Vedic Stories for Children Volume 2, a CD produced by the world-renowned Bhaktivedanta Players, was launched during the Diwali and Annakut festivals at Bhaktivedanta Manor in England.
Over the two days the Bhaktivedanta Players peformed interactive skits, and The Kids’ Sankirtan Party, a group created by the Go Matsya book distribution team, performed a Ramayana drama. Meanwhile copies of the new CD were offered for purchase.
Volume 1 of the series was released on Gaura Purnima last year and contained four stories: The Deliverance of Jagai and Madhai; Lifting Govardhan Hill; Bhakta Prahlad (The story of Nrsimhadeva); and Hanuman Eats the Sun.
After it became a big success, Volume 2 has now been released and includes: The Ramayana; Sudama The Brahmin; Jaya Srila Prabhupada (the life of Srila Prabhupada); and Dhruva Maharaja.
The CDs are recorded at Atasi, a studio owned by devotee Kisore Murti Das. With scripts written by Bhaktivedanta Players’ head producer and director Jaya Krsna Das, the stories feature voice acting by a whole host of regulars from the company. These include Radha Mohan, Rishi, Ekachakra, Varshabhanavi, Jagaddatri, Sutapa, Rupa Manohar, Radha Vinoda, Gaurangi Madhva, Rishap, and Aniruddha.
Background music and sound effects add atmosphere to the audio dramas. “For example when Krishna’s lifting Govardhana Hill, you hear a rumbling sound; when Indra’s pouring down rain, you hear thunderclaps; and when Sudama Brahmin and Krishna are lost in the forest, there are animal sounds and howling winds in the background,” says Jaya Krsna.
The CDs have been a big hit with parents and children alike. Parents play them while driving their kids to school, as a bedtime story, or the day before a festival to remind their children of the relevant pastime and put them in the appropriate mood. On festival days at Bhaktivedanta Manor, the stories are played over a matching slideshow as an alternative morning class for parents and kids.
“One parent told me, ‘The child won’t go to sleep unless one of the stories is playing in the background,’ Jaya Krsna says. “Another said it used to be chaos while they drove their kids to school, but now with the CD there’s pin-drop silence. One mother said, ‘They’ll listen to it fifteen times and won’t ever get bored of it.’”
Next, Jaya Krsna is working on Volume 3, expected to be released on Janmastami 2019.
“It will have the stories behind four major festivals – Janmastami, the appearance of Krishna; Gaura Purnima, the appearance of Lord Chaitanya; Rathayatra, the appearance of Lord Jagannath; and Rama Navami, the appearance of Lord Rama,” he says. “So the children will get to know the pastimes of these divine personalities leading up to their appearance days.”
Jaya Krsna, who was brought up in a pious Gujarati family from Kenya, moved to the UK in 1969 and was in his first ISKCON drama in 1976 at the age of thirteen, was inspired to make his CD series by the generation of actors that came before him.
“When I was a kid in the ‘70s, just 8 or 9 years old, I used to listen to the original production called “The Golden Avatar” by Los Angeles devotees,” he remembers. “Their stories of Lord Nrsimhadeva, Shiva and Daksha, and Sudama Brahmin thrilled me. They left such a deep impression on my consciousness, that I wanted to make a similar offering for a new generation of children.”
Note: To purchase copies of the Vedic Stories for Children series, text Jaya Krishna das on: +44 7808 166 779 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.