Kiddies' Corner



Uluka, the owl and Hamsa, the swan met only on very rare occasions. This was because Uluka was a nocturnal bird, who kept awake all night, while Hamsa enjoyed his beauty sleep. But tonight it was different. Hamsa decided to fly throughout the night in order to reach Brahmaloka where his mistress, Goddess Saraswati was waiting for him. Uluka was surprised to see Hamsa flying around so late at night.

Uluka: Whoot tu whoo whoo. Hi friend! By now, you should have been fast asleep with your red beak tucked into your tummy. What happened?

Hamsa: But you never sleep at night they say. Why not?

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Uluka and Hamsa

Uluka: How can I sleep at night when thieves prowl around and bad deeds are done in the dark? I watch out for that kind of thing and report to my mistress, Goddess Lakshmi.

Hamsa: You sure look scary with your huge round eyes and your deep hooting tone! Let us fly together. I have to reach Brahmaloka and I can keep awake if we keep chatting.

Uluka: Oh, I will sing for you. The best way to keep awake is to listen to good music. Have you heard this Gitam? It is very ancient but the beginners simply love it! (Hums to himself... Vara Vina).

Hamsa: Oh great! Vara Vina, the exquisite Vina that my Devi holds so gently in her arms strumming it with such soft hands (mrudu paani). Just keep singing Uluka, or else I feel like tucking my beak in and sleeping.

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Uluka: Of course! Vina means lute and everyone knows that, but it has another meaning too. My mistress Lakshmi is quick and brilliant like a superb flash of lightning. You did not know that Vina means lightning, did you?. When in doubt ask an owl, we are the wise ones! Now listen. Vanaruha lochana rani...

Hamsa: Your voice has too much of u-kara sound. You should really take some voice training lessons. My Queen, Saraswati, is the authority on music. I shall ask her to help you.

Uluka: The song is about my Goddess, Lakshmi. She is the Queen (Rani) of Lord Vishnu, with eyes like the petals of a lotus (vanaruha lochana).

Hamsa: Keep singing, or else I will be so sleepy you will have to carry me home!
Uluka: Oh, no! You can’t fall asleep! How can I carry you? You are too heavy and big! (Hums suruchira bambhara veni....)

Hamsa: Suruchira means fragrant and I think it is because of the jasmine flowers in her hair. There, I said it before you!

Uluka: Ok, what is pambara veni? You don’t know that Mr. Know-all-Hamsa!

Hamsa: Veni is the lovely braided hair of the ladies, but pambara... hmm...

Uluka: Think hard. Pambara ....bzz... bzz... bzz... bzz... What is the colour of a bumble bee?

Hamsa: Oh, yes! It means braid that is black and glossy like the bumble bee. What next?

Uluka: Suranuta kalyani.. That is not so hard. One who is worshipped (nuta) by Sura, the Devas.

Hamsa: Kalyani means, the lady who is ever-auspicious, making good things happen.

Uluka: Nirupama - one who is incomparable, Subha guna (good qualities) lola.

Hamsa: Why Lola? It means playing. She plays and revels in good qualities. I think that is what it means.

Uluka: Sometimes human beings call my mistress Lola, which means capricious.. Ho ho ho! On earth the rich man suddenly loses all his money.

Hamsa: When his stocks crash?!

Uluka: A beautiful woman is suddenly stricken with disease.

Hamsa: I know. Diseases like skin allergy or cancer. These reverses take place all the time on earth.

Uluka: Things like wealth, health, beauty, fame and success come under my mistress' Ministry and on earth, these are not stable at all. Peoples fortunes keep changing. Look at Bill Gates, the richest man on earth. He was just the teenager next door. See what he is now!

Hamsa: You and I know how an ugly duckling became a glamorous swan. So your mistress is called Lola, huh?

Uluka: Now listen to the next line. Nirata (full, overflowing) dayaa prada sheela... Her nature is caring and overflowing with compassion.

Hamsa: All of us need it. You are telling me!

Uluka: (Sings loudly) Varadaa priya.. Oh, she loves, just loves, giving gifts. Ranganayaki, She is the consort of Lord Vishnu.

Hamsa: Oh, come on. You have blinkers on your eyes. Owl eyes. And don’t sing so loudly! You sound as if you are shrieking when your voice goes up. Try to make your voice thin and pointed when you sing the high notes. Oh, blinkered bird, Ranga means stage or seminar and Nayaki is the Presiding Deity or chairperson of the Sabha or the stage!

Uluka: Vaanchita phala dayaki. Huh, these humans want favours all the time! She is so full of Daya (kindness), that she gives them all that they want.

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Brahma seated on a lotus and emerging from Vishnu's navel

Hamsa: My friend, I can’t keep up with your pace. Are we almost there?

Uluka: Oh almost there. Sarasijasana janani... This is easy. Sarasijasana is Lord
Brahma. You know he is the Lord who uses the lotus (sarasija) as his seat (asana).
Now Brahma’s mother is.... Guess who?

Hamsa: Well, Brahma is seated on the lotus and this lotus emerged from Vishnu. That makes Vishnu the father of Brahma. And so Goddess Lakshmi is the mother of Brahma.

Uluka: Well done! You are a smart bird if you worked that one all by yourself!
Hamsa: Well, I can tell you some more. My mistress Saraswati sits on a lotus (Sarasijasana). She is the universal Janani (Mother). That is a better explanation, I think.

Uluka: Ok, don’t grumble! The last line just says Jaya Jaya Jaya.

Hamsa: Why repeat so many times?

Uluka: Jaya is the name of my mistress Lakshmi; success in getting wealth, beauty, fame; success in….

Hamsa: Wait, wait! Jaya is the name of my Goddess Saraswati too. Success in music, and other fine arts like dancing, creative writing, science, sports...

Uluka: Enough, enough, we have arrived. Now you can go home to Brahmaloka.

Hamsa: Bye then. Come sometime for voice training to my country!

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Omnipotent Omnipresent and Omniscient - The one and only Sakti.

After 5 minutes a puzzled Uluka and a bewildered Hamsa look at each other.

Uluka: Not you again!

Hamsa: How come you are here in my region?

Devi’s voice: No arguments children. You were both right all the time.

Uluka and Hamsa look at Devi amazed and wonderstruck. It was like a magic show!

Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati merge before their eyes into one
resplendent glowing form - the Supreme Sakti. She is the primal power. She is Durga, fearsome to the evil-doers, Lakshmi, who nurtures every living organism and Saraswati, the all-pervading awareness, who is the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom.

Dr. Lalita Ramakrishna

Other stories for kids: Mushika's long trip
                                Haughty Narada learns a lesson