My grandmother visited our home every once in a while to spend time with us. She would sleep in the room my sister and I shared. Every night, she would narrate interesting mythological stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Panchatantra before we went to bed.
The stories about Krishna during his childhood, his mischiefs, the miracles, and his unique powers left us wanting to hear more. Today, I read and narrate stories about Krishna’s childhood to my daughter every night.
Here are 5 of the most popular and interesting stories about Krishna that make for excellent bedtime stories for kids:
1. Birth of Krishna
Kamsa, an evil prince, imprisoned his father to usurp the throne. As a punishment, it was prophesied that his sister’s eighth child would be the reason for his downfall. On hearing this, he threw his sister Devaki and her husband Vasudeva in a dungeon on their wedding day. The evil Kamsa killed each and every child of Devaki’s. It was by God’s grace that their seventh child, Balram was saved by being taken into Rohini’s womb.
The eighth child was born on a moonless stormy night. After the birth of the baby boy, Vasudeva realised that the gates of their prison were opened and all the guards were fast asleep. A divine voice advised Vasudeva to carry the child, Krishna, in a basket and walk into the water. As soon as Vasudeva stepped into the river, the water level of the river subsided allowing him to wade through the water to Gokula. A serpent protected Krishna from the rain with its large hood.
On reaching Gokula, Vasudeva left Krishna in Nanda’s house with Nanda’s wife, Yashoda. Vasudeva took Yashoda’s newborn baby girl back to the dungeon. When Kamsa heard about the birth of Devaki’s eighth child, he stormed into the dungeon. He snatched the baby from them. The baby slipped and in a flash of light took the form of Goddess Durga. The Goddess broke the news to Kamsa that Krishna is in safe hands and that his doom is nearing.
2. Putana’s failed attempt to kill Krishna
Kamsa was in utmost distress on hearing that Devaki’s eighth child was safe. He decided to find a way to kill the baby boy and sought the help of fearful demoness named Putana. Putana was a scary-looking demoness with long hair, long nails, teeth protruding out of her mouth and blood-red tongue. Since Kamsa did not know where Krishna is, he asked Putana to kill all children below the age of 10 days in his kingdom.
Putana readily accepted the task as the killings would make people in the kingdom fear her. She then went about killing all babies around Krishna’s age. She then finally reached Krishna’s village and heard about Yashoda’s son who was believed to be special. The evil demoness realised that the child must be Krishna.
Kamsa had warned Putana that Krishna is no ordinary child and that it would not be able to kill him easily. So, she transformed herself into a beautiful maiden to deceive the villagers and Krishna’s parents. Before she went to his home, she poisoned her breasts with the venom of a deadly snake.
On reaching Krishna’s house, she greeted everyone politely and asked Yashoda if she could feed the young boy. Unaware of the ill intentions of the disguised demoness, Yashoda allows her to feed him. Putana takes Krishna to the backyard and starts feeding him poisonous milk. She then felt like the baby was sucking the life out of her. She tried to release the baby’s mouth but Krishna had held on to her tightly. She then transformed herself into a demoness to scare the baby. Krishna did not budge. So she flew up in the air, hoping to get the boy to let go. But Krishna sucked the life out of her and she fell to the ground.
The villagers were petrified by the scene and rushed to save Krishna. They found the little boy happily smiling and playing on the demoness’ body.
3. Krishna and his love for butter
The village that Krishna lived in, Gokula, was a land of ‘Gopalas’ or cattle herders. So, there was an abundance of milk, curds, and butter in the village. Krishna was very fond of butter and would make use of every opportunity to steal a pot of butter from his mother or from any of the mothers in the village. All the mothers, or ‘Gopis’ as they were called, started tying pots of butter to the ceiling so that Krishna or his friends couldn’t reach them.
Krishna would team up with his friends to reach these pots tied high up to the ceiling too. The would climb up to the roof and move the ceiling tiles to get the pot of butter or climb on each other’s shoulders to create a human ladder and steal the butter. If none of the tricks worked, they would hurl a pebble at the pot and take turns to catch the butter with their open mouths.
The Gopis found out that Krishna was the prime culprit for stealing the butter and hence complained to his mother, Yashoda. Yashoda apologised to the women and promised to discipline Krishna. Mischievous little Krishna decided to play a prank on the Gopis. When the women had all gone to the river to bathe, he went and stole all their clothes from the bank of the river. He said he would return their clothes only if they promised that they would stop complaining to his mother.
Yashoda heard about this and unable to discipline Krishna, tied him up to a heavy staff. Krishna couldn’t release himself so he decided to go by the river where his friends would help him. He started walking through the forest when he got stuck between two trees that were growing very close to one another.
Krishna simply tugged hard enough to move and ended up uprooting the trees. Yashoda ran to the site to see if her little boy was hurt but saw how he had felled two trees so easily. This incident made her realise more about Krishna’s extraordinary powers.
4. Krishna miraculously escapes
When Krishna was an infant, Yashoda had taken him to a village festival. After everyone had their afternoon meal, Yashoda left Krishna to sleep under a bullock cart. After a while, Krishna woke up to the noise of music. All the villagers were dancing and so Krishna also started dancing to the beats. He then accidentally hit the wheel of the bullock cart which made the cart crash to the ground.
People darted towards the cart expecting the worst to have happened to the little boy. Astonishingly, they found the little boy still happily dancing to the tunes. Though it was one of the first incidents that proved Krishna’s celestial powers, people believed that it was a miracle that the boy was untouched by the crash.
5. Yashoda and the secrets about Krishna
When Krishna was much younger, he sat looking at the Gopis clean all the vessels. He noticed that after a vessel in which butter was stored was emptied, the Gopis would clean them using mud. He started to wonder if even he would have to eat mud after eating butter to clean his stomach.
So, after eating butter to his fill, he stuffed his mouth with mud. His brother, Balram, and his friends noticed that he had stuffed his mouth and asked him what it was. He refused to open his mouth so they took him to Yashoda. Yashoda also asked him to open his mouth but he did not say anything nor open his mouth. Yashoda then grabbed a stick out of anger and said he would get a beating if he didn’t open his mouth right away.
Krishna then opened his mouth and to her surprise, Yashoda could see the entire universe clearly in Krishna’s mouth. She could even spot Gokula and herself standing in front of the child with his open mouth. In disbelief, she closed her eyes to clear her mind. When she opened her eyes she saw Krishna smiling at her innocently. Though Yashoda had taken note of this miracle, she kept it to herself as Krishna seemed unaffected.
Which of these stories from Krishna’s do you like? Share any other stories you know.