Discussion on “Karma” with 6 year olds
After hearing about the recent incident of how a local devotee was gunshot in his convenient store, our curious 6-year-old kids started asking following questions:
Nrsimha-Krsna dasa: When Krsna’s devotee is good, why somebody killed him like that.
Father: Everybody has to face reactions to bad things they did previously, that is how material nature works. See for example, sometimes you pinch Maharathi and remember that day nobody did anything, you were playing and you hit against the pillar, got a cut on the head and it started bleeding. That is how reactions come. Everybody has to face his or her reactions. There is no escape. We may have to take birth repeatedly sometimes to experience these reactions. This is “Karma”.
Nrsimha-Krsna dasa: (concerned) How to stop this cycle of repeated birth?
Father: Only way to remove our reactions is to do devotional service to Krsna. If all the time we are serving Krsna, Krsna will burn/remove our previous reactions.
Mother (eager to connect this discussion to topics learnt during “Kids Bhagavatam” sessions): Do you both remember the poem about three types of karma (karma, vikarma and akarma) we learnt in the second chapter (canto 1)? (singing) ….akarma is service to Krsna which has no reaction / I can cut the knots of Karma by serving Krsna always and go back to Him. You already learnt about this. If we serve Krsna always we will cut (burn) all our Karma and at the moment of death when we don’t have any more karma and have love for Krsna instead, we will go back to the place where Krsna stays. What place is it?
Maharathi dasa: Goloka.
Mother: Yes. Goloka Vrindavana. There is also one more thing we need to do to stop the cycle of repeated birth. Can you all sing the poem from chapter 1, (singing), Even if I somehow chant…
Kids: (singing along) the Holy Name of Lord Krsna / I will be free from birth and death and never be afraid.
Mother: Good. Do you remember the story of Ajamila we enacted in the class? In that we saw that even though he committed so many sinful activities, at the moment of death because he chanted “Narayana”, Vishnudutas declared that his offense-less chanting has cleared his sinful reactions. Therefore, we also need to take shelter of the Holy Name by chanting (prompting)
Kids: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare. Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Later at night while putting them to rest, I was singing the poems from Chapter 5. Part of a poem is below:
“Nothing should be done for one’s gratification/
Everything should be done for Krsna’s satisfaction/
In this way one can remember Krsna always and cut the tree of work…..”
Realizing its connection to the topic of “Karma” we discussed that day, I wanted to elaborate this further.
Mother: See, in this chapter also, Bhagavatam is telling the same thing. If we do all our activities for Krsna’s pleasure and thus remember Him through all our activities, we can cut this tree of work (karma).
Maharathi dasa: (innocently) Amma, if we cut the tree outside our home, it will grow again. So will this tree also grow?
Mother: This is not really a tree, as we know. Bhagavatam is using this example so it is easy for us to understand.
Maharathi dasa: I remember in the class, you showed us a cut tree.
Mother: (encouraging) Wow. You remember it so nicely. Ya. “Karma” was written on it. I also used it depict the example Bhagavatam was teaching us. Back to your question, will this “karma” tree grow back? Yes. If we again do things that are not in service to Krsna, the tree of karma will grow and again we have to face the reactions. However, if we sincerely do everything for the pleasure of Krsna, and chant the Holy Names, it will not grow.
So now, you both tell me how we can end the cycle of birth and death.
Maharathi dasa: By chanting the Holy Names of Krsna.
Nrismha-krsna dasa: By doing all our activities for the pleasure of Krsna and thus trying to remember Him always.
(Taking the opportunity to remind them how everything at their age, can be done for Krsna’s pleasure, we all sang the following poem)
This is how we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth to please Lord Krishna
This is how we take our bath, take our bath, take our bath to please Lord Krishna
This is how we eat prasadam, eat prasadam, eat prasadam to please Lord Krishna
This is how we go to school, go to school, go to school, to please Lord Krishna
This is how we study at school, study at school, study at school, to please Lord Krishna
This is how we play with friends, play with friends, play with friends, to please Lord Krishna
This is how we go to bed, go to bed, go to bed, to please Lord Krishna
This is how we do everything, everything, everything to please Lord Krsna
Mother: Ok now, you both go to bed nicely to please Krsna, so you can get up in the morning and do so many things to please Krsna.
The verses from Srimad Bhagavatam, which are paraphrased in the above poems, are:
SB 1.1.14: Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, which is feared by fear personified.
SB 1.2.15: With sword in hand, intelligent men cut through the binding knots of reactionary work [karma] by remembering the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, who will not pay attention to His message?
SB 1.5.34: Thus when all a man’s activities are dedicated to the service of the Lord, those very activities which caused his perpetual bondage become the destroyer of the tree of work.
To sign up for online classes of “Kids Bhagavatam” for you or your children, join the WhatsApp group on our website: lightofgodhead.com.
Article and poems by Syamala dasi (IDS).