06 Nov Radha Kunda story for children
To be truly honest, I do not feel competent to write about exalted spiritual subjects of the relationship between Radha and Krishna and subjects in connection to it, in which realm falls this particular story about the appearance of Radha Kunda. Without false humility, I have no spiritual capacity to comprehend those truths in purity as they are. But, I dare to deal with these topics as material for teaching young children, because I feel protected by the innocence of a child’s understanding. So, I present these pastimes to the children as simple and innocent as possible, without going into esoteric explanations. I allow myself to be carried away by the sincere delight that children express for these exalted pastimes, and try to look at them through the eyes of children – playfully and enthusiastically, with caution not to lose the attitude of respect and reverence.
We will celebrate the appearance day of Radha Kunda in two days and I share a story suitable for young children in preschool and early grades. Below the story, you will find themes for discussion you can have with children after reading or narrating it. As I have explained, I do not enter into discussions with children about the exalted position of Radharani and Her love for Krishna. I believe that children at this age accept these exalted truths as they are, without much intellectual explanation. Children accept wholeheartedly that Krishna is Supreme God and that Radha is Supreme Goddess – They are the best of all heroes and children do not question it. The time will come to have deeper talks about it in years to come.
A magic lake of Radha and Krishna
One day a great demon Arishtasura assumed the form of a bull and came to kill Krishna. He was one of the many demons sent by cruel king Kamsa, who wanted to get rid of Krishna because he was afraid that Krishna will kill him, as prophesied. But, Krishna easily defeated Arishtasura, even though he was much bigger and stronger than any ordinary bull.
Krishna has many cowherd girlfriends, the gopis, with whom He likes to play and dance. After killing Arishtasura, Krishna approached the gopis to dance with them on the beautiful autumn evening. But, to His surprise, the gopis refused to dance with Him.
“We think You should not touch any of us now. You have committed a sin by killing the bull, who is as sacred as a cow according to holy scriptures.”
Krishna tried to justify Himself.
“But that bull was a demon, he was not an ordinary bull!”
But the gopis were unyielding.
“It doesn`t matter, He still had a bull`s body. You have to atone for this sin.”
“How shall I do it?”
The gopis told Him:
“You should bathe in all the holy rivers in the world!”
Krishna thought for a while. It would take so much time to go to all the holy rivers to bathe in them. And He wanted to dance with gopis that very night. So, He came up with an idea to amaze the gopis by using His magic power. He told them:
“It would take Me too much time to go to all the holy rivers. I will bring the holy rivers here, instead.”
The gopis widened their eyes.
“How are You going to do that?”
Krishna smiled mysteriously and started to make a hole in the ground with His heel. Then He ordered loudly:
“O the holy rivers, please come here at once!”
The next moment, celestial forms of personified holy rivers appeared, standing with folded palms in front of Krishna. They wore beautiful colorful saris and shining crowns on their heads. They introduced themselves by their respective names: Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Sarayu, Kaveri … Then in front of everyone, the holy rivers started to transform into their watery forms and began to fill up the hole in the ground made by Krishna`s heel. The hole began to widen and expand until it turned into a vast lake. Krishna entered a lake and dived several times into its holy waters. When He came out of the water, He laughed mischievously at the gopis.
“I am purified now, but what about you?”
The girls answered:
“We didn`t kill the bull, as you did it. We have not committed any sin to be purified.”
But Krishna began to challenge them.
“But you have never performed religious activity for the pleasure of Lord Brahma, the Creator of the Universe. That makes you impure.”
Then Krishna`s dearest gopi, Srimati Radharani, turned to Her girlfriends and said:
“All right! If He accuses us to be impure, then we will purify ourselves. I am going to make an even better pond than Krishna`s, and we are all going to bathe in it!”
The gopis welcomed Radha`s idea and went to look for a spot to start digging a pond. They found a hole that Arishtasura had dug with his hoove nearby Krishna`s pond and started to dig there. They broke their bangles and used them as a digging tools. Soon after, they created a vast hollow.
“Now we have to take the pots to carry in them the water from Manasi Ganga (holy lake near the village) here.” – Radharani ordered her girlfriends.
But Krishna was not happy to see His dearmost devotees work so hard. He ordered the holy rivers from His pond to expand and transfer their waters to Radharani`s pond. Holy rivers assumed their personified forms again and approached Srimati Radharani with folded palms.
“O, the most glorious Goddess, please allow us to come to live in Your pond. Only then will our lives be successful.”
Radharani looked at them with a gentle smile and said: “All right if you wish so.”
At that moment all the rivers broke the border between two ponds and started to fill up Radha`s lake with their holy waters. As they were flowing from one pond to another, their waters were resembling a silver shine glittering in the moonlight. Silver sparkling waves bounced with happiness rushing towards Radha’s lake. Everyone was enjoying the sight.
When holy water filled up Radha Kund, Krishna announced:
“My dear Radharani, may Your pond become even more famous than Mine. I will always come here to bathe in it. I declare that this pond is as dear to Me as You are.”
Radharani with a grateful heart replied:
“My dear Krishna, I will always come to bathe in Your pond, even if You kill hundreds of Arishtasuras! And whoever comes to bathe in Your and My pond will surely become very dear to Me.”
“Yes, whoever will come to bathe in or live on the banks of Your divine pond will become very dear to Me, and I will bless him.”
Then all of them took bath in Radha Kunda, and danced, danced, and danced joyfully all autumn night.
Ideas for discussion
Sin and redemption
Many of us feel the word “sin” hurts our ears, mostly because of the Christian interpretation of that word, so present in our western culture. But that is a reason more to explain to our children this term in the proper, not frightening way. The definition of sin is simple: it is an action against the rules of God and the will of God, revealed in the holy scriptures. I think it is important to pass on to children the truth behind this fact: that we are not the center of the world, but God is. The child is born with the feeling that he is the center of the world, and he lives in this egocentric idea throughout his toddlerhood and early childhood. As he socializes with other people and living beings he comes out slowly of that conception. Unfortunately, modern civilization today works hard to nurture and strengthen this egocentric concept against healthy social life, and the basic human need for bonding with others, what to speak of the law of God. The parent has a duty to gently but firmly guide the child toward accepting himself as a part of a whole instead of being in a center. It implies the introduction of duties and responsibilities towards others. So, when talking about sin, I would add to the definition – it is an act of hurting others that is not pleasing to God. And redemption has a logical sequel – it is an act of pleasing and pacifying others when they are hurt, with an apology, a gift, or a service. It is something that must be practiced within the family, with the siblings, and with the wider community as the child grows. Like any other good habit, it requires a lot of practice, and parents are there to remind us of it over and over again.
I will leave this discussion for the Gopashtami celebration, but it could fit here as well.
I wrote about it in more detail in this article: Mother Ganga tells her story
If you homeschool your child, you can connect this story with the subject of water habitat, specifically the lakes and their flora and fauna, natural and artificial lakes, etc.
In my next article, I will share the handwork and artistic activities we have been doing in connection with this story, and how to playfully engage the toddlers in celebration of this beautiful festival.
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