26 Oct List Of Questions To Lead A Conversation On Govardhana Puja Pastime With Children
When children are young, I do not prefer to analyze spiritual stories and philosophy with them. Young children learn the best through hands-on activities, storytelling, and play. Their intellect is not yet developed to analyze complex subjects. As my children transition from lower grades to higher, I encourage them to talk about the flow and meaning of a story and the characters and their behavior, along with writing simple paragraphs and artistic expressions such as drawing, modeling, or drama.
The talk about a story generally starts with my questioning. As they answer the questions, we go deeper and deeper into subjects of interest and meaning for them. It’s helpful to set up questions that inspire them to think and compare story elements with real-life experiences.
To analyze Krishna’s pastime of lifting Govardhana hill, I made a set of questions regarding two subjects I want to discuss with kids. The first one is – A mistake of Indra, and the second one is – Importance of the cow and the earth. In this article, I share these conversation starters that you can use in your homeschool or festival celebration with children.
A mistake of Indra
An interesting thing in this pastime is that we have a demigod who made a mistake. It’s not a usual setup of divine fighting against demoniac, but we have a person who fell into the spell of illusion even though spiritually advanced. It’s something that we often experience in real life. We deal with devotees who are not perfect, and we ourselves are not perfect. It’s comforting to know that we can make mistakes in the way of our spiritual progress and learn from them. It’s not an excuse to harm others but rather an example of how to rectify our misbehavior and redemption for our sins. Here are some questions to encourage children to think about this lesson.
How did Indra feel when he heard the inhabitants of Vrindavan refuse to offer him a sacrifice?
Why was he so angry?
What does Indra think about himself?
Which qualities does Indra show in this pastime?
What do you think about Indra’s decision to send a storm over the village of Vrindavan?
What could he do instead of it?
How did Indra feel after he understood his mistake?
What did Indra do to rectify his mistake?
What did he learn from it?
Instead of simply asking questions you can also organize a “Hot chair” dramatic activity. In this activity, one child sits in a chair of Indra (pretending he is Indra), and others ask him questions. A child pretending to be Indra should identify with him and try to answer from Indra’s point of view. It’s an activity that could stir up some emotions, but also bring more interest and involvement into the lesson.
Importance of the cow and the earth
In this pastime, Krishna clearly expresses His desire for people to live in harmony with nature and show high respect to the earth and cows. In our family, this is a big subject. We talk about it not just during school but at any time, along with practical work in the garden and kitchen. As Krishna explains to His father at the beginning of this pastime, the earth gives us all that we need, cows give us all that we need, and they are worthy of our worship because of it. Many people are aware that having your land and cows makes you self-sustainable and independent from the system, which is far from being generous and favorable to the people. It’s not easy to come back to this kind of living, but it’s worth trying because it’s recommended by Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. And even more important is to educate and train our children about the importance and practical skills required for self-sustainable simple living and high thinking. A pastime of Govardhan hill is a perfect shining guide that could lead us to that goal.
Here are some questions to start a conversation about it with children.
Why do Krishna, Balarama, and cowherd boys love to play on Govardhan hill?
What supplies Govardhan hill gives to the inhabitants of Vrindavana?
What kind of food do people need for proper nutrition?
Close your eyes for a minute, and imagine and describe the beautiful natural scenery from Govardhan hill.
List all the things people make from milk.
Why is milk nutritious?
How milk supports our spiritual development?
What kind of food should cows eat to produce nutritious milk?
How do people treat cows in modern milk factories, and what is wrong with that?
Describe one day in the life of Krishna’s cow.
I hope these questions would help you lead an enlightening and meaningful conversation about the Govardhan pastime of Lord Krishna with your children. You can download and print the list of questions by clicking on the button below.
Read here about our Govardhan puja activities from previous years with some art ideas and photos
Festival Celebration And Homeschooling In Extraordinary Circumstances
About self-sustainable and simple living read in these articles on the blog
Respecting Our Mothers – Earth And Cow