Bhagavad Gita - International Gita Society
Bhagavad Gita - International Gita Society
 
Bhagavad Gita For Children


 Bhagavad Gita for Children - Chapter 12

Bhagavad Gita for Children
 
Bhagavad Gita For Children - Chapter 12

PATH OF DEVOTION

Jai: Should we worship or meditate every day, Grandma, or just on Sundays?

Grandma: Children should do some form of worship, prayer, or meditation everyday. Good habits must be formed early.

Jai: You said that God is formless but also has forms. Should I worship God as Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Durga, or should I worship a formless God?

Grandma: Arjuna asked Lord Krishna the same question in the Gita. (Gita 12.01) Krishna told Arjuna that worship of God with a form with faith is easier and better for most people, especially for beginners. But a true devotee has faith in everything: the formless God, and God with a form, such as Rama, Krishna, Hanumana, Shiva, and the Divine Mother Kali, Durga.

Jai: How should I worship, Grandma?

Go to the worship or meditation room before going to school and pray. Sit straight, close your eyes, take a few slow and deep breaths, remember your IshtaDeva and ask his or her blessing. Focusing your mind on your IshtaDeva with eyes closed is called meditation. You may also silently repeat a mantra such as ‘OM’ or ‘Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram’ a few times.

Jai: When I start to meditate, I can’t concentrate my mind, Grandma. My mind starts to go everywhere. What should I do?

Grandma: Don’t worry, this even happens to adults. Try to concentrate or focus again and again. With practice, you will be able to focus your mind well, not only on God but also on your study materials. This will help you get good grades. You can also pray to God and worship by offering fruits, flowers, etc. to your IshtaDeva with love. Also, remember the Lord of learning, such as Lord Ganesha, Hanumana, or Mother Sarasvati before starting your studies. Don’t be selfish. Work hard. Accept the results of your work without getting upset by bad results. Try to learn from your failures. Never give up and improve yourself.

Jai: Is that all I have to do, Grandma? Did Krishna say anything else?

Grandma: You should also develop good habits such as obeying your parents, helping others in need, not hurting anybody, being friendly to all, saying sorry or asking forgiveness if you hurt anyone, keeping your mind calm, being grateful to those who have helped you, and saying thank you. God loves and helps those who act in this way. Such people are called devotees or Bhakta. (Gita 12.13-19) If you don’t have any one of these good habits, try hard to develop them. (Gita 12.20)

Jai: Is it possible for a child to be a Bhakta?

Grandma: I already told you the story of Dhruva. Now I will tell you the story of another child Bhakta. His name was Prahlada.

15. The Story of Bhakta Prahlada

Hiranyakasipu was the king of demons. He performed a very difficult spiritual practice, and Lord Brahma gave him a boon that he could not be slain by man or beast. The boon made him arrogant, and he terrorized all the three worlds, saying that there were no gods other than himself and everybody must worship him.

He had a son named Prahlada, a religious child who always worshipped Lord Vishnu. This angered his father greatly; he wanted to drive the thought of Vishnu from his son’s mind, so he turned him over a strict teacher to train him to worship only Hiranyakasipu as God and not Vishnu.

Prahlada not only refused to listen to the teacher, but started teaching the other students to worship Vishnu. The teacher was very angry and reported this to the King.

The King burst into his son’s room, and shouted, “I hear you have been worshipping Vishnu!”

Trembling, Prahlada said softly, “Yes father, I have.”

“Promise me that you will not do that again!” demanded the king.

“I cannot promise,” Prahlada immediately answered.

“Then I will have you killed,” shouted the King.

“Not unless it is the wish of Lord Vishnu,” replied the child.

The King tried his best to get Prahlada to change his mind, but nothing worked.

He then ordered his guards to throw Prahlada into the ocean, hoping that would frighten Prahlada into promising not to worship Vishnu anymore. But Prahlada remained loyal to Vishnu and kept praying to Him in his heart with love and devotion. Guards tied him to a huge rock and threw him into the ocean. By God’s grace, the rock fell away and Prahlada floated safely to the surface of the water. He was surprised to see Vishnu on the shore.

Vishnu smiled at him and said, “Ask me anything you want.”

Prahlada, replied, “I don’t want kingdom, wealth, heaven, or a long life. I just want the strength to always love You and never turn my mind away from You.”

Lord Vishnu granted Prahlada’s wishes.

When Prahlada returned to his father’s palace, the King was stunned to see him alive.

“Who brought you out of the sea?” he demanded.

“Lord Vishnu,” said the child, simply.

“Do not say that name before me,” shouted his father. “Where is your Lord Vishnu? Show him to me,” he challenged.

“He is everywhere,” replied the child.

“Even in this pillar?” asked the King.

“Yes, even in this Pillar!” replied Prahlada confidently.

“Then let him appear before me in whatever form he wants,” cried Hiranyakasipu and broke the pillar with his iron club.

Out from within the pillar jumped a being called Narasimha, who was half man and half lion. Hiranyakasipu, stood helplessly before him. Frightened, he called out for help, but none came.

Narasimha picked up Hiranyakasipu and placed him on his lap, where he mauled his body and tore it apart. Thus Hiranyakasipu met his end.

God blessed Prahlada for the deep faith he placed in Him. After the death of Hiranyakasipu, demons were crushed, and the Devas took over the world once again from demons. To this day, the name of Prahlada is counted among the great devotees.

Chapter 12 summary: The path of devotional love of God is very easy to practice. This path consists of daily deity worship, offering fruits and flowers, singing hymns (Bhajans) in praise of the glory of God, and developing certain good habits.

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