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Gita for Children
A mentor to national leaders like Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Vinoba Bhave, Aurobindo, Madan Mohan Malaviya; a companion to western thinkers like Albert Einstein, Herman Hesse, Carl Jung, Alduos Huxley; and a mother to great saints like Adi Sankaracarya, Vivekananda, Madhvacarya; the Bhagavad-Gita can now be a friend to your child.
The pioneer proponent of the Bhagavad-Gita in modern times, Swami Chinmayananda, views the Bhagavad-Gita as the edifice upholding the Indian philosophy and culture, and as a guide in times, good and bad. Thus the Bhagavad-Gita is a powerful tool for personal empowerment and social change.
In Gita for Children, the 18 chapters of the Bhagavad-Gita are simplified by the Gita expert, Swami Chinmayartanda. A detailed summary of each chapter is given, important verses selected and doubts cleared, for elders to explain the ideas to the children.
While thus reading the book to the children, elders will-find an insightful initiation into the Gita wisdom and children will find a loving friend in Lord Krsna, making the Gita experience richer, personal and valuable.
Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993) called as the second Swami Vivekananda, has left a great legacy behind for mankind. On realizing the true purpose of life, he worked tirelessly and with tremendous energy for more than four decades to spread the message of Vedanta. A great orator, writer, leader, patriot and spiritual giant, he is one of the finest representatives of Indian spiritual heritage. Chinmaya Mission - a worldwide organization - carries on the torch lit by this great saint.
The children of today are the citizens of tomorrow. To mould their thoughts and aspirations is the true fulfilment of national education. The ideal given to them in their early childhood alone can, again and again, inspire them in their future years of life and supply them with the courage to face their problems, the guts to pursue their purposes diligently, faith in themselves and in their country, and the heroism to live and act according to their own convictions. A generation growing up thus, determined to gain their goal, sure of their dignity, consistent in their Endeavour and deeply proud of their own cultural past, alone can render a country to grow up to the status of a nation.
In Bharata, her cultural consciousness is the one chord that binds our different people with different habits, customs, beliefs and faiths together into an integrated, united, self-respecting and fully awakened sense of nationhood. Srimad Bhagavad-Gita is the quintessence of our entire ancient cultural lore, based upon the irrefutable arguments and inspired thoughts of the rsis, recorded for us in our Upanishads. The Chinmaya Mission Balavihars are organizing weekly meetings of the children and training them in our ancient culture and our national way of life. We employ various interesting and entertaining techniques to bring these children the flavour and beauty, the light and melody of the Bharatiya culture - the Hindu philosophy of thoughts and actions.
Now a stage has come when the balakas and balikas (boys and girls) growing in this enthralled atmosphere of the Balavihars have started demanding to know the meaning and contents of the Gita verses, which they are taught or they have learnt to chant. Mission workers who are in charge of these Balavihars themselves find it difficult to explain the deep and profound philosophy of the Gita to the growing children. There are books in the market, written by serious thinkers and students of the Gita, bringing out in their ponderous volumes, the subtle beauty of the sacred thoughts of Lord Krsna. But the highly involved arguments expressed in a laborious style, studded with very many quotations from the Upanishads and sprinkled with the conclusions of other schools of philosophers, make all such existing volumes useless to the children.
Again, the members of our Balavihars are in the age group of 6-12, the juniors; and 12-16, the seniors. The juniors learn to chant the text and they are happy when they can recite from memory chapter after chapter. But when they grow to be in the senior section, they demand explanations and need to know what the Gita says. Here, we found that even our sevakas and sevikas were not able to help the children. Hence, we conceived the idea of bringing out a Gita for Children. These appeared, chapter by chapter in our Mission journal (Tapovan Prasad).
Here again, I must admit that the style is not so simple that the children can themselves read and enjoy the thoughts of the 701 verses of the GU-cf. These chapters were written so that the Chinmaya Mission workers or the intelligent parents of our children may read and digest and then explain these ideas to the members of the Balavihar classes. Again, we will have to go through this in the vernacular in many of the classes.
This volume, Gita for Children is addressed to the parents and workers of the Balavihars. They will read and understand these simple thoughts and thereafter, present these ideas to their wards in the local language, in simple and clear expressions without any hurry or impatience.
Explain these ideas again and again. Make the children discuss them with you.
Let them ask questions.
Whenever there is understand, please refer t try to clarify. You will d discourses which would sup stories, examples, and so ( enliven the children's stud' To many parents, this I am confident, an educate into the heart of the Gita.
Let them, among themselves; teach each other what they were taught in the previous classes. Make thus, the Gita-study lively allowing full participation of the children themselves in all the discussions.
Each chapter recommends a few stanzas which the children must learn by heart and chant them with tune and rhythm. There are some questions suggested at the end of each chapter which are to be discussed. The members must, again and again, be made to answer these questions. When all the members can answer all the questions given therein, then the Mission worker can proceed to the next chapter.
Whenever there is any difficulty for you to understand, please refer to me by a note. I shall try to clarify. You will do well to read my Gita discourses which would supply you with illustrations, stories, examples, and so on which you can use to enliven the children's study hour.
To many parents, this volume would in itself be, I am confident, an education and a helpful initiation into the heart of the Gita