Children stories

Once upon a time, a king ruled a distant country. One day, he wanted a beautiful palace to be built for his queen. He immediately called his minister and expressed his wish.

The minister hunted throughout the kingdom and chose the 5 most skilled masons and engaged them in this task. The five masons gave their heart and soul to make the palace a truly grand one, and unique in every respect. In less than twelve months, a gorgeous palace was built.

One morning, the minister informed the king that the palace was built. The king could not wait to check it out and immediately went to the new palace. The moment he saw the wonderful masterpiece, he was dumbstruck. He was awed by the beauty of the palace. At once he turned to his minister and said, ‘Who built this wonderful masterpiece? I want to meet them and reward them for their remarkable work.”

There was an illustrious devotee in Guruvayur by name Poondhaanam. He was so devoted to the Lord that Lord Guruvayurappan would converse with him everyday.

In the same town, there was a person who was afflicted with a grave disease. Any medicine could not cure his disease and this made him a dejected individual. One day, he approached Poondhaanam and told him about his disease. He requested Poondhaanam to ask Sri Guruvayurappan if he would be cured of his disease.

That night, when Poondhanam spoke to Lord Guruvayurappan, he asked the Lord if the person’s disease would be cured. The Lord told Poondhaanam that the disease would not be cured.

Once there lived a Guru who had several disciples. He was a Sadguru [genuine Guru of the highest order] and desired that his disciples should be highly disciplined, possess deep determination and good character. He worked diligently towards this end. He taught them dhyana, yoga, japa, etc. Quite frequently he would point out to them, "Attaining the Lord is our only goal. As a result of the spiritual austerities that we undertake we may, during the course of our spiritual practice, attain some 'siddhis' [supernatural faculties]. We should not permit ourselves to be carried away by these siddhis; nor should we use them. We should not feel proud of this attainment. Also, we should not be carried away by the wonderful visions that we may get while on the spiritual path."

Nevertheless, one of the disciples possessed deep desire for these siddhis. He nurtured the desire to acquire lots of siddhis and power to earn name and fame. The Guru, however, restrained him from taking the wrong path.

In the grand epic Mahabharata, Dritarashtra questions Kanika Maharishi about the ways in which the rivals have to be won over. Kanika Maharishi answers the question by narrating the following interesting story.

“In a forest, there lived a fox which had a tiger, jackal, mongoose and a rat as its companions. Though the fox was friendly with the four of them, it was selfish by nature. One day the five friends saw a herd of deer and desired to have the leader of the herd for their day’s meal. But due to the swiftness of the deer, they knew that it would be a difficult task to get hold of it. So the five of them sat to think. At that moment the fox said to the tiger, “ How much ever you may try, you will not be able to catch the deer on your own. So listen to my plan. When the deer is asleep, let the rat bite off its leg. Due to the pain caused by the injury, the deer will be incapable of running swiftly. You may then catch it easily and kill it for the five of us to share.” Everyone acknowledged the fox’s plan and the rat bit the deer’s leg as bid by the rest. The tiger now pounced on the wounded deer and killed it.

Once there lived a king who ruled his country righteously. He was very much attached to his kingdom and people. He wanted to forgo all these attachments and attain the Lord’s Feet. But alas! He could not cut asunder his bonds of desire! Thus while he was wondering if there was some easy, shortcut method for reaching God, a man told him that one is sure to attain the abode of the Lord if one listens to SrimadBhagavatam in seven days (Saptaham) like king Parikshit. This gladdened the king for he had not, until then, heard of an easier way of attaining the abode of the Lord.

So the king found the best scholar in his country and invited him to recite SrimadBhagavatam in seven days. This scholar was very attached to his five-year old granddaughter and the thought of being away from her for seven days saddened him. While reciting the Bhagavataslokas, he kept thinking constantly, “Ah! When would these seven days be over! I shall run and hug my beloved granddaughter! How miserable is it to be away from her!” The king, who was listening to SrimadBhagavatam, was in constant thought of his kingdom, the people and the future plans of action during his reign.

Each one of us must be aware of our own limitations and strengths. Just as we ignore the criticism of people who are oblivious of our talents and virtues, we should also learn to disregard the comments of flatterers.

When someone praises the qualities and virtues that we really don’t possess, though initially we tend to ignore such compliments, as time passes we even begin to believe their words. Even if we overlook those compliments, people who require a favour from us or who intend to deface us will flatter us and succeed in making us believe it! So we must be very cautious in that regard. An instance that illustrates the above has been quoted in the Mahabharata.

‘Dasya bhakti’ is one of the many kinds of Bhakti. ‘Dasya bhakti’ is to look upon the Lord or the Guru as the Master and deem oneself as His servant and serve Him submissively in every way.

Hanuman exemplified ‘Dasya bhakti’. Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya on the completion of his life in the forest. The coronation of Lord Rama was performed. When he ruled over the kingdom Hanuman remained with him and involved himself in unparalleled 'Rama seva' (service to Rama).

Considering it a great fortune, Hanuman served Lord Rama in every way from the moment He (Lord Rama) woke up until He retired to bed at night. He knew the Lord's every need and served Him single handedly. Was he not the personification of humility! He performed the services with deep devotion, bereft of any egotistic thought ('it is I who am verily doing everything') and deeming it to be Lord Rama's mercy. Sitadevi, the constant companion of Lord Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrugnamarveled at Hanuman's service.

In a village, there lived a young man whose family was in dire poverty. This youth had vowed to observe ahimsa(non-violence) and considered sticking to this principle as the main goal of his life. He was hired to work in a poultry farm. Since this job involved harming poultry and was against his principle of ahimsa, he quit the job despite his family situation. Later, he got a job in a butcher’s shop. This job also involved harming animals. The man of principle that he was, he quit this job too.

As he was walking down the street thinking about his family’s plight and his own decision to quit the job, a stray dog suddenly started chasing him. Keeping in mind his vow of ahimsa, he started fleeing. But the dog came after him and bit him. At that moment, the butcher passed by that side. On seeing him, the dog took to flight.

Once a young boy found a job in a barn. Everyday he had to remove all the cow dung, clean the whole place, feed, milk and bathe the cows, let them graze for sometime and tie them back in the shed. His employer was a very strict person. He would not tolerate even a minor slip-up and would punish anyone who failed at his duty.

A new Ganesh temple was being built in the town. It was decided that the Ganesh idol should be taken in procession along the streets of the town before consecration in the temple. This boy was chosen for the job. He was bathed and clothed in new silk robes. Fragrant sandal paste was applied all over his body and he was adorned with garlands. The Ganesh idol was then placed over his head and he was taken in procession with the accompaniment of traditional music, bursting of firecrackers and chanting of the Vedas.