Note for teachers: Some of these stories can be used directly in the classroom. Others are to enhance the teacher’s own understanding and/or are for teachers to re-tell in their own words. The stories are coded as follows:

P: stories more directly suitable for primary pupils.
E: stories that will most likely need some editing
T: stories intended for teacher’s own understanding

(P) The Acorns and the Pumpkins (the creator / intelligent design)

STO-119 There were once two men living next door to each other in the same village. One of them believed in God and the other didn’t want to even hear of God. Even though they had different ideas about the world and where it came from, they were very good friends and used to enjoy […]

(P) A Story about Creation (creation)

STO-118 Long, long ago in the spiritual sky, Vishnu was lying down. He was resting on his couch, the great snake called Ananta. As Vishnu breathed out, all the universes came out of his mouth. They were like thousands of soap bubbles floating in the sky. Vishnu entered into each universe. He filled it with […]

(T) The Beggar meets God (time)

STO-117 This story is about how we cannot trick God and the laws of nature . . . Mohan was a professional beggar, and extremely cunning. He never missed any opportunity to line his own pocket. One day Mohan was walking in the woods near his home. As he turned a corner he was surprised […]

(E) The Oldest man in the World (transience)

STO-115 There was once an old yogi standing by the side of the river Ganges. He was very hairy and had received a boon that he would only die when each and every hair on his body had fallen out. One hair would fall out each day of Brahma, and each day of Brahma lasts […]

(T) The Vet’s Apprentice (the guru and blind faith)

STO-114 This story illustrates some of the problems in blind following. It could also illustrate the need for teachers to explain what they are doing and why! One day a vet was called to see a horse that had a huge swelling on its neck. The vet travelled with his apprentice and upon reaching the […]

(T) The Story of Prahlada (the nature of God)

STO-111 This story is connected to the fourth avatar of Vishnu, Narasimha (the half-man, half-lion). Prahlada’s Birth Prahlada was the son of Hiranyakashipu, a great demon who conquered the demigods and took over the universe. Once while Hiranyakashipu was engaged in austerities, trying to become immortal, the demigods captured his wife, Kayadhu who was at […]

(T) The Guru Embracing the Tree (the nature of maya)

STO-110 This story is relevant to the concept of Maya (see page 19 of the Teachers’ Book) The disciple humbly asked a question of his teacher. “My dear spiritual master, you are capable of freeing your sincere students from the illusory entanglements of this world. Please, therefore, explain to me what is the nature of […]

(P) The Yogi’s Cloth (the nature of maya)

STO-109 This story is captivating for children, who usually appreciate the plot. However, we should be careful though not to infer that it promotes irresponsible renunciation. Hinduism greatly values the householder ashram. Nonetheless, this story is useful to help us appreciate that obtaining possessions for selfish purposes, even just to avoid inconvenience, often entangles us […]

(E) Three Men Enter the Forest (the gunas)

STO-107 The following story demonstrates how different people respond to situations according to their conditioning (in this case, by the three gunas – the three qualities of material nature). It also illustrates how people see the world differently, through their own mind-set. The first man entered a forest and thought to himself, “What a great […]

(E) Death in Baghdad (destiny)

STO-106 The story explores some of the problems of escaping destiny and is pertinent to questions of free-will and determinism There was a merchant in Baghdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions. In a little while this servant came back, white and trembling “Master”, he blurted out, “Just now when I was […]

(P) The Sadhu’s Blessings (karma)

STO-105 A sadhu (saintly person) and his disciple were passing through a city. “Let us see whether we can make our journey a learning experience,” the teacher said to his disciple. By chance, just as they were walking by the prince of the kingdom was mounting his fine white stallion “Greetings holy man,” the prince […]

(E) The Three Lives of King Bharata (reincarnation)

STO-103 King Bharata was a wise and experienced monarch, and his citizens expected him to rule for many years. However, in the prime of life he gave up everything – queen, children, and kingdom, to dedicate the rest of his life to self-realisation. He journeyed to a sacred place of pilgrimage called Pulaha-ashrama, at the […]

(E) The Bird in the Cage (in poetic form) (the soul)

STO-101 © Copyright. Sakshi Gopal das, 1984. Many thanks to Sakshi Gopal for kindly allowing the publishers to reproduce his poem, which he has also set to music. This story, in the form of a poem, relates to the notion of the atman, the real self within, and the need for spiritual nourishment. This song […]