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Bhagavad Gita for Children

Bhagavad Gita for Children

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Published by: baskersiva on Oct 22, 2009
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 THE BHAGAVAD-GITA
(
For Children and Beginners
)
INTRODUCTION
Jai: Grandma, I have a hard timeunderstanding the teachings of theBhagavad-Gita. Would you help me?
Grandma:Of course, Jai, I will beglad to. You should know that this holybook teaches us how to live happily inthe world. It is an ancient holy book of Hindu Dharma (also known as SanatanaDharma or Hinduism), but it can be un-derstood and followed by people of anyfaith. The Gita has eighteen (18) chap-ters and a total of only 700 verses. Any-one can be helped by daily practice of only a few of its teachings.The word ‘Bhagavad’ means Godor The Supreme Lord, Bhagavan in San-skrit. ‘Gita’ means song. Thus TheBhagavad-Gita means the Song of Godor the Sacred Song, because it was sungby Bhagavan Shri Krishna himself.Here is the introduction to theGita:In ancient times there was a kingwho had two sons, Dhritarashtra andPandu. The former was born blind;therefore, Pandu inherited the kingdom.Pandu had five sons. They were calledthe Pandavas. Dhritarashtra had onehundred sons. They were called the Kau-ravas. Duryodhana was the eldest of theKauravas.After the death of king Pandu, hiseldest son, Yudhisthira, became the law-ful King. Duryodhana was very jealous.He also wanted the kingdom. The king-dom was divided into two halves be-tween the Pandavas and the Kauravas.Duryodhana was not satisfied with hisshare. He wanted the entire kingdom forhimself. He tried several evil plots to killthe Pandavas and take away their king-dom. Somehow he took over the entirekingdom of the Pandavas and refused togive it back without a war. All peacetalks by Lord Krishna and others failed,so the big war of Mahabharata could notbe avoided.The Pandavas didn’t want to fight,but they had only two choices: fight fortheir right because it was their duty orrun away from war and accept defeat forthe sake of peace and nonviolence. Ar- juna, one of the five Pandava brothers,faced this choice in the battlefield.He had to choose between fight-ing the war and killing his most reveredguru, who was on the other side; his verydear friends, close relatives, and manyinnocent warriors; or running away fromthe battlefield to be peaceful and nonvio-lent. The entire eighteen chapters of theGita are the talk between confused Ar- juna and his best friend, mentor andcousin, Lord Krishna --- an incarnationof God --- on the battlefield of Kuruk-shetra near New Delhi, India, about5,100 years ago. This conversation wasreported to the blind king, Dhritarashtra,by his charioteer, Sanjay. It is recordedin the great epic, Mahabharata.All lives, human or nonhuman,are sacred, and nonviolence or Ahimsaisone of the most basic principles of Hin-duism. So when Lord Krishna advisesArjuna to get up and fight, this may con-
 
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fuse you about the principle of Ahimsaif you don’t keep in mind the backgroundof the war of Mahabharata.This spiritual talk between theSupreme Lord, Krishna, and His devo-tee-friend, Arjuna, occurs not in a tem-ple, a lonely forest, or on a mountain top,but on a battlefield on the eve of a war.
Jai: This is an interesting story,Grandma. Can you tell me more?
 Grandma:If you come to where I sitevery evening, Jai, I will tell you thewhole story, one chapter each day. Justmake sure your homework is done andyou have time to listen. If you agree,let’s start tomorrow.
Jai: Thank you, Grandma. I’ll bethere to hear more.
CHAPTER 1ARJUNA’S CONFUSION
Jai: I would like to know first howLord Krishna and Arjuna happenedto talk on the battlefield, Grandma.
Grandma:It came about in this way,Jai. The war of Mahabharata was aboutto begin after peace talks by LordKrishna and others failed to avoid thewar. When the soldiers were gathered onthe battlefield, Arjuna asked LordKrishna to drive his chariot between thetwo armies so that he could see thosewho were ready to fight. Seeing all hisrelatives, friends, and soldiers on the bat-tlefield and fearing their destruction, hebecame compassionate.
Jai: What does compassionate mean,Grandma?
Grandma:Compassion does not meanpity, Jai. That would be looking down onothers as poor, pitiful creatures. Arjunawas feeling their pain and their unluckysituation as his own. Arjuna was a greatwarrior, who had fought many wars andwas well prepared for the war, but sud-denly his compassion made him notwant to fight. He spoke of the evils of war and sat down on the seat of his char-iot, his mind full of sorrow. He saw nouse in fighting. He did not know what todo.
Jai: I don’t blame him. I wouldn’twant to fight either. Why do peoplefight, Grandma? Why are there wars?
Grandma:Jai, there are not only warsbetween nations, but quarrels betweentwo people, quarrels between brothersand sisters, between husband and wife,between friends and neighbors. Themain reason is that people are not able tolet go of their selfish motives and de-sires. Most wars are fought for posses-sion and power. But all problems couldbe solved peacefully if people could seeboth sides of the problem and work outan agreement. War should be the last re-sort. Our holy books say: One should notcommit violence towards anyone. Un- justified killing is punishable in all cir-cumstances. Lord Krishna urged Arjunato fight for his rights, but not to killneedlessly. It was his duty as a warrior tofight a declared war and establish peaceand law and order on earth.
 
The Bhagavad-Gita
 for 
Children 3
We humans also have wars goinginside all of us. Our negative and posi-tive forces are always fighting. Thenegative forces within us are representedby the Kauravas and the positive forcesby the Pandavas.The Gita does not havestories in it to illustrate the teachings, soI will add some stories from othersources to help you.Here is a story about negative andpositive thoughts fighting each other thatLord Krishna Himself told to Arjuna inMahabharata.1. Mr. TruthfulThere once lived a great hermit,who was famous for telling the truth. Hehad taken a vow not to lie and was popu-larly known as “Mr. Truthful.” No mat-ter what he said, everyone believed himbecause he had earned a great reputationin the community where he lived and didhis spiritual practices.One evening, a robber was chas-ing a merchant to rob and kill him. Themerchant was running for his life. To es-cape from the robber, the merchant rantowards the forest where the hermit livedoutside the village.The merchant felt very safe be-cause there was no way the robber couldfind out where he was hiding in the jun-gle. But the hermit had seen the directionin which the merchant went.The robber came to the hermit’scottage and paid his respects. The robberknew that the hermit would tell only thetruth and could be trusted, so he askedhim whether he had seen somebody run-ning away. The hermit knew that therobber must be looking for somebody torob and kill, so he faced a big problem.If he told the truth, the merchant wouldcertainly be killed. If he lied, he wouldincur the sin of lying and lose his reputa-tion. Any immoral act that may harmothers is called sin. Ahimsa(nonvio-lence) and truthfulness are two most im-portant teachings of all religions that wemust follow. If we have to choose be-tween these two, which one should wechoose? This is a very difficult choice.Because of his habit of telling thetruth, the hermit said: “Yes, I saw some-one going that way.” So the robber wasable to find the merchant and kill him.The hermit could have saved a life byhiding the truth, but he did not think verycarefully and made a wrong decision.Lord Krishna’s purpose in tellingArjuna this story was to teach Arjunathat sometimes we have to choose be-tween a rock and a hard place. LordKrishna told Arjuna that the hermitshared with the robber the sin of killing alife. The robber could not have found themerchant if the hermit had not told thetruth. So when two noble principles con-flict with each other, we have to knowwhich one is the higher principle.Ahimsa has the highest priority, so thehermit should have lied in this situationto save a life. One may not tell a truththat harms a person in any way. It isn’teasy to apply Dharma (or righteousness)to real life situations because what isDharma and what is Adharma (or un-righteousness) can sometimes be verydifficult to decide. In such a situation,expert advice should be sought.

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