummy food that you got

(All together: Thank you, Thank you)

Before going to school Thank the Lord, for because of Him, you can go to school

(All together: Thank you, Thank you)

Actor 7: Hmmm So in this way we can remember Him always

Actor 6: Yes, Yes

(All together: Thank you, Thank you)

Actor 1: Pada Sevanam. How do I serve Lord’s lotus feet when I have not met Krishna yet

(All together . Hmm)

Actor 7; I know I know. Parents, Grand Parents, teachers aren’t they our well wishers and in a way God for us

Actor 3: yes of course

Actor 7: So we can help them, we can serve them…

Actor 4: ( Clapping) And we can do even Pada Sevanam to them

( We can do that, we can do that)

Actor 2: Arcanam…Deity worship…how can we do that

Actor 8 ; You know I have a laddoo gopal. I dress him up and care for him, I serve him food and clean His altar. He is my best friend and He brightens up my day

(  In Background Serve the deities, yes serve the deities)

Actor 9: Vandanam means singing nice prayers to the Lord. I know how to do that

(All together: How, how)

I have made a nice prayer, would you like to listen to that.

(All together: Yes, Yes)

Oh my Lord, Oh my beautiful Lord

You are my sunshine, you are my breathe

You are my inspiration,

You are my best friend

With you to guide me, with you by my side

I am a happy person and so very confident too

so Be with me

( All together Be with us, be with us)

Actor 10 ; Dasyam, Sakhyam; servitorshio, friendship how to do that. Neither am I Arjuna who has Lord besides Him always. Neither am I Hanuman that I can serve Him firsthand. So how do I follow that, how do I do that?

( How do we do that, how do we do that)

Actor 11: I know I know

(how how)

Like a friend follows his friends advice, like a servant follows his masters orders; we can follow what Krishna has said in the Bhagvad Gita. For he is my dearest friend and he is my beloved Master

(Oh yes, Oh yes)

Actor 12: Atma nivedanam…how do we do that

Actor 13. Oh that. That is easy. When he is our dearest friend and when he is our beloved Master then what is the problem to Surrender to Him. Whatever I do… whatever I say is everything for Him

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare hare.


The whole play was enacted with the help of various instruments like keyboard, cymbals and mrdanga. The audience of young children was enraptured

Hope the children remember the lesson throughout their lives

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Stories for children-Sudarshan chakra stands on a pillar

Sudarshan chakra had started feeling proud. ‘Hah, who has the food fortune of being with the Lord except me. I am great, the Lord holds me in his own hand, hah’, he thought.

 

The Lord Jagannath understood what was happening, ‘Hmmm’, he thought, ‘ Sudarshan has become proud. Time to teach him a lesson’. ‘Sudarshan,’ he calls out, ‘Come here’.

 

Sudarshan comes and offers his obeisances and asks, ‘are we going somewhere my Lord’.

 

‘Not me, but you’, Says the Lord. ‘Go to Abhayaranya where Hanuman is doing tapasya. Ask him to come here.’

 

Sudarshan is crestfallen. He was thinking of going on some mission with the Lord but here he was being sent as a messenger boy.

 

So he zooms to Abhayaranya.

 

‘’Ahem’ he says clearing his throat.

Hanuman  looks up.

 

‘The Lord wants you in Puri, come soon’, says Sudarshan and zooms away.

 

Sudarsna chakra immediately returned to the temple, reaching there before Hanuman. As Hanuman neared the temple gates, the sudarshan chakra started to move swiftly around the mandir paramiters blocking the path of Hanuman and preventing Him from reach the Ratna Simhasana.

 

Hanuman asked himself,’how can i meet my lord?’ He took shelter of Lord Jagannath simply by remembering Him. Immediately by the mercy of the Lord, Hanuman was empowered and developed six extra arms from His shoulders Thus He became asta bhuja Hanuman.

Four hands had four sudarsana chakras

2 hand were offering pranams

2 hand were chanting the holy name of the Lord.

 

Hanuman then proceeded towards the ratna simhasana to meet with Lord Jaganntah.

 

‘Huf, hmmm’, he huffed and puffed.

 

‘Why, what Happened Sudarshan’, asked the Lord.

 

‘Nothing my Lord’, said Sudarshan meekly.

 

‘You think yourself as great, eh’, said the Lord. Sudarshan stood quietly. For the offence of giving problem to Hanuman from now on I will not hold you in my hands but you will stand on a pillar’.

 

‘no, no , mY Lord, please don’t do that. I have served you for so long….please forgive this lapse of mine’, cried Sudarshan.

 

‘Hmm’, said the Lord of the Universe, Jagganath, ‘So it is….But you have offended Hanuman, so you will have to stand on a stick but then you will also be perched on the top of the temple and so you will also be known as Neel chakra. Those who cannot enter the temple will look at you from outside and will get the same benediction as they get when they have my darshan inside the temple.’

 

And so it is from that day, Sudarshan stands on a pillar and also on the top of the temple.

 

Sudarshan chakra had started feeling proud. ‘Hah, who has the food fortune of being with the Lord except me. I am great, the Lord holds me in his own hand, hah’, he thought.

 

The Lord Jagannath understood what was happening, ‘Hmmm’, he thought, ‘ Sudarshan has become proud. Time to teach him a lesson’. ‘Sudarshan,’ he calls out, ‘Come here’.

 

Sudarshan comes and offers his obeisances and asks, ‘are we going somewhere my Lord’.

 

‘Not me, but you’, Says the Lord. ‘Go to Abhayaranya where Hanuman is doing tapasya. Ask him to come here.’

 

Sudarshan is crestfallen. He was thinking of going on some mission with the Lord but here he was being sent as a messenger boy.

 

So he zooms to Abhayaranya.

 

‘’Ahem’ he says clearing his throat.

Hanuman  looks up.

 

‘The Lord wants you in Puri, come soon’, says Sudarshan and zooms away.

 

Sudarsna chakra immediately returned to the temple, reaching there before Hanuman. As Hanuman neared the temple gates, the sudarshan chakra started to move swiftly around the mandir parameters blocking the path of Hanuman and preventing Him from reach the Ratna Simhasana.

 

Hanuman asked himself,’how can I meet my lord?’ He took shelter of Lord Jagannath simply by remembering Him. Immediately by the mercy of the Lord, Hanuman was empowered and developed six extra arms from His shoulders Thus He became asta bhuja Hanuman.

Four hands had four Sudarsana chakras

2 hand were offering pranams

2 hand were chanting the holy name of the Lord.

 

Hanuman then proceeded towards the ratna simhasana to meet with Lord Jaganntah.

 

‘Huf, hmmm’, he huffed and puffed.

 

‘Why, what Happened Sudarshan’, asked the Lord.

 

‘Nothing my Lord’, said Sudarshan meekly.

 

‘You think yourself as great, eh’, said the Lord. Sudarshan stood quietly. For the offence of giving problem to Hanuman from now on I will not hold you in my hands but you will stand on a pillar’.

 

‘no, no , mY Lord, please don’t do that. I have served you for so long….please forgive this lapse of mine’, cried Sudarshan.

 

‘Hmm’, said the Lord of the Universe, Jagganath, ‘So it is….But you have offended Hanuman, so you will have to stand on a stick but then you will also be perched on the top of the temple and so you will also be known as Neel chakra. Those who cannot enter the temple will look at you from outside and will get the same benediction as they get when they have my darshan inside the temple.’

 

And so it is from that day, Sudarshan stands on a pillar and also on the top of the temple.

 

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Stories for Children-Gajendra

There was an elephant called Gajendra. He was the king of elephants and when he moved the earth trembled. Th shrubs were stamped and the smaller animals fled when they heard him walk. Such was his presence.

One day Gajendra went to the Trikuta mountain with his entourage of wives and other elephants. Trikuta is a beautiful place with lots of rivers and lakes. In one of his valleys was a garden belonging to Varuna named Ritumat. This garden was full of flowers and fruit trees. In the midst of this garden was a beautiful lake with golden lotuses. To this lake, Gajendra came with his entourage to have his bath.

All of them had good fun frolicking in the water. All but Gajendra left the lake. He kept on spraying water with his trunk.

Suddenly a crocodile came up and caught one of his legs. In vain he tried to free himself up. But crocodile in water is mightier than an elephant. The friends and the wives looked on in horror but none could do anything.

The fight between Gajendra and the crocodile lasted for a 1000 long years. The friends and the wives had all gone away. Gajendra was getting weaker and weaker when suddenly he remembered the prayers he used to say in his previous life.

In his previous life Gajendra was a king named Indradyamuna. When he got old he took retirement and went to the forest for meditation. As a part of his austerity he took a vow of silence. There came one day a sage named Agastya. When Indradyamuna remained silent without greeting the rishi, he was angry and cursed him.

Gajendra plucked a golden lotus and started praying to Visnu. ( his beautiful prayers are given in the Shrimad Bhagvatam as Gajendra Moksam)

The crocodile in his previous life had been a Gandharva called as Hutu. One day while in water, just for fun he had pulled a leg of a muni named Devala. Devala muni had cursed him to be a crocodile. As soon as Shri Vishnu heard Gajendra’s prayers, he mounted his vehicle- Garuda and reached the lake. He took his chakra and chopped off the crocodiles neck thus awarding him salvation.

And then he asked Gajendra, “why did you take such a long time to call out for me” and then he summoned a golden aeroplane and took Gajendra with Him to His abode.

Picture courtesy: http://www.harekrsna.de

Glossary-muni, rishi means sage

Moksam means liberation

 

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Stories for Children-Dhayiya

+

There lived a boy named Dhayiya in a village with his father and stepmother. Now this boy was a bit on the heavier side. He was called Dhayiya because every day he ate ro-tis made of 2 and a half kilo of wheat flour. ( in Hindi dhayi means two and a half).

L-ife was fine, He went to school, played and of course he had his dhayi kilo rotis.+

Then one day his father left this world.

Now there was no source of income. His mother fed him for some days but then money ran out.+++++++

For some days his neighbours took care, then some relatives and then some villagers. But because of his appetite, none could feed him for long. Ultimately one day he was sent out of the village.

The boy started walking. During meal time he felt hungry but there was nothing to eat. Finally it was pitch dark, he was in a jungle and he was very very hungry. So he started crying. After some time, he saw a tiny lamp burning somewhere. Hee just followed the light and reached a temple. The priest there was just about to lock up and leave, when he noticed Dhayiya crying. On understanding that Dhayiya was hungry, he gave him the food offered to Sri Ram and Sitaji, the presiding * of the temple.

The priest said, ‘Eat and then go back to your village’

Dhayiya ate and slept there only.+

Next day the priest enquired,+ ‘-Why you didn’t go home?’

Dhayiya said, “my mother and my village people have pushed me out of the village, I will not go back there’

‘Hmm’, the priest said, ‘What work can you do?’9+

‘I know nothing except eating, ‘Dhayiya said.

‘Hmm’, the priest said, ‘In that case, you can take the cows to graze in the morning and bring them back in the evening. And you will get your rotis of two and a half kilo wheat flour in the morning and evening.

Dhayiiya was happy and life was fine till ekadashi——+.

On ekadashi the priest told Dhayiya that he would have to fast. Dhayiya said he cannot fast.

The priest said, ‘Alright, I will give you your two and a half kilo of wheat. You make rotis yourself but take care to offer it to the Lordships before eating’

Dhayiya says ok.

So he makes five rotis each of half a kilo each. And then he calls on the Lord, ‘Oh Ramji, come and have some food’ but no one comes, Again he calls out. And then again.

Third time he notices a man with a bow and arrow. Dhayiya keeps a plate ready. But then he notices Sita. He prepares a plate for her too. Both eat one one and then ask for more, So he gives them one more each and thinks that alright he will manage with one today. But then Sita mata and Ramji ask for some more and divide the one left amongst themselves.

So Dhayiya has to fast that day.

15 days pass. Its ekadashi again.

This time Dhayiya asks for 5 kg of wheat flour. The priest is puzzled but doesn’t say anything.

This time Dhayiya makes five rotis of 1 kg each,

But this time Ramji, Sita mata come along with Lakshmana. And they polish off all the five chappatis. So Again, Dhayiya observes Ekadashi that day too.

The next Ekadashi, he asks for seven and a half kilo of flour. Now the priest is really curious, He pretends to go our but instead he hides behind the bushes.

In no time Dhayiya calls out, “O Sita Mata, O Ramji”.

In some time Ramji comes, Sita Mata comes, Lakshmana comes, followed by Hanuman.

Dhayiya says, ‘If you want to eat, cook yourself’.

Ari Ram sits in a corner, Hanuman goes to fetch firewood. Lakshman goes to draw water from the well and Sita mata sits to knead the dough. Dhayiya begins to massage the Lord’s feet.

But the priest can see only Dhayiya and no one else. He comes forward and says, ‘Boy, have you gone mad, what are you doing?’

Dhayiya understands that he can’ see anyone and requests the Lord to show Himself to the priest too.

Everyone appears, the priest is astounded.

He falls at Dhayiya’s feet and says,’ So many years I served the Lord but He didn’t appear in front of me but you with just your firm faith, love and devotion could see the Lord.’

Moral : Faith matters, Only love and devotion can bring you near to the Lord.

 

 

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Stories for children-Dhruva

King Uttanpada had two wives Suniti and Suruchi. Suruchi was more dear to the king than Suniti

Suniti had a son named Dhruva. Dhruva one day went and sat on his father’s lap. Suruchu got angry and asked him to get down. Dhruva was very angry and asked his motherSuniti why he could not sit on his father’s lap. His mother sadly replied that only God can answer that question. Then Dhruv asked, ‘Where can I find God?’ Suniti replied, ‘in the forest’.

So Dhruva went to the forest and started searching for the Lord. Narada muni was impressed by his efforts. He gave him a mantra to say out loud, ‘Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya’

So Dhruva started his tapasya along with reciting the mantra.

  • In first month he ate fruits every third day
  • In second month he ate leaves every sixth day
  • In third month he ate drank water every ninth day
  • In fourth month he inhaled every twelfth day
  • In fifth month he stood on one leg

Pleased with him the Lord appeared before him and asked him what he wanted

Dhruva was so happy to see the glorious form of the lord that he said he was happy to see Him and he did not want anything else.

Then the Lord said when your father becomes old and goes to the forest, you will rule the kingdom for 36000 years. After that I will send you a golden aeroplane and then you will live in a star of your own.

The bright twinkling star near the North Pole, is Dhruva’s home and is known as Dhruva star.

(painting By Raja Ravi Varma sourced from Wikipedia)

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Gowri and Ganesh

Pardon me if I sound foolish but till now I had thought that Ganesh Chaturthi was Ganesh’s birthday. See I told you, I know you must be thinking what a fool she is.

Ganesh Chaturthi has always been special. It meant gorging on varieties of food and of course a holiday. Years back in Bhilai we used to go to a family friend’s place who celebrated it in their home. It meant that all konkanis got together that day and amidst the rituals, we chatted and ate.

Mumbai Ganesh Chaturthis were also special. It meant celebrating at the sisters place. And on the ‘visarjan’day going to Saath rasta simply because we could see all the idols. And of course we feasted that day too.

Now it is more about going to the ancestral home (if we are in India). If we are in Bahrain it means preparing a feast at home and then going over to the festivities at Maharastra Mandal. In short this festival is special and we make the most of it.

But I am digressing!!

One day Gowri that is Parvati decides to go to her maternal place but then it is ‘Shravan’. It is raining and of course Shravan is a sacred month, which has a lot of rituals involved. So Shiva advises her not to go.

Then comes Bhadrapad. And Gowri again requests her husband for permission to go home. Now as it is known Shiva loves Gowri a lot and cannot bear separation from her.( One of the reasons that unmarried girls are asked to perform Austerities on Monday-Shiva’s day’ so that they get loving husbands as Shiva) So he says no. She says I cannot ignore my parents. It has been so long since I met them, I have to go and meet them. After a long and loving debate, Shiva agrees to send Gowri

But on one condition. On the fourth day Ganesha would come to her parents home to take her. She agrees.

While coming down o Bhumi she comes as water and that water mixes with the soil. So that is why a symbolic idol is made of clay or mud and she is worshipped on the third day of Bhadrapad. So she comes down to bhumi for three days from the first to the third day of Bhadrapad. And on the third day she is worshipped and a feast is prepared. The married ones are given gifts of ‘sowbhagya’ that is bangles, cloth, kaajal etc and the unmarried ones are given some gifts too.

The point to note is that Gowri festival is about celebrating the married daughter coming to her maternal place. Unlike to the stories which we hear that a daughters place belongs to her husband’s place. Gowri festival celebrates the arrival of the daughter to meet her parents. It is a day of rejoicing, meeting and of course food.

And then it is the fourth day of Bhadrapad and Ganesha arrives to take his mother back and it is a double celebration. Firstly the grandson has arrived, secondly it is Lord Ganesha. so celebrations galore. But the grandparents want to spend some more  time with the daughter and the grandson. So they entice him with some more of the yummy food and He agrees. And this goes on till the fourteenth day and Shiva cannot take it anymore and threatens to destroy the world.

And so the grandparents along with the neighbours, friends and relatives take both of them and leave them near the waterways and they leave as they came-in liquid form. And that is why the idols are immersed in water.

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Manduka Muni and the curse to Yamaraja

Manduka Muni in his hermitage, deep in meditation.

Muni: ‘Om, om,,,,,,,om……

Some police constables passing by.

Constable 1: This looks to be a safe place in an isolated area

Constable 2: Hmm; true. Let us go inside the hermitage in disguise. Maybe we will find the thieves here.

The constables go inside the hermitage and start searching. Meanwhile the thieves who have stolen large quantity of gold from a merchant’s house are removing their loot from their bag.

Thief 1: See, see this necklace, is so heavy, we will definitely earn a lot by selling this.

Thief 2: Look at this silver plate. This plate was used to offer bhoga to the Lord. He…he…he… now I suppose the Lord will have to eat in plantain leaf

Both burst into laughter.

Constable 1: What is this?…..In this serene place, I hear laughter (going further …trying to hear clearly)….Yes ….yes laughter..demoniac laughter….cultured people don’t laugh like this. Come let’s go in that direction.

They both follow the sound of the laughter.

The thieves meanwhile are counting the precious loot.

Constable 2: Got you. So you are hiding here, eh. And we got proof of your thievery too

Constables catch hold of the thieves and the loot and go towards the Muni

Constable 2: Hey Muni, so this is what your hermitage is for. To hide thieves and their loot.

Muni: Huh….what are you talking about?

Constable 1: Come with us to the magistrate and you will remember everything.

The constables drag the muni and the thieves to the magistrate.

Constable 2: My Lord, we caught hold of the thieves who stole the gold and other valuables at the merchants house. They were hiding in this Munis ashram

Muni: But…but….I don’t even know who they are.

Constable 1: Stop lying. These thieves were in your ashram and their loot was in your ashram. So how can you not know?

Muni: I am telling the truth. I was deep in meditation, how will I know who was living in my ashram

Magistrate: Because the thieves were found in your hermitage with the loot in their possession, you will be punished. Manduka Muni and your punishment is that you will be pierced with a lance.

Manduka Muni: But but…..

The news reaches the King when he learns that Manduka Muni is going to be pierced with a lance, He rushes to stop the punishment

King: Stop stop….Magistrate how can you punish such a great sage?

Falling at the feet of the sage

King: Forgive us Muni for such an offense

Muni: Mistakes happen King but you arrived at the right time…

So saying the sage leaves and goes to meet Yamaraja

 

Muni: My dear Sir, You keep track of all our good and bad deeds and accordingly award us with rewards and punishments. Pray tell me, what wrong I did to be awarded with piercing of a lance. My whole life I have spent in meditation and glorification of the holy name, then why was I subjected to such a fate

Yamaraja: True you are a great saint. But it so happened that when you were a small boy you had c aught hold of a small ant and tried to pierce it with a straw and so it was your turn today. Today you were about to be pierced with a lance.

Muni: But Sir, what I did was in my boyhood when I was an ignorant fool.

Yamaraja: Ignorance is no excuse Munivar. You have to reap what you sow

Muni: That is not fair.

Yamaraja: A law is a law and is equal to all.

Muni: I curse you…. I curse you Yamaraja, even though I did a mistake in my ignorance; you saw to it that I suffer ignoring all my good deeds. So I curse you for hundred years you will have to live in earth as a Shudra.

Yamaraja (Smiling): So be it

And that is how Yamaraj is born as Vidura, the brother of Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Because he was born from the womb of a maidservant, he becomes a Shudra, while his brothers are Kshatriyas.

Note;Adapted for children from the Shrimad Bhagavatam canto 1 Chapter 13 Text 1

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