13 Feb The Childhood Pastimes Of Lord Nityananda
Tomorrow we celebrate the appearance day of Lord Nityananda, who is among the topmost important divine personalities in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition of bhakti-yoga. Lord Nityananda is an incarnation of Lord Balarama, a divine brother of Lord Krishna, and has all transcendental qualities of Lord Balarama. In this incarnation, the most important quality of Lord Nityananda is His compassion. He is compassionate and merciful even to the most fallen and unqualified. In this age of Kali, almost everyone is fallen and unqualified, if we consider the standards of Vedic culture and religion that are much superior in comparison to any culture or civilization known in the last 5000 years of Kali-yuga.
It is much comforting to all of us to take shelter of someone like Nityananda Prabhu, who does not take into account our shortcomings, flaws, and low birth. But, at the same time, we try to do our best to purify our character and rectify our misbehaviors, to eventually become worthy to receive His causeless mercy in faith and gratitude. As parents, we try to pass down the same attitude to our children.
We know from the Vedic scriptures that children are born in ignorance. A child starts his life journey as an unconscious, instinctive being, and develops into consciousness by gaining experience and knowledge. This is a lifelong journey, but it is the most intense during childhood and adolescence. Even though a child is ignorant, we as parents do not take seriously his flaws and mistakes. We try to guide and teach the child with love, which is our natural mood of parenting. After some time, as the child grows and learns to discriminate, we naturally expect more from him. It is a time to help him recognize and then rectify his mistakes. It may sound easy, but it is a complex process, and it requires quite a lot of dedication from the parent to assist a child to become a mature and responsible adult, and what to speak to become a Vaishnava devotee of the Lord.
In one sense, we are on the same path as our children. We all try to transform ourselves from our lower self to our higher self. We all make mistakes along the way. We all have to put endeavor to advance on the path of self-realization. We are just on the different sections of the road. And most importantly, we all depend on the mercy of the higher spiritual authorities such as Lord Nityananda Prabhu
Here is a story about the childhood pastimes of Lord Nityananda that you can read or narrate to your children, as a part of your festival activities for Nityananda Trayodashi. There is no better way to transfer spiritual knowledge to our children than remembering the Lord and doing service for Him together!
Since today is a Varaha Dvadashi, the appearance day of another important incarnation of the Lord, please find inspiration by reading to children a story about Lord Varahadeva here Lord Varahadeva story for children
The Childhood Pastimes Of Lord Nityananda
In the plain of Bengal, there is a quiet and small village called Ekachakra. Like all villages in Bengal, there were several lakes and dense jungles around it, next to the wide fields of green rice and yellow mustard. People lived in earthen huts with thatched roofs. Each house had several cows that grazed all day on the surrounding pastures. People lived peacefully and quietly, working in the fields and caring for the cows.
A boy named Nityananda lived in the village. He was beautiful as a shining moon, and all the villagers loved Him as their own son. They called Him Nitai out of affection. Nitai played with children in the neighborhood every day, but their games were not ordinary children’s games. They played Lord Krishna’s pastimes, guided by the inspiration of little Nitai. The villagers were surprised: ” How do the children know about so many of Krishna’s pastimes? And how many details they know about them!” When they asked Nityananda about it, He would answer: “These are My own divine pastimes, and I am allowing you to see them.”
In His childhood, Nityananda knew no other pleasure but be acting the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He would gather His friends and set up a drama of Lord Krishna’s pastimes for them to act as a play. Sometimes they would pretend to be Devaki and Vasudeva giving birth to baby Krishna. Sometimes they would act as demons like Aghasura or Denukasura and fight with Krishna and Balarama. Sometimes they would just herd the cows, run and dance with their sticks, play bamboo flutes, and pretend to be Krishna and Balaram and the cowherd boys in the forest of Vrindavana. And sometimes, they would break into some of the village houses and steal the butter and yogurt from the pantry. And guess what? People from the houses would not mind it. They would enjoy witnessing these loving children’s play because they loved Nityananda so much. They all simply wanted to hold Nitai in their hands and to pat His limbs, soft like butter.
One day, Nitai and His friends played the pastimes of Lord Rama. Nitai played the role of Lakshman, and another child played the role of Ravana. Lakshmana challenged Ravana, and Ravana in return took the greatly empowered weapon and threw it at Lakshmana. The boy playing Ravana threw away the lotus flower on Lakshmana, hitting Him in the chest. At that moment, Nitai fell to the ground unconscious. All His friends gather around and saw Nitai laying on the ground with no sign of life, and they all got scared. They began to cry. The villagers also arrived, along with Nitai’s mother and father. Everyone was desperate and did not know how to bring Nityananda back to consciousness.
They could not understand: a simple lotus flower touched him, and He fell unconscious? Then someone watching said: “I know what the problem is! Recently He was playing the pastime of Dasarath and He also fainted and appeared like this when His friend who was playing Rama has left Him. If we want to revive Him, we have to complete this pastime. The boy who plays Hanuman needs to bring Gandhamadhana mountain with medicinal plants from the Himalayas to Lakshmana!” Then the children remembered: “Before we started playing this game, Nityananda told us that if I fall unconscious get that mountain and bring it here. But we forgot it. Now we remember. Let’s do it!”
Then the boy who played Hanuman went to bring the mountain from the Himalayas, and the boy who played the doctor picked a medicinal plant from the mountain and touched Lakshman’s nose with it. At the same moment, Nitai opened His eyes and regained consciousness. All gathered sighed with relief and began to hug Nityananda one by one.
In this way, Lord Nityananda conducted His childhood pastimes and immersed the people from Ekachakra village in the ecstasy of loving Krishna.
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