“That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend; therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.3)
स एवायं मया ते ऽद्य
योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः
भक्तो ऽसि मे सखा चेति
रहस्यं ह्य् एतद् उत्तमम्
sa evāyaṁ mayā te ‘dya
yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ
bhakto ‘si me sakhā ceti
rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam
“As many people are within household life at the time of their immersion into the bhakti culture, particularly the tradition descending from Lord Brahma, the creator, there is a natural question about how to best stimulate the interest within the children. Preparing the next generation, continuation, succession.
“At the highest levels, devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is spontaneous. There is a corresponding Sanskrit term: bhava. The motions are no longer mechanical. There may be a routine followed, but it is not done out of a sense of duty or obligation. Rather, as a person feels satisfied in eating a particular amount of food, in drinking a certain amount of water, so there is the preferred enjoyment emerging from the connection in consciousness to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan.
“The bhava stage is rarely attained, and so there is a need for routine, structure, restrictions, and the like. A commonly used term is ‘numerical strength.’ Like a person builds their way up to completing a marathon, through running one mile a day for a week, then increasing the number in successive weeks, ultimately culminating in the requisite ability, so a person increases their strength in spiritual life through a routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“The process is so sublime. Connecting with God the person makes people so happy. Should they only shed their inhibitions earlier, removing the barriers erected from ignorance, dogmatic insistence, or fear of a tradition foreign to them, eternal living awaits them on the other side.
“How to convey the seriousness to children? They are carefree due to the lack of experience in this world; at least from what they can remember. We want them to finish school, grow up in a normal environment, become well-adjusted, and so forth. At the same time, we hope that they make the conscious decision in favor of devotional service, since that will be the best thing for them in the long run.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that there is not necessarily a separate kind of instruction required based on the age of the recipients. The comparison is to the thunder in the sky. Both the elderly adult and young child know what it is. The sound is unique. The volume is enough to make the identification, to understand the seriousness of the situation.
In the same way, the verses of Bhagavad-gita can be understood by child and adult alike. The young person may not be as familiar with the cycle of birth and death, the melancholy caused by repeating days in adulthood, the sadness upon losing the association of close friends and family, but the basic concepts presented are universal in applicability.
The secret is to pass on the information as it is. Sometimes the chain of disciplic succession breaks. In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna explains that the knowledge at the time is lost and so He is reinstituting the succession through choosing Arjuna as the recipient for the timeless wisdom.
Arjuna is not what you would call an advanced scholar. He was neither in the brahmana occupation nor tasked with explaining high philosophical concepts to interested students. Yet he still received the information, unfiltered, directly from the Supreme Lord.
In the same way, any person can have their life turned around for the better through connection with the sounds of Bhagavad-gita and the holy names. These require no further explanation, though any person can present their genuine doubts, realizations, and inquiries to someone who is representing the disciplic succession in truth.
इति ते ज्ञानम् आख्यातं
गुह्याद् गुह्यतरं मया
यथेच्छसि तथा कुरु
iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ
guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā
yathecchasi tathā kuru
“Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.63)
The idea is not to accept blindly, in hopes for miracles to take place without any effort. Rather, the recipient of the knowledge should deliberate fully on what they have heard, following the example of Arjuna. It is never too early to learn about the original person, and it is never too late to be rescued from the dreaded fate of repeated birth and death.
More than just money to earn,
Wanting that shastra to learn.
Since already impact on me,
Wanting next generation to see.
Explained that verses universally appealing,
Difference from sound alone feeling.
Never too early to immerse,
And Kali’s influence reverse.