18 Mar Nimai And The Puppy Dog – A Childhood Pastime Of Lord Caitanya
One of my favorite stories for children from Caitanya-Lila is the story of little Nimai and the dog. I find it relevant for young children because it is very near to their experience of loving pets. At the same time, it reveals the fundamental truth that we are not this body and the process of how to realize it.
The story is an excellent basis for performing a puppet theater as well. You need to make the three main characters: the boy Nimai, mother Saci, and the dog, plus one or two more dogs as a family. It’s easy to make a dog out of the felt piece by cutting two identical forms and stitching them together, leaving the space for a finger at the bottom part of a puppet (children can help with stitching). Making the puppets of Nimai and mother Saci require some more work and expertise. You can make them out of the felt piece as well, but the easiest way is to make them out of paper. If you are familiar with needle felting, you can make beautiful, soft puppets out of wool.
I made these finger puppets by needle felting, and my daughter helped me finish the dog. I found some scarfs as a background scene, and the puppet show can begin…
Nimai and the puppy dog
Little Nimai was playing in the street one day when He noticed a puppy nearby. The puppy was jumping around, wagging its tail, eager for fun. Nimai started playing with him. They ran one after the other, rolling on the grass and jumping around. When it was time to return home, Nimai tied a leash around the puppy’s neck and took him along. Seeing her son approaching with a dog on a leash, Mother Saci began to despair: “My son, where did You find this dirty dog? You must not bring it into the house because the dogs are filthy! Untie him from that leash and let him go his own way. “
Little Nimai replied, “Mother, this is My new pet! Look at him, isn’t he cute? I like him so much, will you let me keep him, please ?!” Mother Saci, unable to resist her son’s pleading look, reluctantly agreed: “All right, You can keep him in the yard, but You can’t bring him into the house.” Nimai clicked with joy, gave His mother a sweet kiss, and tied the puppy to a tree in the yard.
The next day, Nimai went to the banks of the Ganges to bathe with other children. Mother Saci noticed a group of dogs passing by their house. The puppy started to get off the leash, wanting to join the other dogs. Mother Saci drove the puppy away and let him go. The puppy ran on with his family, happily tapping his paws and wagging his tail. When Nimai returned home, He noticed that His puppy was not there. He asked His mother: “Mom, did you see where My pet is? He’s not on the leash where I tied him up yesterday,”. Mother Saci replied: “My dear son, Your puppy saw his mother, brothers, and sisters passing by and joined them.” Hearing that, Nimai began to cry. “I miss my pet, I want my pet back!” Mother Saci gently put Nimai in her lap and began to comfort Him, kissing and caressing Him. She handed Him some sweets and Nimai soon calmed down. He stopped crying although He still missed His loving pet.
Meanwhile, the puppy traveled extensively with his family. After Nimai lovingly touched him and thus blessed him, the puppy began to do something that no dog had done before or after him – he began to sing the Holy Name of God! Wherever he went, he sang out loud: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare! Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!” People were amazed to see this miracle and talked about it in towns and villages all over Bengal.
One day, while singing and dancing in kirtan, a little puppy fell to the ground and let out the last breath. At the same moment, a bright airplane appeared in the sky. Two brilliant personalities came out of the plane and headed towards the dog. A bright spark came out of the dog’s body, which transformed into a beautiful creature. Two brilliant personalities took this beautiful creature by the hand and climbed it onto the airplane. The plane soared to the heights and flew away to the spiritual world.
In this way, a happy dog, who was loved, touched, and hugged by little Nimai, received His special mercy and went home, back to Godhead.
Download the PDF printable file of a story by clicking the button below.
Read about another story-based activity with children that I shared for the last Gaura Purnima in this blog article Dramatic activity with children for Gaura Purnima festival
I wish you and your family a happy, blissful, and creative Gaura Purnima celebration!