Monday, December 21, 2015

Why should we read Bhagvad Gita regularly?

Long ago an old farmer lived in a farm in the mountain with his young grandson. Each morning, grandpa would be up early, and could be found sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bhagvad Gita. His grandson wanted to be just like him, and tried to imitate him every way he could.

One day the grand son asked, "Grandpa, I try to read Bhagvad Gita, just as you do, but I cannot understand it. Moreover, as soon as I close the book, I forget everything that I had read. How will I benefit from reading the Bhagvad Gita?"

The grandfather quietly turned from feeding coal into stove and replied, " Take this basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water."

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, "You will have to move a little faster next time," and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said," I do not want a bucket of water: I want a basket of water. You are just not trying hard enough."He came out of the house watch the boy try again. The boy wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house."

The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather, the basket was again empty.Out of breath, he said, "See grandpa, it's useless.!"

"So you think it is useless?"The old man said, " Look at the basket." The boy looked at the basket, and for the first time, he realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket to a clean one, inside and outside.

"Son, this is what happens when you read the Bhagvad Gita. You may not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be cleansed from inside and ouside. That is the power of Lord Krishna's Divine words."


With a clean mind and heart, we are able to detect the holes (weaknesses and impurities) within us, and we try to close these holes. WHen the impurities are removed, we can achieve the Supreme goal in life.

Teaching:

Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj points out that, while hearing the Bhagvad Gita is a starting point, make an attempt to understand the Bhagvad Gita from Guru, contemplate on the knowledge it contains, and then strive to implement its teachings in your daily life.

Excerpt from "Inspiring Stories for Children- Vol:3"
Bal Mukund Character Building Series

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When a Child Speaks Lies...

Scene 1

Mona is deeply engaged in her routine work at home and suddenly her mobile rings—a call from Monica, a very talkative friend of hers. Mona is already running behind schedule, she obviously doesn't want to waste her time for her routine-gossips, so Mona tells her Raj, her husband, to tell Monica that "due to many guests present at home and Mona would not be able to talk." Husband does as told. Little Tina is watching!!!

Scene 2
Raj is an established business man. He could not process Manish’s order beyond the due date. Manish wants to reach to him; Raj doesn’t have reasonable reply, so to avoid him, he doesn't pick up the mobile. After so many trials on mobile, Manish now tries the land line. Raj guards his wife, Mona, to convey that "he is not at home." Wife does the same. Little Tina is watching!!!

Scene 3
Tina is taking a tuition class. Rita, her tutor, gets a call on her mobile. Someone desperately wants her to teach his child for the next two hours. Rita is already pre-occupied with a family program and is no more available for the day; she calmly says, "I am out of town right now." Little Tina is watching!!!

Scene 4
Tony, Tina's elder brother, is requesting his parents to finish the party and reach home early as he has to finish homework. Parents remain busy with friends and they reach home very late. As a result John could not finish his homework and is very upset on next day. Mona snaps a solution and writes a note to his teacher that "Tony was not well yesterday and so couldn't finish his homework." Little Tina is watching!!!

What do you think, what that little girl learned from all these events? That, “Lying is the Solution to any problem”!!

We want to inculcate great virtues in our child right from their early age. But often forget one major principle of child psychology that "Children do not follow our words; they imbibe our behavior." By watching the behavior of the family a child comes to the conclusion that to avoid any uncomfortable condition “LYING” is the easiest way to overcome.






Other reasons for why and how the child learns speaking lies are,

1. to avoid the trouble

2. to get attention

3. to get parent’s acceptance

4. just to make fun

5. out of fear

6. out of shame

7. due to association of classmates or friends

8. to save the sibling of friend (Here the cause is noble) etc.


How to react to the child's lie?

When you come to know that your child is lying with you, the first and natural feeling will be of a betrayal or an anger or guilt or shame or sadness.

1. Do not respond to the issue with negative attitude and emotions. First of all, take it as a developmental or an emotional developmental process.

2. Remember that who your child is now is not the child will be forever. If your child tells a lie, don't overreact to the behavior.

3. Instead of getting angry with the child, find out the reason for this behavior.

4. Establish a strong bonding with child. A child should feel free to discuss any matter.

5. Accept the child's behavior as it is on the first step and then gradually operate the problem.

6. Create a friendly environment where a child does not need to hide or lie for anything.

7. Don't label your child as 'liar.' It will damage child's self-concept and can be a reason for many further psychological complications.

8. Don't discuss your child's negative behavior in public. That may push the child towards negativity.

9. Be alert that 'lying' should not turn into a habit of your child. Take necessary steps for that on right time.


How to deal with this behavior?



1. Talk to the child about the importance of truth, trust, and honesty.

2. Set up firm and clear family rules and regulations about honesty.

3. Try to know the actual reason of why your child is lying?

4. Teach them the harmful consequences of lying by stories or actual incidents.

5. Teach them the difference between short term gains and long terms gain.

6. Do not falsely protect the lie spoken by your child. Teach them to admit it and go through the consequences. That will establish a strong root not to lie again.

7. Teach them to face the responses of speaking truth with bold and high spirit.

8. Discourage the associations of a child which are the cause of speaking lie.


Encourage truth:

1. When your child speaks truth, encourage him with words. DO not always encourage with things. Parent's acceptance should be much…much more important to the child.

2. Discuss your child's honesty with relatives, guests, teachers and the peer group of your child, especially in the presence of your child.

3. Encourage the person of a family for his/her honesty.

4. Set an example of truthfulness and honesty instead of suggesting or discussing them.

5. Periodically create incidents which prompt the child's honesty. Allow the child to express his/her truthfulness. Let them feel that they overcome the 'lie' and win with honesty.


Conclusion:

1. Children do not follow your words but your behavior. So first weave the virtues in your life style.

2. Allow your child to discuss openly each matters of his/her day without any hesitation. For that establish a strong and close relationship with the child.

3. Forgive one mistake and warn for another.

4. Parents acceptance and appraisal are two most important factors for children, keeping this in mind, mold your child gently.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Blissful pastime of Bal Ganesh and Bal Mukund


Wonderful pastime of Bal Krishna and Bal Ganesh on Ganesh Chaturthi!

Once on Ganesh Chaturthi, Nanda baba put a nice idol of Ganesh at home in their pooja room to celebrate the auspicious festival. Mother Yashoda made so many varieties to offer Ganeshji. As we all know, Ganesh likes laddu very much. So to please Him laddu were also made. Mother was putting all varities in front of Ganesh one by one to offer him. Small natkhat Krishna was watching all these. For a change, today His mouth was watering to eat laddu.

He asked mother, “Maiya, please give me one laddu. It smells wonderful!”

Maiya said: "No Kanha! Today is Ganesh’s birthday. So first we all will worship Him and offer Him all bhog. Then only as a prasad we can eat all these offerings.”

Kanha: "Maiya, it wont make any difference if I will eat one laddu. You have already made so many laddus.”

Maiya: "Look Kanha, there are some rules and regulations. You should know them and follow them.”

Kanha: “Maiya, I am too hungry.”

Maiya: “You can eat butter which you like the most or drink milk.”

Kanha: “Oh Maiya, try to understand. I cannot resist the aroma of laddu. Give me one only!”

Maiya: “No means No.” Today maiya was in disciplinarian mood!

Kanha felt very bad. He was really unable to resist Himself eating laddu. He moved closer to the idol of Ganesh and silently tried to get one laddu from the offering bowl, when maiya was preparing the garlands. But He could not save Himself from mother's sharp eyes. Maiya caught Him stealing laddu. She got angry with Krishna.

Maiya: “Kanha you will never improve! Once I told you to wait for the ceremony, why don’t you understand the seriousness of worship?” Saying so maiya tied His hands with a rope, so that Krishna could not steal laddu anymore and went to the garden to pick some more flowers.

Now how Ganesh could see Krishna suffering this punishment?

When Maiya came back, she was fainted looking the scene in the pooja room!

Mangalmurti Ganesh Himself came out of the idol and put laddu in the mouth of Bal Krishna!!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why should one start devotion to God right from the childhood?




Today's world of education emphasis on the technology learning, personality development, learning and knowing of many languages, communication skill etc. But do these kinds of learning help in developing the inner personality of a child? The answer is of course not satisfying. The reason is, although the technology has put every aspects of life on a fast track, life itself is losing its naturality. Although at the end of the course of “personality development” the child is certified as outstanding, the development of inner personality is almost completely ignored.

The increasing numbers of children's psychological problems show that though we have very advanced education system, it has become more and more difficult for the parents as well as the teachers to understand the children's strange behavior. Children themselves get confused and feel insecure. Due to these confusions and insecurity they succumb to many dangerous paths.

The only answer to these difficulties lies in "character building of child'" or we can say the "inner personality development." We need to conquer the child internally. For that understanding of the significance of practising devotion to God from early childhood is essential.

In Shree Ram Charit Manas Tulasidas states:

प्रेम भगति जल बिनु रघुराइ, अभि अन्तर मल कबहु जाइ l
prem bhagati jal binu raghurai, abhiantar mal kabahnu na jai

“Except by cleansing with the water of loving devotion, O Lord of Raghus, the impurity accumulated within can never be washed away.”

Why should one start devotion to God right from the childhood? Some major aspects:

1. Child's mind is highly impressionable:

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” is a famous quote by a well-known child psychologist. It is at this young age, that the mind can be guided into the path of devotion very easily. As the quote mentions, this will last forever as they are etched in concrete. Our scriptures present numerous examples of how children who followed the path of devotion attained God Himself!'

At the tender age of five, Prahlad had darshan of Lord Narasimh! Despite being an asur by birth, Prahlad’s transformation also happened due to the guidance of sage Narad “to chant Krishna's name with full faith" and that too from the very beginning of childhood! Pleased by his great devotion, God took completely unimaginable form, just to protect His bal-bhakt!




Later, Prahlad too instructs all his demoniac classmates to chant the Lord’s Name and start devotional practices right from childhood. He says,

कौमार आचरेत्प्राज्ञो धर्मान् भागवतानिह l
दुर्लभं मानुषं जन्म तदप्य ध्रुवमर्थदम्

kaumara acharet pragno dharman bhagavataniha
durlabham manusham janma tadapy adhruvam arthadam

“Human form is important because God-realization is possible only in human form. A soul very rarely gets the human form and that too for a limited duration. Therefore, the wise, without wasting a single moment, should engage in the bhakti.”

At the same age, a determined and courageous prince Dhruv performed intense penance, thanks to the guidance of sage Narad. The Lord Himself appeared before this little boy and blessed him that he would become a great king and live a long life filled with devotion.




Meera, a small instruction of her mother at her very young age, to serve Lord Krishna turned her into a great Krishna devotee!


2. Child's mind is relatively free from worldly attributes and responsibilities:

The intensity of worldly desires and impressions are relatively on very shallow level in child's nature, and innocence is a helping mode for devotion. Therefore it is very easy to grasp the sweetness of God and its pastimes without unnecessary logic. Children are free from other distractions such as survival, earning livelihood, etc., and due to freedom from such responsibilities, they have more time, energy, and concentration for devotion.

3. Prahlad's answer to his father:  

When Hiranyakashipu discouraged Prahlad not to divert his energies and time in devotion to God, stating it to be a job for a person death bed, Prahlad answered very politely but his answer is an alarm to everyone.

He told his father “what is your definition for death?” Is there any guaranteed life span which can be counted in years? Death can knock at any time and will snatch this human birth which is an essential platform to practice the devotion. I can't afford to lose a single moment!

Moreover, the most important contribution of devotion is to inculcate virtues which are the basic character of human being. Kindness, tolerance, truthfulness, forgiveness, compassion are the byproducts of practicing devotion. When walking through the world, children who practice devotion wouldn’t fall prey to vices borne of competition such as jealousy, domination, depression, etc., but will glide through it with proper understanding and approach. Similarly, in every aspect the intention and motivation will be based on pure and serviceable intellect! And there is no need to explain about the result of purity and service!

Childhood is a golden time for practicing devotion to God. Gradually it would be weaved with inner personality so intensely that even while performing the worldly duties brilliantly, the inner self will stay connected to God continuously, forever!