The children of today are the citizens of tomorrow. To mould their thoughts and aspirations is the true fulfilment of a national education. The ideal given to them in their aryl childhood alone can again and again inspire then in their future years of life and supply them with the courage to face their problems, the guts to pursue their purposes diligently, the 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 inn their endeavour, and deeply proud of their own cultural past, alone can reader a country to grow up to the status of a Nation.
In Bharat, 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. Sreemad Bhagavad Geeta is the very quintessence of our entire ancient cultural lore, based upon the irrefutable arguments and inspired thoughts of the Rishis, 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 to these children the flavour and beauty, the light and melody of the Bharateeya Culture - the Hindu philosophy of thought and action.
Now a stage has come, when the Balaks and Balikas growing in this enthralled atmosphere of the Balavihars, have started demanding to know the meaning and contents of the Geeta Verses, which 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 Geeta to the growing children. There are books in the market, written by serious thinkers and students of the Geeta, bringing out in their ponderous volumes, the subtle beauty of the sacred thoughts of Lord Krishna. But the highly involved arguments expressed in a laborious style, studded with very many Upanishad-quotations and sprinkled with the conclusions of other schools of philosophers, make all such existing volumes useless to the children.
Again, the members of our Balavihar are in the age group of 6-12, the juniors, and of 12-16, the seniors. 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 Geeta says. Here we found that even our Sewaks and Sewikas were not able to help the children. Hence, we conceived the idea of bringing out a Bhagavad Geeta 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 292 Geeta 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 Branches. Again, we will have to go this in the vernaclar in many of the Branches.
This volume, Bhagavad Geeta 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 with you. Let them ask question. Let them among themselves teach each other what they have been taught in the previous classes.
Make thus the Geeta-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 given therein, then the Mission Worker can proceed to the next chapter.
Whenever there is any great difficulty for you to understand, please refer to me by a note. I shall try to clarify. You will do well to read my Geeta Discourses, which would supply you with illustrations, stories, examples, etc., 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 Geeta.
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