Inaugural Balgokulam a success
TIM BLIGHT reports.
The inaugural Melbourne Balgokulam was held at Glen Waverley Primary School in Melbourne’s southeast on November 28, with children and adults of all ages attending. Children were treated to an afternoon of fun, games and laughter as they learnt about the Hindu spiritual and cultural values of equality, vitality and humanity.
Balgokulam is an informal meeting of children, their parents, teachers and community to gain spiritual knowledge, develop cultural awareness and promote Hindu culture in society. Children shrieked with joy as they played traditional Indian games such as Brahma Vishnu Mahesh and Ganesh Choo, as well as some other schoolyard favourites like ‘Duck Duck Goose’ and Tunnel Ball. Mrs Neeru Thakur, one of the organizers, said the event was important as it reinforces India’s culture in children growing up in Australia. “There’s no problem – they can have the best of both worlds,” she said.
The event was organized by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh Melbourne, a cultural mission aimed at preserving the spiritual and moral tradition of Bharatvarsh. As part of the teachings of Hinduism, Balgokulam teaches children to serve mankind with a sense of humanity as moral global citizens. Gokulam is the place where a young Shri Krishna blossomed into a divine incarnation. The organisers of Balgokulam believe that like Shri Krishna, every child has a spark of divinity inside which must be nurtured.
Visiting from Delhi, Mr Jagdish Kakkar said that central to the idea of Bharatvarsh was the concept that all humans are equal, regardless of religion, race or gender. “If a Christian, for example, is serving his fellow humans, then he is following what we believe,” said Mr Kakkar, whose grandchildren Shievansh, 5, and Shievangi, 6 were present at the event. “We want to imbibe this in the children from a very early age, so they can grow as balanced and moral citizens.”
After over an hour of activities, a short lesson was held, explaining to the children and their parents the significance of the particular games. The children sang as their enthusiastic teacher Priyanka led the chorus. Fittingly, the theme of the first Balgokulam in Melbourne was Ganesha, the Lord of Prosperity. Ganesha is often invoked before beginning a major project, and is perhaps the best known of all Hindu deities with his elephant head and human body. Halfway through the afternoon a snack was served for the children, and after the function tea, snacks and prasad were served to all. While Balgokulam is an educational event, it is also an excellent opportunity for Indian Australians in Melbourne to meet and socialise with other adults and children, and make new friends.
The afternoon was also attended by aacharya (priest) Pratap Trivedi who was visiting from India and who gave his blessings to the function. Melbourne Balgokulam will be held regularly on the last Sunday of every month, beginning from January 30. Parents are welcome to stay and even join in if they wish; certainly, many young and older children were present at the first event. All are welcome to attend – enquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org