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Vedanta for kids?

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Vedanta for kids?

Postby Mira » Mon Jun 20, 2016 7:01 am

Hi,
Hope everyone is well!

I've been having some discussions with my kid on Vedanta. It's amazing to see how receptive kids are to it and how practical it is for their lives. Actually, when you think about it, Shankaracharya and others would have started learning Vedanta as kids.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any tips on Vedanta to kids. Or if there were any books out there on the subject.
Thanks! Mira
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby Vinay » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:25 am

Hi Mira,

This is an interesting topic.

If I am not mistaken, I once heard Swami Paramarthananda say that you should never teach Vedanta to kids. I think he was specifically referring to Jnana Yoga.

Jnana Yoga is for mature minds. Even for adults this knowledge can be dangerous if the mind is not prepared.

However, having said that, I believe if a child is taught Dharma, Universal Values and Karma Yoga (in that order), the child will develop into a well-balanced adult with a beautiful mature mind.

And once, they have lived life a little, and discovered for themselves that Karma doesn't really provide lasting satisfaction, then they would be ready for Jnana Yoga.

Even according to ashrama dharma (the 4 stages of life), you study Jnana yoga during vanaprastha.

People like Ramana Maharshi, who did Self-Inquiry in their teens, are extremely rare and we cannot follow their example.

~

The best way to teach Dharma and Universal Values to kids is through Puranas. That is how it was done in India. Each Puranic story has a lesson, some Universal value to learn.

When I grew up in the 80s, I used to read a children's monthly magazine called Chandamama (Uncle moon). They used to have Puranic stories in it and I used to love reading them as a child.

You can download the old archives here:
https://archive.org/details/chandamama_magazine

I don't know how old your kid is, but one story series which was very popular in India was Vikram aur Betaal (Vikram and the Vampire).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vikram_Aur_Betaal
You will find this series in Chandamama as well.

Reading Chandamama is a good way for a child to learn Dharma and Universal Values. I think, even as an adult one can enjoy reading these stories.

Unfortunately this magazine has stopped publications. I wonder what the kids in India read today.. if they read at all :(

I hope this helps.
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby georgschiller » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:57 pm

Interesting topic, I heard James talking about it in the recent seminar.

If I got it right, you need a mature mind to implement Discrimination (as Vinay & Paramarthananda said).
However, Karma Yoga and the teachings of the Gunas are definitely understandable and helpful for children! Plus the Puranic stories can give inspiration in dispassion and mumukshutva.

I believe there is a publication by Chinmaya on Vedanta for children...
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby Mira » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:01 am

Hi Vinay and Georg,
Thanks for your replies. I really appreciate the input. I completely agree that jnana yoga is not appropriate for kids. I don't think that they have the intellectual capacity to really understand it at that age.

However, it's amazing how intuitive Karma/Dharma yoga, the gunas teachings and Bhakti yoga are for (older) kids. Karma yoga is such a great stress reducer and so great for peace of mind. I wish I had known about it during exams when I was a kid :lol:.

Kids are also able to see how the gunas totally rule their moods/actions/behavior. I actually think the guna teaching is really good to help cultivate self-esteem.

And Bhakti comes so naturally to all kids (in fact, to all humans, I think). When I saw the Dalai Lama's talk recently, he mentioned that our younger generation needs teachings on morality and faith. He made the point that in our 'scientific' society these days we seem to ignore spirituality and morality for the younger generation and this can affect their overall development.

Thanks for the link. I love the puranas! Also the suggestion to look at the Chinmaya website for publications for kids is a terrific one!
Thanks again,
Mira
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby georgschiller » Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:05 am

Yes, during the seminar one mother said to their children: "Whether we go to the beach tomorrow or not depends all on Ishwara. Whether we go or not does not depend on us. In any case, we will find a way to enjoy ourselves."

Yes, look for Geeta for Children by Chinmaya
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby Mira » Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:32 am

Thanks for this lovely anecdote, Georg. Much appreciated.
Please feel free to post any interesting comments or reflections (on any topic) from the seminar or your chats with James. Would love to hear them first hand :).
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Re: Vedanta for kids?

Postby georgschiller » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:54 pm

AMong the things I can remember:

Love till it hurts

Develop gratitude for everything, e.g. be grateful for even bad thoughts

Real misery is when you forget Ishwara.

Superimposition: limitless consciousness believes it is the individual

don't argue

insomnia: more activities during the day then can be done

causal bliss is an object to me (I am Existence-Bliss)

Love: Do you love your partner or do you love Love?

Highest Goal of being human: Worship God

You should come for Trout Lake, Mira!

Cheers, Georg
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