To transmit the culture of Hindu worship to the next generation †just teach them how to say:
a few names of God, with
because vaideeSvara of Vaideesvarankolil in Tamilnadu may be the deity† traditionally worshipped on all auspicious occasions in your family. Or you may say
the Lord of the
because you have never seen your father or grandfather doing religious ceremonies without invoking the Lord dattAtreya.
Thus all names which are subjectively very important to you or to your spouse, personally,† should be included. But donít overdo it, either, for, more than fifteen to twenty names will be counter-productive as far as the passing on of the religious torch is concerned. †Thus make a list of such names which is entirely your own. Donít worry about their small number. Worry only about the feeling you can generate in the name being worshipped. And most of all, when you expect the child to say these things, ensure that both the parents are also there to say the same thing.
The addition of
even if you yourself do not understand much about it.
It is nameless but still the scriptures refer to it as brahman.
Everything starts with it and everything ends with it.
At the end offer some fresh eatable to God, as a naivedya. Whatever you are going to eat may be offered, provided it is not a left-over. If there is no fresh cooked dish offer a fruit. Even a few raisins would do. And conclude everything with an Arti, with or without an arti song or prayer. In this way you would be following the hoary traditions of Hinduism but at the same time you would have cut your observances to the coat of your reduced availability of time. By giving this type of discipline instead of the conventional† rote method of recitation of some stotras, we would be achieving the following:
∑ Each child will get a customised instruction, that befits the family and the particular environment and traditions in the family.
∑ The child would understand the meaning then and there. We are only paying a homage and obeisance to the particular deity named.† The different names of god should be justified by appealing to the variety always inherent in Hinduism and the fact that the glories of God are innumerable and therefore also their names.
∑ The child has an infinite variety of possibilities of expanding this prayer routine into as long a one as anybody wants, as and when the child is ready for it. †For, they have only to resort to various ashtottaras, sahasranamas and the like, which are abundantly available in the literature (even on the internet) Ė provided there is the motivation and the willingness to spare the time and the effort.
∑ By taking
care to include
Those who worship That with the word ĎnamaHí would have their desires falling at their feet.
∑ † The child would not have to murmur all sorts of unintelligible mumbo jumbo, which in any case would all vanish into nothingness when we of the previous generation are no more on the scene.
∑ The child would have learnt the core of Hindu bhakti, which is very authentic, and this almost at no cost.
Of course, more fundamental than all the above, is the need for the present generation elders to believe in this, rather than simply make it a preacherís sermon. One should be able to teach by example rather than precept.