Tag: kids

What is so special about Krishna’s birth? A query of a 10 year old

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With Janmashtami around the corner, I asked my neighbors 10 year old (who I love to chat with) what was she going to do on that special day. Her remark, “Aunty, what is so special about Krishna’s birth anyway? I don’t even celebrate my birthday anymore, well except for a cake and a sleep over.” I sighed, took a deep breath and asked if she was willing to discuss about it. It is important for us as adults to not sweep topics like these under the carpet. It is important that we educate children and make them understand the significance and celebrate every festival in the right mood and spirit and in doing so; it puts our intent in perspective too. So, with her approval we had a discussion and this is what transpired.

Me: OK tell me what does Janamashtami mean to you?

Her: The day Krishna was born or maybe the day He was taken by Vasudev to Gokul?

Me: Yes, both are correct. And?

Her: He was born in the month of Shravan (a 10 year old knows that word even?), at midnight, in the jail and when He was born the atmosphere was divine, peacocks were dancing everywhere and all the residents were cheerful. First He appeared as four handed Visnu and then upon mother Devaki’s request he assumed the form of a cute little baby with two hands.

I must confess I was expecting her to twiddle her thumbs, roll her eyes, shrug her shoulders and exclaim “I don’t know!” But she chose to pleasantly surprise me. I was thinking what next, is this 10 year old going to explain the Gita to me? I stared at her, then into oblivion and back at her and probed further,

Me: What else?

Her: Aunty what do you mean what else?

Me: What else is unique about Krishna’s birth?

Her: Ummm….We get to stay up till midnight? Oh, He arranged for the prison doors to open and all the guards slept off so Vasudev could carry him to Gokul.

She was now thinking, harder. I was amazed by how much she knew. She’s a reader, you know. And that’s what happens; you somehow have an answer for everything.  This game of “what else” did not go too far and now the ball was in my court. She wanted to know more about the significance of Janamashtami and what was so special about Krishna’s birth. I went on to tell her all that I had read and learnt from various books and spiritual teachers.

The uniqueness of Krishna’s birth is that not only did he choose His time and place of birth (exactly at midnight in a prison in Mathura) but also chose His parents. We don’t have that privilege. Even if the doctor may predict that we will be born on a certain date, the time or place can never be predicted. He even chose the complexion of his skin; that of a rain filled cloud. Again, we pretty much come color co-ordinated. He carefully pre planned His arrival and made all the necessary arrangements for being carried to Gokul. Miraculously the prison cell doors opened wide, the guards fell into the deepest slumber. The river Yamuna gave way to Vasudev so that he could easily cross the river, just like the Indian Ocean that gave way to Lord Rama. Ananta Shesha, the serpent, opened his hoods like a huge umbrella protecting them both from the torrential rains. These incidents did not happen by chance. Lord arranged for them to happen so. That is why His birth is not ordinary, rather extraordinary and special.

And the reason we celebrate Janamashtami is that, just as Krishna appeared to kill Kamsa and free the residents of Mathura from his atrocities, likewise, on Janamashtami, we must come together and pray for the Lord to appear in our heart and remove all the bad qualities and make us happy and joyful. Staying up till midnight,(even if you have school the next day) and getting to dress like the Gopis or Krishna is a bonus 🙂

She seemed to nod in agreement and sprang up with enthusiasm, hardly willing to wait, and said, “Thank you aunty, I am going down to tell all my friends about this.”

Recalling what I had learnt, with her, made me realize how sometimes, rather oftentimes we forget the real purpose behind a festival and how important it is to understand its true essence.

 

 

 

 

Patience – The Waiting Game

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Now-a-days, we live in an “Instant” world- instant messaging, instant replay, instant booking. So much so that even our hunger pangs find solace in instant Ramen/Maggi noodles! Long gone are the days where one patiently waited in queues at the movies, banks, shows, railway stations- well……OK we may still see that one. It’s amazing how the internet has simplified our lives. Move over 2G and 3G, all thanks to 4G and the smart phones everything happens at the tap of our fingers in a flash of a second even from one continent to another. Incredible!

patience, tap

And while our life runs smoothly by the bits and bytes of internet power, our patience hangs lose on bits and pieces.

A few days ago, I took Haripriya to the play area. As usual, both swings were taken. She whispered to me that she would like to swing and that I should go ask one of the boys to get off. I obliged. Instantly I went up to him and asked him to give Hari a chance to swing. And I felt like a winner, Hari was happy and so was I. In about 5 minutes, another kid came by and asked Hari for the swing. As I watched the tables turn, the scene turned into an eye opener for me. I realized that perhaps the other kid who gave Hari her turn also might have just gotten his turn. How impatient was I to let my child have her way instantly! She came back “bawling.” I will be honest, I tried to pacify her, but the damage was done. I had fed her impatience and now it was testing my patience.

We often come across numerous situations like these in our lives where we are forced to play “the waiting game.” Our attitude, both, in behavior/action and words, during such situations determines our levels of patience and those that our children will inherit.

Patience

Patience is a very important virtue in character building and the best way to teach patience is, well, to practice it! Easier said than done right?  Some people have an inbuilt app called patience. They can breeze through the most stressful situations whereas some may struggle to get by. Children are no different. However, it is important to cultivate this important character trait in them right from childhood. Some of the benefits of practicing patience are:

  1. Children are able to avoid impulsive behavior
  2. They allow themselves a chance to reflect and think over problems and hence
  3. They are better able to solve problems
  4. It leads to inner calmness and emotional strength
  5. Keeps temper tantrums at check
  6. They begin to have realistic expectations from life (as they get older)
  7. Begin to value the nature of time
  8. It helps them become emotionally mature adults

I wouldn’t want to test your patience by putting up a loooong post :). So stay tuned for the next post where I will elaborate on ways in which we can practice patience and perhaps transform ourselves and our children from being “IMPATIENT” to “I M PATIENT.”