A hermit's story from SRF YSS magazine and a lesson on compassion

Hermit and Scorpion

A crowd of early bathers in the Ganga had gathered around to witness a tussle between a scorpion and a hermit. A scorpion was seen dragged along by the mighty Ganga in spate. Any moment, the heavy onrush of water would have drowned that poor creature. A hermit taking his early morning bath in the Ganga saw the scorpion in a desperate struggle for life.
Saintly devotee that he was, he could not but rush to its help. With the hermit in grim de-termination and the scorpion in suicidal defence, there ensued a conflict of two opposing natures—the one to save and the other to sting. No sooner had the hermit taken the scorpion out of the water than the vicious creature stung him with its poisonous tail. Because of the fierce sting, the hermit’s hand jerked violently and the poor scorpion was thrown back again into the water. This did not deter the hermit.

A scorpion

Once again he bent down and boldly picked up the scorpion in his hand and once again the scorpion stung its way into the water. But the hermit was firm to save the life of the scorpion, and so the crowd watched the hermit helping the vicious creature once again. The crowd was mystified to see the hermit inviting a sting for the third time. It was an uncalled-for mortification, thought the crowd.
“What fools these hermits are!” said someone in the crowd.
“Impractical people,” cried another.
The hermit took no notice of what the crowd was saying. He was bent on saving the poor creature somehow, not minding the sting he would get in the process. A third time the scorpion stung the hermit and a third time did his hand jerk violently, but this time the hermit, not minding his pain, took care to jerk the scorpion away from the water on to the sand bank. The scorpion, blissfully ignorant of the hermit’s persistent love, wriggled out to safety. The poor hermit was now seen in great pain because of the persistent stings of the scorpion.
Someone in the crowd approached the hermit and asked, “Why did you try to save that ungrateful creature? Who is it that is now suffering, you or the scorpion?”
To this the hermit smiled and replied, “It is the nature of a scorpion to sting and the nature of God's devotees to love and serve. Seeing that the scorpion would not give up its nature of stinging, how do you expect me to give up my nature of helping those in need?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: It should be explained to the child that in real life it is important to keep oneself safe by staying away from a scorpion. From a scriptural standpoint, human life is more precious than a scorpion’s life.

The Teachings

Share and discuss these teachings of Yogananda with your kids in a language they can understand. According to research, discussing a topic is a much better way to teach than simply sharing the information.

Yogananda on Compassion

Compassion toward all beings (daya) is necessary for divine realization, for God Himself is overflowing with this quality.

Gautama Buddha was an incarnation of mercy. It is told that he even offered his own life to save a goat that had been made ready for sacrifice. The king who was performing the rite spared the animal’s life and became a devout follower of the “Enlightened One.”

A HINDI video of Buddha on the above mentioned incident

A spiritually patient man does not feel ill will toward anyone, even the most evil.

Yogananda on Fearlessness

Fearlessness means faith in God: faith in His protection, His justice, His wisdom, His mercy, His love, His omnipresence.

For the unenlightened, the best advice is caution along with courage–fearlessness in spirit without rashly exposing oneself to unnecessary risks or to conditions that may arouse apprehensions.

Activities on Compassion from internet

Activity 1: Feed Birds

Hermit and Scorpion

Along with your kid, feed birds with water and food for a few weeks.

Activity 2: Sponsor a child

Hermit and Scorpion

Sponsor education of a poor child to make your child understand that we must take care of those outside the circle of our family and friends.

Activity 3: Volunteer

Hermit and Scorpion

This activity is take from a Huffingtonpost article

Find age-appropriate ways to introduce your child to volunteering, such as visiting a nursing home and sharing a craft activity with a resident, serving a meal at a homeless shelter, helping to organize a canned food drive, collecting coats to donate to needy children, or even participating in a charity walk for a specific cause. These activities are at once meaningful and fun, which makes them especially effective in getting kids to routinely think compassionately about the needs of others.