Reading and reciting the Bhagavad Gita, a spiritual text, is a routine activity for many devout Hindus. Some read it a chapter at a time, while some recite a hymn or two a day and an exceptional few actually teach it to their kids one shloka (hymn) at a time.
That is exactly what Melbourne’s Vasanth Kuhaluri did recently – he encouraged his young daughters Jasmita and Vedankita to recite all twenty of the shlokas in Chapter 12.
“You could call it a lockdown activity,” Vasanth told Indian Link. “It was a great way to keep them occupied after they finished their remote learning.”
Yet, their perfect enunciation in Sanskrit, as much as their eagerness to learn the shlokas, left him impressed. And no doubt, quite proud.
“We learnt one shloka a day,” 12-year-old Jasmita told Indian Link. “Dad taught us – he knows them all very well.”
“Hopefully it will be a great introduction to the Gita for them like it was for me as a child,“ Vasanth said. “I must admit I had to go back and refresh myself with the Bhakti Yoga in Chapter 12 but the essence of it has always stayed with me. It guides me in my everyday life, and the girls know it too now. Of course, they don’t get the taatparya (significance) of it just yet. “
“I like reciting the shlokas,” Jasmita, revealed. “We now say them daily. I would like to recite them in front of many people one day.”
Her 6-year-old sister Vedankita is a Year 1 student. She chimed in saying, “It was not hard to learn because Dad taught us.”
She also admitted that the language was very different from her native Telugu.
Both girls are fluent Telugu speakers, and Vedankita, in particular, loves the Japanese lessons at school. Clearly, they have a knack for languages.
‘Seeing their ease with the shlokas, I’m considering taking them through another chapter or two of the Bhagavad Gita,” Vasanth divulged.
Additionally, his daughters enjoy storytime with their dad during which he introduced the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata to them. The girls also watch Telugu TV.
“At home, we celebrate all festivals, and also do puja, although our emphasis is more on social service rather than religious rituals,” Vasanth revealed.
Community service has dominated much of Vasanth’s 21 years here in Australia. As Asia-Pacific Director at Oracle, he is a software professional by day. Vasanth is also currently Vice President of the Federation of Telugu Associations in Australia and was President of the Western Australia Telugu Association in Perth when he lived there.
Watch the young girls recite the shlokas here.
Reciting the Bhagavad Gita‘s chapter 12 is a great introduction to Hinduism’s main text. The moral education it offers is one that easily resonates with developing minds. Here are some of its shlokas that are particularly noteworthy
Those devotees are very dear to Me who are free from malice toward all living beings, who are friendly, and compassionate. They are free from attachment to possessions and egotism, equipoised in happiness and distress, and ever-forgiving. They are ever-contented, steadily united with Me in devotion, self-controlled, firm in conviction, and dedicated to Me in mind and intellect.
Those who are not a source of annoyance to anyone and who in turn are not agitated by anyone, who are equal in pleasure and pain, and free from fear and anxiety, such devotees of Mine are very dear to Me.
Those who are indifferent to worldly gain, externally and internally pure, skilful, without cares, untroubled, and free from selfishness in all undertakings, such devotees of Mine are very dear to Me.
Those who neither rejoice in mundane pleasures nor despair in worldly sorrows, who neither lament for any loss nor hanker for any gain, who renounce both good and evil deeds, such persons who are full of devotion are very dear to Me.
Those, who are alike to friend and foe, equipoised in honour and dishonour, cold and heat, joy and sorrow, and are free from all unfavourable association; those who take praise and reproach alike, who are given to silent contemplation, content with what comes their way, without attachment to the place of residence, whose intellect is firmly fixed in Me, and who is full of devotion to Me, such persons are very dear to Me.
Translations obtained here.