Ideas to guide your Child follow Sanatana Dharma

  • By Dr. Subhasis Chattopadhyay
  • May 10, 2022
  • Simple ideas through which parents can, through personal example, help their children know how Sanatana Dharma can become a living Dharma.


The world has gone crazy over examination scores. Parents are hopping on to online platforms which teach kids coding even before they learn mathematics. Subjects like philosophy, history and literature are forgotten. Instead of teaching their children the three essentials needed for being human, kids are taught how to become rats in rat races.


What are these three essentials? To be happy, to have reasonably good health and to have mukti.


But what it is we actually do in India? We put our children in the best Christian schools or new age schools which money can buy to boost our own status. As it were, we take pride in being followers of the Sanatana Dharma without teaching our kids how to take forward our Dharma. This is why our kids will never learn to be united, they will not feel pride in their heritage and yet they will know rituals which without understanding become meaningless. Finally, one day when these kids are challenged about their Dharma, they will not have ready arguments to fend off criticism against their Faith.


How then do we bring up our kids? Let us discuss this step by step.


A child spends very little time in school compared to the time she spends with parents and family. It is therefore unrealistic to tell a child to do something which the guardians are not doing. The very first thing is to not hit a child or shout at a child. Your life should be such that your daughter or son should not fear you but love you. You cannot do that if you constantly scream and scare a child. Make sure that you and your spouse do not argue in front of your child. This is the most important requirement to have a safe, loving environment for your child. And, please do not force your opinions on your child. I emphasise your own life is the message. Not your lectures to your kid.


Regularly take your child to different temples and make certain you do not take your child to temples which she might not want to go again. Add a fun event after the temple visit. Do not force your child to go through rituals which you do not understand yourself. Just going regularly to temples changes the samskaras in children. It will become a habit. But again, not against your child’s wishes. 


Have story books, Kindles around your house. Make sure you read in front of your child. Not only newspapers, or ledger-book sort of magazines. But actual books ranging from science fiction to historical fiction. And always read in silence in front of your child the Prasthana Traya. Someday read the Bhagavad Gita, some other day the Upanishads and some other day, the Brahmasutras. Do not ask your child to read these books. Seeing you doing this over months and years, your child too will imitate you. The trick is to be a light unto your family; not a prudish whip dictating what others should do.


Have cell switch-off times every day. Where you switch off the cell and all electronic gadgets for an hour at least. Again, do not ask your ward to do so. If you are sincere, your child will sooner or later follow your example.


Now the tough part, stop drinking or lying, at least in front of your children. If you are an addict, you cannot lecture others to give up addictions. If you lie, your children cannot be honest. Children are very sensitive. If you watch Netflix and expect your children to hear bhajans, that is outright hypocrisy.


Start meditating and doing Hatha Yoga in front of your children. And start swadhyaya. Make time for learning Sanskrit. Slowly your lives will change and your kids will become followers of the Sanatana Dharma.


The Sanatana Dharma has to become a living Dharma for our children. 


Each of us is called to be a missionary and our missionary activity should begin with ourselves first. If you do not practise the Sanatana Dharma yourself in its various daily forms, how do you expect your children to be devout wo/men? If you are not interested in mukti and take concrete steps in the here and the now, how can coding help your child to find Brahman? Through your actions, your family should understand that you practise Sanatana Dharma yourself.


By all means, teach your child about artha without forgetting to tell her that artha also means existential meaning leading to happiness. Take your child out with you to playgrounds; give her your time. Not only your money. One day when you will be old and senile, your child, then an adult will also not desert both you and your Dharma.


The key is love towards your children and discipline in your own lives. Become a missionary as fast as you can since you have this one human life to spread our sacred Dharma. Money, status, fame and even dry intellectual knowledge will not give either you or your child mukti.


But first you have to be convinced that mukti alone matters and everything else is useless. With anger, unhappiness and controlling little children’s lives mukti is impossible. Thus, school yourself and your children also in the humanities and in philosophy. 


Last but the most important for your child: if you have a girl child then bring her up to be independent and convinced that she can be a Brahmavadini. Teach her that she is Shakti and even more precious than male heirs. Teach your male heirs to know Sri Utpaladeva so that one day they thank you for helping them to recognize themselves as Brahman.


Author Subhasis Chattopadhyay has a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Calcutta. His reviews from 2010 to 2021 in Prabuddha Bharata have been showcased by Ivy League Presses. He has qualifications in Christian Theology and Hindu Studies and currently teaches English Literature in the PG and UG Department of a College affiliated to the University of Calcutta.


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