30 June 2012

Stories for children in Hinduism

Nowadays good news items are rarely found in our media. Many news worthy good things happen everywhere but the publicity given to them is far less than to those involving crime, violence etc.

Yesterday, my morning coffee seemed to blend with a news item about a retired school principal's attempt to revive a nice tradition that is almost completely lost today: Grandma' stories.

When telling stories from scriptures, we should be careful  about the source from which we take them. Primary sources are always authentic whereas secondary ones may sometimes carry misinterpreted concepts as in the following two examples. 

I have come across many Hindu religious discourses, books and other media in which Lord Krishna's Dances with Gopikas are mentioned as if there was some romantic string attached to them.  This interpretation is baseless and hence wrong. According to Shreemad Bhagavatham, when these Dances were performed, Lord Krishna was a small boy and Gopikas were as old as His foster mother. 

When Ajaamila's story is explained in some media, it is as if Ajaamilaa's sins were dissolved and he obtained Moksha as soon as he called his son, whose name was `Naarayanaa'. This depiction is also baseless. It gives a wrong signal that whoever committs sin can get himself or herself freed from its consequencies by simply uttering God's name (Such a wrong interpretation goes against the principle of Karma). Those who have read the original version of The Bhaagavatham would know that when Ajaamilaa was about to die, he repented for his sins whole heartedly, surrendered to Lord Naaraayana completely by calling His name (not his son's name), vowed never to commit any sin again and vowed to tread on the Dhaarmic path. This made Shree Hari bless Ajaamilaa with Moksha. It is said that he lived happily for  several years after his surrender to  Shree Hari and then reached Heaven.

I wish that any Hindu material for children tells them stories based on original sources so that concepts are not exaggerated or misinterpreted. 

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.