Duties towards children in Grihastha ashram
Young children are like
sponges. They soak up Krishna consciousness and there is practically no
need to expose them to anything but Krishna consciousness.
should be protected from worldly pleasure by cultivating a joyous
Krishna conscious atmosphere in the house so that the children are
completely satisfied and their creative abilities are properly
channelised. Unfortunately, in the modern society, parents have no time
for their children. They give them comforts but not abundant affection
and concern, which are needed at all the stages in their life.
Children should be handled with affection and discipline. Canakya’s
instructions that children be given abundant affection till the age of
five, disciplined, if necessary, till they attain the age of ten and a
child be treated as a friend once he attains the age of sixteen, should be used with circumspection.
Parents should not subject their children to excessive academic
pressure. Every child has God given intelligence and ability. The
parents should constantly endeavour to create the right conditions for a
child’s physical, intellectual and spiritual progress.
should try to bring out the best in their children by developing a
relationship of love and trust, respect the feelings of the children and
at all times and make sincere efforts to inculcate good values in life.
Never humiliate a child in presence of others or make odious
comparisons. This can have adverse psychological influence on the child.
Parents should not fight or argue in the presence of the child and also
not criticise other devotees. A child has a natural instinct for
admiring his\her parents and often a child regards parents as role
models. Therefore ,one should not have arguments in the first place and most certainly not in the presence of the child.
How to sustain and safeguard Krishna Consciousness of devotee children?
One of the major concerns of devotee parents is to provide a conducive
spiritual environment to facilitate the child’s Krishna consciousness.
Every living being is a child of Krishna and has an independent free
will. One cannot force one’s child to serve Krishna. The best and the
most merciful thing one can do is to be as perfect an example as
possible in one’s own life. Then the child will take the instructions of
parents seriously. Parents must preach to their children and do
everything in their power to attract them to Krishna. The children will
take your instructions seriously to the degree that they see their
parents seriously following the principles of Krishna consciousness in
your own life.
If somehow or the other the children become
attracted to friends who are devotees, that would be a great benefit to
them. One should orient them in this direction and place them in a
proper environment by which they become pure devotees of the Lord. This
is the foremost responsibility of the parents. However, it must be
realized that as a child gets older and reaches his mid-teenage, he may
develop the ability to do what he wants independently. The child who
once accompanied his parents to the temple in a disciplined manner may
now not cooperate. If one tries to force the child to be Krishna
conscious, he may rebel against Krishna consciousness and even reject
it. It is possible that such a child may visit the temple with his
parents but will internally resent it. So the parents have to use their intelligence and assess whether by enforcing discipline the child is coming closer to Krishna or going away from Krishna.
If the child is really fixed on materialistic association, all that
the parents can do is to explain to the child what is right and what is
wrong in a loving way. The parents through their words and example, can
point out to their children what is best for them and what will be
the consequences of their going astray. Parents as a society should work
together to create an environment for Krishna consciousness in such an
attractive, exciting and dynamic manner that the children will be
attracted to it. If after this, the child does go astray, all that the
parents can do is to be a good example, give good instructions and pray
for their children. One may also consider moving the family to a more
It has been found that children raised in
Krishna consciousness, who at some stage in their life go astray to
experience first hand what is material life, come back to Krishna
consciousness and become excellent devotees appreciating that Krishna
consciousness is a matchless gift.
If the parents do not give
their child proper affection and concern, then the child will feel an
emptiness within his heart rather than fullness, even in the environment
of Krishna consciousness. Therefore, giving care, time and affection to
ones child is one of the most important aspects of raising a child in
Krishna consciousness. However, if the parents do not have time for
their own sadhana, do not have time to attend satsangs and associate
with devotees,they will not be able to inculcate a high quality Krishna
consciousness in their child despite their affection. Therefore raising
children in Krishna consciousness is a matter of an intelligent and
Srila Prabhupada in his Srimad Bhagavatam purports
[1.5.24] has stated that an irresponsible life of sense enjoyment was
unknown to the children of the followers of the varnasrama system. The
boy was even injected with spiritual acumen before being placed by the
father in the womb of the mother. Both the father and the mother
were responsible for the boy’s success in being liberated from the
material bondage.That is the process of successful family planning. It
is to beget children for complete perfection. Without being
self-controlled, without being disciplined and without being fully
obedient, no one can become successful in following the instructions of
the spiritual master, and without doing so, no one is able to go back to
In one letter [To Bhaktin Toni; Sydney 73-02-18], Srila
Prabhupada has compared the children of one of his disciples to the
Deities in the temple. Just as some devotees have to devote full-time to
taking care of the Deities in the temple, some devotees have to
dedicate much time to taking care of their small children; and they are
not ordinary children, they are devotees. Serving, guiding, and training
Krishna’s devotees will make you very dear to Lord Krishna..