“Narada Muni delivered his instructions both to me, who was within the womb, and to my mother, who was engaged in rendering him service. Because he is naturally extremely kind to the fallen souls, being in a transcendental position, he gave instructions on religion and transcendental knowledge. These instructions were free from all material contamination.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.7.15)
ऋषिः कारुणिकस् तस्याः
प्रादाद् उभयम् ईश्वरः
धर्मस्य तत्त्वं ज्ञानं च
माम् अप्य् उद्दिश्य निर्मलम्
ṛṣiḥ kāruṇikas tasyāḥ
prādād ubhayam īśvaraḥ
dharmasya tattvaṁ jñānaṁ ca
mām apy uddiśya nirmalam
“I have heard this discussed by academics. It is something known to the experts. I never thought about it previously, but their observations make sense. This is in relation to childhood, and especially what a person remembers as more time passes from the phase.
“I think the context of the discussion I heard was instruction, particularly songs. The person speaking gave the example that children tend to remember the songs they memorized during childhood. It might be years after the fact, but they can still recall the words and melody. There is some scientific basis to explain the process.
“Lately, I have been having similar experiences. For all these years I have remembered the opening theme to important baseball games that aired on television. I always thought I remembered, anyway, but wasn’t entirely sure. Then I recently got confirmation after watching an old game that was uploaded to the internet.
“There is one particular video game which I have not touched in over thirty years. It was an active part of my life at one point, during childhood. I must have played it for months and months, as it was difficult to complete. I held on to the music from one of the levels in that game, as I particularly liked it.
“Hearing it recently, it is exactly as I remembered it. I am fascinated by this whole concept. Is there any applicability to spiritual life? If someone has immersion in the bhakti culture at a young age, is it possible they will hold on to some of the impressions? I would think that is a good thing.”
The ideal example in this regard is Prahlada Maharaja. He is a special case since he was not only able to hold on to an early impression, he proved to be a topmost student, understanding the concepts and principles. He turned into a preacher at a very young age, and it was a continuation of parampara.
Prahlada received the information while within the womb. This proves that there is full vibrancy during that period of time, that the sound vibrations reaching the vicinity of the mother’s stomach can penetrate inside.
As described above, the adult may not recall exactly who, what, where, and why something happened, but they hold on to general impressions. A departed relative, for instance, may have only spent time with me when I was really young. I can’t recall any specific stories involving their association, but I have held on to the impression that they were quite affectionate towards me. I miss them still, though I can’t describe exactly why.
In the same way, if a child gets a general impression of spiritual life there is every chance that they will hold on to it while advancing through the years. With maturity comes a greater awareness of the world around them. With further experience, there is more base material to compare and contrast.
For instance, the adult has a better chance of realizing the repeating days, weeks, months and years. They might get bewildered after experiencing high levels of success. Everything they originally strived for became a reality, and yet it seemed like they were in no different a situation mentally.
In times of bewilderment, when seeking for higher knowledge, for wanting something extraordinary, if I have the lasting impression from childhood of where to go, whom to approach, and who might have the answers, that is a great benefit to me.
Therefore, the best option is for parents to start from the beginning. Attempt to remain in the spiritual consciousness while awaiting the birth of the child. Lead by example, afterwards. We are individual souls, after all, so no one can guarantee a certain kind of consciousness when reaching adult life. But if there is a strong foundation in connection to God the person, in going beyond what we perceive with the senses, then the child has a leg up in their journey through birth and death.
With leg up standing,
With shastra wisdom commanding.
Early on to them came,
And through the years to remain.
Like Prahlada in the womb hearing,
Later not the atheist father fearing.
Because connection to Vishnu there,
Of eternal presence aware.