Parents Are Our First Gods

Parents Are Our First Gods:

By Jayaram Rajaram

Narrate the following story to your child:

Lord Shiva and his beloved wife Parvati were sitting in their celestial home Mt. Kailash with their children Ganesha (The elephant God) and Murugan (Karthikeya). Lord Shiva decided to test his children and told them that the person who goes around the universe 3 times and comes back first will be the winner of the day’s competition.

Murugan immediately whizzed away on his peackock (Murugan’s personal vahana) , while Ganesha sat happily eating laddoos and modhakas (Kozhakattais or white dumplings with sweet coconut filling). When Shiva asked Ganesha, why he hadn’t started on his meek vahana the mouse (Rat)? Ganesha slowly finished eating his favourite goodies and walked three times around Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesha going around parents

After walking around his parents, Ganesha bows down, prostrates and tells Shiva and Parvati that his parents are his universe. Shiva is mighty pleased with Ganesha’s intelligence, wit and knowledge and hugs him. Murugan comes back to find Ganesha happily sitting there. He wonders allowed how Ganesha’s mouse could have gone around the Universe faster than his peacock? Shiva explains to Murugan what Ganesha had done and declares him the winner and as an award, grants a boon to Ganesha that he will be the remover of all obstacles for anyone who prays to him. Hence people in India pray to Ganesha first for success of any task and even before any Puja.

Now tell your children that your parents are your universe and mean the world to you because without them you (the parent) will not be here. The very reason for our existence is our parents.

Ask them how would they feel if they were alone in this world without Amma (Mom) and Appa (Dad)? Tell them many children live in orphanages without their parents and that we can visit them and play with them sometime. Take your child to these orphanages once in a while to make them feel grateful for what they have.

Merely telling our kids this is not enough and as parents we must live this truth by caring for both (yours and your spouse’s) our elderly parents (if they are still around) daily. Your kids learn more by watching you rather than listening to you.

Tell them that in India there is a lofty saying: ‘Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam, indicating the importance of ones parents, teacher and God’.

Note:

While you should not ask your children to respect you, you can tell them that you set the rules and are often strict with them so they grow up to be good human beings. Parent by example and communicate regularly by referring to the Ganesha story above.

We must do our parenting duty and serve our own parents well without expecting our kids to take care of us in our old age. Parenting and life is all about giving and duty for the sake of duty. What we get is merely a byproduct of what we give and this is the Nishkama Karma philosophy in the Bhagavad Gita.

As per Indian parenting styles and even Chanakya’s advise we must love our children and spend as much time with our child from 0-5 years, be strict and teach them right from wrong between 5 years and 16 years and then be their friend after that. There is a lot of wisdom in age old Indian traditions and philosophy that we must take advantage of.

Image Credits: tonmoygoswami.com

Simple Self Awareness and Self-Discipline Techniques for Kids Using Indian Mythology and Itihasas

Simple Self Awareness and Self-Discipline Techniques for Kids Using Indian Mythology and Itihasas:

By Jayaram Rajaram

Narrate the following to your child:

Ravana was a very powerful man who prayed hard to Lord Shiva for many powers. Lord Shiva made him very powerful. When Ravana saw Sita in the forest, he liked her a lot, so he used his powers to convince his uncle Maricha to become a deer, made her chase him and then kidnapped her.

Ask your child: Is this the right thing to do?

Ravana kidnapped her and took her away to Lanka and told her to marry him. Sita refused as she loved Lord Ram very much. Lord Ram (Rama) was very sad to find Sita missing when he got back to his hut in the forest.

Rama-Laxmana-and-Ravana

Rama vowed to get Sita back safe and started his search for Sita with the help of his brother Lakshmana, Hanuman (Monkey God) and his monkey God friends. With their help Rama travelled to Lanka and killed Ravana even though Ravana had several powers.

Tell your child:

Ravana = Rakshasa, Bad, Anger, Lies, Stealing, Hurting People, Hurting Woman

Rama = God, Good, Truth, Dharma (Righteousness), Friendly, Caring, Peaceful, Healthy, Happy

Do you know God is hiding inside every human being and every creature?

If you breathe deep while closing your eyes how do you feel? (Chant Om if you wish while your child does this). Introduction to mindfulness and meditation helps children relieve anxiety, stress and brings about clarity of thought, focus and expanded awareness / Creativity )

Do you know what happens when you get angry?

Tell your child that Ravana and his ten heads start growing inside. Ask the child how he / she feels when angry and screaming / throwing a tantrum.

Tell your child that every time they do something bad Ravana grows in them and this can make them feel very bad and cause bad things to happen to their body.

Explain the concept of Karma simply : If you do good , you get good. If you do bad, you get bad.

Then when they do something wrong like get angry/ tell a lie, tell them that they need to bring out Rama who is hiding in them to kill Ravana, by saying sorry and closing their eyes and praying / meditating.

Make this a ritual and these simple techniques can help you teach your child good manners using Indian mythology / Itihasas. It also helps you teach them basic concepts of Sanatana Dharma and that God resides in all beings and everyone must be treated kindly.

Only a very small portion of Ramayana is used in this post. You are advised to narrate or read the Ramayana in its entirety to your child.

You may use any God and Demon combination and story to help your child become self-aware and self-discipline himself / herself. Eg. Vishnu in Narasimha Avatar God and Hiranyakashipu Demon

Note: Dharma (Appropriate and correct way of conduct) and Karma are Indian concepts that have ensured harmonious coexistence of diverse religions peacefully for thousands of years.

Image Credits: ritsin.com