Friday, 24 February 2017

Krsna-krida, The Art of Engaging Children's Playful Attitude

The Art of Engaging Children's Playful Attitude

Children have a natural attraction to play. And, Krsna's playful pastimes are a natural attraction for a conditioned soul. Hence children can from very beginning of life cultivate a taste for devotional service very naturally. As children play, they can become Krsna conscious. That's the success of engaging the natural playful attitude of children.

It was Srila Prabhupada's desire and instruction to introduce Krsna-krida to our children.

"Make Vaikuntha. That is my request. Teach from the very beginning of life. Just like bala-krida, Bala-kridanakaih kridan. By playing, he's becoming Krsna conscious.Just produce a new generation, just like Pariksit Maharaja. Bala-kridanakaih, from very childhood. ..Krsna-yoga, (or) bhakti-yoga, can be practiced even by a child without interfering with his natural propensities. Without any education, without any knowledge. There is no need of high-grade knowledge or education to understand…It is already there in everyone's heart...It is not that one has to learn it artificially by some gymnastic. No, natural. Just like the children here, they are also dancing with their parents. They are offering flower, trying to imitate how to chant (maha mantra). And they are very much pleased. So similarly these things (should be) introduced, krsna-krida. So some way or other, they should be engaged in krsna-krida. It doesn't matter whether (the child) understands it or not...". (A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.14-15, Los Angeles, May 31, 1972)

The new publication, "Krsna-krida, The Art of Engaging Children's Playful Attitude" humbly attempts to fulfill this instruction and thus serve the Vaisnavas. This hardbound print brimming with around 65 illustrations is sure to enthrall the children and adults equally.
EPub edition is available too.
A part of the 64 Traditional Arts series, this publication covers various arts such as Prahelika, Pratimala, Dyuta Vishesa Krida, Akarsa Krida, Aksara Mustika Kathana and Sutra krida apart from addressing the main art in discussion, called "Bala-kridanakani, The art of engaging children in games".
Just what is this Krsna-krida?
Considering the Supreme Lord as the transcendental role model and spontaneously re-playing as if role-playing those games and activities is known as Krsna-krida
One of the 64 traditional arts (Catuh sasti kala) is known as Bala-kridanakani. This the prime subject matter of the book describing varieities of of games played by Krsna with His cowherd friends in sakhya-rasa. The book explores around 65 of such games that include free plays as well as the orgainzed games.
The process of Bhakti-yoga is joyful, more so for children. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna is known as bala-krida-samasakta, meaning that the Supreme Lord is attached to enjoying the playful pastimes with his childhood friends. In fact, in the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavana, these childhood pastimes are eternally going on. When the Supreme Lord incarnated in this material world, His childhood pastimes are considered to be the most glorious and rare.
Blessings obtained from scholars indicate the importance of providing this crucial Krsna conscious culture to the children. The book can be ordered from:

Excerpt of Reviews and Blessings obtained from scholars:

Sripad Bhakti Raghava Swami
We should all be most thankful to the author for giving us such an extensive and elaborate presentation of this dimension of children's early education. The book is very authoritative being filled with supportive statements and references. This book is a must for both parents and educators.

Sripad Lokanath Swami
The essence of the text is reminiscent of the village life where I was born. In the village of Aravade, play was free and fearless around countryside cows. As children, we frolicked on expansive hills and sprawling valleys and played hide and seek in rows of endless sugarcane plantations. The perspectives on "play" as demonstrated by Krsna and his friends and captured in Krsna-Krida provide a historical and modern understanding of how children should play to develop an intense attachment to Krsna. Bharat Chandra Dasa vividly captures the exuberance of play and the laughter of Krsna during play.
The advice that is offered is direct and echoes Srila Prabhupada's insights on how to bring up children. The research work is incisive and the work of respected Vaisnava acaryas are used to underpin suggestions made. Srila Prabhupada said that we should encourage children to play Krsna games and in this way develop a love for Krsna.
Set against the twelve forests of Vraja, the location of this book is "the perfect playground with the perfect set of players". The core point being made by Bharat Chandra Dasa is that the "impressions of devotional life in early childhood impacts one to develop a deep attachment to The Supreme Personality of Godhead."
Several dimensions of parenting styles are illustrated and the art of engaging children's playful attitude can be considered the ultimate handbook for parents in rearing their children. The display of this art by the cowherd friends of Krsna in Gokula and Vrndavana offers a range of issues that permeate the understanding of how children play.
This book is a fundamental contribution to progressive parenting ideas drawn from spiritual literature - it is a manual as to how parents can be present in the lives of their children and nurture them in Krishna consciousness through the sacred art of play.

Sripad Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Children naturally love to play, reflecting the playfulness of Kr?s?n?a in his boyhood. Although such playing can be simply a waste of time in the valuable human form of life (as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings, khela-rase saisava; see also SB 7.6.7), children who learn to play according to the directions of this book can, from the beginning of life, become attached to Krsna and thus make a good start on the great journey back to Godhead.
I congratulate Bharat Chandra Dasa for bringing out another in his series of practical varnasrama guides, and I pray that the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna bless him with long life, good health, and fixed focus so that he may produce many more such invaluable books.

Sripad Bhakti Rasamrta Swami
"Krsna-krida" is impressively & meticulously researched, provides sublime insights into how children can joyfully participate in the devotional process and it is also an enchanting read for grown-ups. This book is a useful & practical contribution to the glorious attempt to revive Krsna conscious culture in the modern world.

Sri Gadadhara Pandita Dasa (Author of several Viasnava literatures in
Russian language)
Indeed the intrinsic nature of every individual soul - we find happiness in performing casual pastimes. However while doing so as inbounded beings in the Material world we are regularly forced to become - maya-kridanaka - a puppet toy in the hands of deluding energy Maya. However if according to instructions of saints, carefully presented by the author in this compilation, along with our dear children we will learn the art of playing as team members of Sri Krsna, that will definitely invoke in our lives God's lila-sakti - His divine energy of playful spiritual existence.

Dr. Demian Martins (Author, Samskrt scholar and Research head at Baladeva
Vidyabhusana Manuscript project)
The modern way of life is quickly overshadowing ancient traditions based on Vedic wisdom, which are ultimately meant to lead everyone to God realization. 'Krsna-krida' is a brilliant and well researched presentation of an important aspect of this culture and its approach to impart Vaisnava values to children of all age groups. The author deserves kudos for being a pioneer in bringing out this topic in English for the benefit of parents, teachers and children all over the world.

Srimati Aruddha Devi Dasi (Author of "Homeschooling Krsna's Children")
Bharat Chandra Dasa's book, Krsna-krida, gives great encouragement and faith to parents and educators that just by engaging our children in playing for Krsna and hearing about Krsna, we can help them develop pure love of God. This book is based on sastric evidence and many examples from the lives of our acaryas, who exhibited symptoms of bhakti in their childhood play. We, parents and teachers, can also give our children an environment steeped in Krsna consciousness by facilitating their Krsna-centered play. This book is a definitive guide to Krsna conscious activities for children, and I encourage all to read and assimilate.

Sri Lila Govinda Dasa (B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur, Teacher at Bhaktivedanta International School, Vrindavan)
It is always important to set some written objectives as guidelines for training the children, be it inside or outside the classroom. Not setting any objectives would naturally degrade the quality of the training. S?r?la Prabhupada said, "Teach the small children to play Krsna games. By keeping them always diversified they shall not lose interest and will keep their attention always focused around Krsna." However, to bring 'diversity' and 'attention' is a challenge for a teacher or parent, especially, outside the classroom while keeping their attention always focused around Krsna. 'Krsna-krida' is an amazing compilation with detailed and constructive guiding principles in engaging the children. Proper implementation of games suggested in 'Krsna-krida' can give children, parents and teachers transcendental experiences focused around Krsna. A must resource for all the teachers, parents, educators, Sunday school gatherings, libraries and everyone who is dealing with children.


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