It is this attitude of awareness of the divine presence that should be protected for the next generation. In order to sustain it as an unbroken attitude, the nAmasankIrtana, the reciting of God’s names, is prescribed. And this, namely, the practice of nAmasankIrtana, is the minimum activity that should be transmitted to the next generation and therefore should be protected and preserved for them, and for their sake, for the present generation. One should not have to resort to long recitations without understanding the meaning. Instead, parents and elders should only expect that the children imbibe something that would be meaningful to them, something to which they could relate and which would be of help to their moral and spiritual boosting when the time comes in their life to look for such solace. If today they are told that the various stotras of Hinduism (either in Sanskrit or in the regional languages of India) would bring them intelligence and good ranking in their studies and other activities, and bla-bla-bla, this does not cut ice with them because the outside world is not in the habit of attaching any values to such things. Any way the children think this is only a ‘commercial’ prayer.
It is suggested therefore that only the essential minimum be attempted. No attempt should be made to teach them things which are just mumbo-jumbo to them (and perhaps to the teacher also). It may be hoped that the children do understand however that there is a God above, and we should pray to Him with a sense of thanksgiving and remembrance. This prayer should be taught to them in such a way that they can match the meaning without much effort and time. Here comes the aptness of two lines from the taittirIya-upanishad:
taM nama ityupAsIta,
namyante asmai kAmAH.
This means: If you worship Him with the word ‘namaH’ then you will have ‘desires’ fall at your feet. There is a slight play on the word ‘namaH’ in the text here. The word ‘namaH’ is a very important word, pregnant with meaning, in Hinduism. A whole chapter in the vedas is devoted to the repeated use of it with God’s names. This chapter called Sata-rudrIya is considered to be supreme for recitation and repetition in all private and public worship, rituals and the word ‘namaH’ is a very important word, pregnant with meaning, in Hinduism. A whole chapter in the vedas is devoted to the repeated use of it with God’s names. This chapter called Sata-rudrIya is considered to be supreme for recitation and repetition in all private and public worship, rituals and ceremonies. The word ‘namaH’ says not only that you prostrate (before the Lord), but it also says that the prostration indicates ‘na mama’ or ‘not mine’, meaning, ‘Everything is Yours, O Lord’. Desire is the greatest internal enemy of Man and he will never have salvation, according to Hinduism, until he is rid of all his desires. The upanishad says that God is to be worshipped with the word namaH on your lips and in your heart (lips, because of the attitude of prostration, and heart, because of the attitude of surrender of all proprietorship) and this would make all your desires to be at your feet, instead of you falling a prey to your desires. The western tradition of giving thanks to the Lord is built into and enlarged in Hinduism by the namaskAra way of paying obeisance to the Lord.
Since we want Hindu children of the next generation to have to do only the minimum possible
but at the same time get the maximum benefit when it is time for them to reach out for the divine,
the following specific suggestion is made.
Copyright © V. Krishnamurthy