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I always had an attraction towards individuals who live a principled life – principles of growth and well-being. This attraction I think is because I wanted to be like them with principles. I have had this tendency of attraction since I was very young. Growing up, during my adolescent years, I did not have anybody personal I knew to whom I can look up to. I believe every young adult requires a mentor. Typically it is one’s own father or uncle or some senior family member. Unfortunately, we live in a world of economic necessities that families by and large live apart from one another. As a result, there is little to no knowledge transference from generation to the next and this negatively impacts young children since they lack mentors rooted from their culture.
In my own life, this was true as I constantly was moving from one location to the next rarely could I find a mentor who was willing to spend quality time with me. Regardless, I sought inspiration from individuals in the public domain such as gurus, teachers, politicians, sport stars, movie celebrities etc Unfortunately, that did not last long as it was not a personal relationship.
When I got introduced to the idea of Krishna Consciousness, the first thing that struck me was of course the clarity of the message of the Gita but more was the persona called Prabhupada. His character, compassion, and principles he imbued was such a powerful example I simply could not stay away from him. I felt like I found the “best” human being in the world. What more could an aspiring young individual ask for – getting guidance from the “best” person on the planet…at least this was my impression. While the philosophy was appealing at many levels, it was Srila Prabhupada’s personal character that motivated me to commit to practicing. Prabhupada has said several times that he lives in his books. For me, this cannot be any truer because I always felt his connection in a personal way through his instructions and books. This feeling of being connected to him had such profound impact that I decided to change my ways even though it was difficult.
Young children need such quality interactions with adult mentors whom they can rely and trust. They need to be taught on dealing with challenges of this world but with the principle of connecting back to their spiritual identities – as servants of God and not servants of their minds.
Bhagavad Gita is not a belief system but a quality of life based on values beyond the here and now. If we want our children to be successful materially and spiritually, we need to be there when they need our help. We need to teach by example that challenges in life are actually opportunities to become closer to Krishna – learning to convert challenges into blessings. Such optimism in the face of adversity can only raise the desire to live life to the fullest – that is – to be connected to Krishna at all times, in life and in death!
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