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Kids Not Krishna Conscious?

Friday, 03 May 2019 / Published in Articles / 8,641 views

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

If a devotee child grows up to be a non-devotee, is this evidence that the parents mood at the time of conception was anything but Krishna conscious? Are the parents to be blamed, or are there other factors that determine this outcome?

Is it possible that in spite of the parents best interest and loving Krishna conscious attention given to their children, that such children can turn their backs altogether, to pursue life, as they desire most? Would there have to be a major problem for this to occur, or is “desire” the one insurmountable force that eludes all but themselves?

It might sound extreme to say that such grown-up kids can relinquish Krishna consciousness altogether. Can it really happen? As we, all get older and mature as adults, and look back at the folly of our rebellion from parental conditioning – depending on how helpful it was – we often revert to the assurances of our earlier years. “Mum and Dad knew best,” I suppose.

This seems to be a likely outcome in many cases. It can appear somewhat strange for younger devotees to see how active senior devotees, being good examples for the rest, but whose grown-up children prefer more worldly pursuits. These observances might also strengthen the case for being a staunch brahmacari or sannyasa. Would anyone go so far as to judge whether conception times for the parents were properly focused or not?

How many of us were born into mleccha families, but somehow came to Krishna consciousness, and had parents who planned Immaculate Conception of the non-virginal kind for us? By some great fortune, could they have heard a couple of hidden bed bugs screeching, “Om Narayanaya Namah” when uniting for us? Anything can happen. In the unlikely event that our own non-Krishna conscious parents somehow had Krishna in mind as we took shelter of a womb, indicates that other causes are at play.

The same applies for devotee parents too. Sometimes the example of Hiranyakasipu is given as “proof” that being Krishna conscious at conception time produces an immaculate child such as Sri Prahlada. The demon heard two birds – Narada Muni and Parvata Muni in disguise – chanting “Om Narayanaya Namah,” while performing austerities. The intrusion of the name of his absolute nemesis so disturbed him that he left and went home for a while. Being negatively Krishna conscious, thanks to those two sages, he and his wife had a unique conception. This incident is recorded in the Nrsmha Purana.

We know Srila Prabhupada repeatedly said that being Krishna conscious at conception time would produce like-minded children. Is it the only criterion for ensuring this? Isn’t there a continuation of “previous impressions,” or the principle of, “Bhakti begets Bhakti” to consider as well? Those from mleccha backgrounds certainly came to be devotees based on these two causes. Could we say that it would definitely be advantageous if parents were deliberately attuned, when planning for a child?

With these other causes for different degrees of devotional commitment, it would be unfair and inaccurate to presume that parents were unmindful of Krishna alone. Then there is the exposure of the children to the daily lifestyle of the parents and other devotees. The common notion of, “Once a devotee, always a devotee” must sway in their favour. Whether they be educated in civil or devotee schools can further determine their future desires.

While experiencing all of these events, what really counts for our youngsters is the loving and understanding attention of the parents. This can help counter all negative exposures they face. The extent the parents expose their children, to help lend balance in their lives, can be done either fanatically or loosely. To help prepare children for the “real” world, they need to know about cinemas, sports activities and the usual vices. Over-protection, and keeping young ones isolated, can cause more harm.

If at some stage, after reaching the late teens or so, it appears that some of our youngsters are turning their backs for certain, then there must have been something serious to cause this. Largely most devotee young adults will simply mirror what the adults are already doing; that is living a life as undercover devotees in civil society. This could be mistaken for turning away.

In cases where youngsters really do turn their backs, then the parents should still know the cause. Could it be that they want to experience life of the sort they were never exposed to before? Perhaps they are not truly relinquishing everything, but are registering an indirect protest of some sort – get “burnt” by the glare of material energy, then come back to what their parents desired for them. Ultimately, no child can give up the strong bonds of genuine Krishna conscious parental concern.

If the parental relationship is not so strong however, and is tinged with artificial applications of renunciation, or purposeful detachment, this is the easiest unspoken break in the bond that a youngster can detect. It may be very well to say, “You go your way, and we’ll go ours,” but there is nothing wrong with being attached to Krishna conscious family members. It is required for balanced human sanity, let alone devotional family life.

These sorts of misunderstood impositions that break family bonds will not help us as a society of devotees, considering how other major religions are spreading rapidly through human reproduction. One can retain the understanding of detachment while administering love and affection for our children. This detachment should reflect our selflessness. Surely, no child will turn their backs on selfless parents, even if apparently they go astray.

The identification of such parents with the process of Krishna consciousness is certain to help us into the future. We may not have the rapid numbers of devotees at present. Better to have the quality of bonds that can encourage any youngster to share their good fortune of being born to devotee parents. Aside from all other association, their tender formative years are guided by emotion, and the parents are all our kids have.

In the case of Prahlada, he was an exception to the norms of parenting. He still loved his demoniac Dad, and he possessed an uncommon understanding of detachment and renunciation. For us parents to mimic his ways incorrectly, which may cause our youngsters to rebel politely or otherwise, is an injustice, and an impediment to encouraging their “previous impressions” to blossom.

Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa – GRS

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6 Responses to “Kids Not Krishna Conscious?”

  1. DamanaKrishna9 says :

    I think that the awareness of how to follow the prescribed garbhodhana samskara could be for sure improved as to time you come to devotee communities where they are not even aware something like this exists. The children will definitely show our hidden anarthas and also lack of love as you said, we still put so much preference to external renounciation in the name of social position. To get imidge infront of brahmancaris we may not give importance to our children etc. I dont see that children have to get in contact with cinema and other material things but rather we have to give them KC alternatives which they can enjoy even better.

  2. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dear Kesava Krishna

    Thank you for raising this important issue…

    I guess children grow up, whatever be the environment and have, according to their own karma, a certain amount of things they both wish to experience and have to go through…!

    Hence, it is up to the parents to imbibe them with Krishna consciousness, be it within or without ISKCON properties… As a matter of fact, we need devotees both within our temples and farm communities, but also within society at large…

    One related issue is also in the line of education and career. Once, one has completed general education, then generally, one specializes in some field… Hence, the question may be raised about the options offered in ISKCON, both in terms of advanced education (learning a trade) and right after that, of offering one, some employment in order to sustain one’s family…

    Here, the question of establishing Varnashrama arises again. What are the options in ISKCON if one doesn’t want to act as a full-time priest (pujari) or farmer… What are the other options, on a large scale…?

    Besides becoming a teacher in a gurukula, a cook or a book distributor, what are the other options…?
    According to their guna karma, most youngsters will wish to marry and act according to their qualities and propensities…

    So, have we set up Krishna conscious businesses to employ our vaisya community (those who are attracted to trade) ? What options do we offer to those who have a predominating ksatriya nature… ? And the sudras, those who are skilled with their hands, but who may be short of some of the brahminical qualities at an early stage in their lives, what occupational activities do we offer them…?

    These topics must be seriously considered, otherwise if ISKCON’s offer is too narrow, then a large portion of our youth will turn towards society for other alternatives…

    Then, some brahminical parents may worry about their state of consciousness at the time of conception…
    Well, if the children do not turn into demons, then we can conclude that their state of consciousness at that time was “not that bad”, even if they were not (and may not be yet) pure devotees…

    At the end of the day, beyond education and environmental factors, is it not also a matter of destiny and of reciprocal karma, upon which one generally fails to have full control…?

  3. Puskaraksa das says :

    This being said, if your child wants to be a doctor, do we have medical schools within ISKCON ? Do we train certified nurses and doctors… ? and if they get trained outside of ISKCON, do we offer them enough opportunities to exercise their talent and make a living…? Besides, would we forbid them, as doctors, to cure non devotees…?

    Moreover, Srila Prabhupada did run his own independent business, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur acted as a judge and Rupa and Sanatana accepted positions as ministers, prior to meeting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu…

    So, is being a devotee within society so bad or so dangerous…?

    Besides, at times (if not often), when devotees, be they juniors or seniors, see both the living conditions and the problems arising within the community of devotees, some (if not many) may be tempted to step back and enjoy some privacy…

    So, we also have to consider the living environment and the level of peace we offer…

    But, in the end, as you rightly pointed out by stating “once a devotee, always a devotee”, devotees i.e. anyone having had the good fortune of being in contact with Krishna consciousness, will return back to it, be it to search some solace and alleviate the pain generated by the material miseries of life, to relish again the higher taste he or she had once experienced or to render some valuable service to humanity, as a Krishna conscious servant, be it within or without ISKCON property walls…

    Srila Prabhupada stressed “Think big ISKCON ! Why do you always think small ISKCON…?”
    So, shouldn’t we also envision ISKCON in every town and village, in every household…?

    Thanks to our children raised by (maybe at this stage aspiring) vaishnava parents, Krishna consciousness will also spread within society…

    Hence, it is for us to also welcome devotees who serve outside our property walls and invite them to share their experience and knowledge with resident devotees and take part in the decision making process…

    If we are open-minded and humble enough to do so, then we will see Krishna consciousness spread on a larger scale and we will more so bridge the gap with society and our progeny who have chosen to become part of society….

    Madhava seva, manava seva…

    Your servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada
    Puskaraksa das

  4. akhandhar says :

    It was nice reading the article about Kids not Krsna conscious. I have noticed that many devotees who see that their kids aren’t like them, philosophical, don’t treat them properly. These are kids aged 5,9 and 12. Is it wrong of kids of this age to play badminton, go cycling,etc. The parents compare them with kids who appear to be in the mood of Krsna consciousness and shower them with love, talk with them whereas they don’t do so for their kids. They don’t make an effort to talk with their kids and blame either parent for not doing the duty.
    Does donating money everywhere, chanting 16 rounds, talking sweetly with devotees, behaving humbly in front of others but behaving in the manner mentioned above qualify to be classified as surrendered to Krsna and valid for initiation???

    This is a serious matter where devotees are advising them to give up on jobs and responsibility towards family in the name of Krsna consciousness and going back to Godhead whereas they cling on their jobs and family responsibility.
    Please advise.Its happening everywhere.

  5. pustakrishna says :

    We know that the mercy of Krishna and Guru are always present, though not always received it full measure. Krishna is very patient, and the heart-softening process may take many lifetimes. Godhead is Light, Ignorance is nescience. The knowledge is transmitted to disciple, and the transcendental salve of mercy helps to open the eyes and heart of the aspiring bhakta. The seed of material separate enjoying tendency is deeply rooted in the false ego. The jiva soul often must feel frustration to take steps toward Krishna. Not all are seekers of the Truth, and even then, the battle is on, for sure.

    We have heard from Srila Prabhupad that a so-called transcendental bank account exists where our deposits of Krishna devotional service are recorded. They can amass from life to life. Although we shudder to think that the grand opportunity of human life might be delayed, we must revel in Krishna’s all-knowing mercy. He is our dearmost Friend. He cannot abandon us, even if we turn our attention toward His illusory energy.

    We may try to say that…if only this or that happened…then perhaps our children would be more enthusiastic for Krishna consciousness human life. Things only turn out one way, so, as stated in the Bhagavad gita, we must become free from misgivings, ie, respect the Supreme Controller, Sri Krishna. It is a matter of fact. In any case, how fortunate are the children born into aspiring Vaishnava families, and we can never say that they are unfortunate, even if they do not complete the transition into loving service to God, Krishna, in this life. It is not merely the consciousness that the parents had at conception. It is not so mechanical or random a thing. Afterall, Krishna’s mercy is quite personal.

    Pusta Krishna das

  6. Mahaksa Das (KCS) says :

    Hare Krishna,
    please accept my humble obeisances.

    Consciousness:

    It is important to understand as well that state of consciousness meas more than just one thought at one time for one purpose. The consciousness is overall integrity of our whole personality.

    Our behaviour, our tendencies, desires.. Overall surrender to Krishna. It is not like now I want child so for one day I will have perfect consciousness. Of course it is recomended to try for perfect consciousness that day. Nevertheless consciousness is something much deeper and cannot be changed like a switch. It is process. Takes time and endeavor.

    Time of birth and present time:

    Let's say one's child is 10 years old and one may think: my child is not much advanced but I am so fixed devotee, how it is possible?

    Because you had been chanting 10 years but child was playing 10 years.

    Also one must be honest with oneself and see what consciousness one had ten years ago. One can't demand child to be of one's present consciousness because one who followed sadhana has much better consciousness now than at time of procreation.

    Therefore if one child is slower in devotional service it is great opportunity to show more compasssion and more care.

    The bycicle:

    First, from comments above, I do not understand what is wrong that child rides a bycicle? Or horse, or motorbike, or car? It is very practical.

    Aspecially horse, for a ride a horse one must be very consciouss of other being feelings, one must connect with the animal. The child learns how to control one's own mind, feelings, senses and fear to encourange the horse to follow him.

    Regular horse ride is good training for those children which parrents see him as future owner of their company or to any leadership possition, even small one.

    Hare Krishna

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