Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Gita for children!

Taking a cue from my friend and fellow blogger on “intolerance and all that jazz” that she guest posted on Onestoryaday, I found a perfect book for everyone to fall back on in these chaotic times. When in doubt or confusion, it’s not uncommon for us to turn to God or religious scriptures - be it the Gita, the Bible or the Quran. As a practising Hindu brought up and now married into a traditional household, seeking solace in religious activities like Bhajan singing, or reciting religious texts have been integral part of my life.  Though Abhay is still young, we make sure he participates in some of our routine religious activities at home, in whatever way he can afford to. While I am not sure how religious or spiritual my son will be in the future, it is our duty as parents to introduce them to our roots so that they know where to find them if and when they go looking for the same!

So when I learnt about Roopa Pai’s “Gita for children”, I jumped and reserved my copy in advance. Though Bhagvad Gita is essentially known as the single most important Hindu scripture, Roopa Pai’s rendition has a universal appeal, irrespective of religion one follows. Rated as one of the top-five selling books of 2015 in the Children’s and Young adult category by Amazon, “The Gita for children” by Roopa Pai  brought out by Hachette India   promises to be a one-of- a kind retelling of the Bhagvad Gita and I must say that it sure lives up to this promise! It starts with the million dollar question like “What’s the big deal about the Bhagvad Gita?” that opens into a quiz on the Gita that might as well serve as a preface to the book. With a brief explanation of the background facts leading up to the most important conversation in Hindu mythology, like any other commentary on the Gita, this one too is divided into eighteen chapters or “yogas” in which Arjuna learns all there is to learn about the secret of good life from Krishna! Employing a rather contemporary narrative, using catchy phrases and titles, Gita for children takes the reader through each of the shlokas or verses and explains their true essence in an uncharacteristic way that the current generation is able to relate to. For instance….have you ever heard of Lord Krishna being described as a Dark Knight??!!! With each chapter featuring the progress of conversation between Arjuna and Krishna and followed by a child appropriate analysis of the life’s lessons embedded in them, the author also throws light on lesser known facts in the form of fun trivia. Not to forget, the reader is also given a glimpse into excerpts of other works from Harper Lee’s To Kill Mockingbird to Paul McCartney’s song “Ebony and Ivory” that echo the sentiments of Gita!  In all, “The Gita for children” beautifully presents the timeless epic without oversimplifying its concepts so as to serve as a wonderful guide book to children and adults alike! A must have for every library!!!

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