Schooling Krsna's Children
Is Experience the Best Teacher?
By Urmila Devi Dasi AFTER GIVING Arjuna knowledge of matter and spirit, Lord Krsna tells him, "Deliberate on this fully, and then decide what you wish to do." Our children also have to choose between material and spiritual life. To prepare them for this choice, do we need to give them experiences of both? Do our children need any experience of materialism to choose Krsna consciousness? The sages do indeed say that to be complete in knowledge one must study both spirit and matter. But our children can best gain knowledge of illusion by seeing both illusion and reality from the perspective of reality. Srila Prabhupada tells us that the most intelligent people learn simply by hearing. Hearing about Krsna gives a child a direct perception of spiritual happiness and knowledge. And as Krsna tells Arjuna, "Upon gaining this one thinks there is no greater gain." Spiritual experience, then, can give any child the intelligence to stay clear of materialism just by hearing about it. But even if a child isn't convinced by his spiritual experience, adults don't have to arrange for children to have a taste of material life. Even without intervention from parents or teachers, each child feels material life moment by moment. What child has no frustrations or disease? What child doesn't come across envy, anger, and greed, if not in himself then in others? And what child doesn't see aging and death, at least in the animals and plants that surround him? Our children will also get direct experience of bodily and mental pleasure. As distress comes, even uninvited, material happiness will also come. A caring adult will use a child's naturally occurring painful and pleasurable experiences as a connection to what the child has heard from scripture. As Dr. Howard G. Hendricks writes in The Seven Laws of the Teacher, "You don't have to get hooked on cocaine to be aware of its devastation, and even many who are hooked don't...
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