One's First Learning about God

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bansy
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One's First Learning about God

Post by bansy » 23 Apr 2009

Could I ask the Indians (esp those from India) on this forum, if they were told about God from an early age, not necessarily from parents , but from their school. i.e. are you taught about God in your elementary education (6+), from your junior high school, (11+) or upper high school years (14+)? Is Religious education part of the curriculam, and from what age ? And then what "God" are you taught at school (Vishnu, Ganesh, Shankar etc) ? Does your parents get to choose the school you go to (depending on their religious preferences) or you just had to go to the school nearest to your family home and accept the religious tendencies at that school ?

The same question is to also to be asked for those from the western nations (which are predominantly Christian), were you taught about Bible from elementary, junior high school , or upper high school ? And say if you are a Muslim born in UK/US/Oz etc in a public school, do you learn about Islam at school (if so, when) and/or does the school actually teach only Christianity. Also during events such as Xmas or Easter, the school had Xmas pantomines (baby Jesus , 3 kings etc) ? Wouldm for example, a turban wearing Sikh classmate of yours who lives a few houses away from you ever get a chance to play the role of Joseph, and the black West Indian girl down the road get to play Mary ?

I am trying to keep the influence from one's family out, as compared to what the state teaches in accordance to "equal opportunities".

Where I am, we are taught "ways" and philosophy and is largely based on Buddhist, Taoist, Confucist values, and similar. So a "God" or a "son of God" (Jesus , Mohammed, Krishna, etc) does not come into play but rather the practices and ways of living, more akin to living with nature than to living with a God.

Where did you first learn about a "God" and at what age was that ?

(Please note I am not asking about the "God" you may have found now, unless the BK/PBK IS the first time you heard about "God" which thus means you were a BK/PBK from physical age 1 second. Thus this post may have a slight trend to "conversion" to BK/PBK, as you must have compared something to another, to believe in what you beleive in now. However I am more curious about how God or the concept of God is first introduced to you where you are in your surroundings . Thanks )

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by nivi » 23 Apr 2009

Dear Bansy,

There was very little taught about hinduism in my primary days(during the 80's) in India apart from the festivals, and rituals observed with family/community.. As having spent my childhood in India very little was taught about the Hindu Gods either in the school system, or at home.Things may have changed now after 20 years i am not sure- ask Arjun and others.. Well, some of it might have to do with attending a predominetly Christian schools, and having lived with my borderline athiest relatives. As i recall most parents back in the days sent their kids to Christian schools for a better quality of education.. I am not sure if that's still the trend with the new generation kids.. Most of what i know about religion came after joining the bk/pbk system and reading books..

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by bansy » 24 Apr 2009

As i recall most parents back in the days sent their kids to Christian schools for a better quality of education..
Dear niv_k,

That's an interesting insight and I hadn't really thought about it until you've mentioned it now...that in maybe the "British colonial countries" in primarily non-Christian countries such as India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc that parents may have sent their children to English-speaking schools, rather than local language schools. The systems set up in these countries (and if you want to move the time lineback for Oz, NZ, Canada, Fiji, etc I think it is the main influence from th Commonwealth Countries headed by Queen of England), the system such as education, tax, health, judiciary, and so on are fundamentally from the UK system. Even some of these countries they drive on the same side of the road as the UK. The American influence (on business and pop culture) came later but the foundation of the systems built in these countires were and still are British.

So where there is English speaking schools, means English speaking teachers thus English speaking cultures, and thus English (i.e. Christian) influences such as Xmas and Easter, that gets mixed into the local traditions. Even nowadays, European and American Universities are setting up local small campuses in countries everywhere around the world. There are tales of Dalai Lama as a child and Last Emperor of China Puyi as a child, and others, hiring a western tutor for English lessons as well as explaining to the child as to what the "outside world was". But actually who was doing the teaching or being taught, the tutor or the pupil ? A worldy education and or a spiritual education ?

Thanks for the reply nivi_k. Hope to also hear of others and share. I think the sharing aspect is important if we are to bridge cultures and remove the us-and-them mentality, to appreciate the strengths of the multicultural environment world we live in. You could even say as a real step into understanding what is really meant by the BK term "World Benefactor".

Gong back to the thread a bit, if the quality of education was poor for the local community in the "old days", and the BK would offer a seemingly better quality to these poor local schools for the poor who could not afford the expensive educations of the expatriate schools, would that not make the BK way of teaching a real reason for why they were set up and grew ? Of course "God" came into it, but then any schools would have an element of a "God" in them in colonial India, whether Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist or Christian, as it is run by individuals who may or may not have religious beliefs (more often having).

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by mbbhat » 24 Apr 2009

In our community, children even from age 2 will be introduced to God. They will be taught how to bow (or do namaskaar) to God(say some statue of Shiv, Narayan, Lakshmi, etc). They will visit temples. So this also will introduce God.

Nobody forced me to believe God in my family. Eventhough my Father believes in God, he is not much conscious about that. He hates wasting money in rituals. My mother is so humble and has not at all shown any aggressiveness on me. Till we became Bk, everyday evening we used to light Deepa= Jyoti(say a candle) and chant God's name for 3 minutes.

My mother used to narrate stories of Ramayan and Mahabharat from the age 3 every night before going to bed. By the age around 8, I was comfortable with the knowledge of Ramayan and Mahabharat.

I was strongly attracted to Vishnu and believed in 10 avtaars of Vishnu. I had considered Vishnu as the Supreme. (But I also believed in other Gods). I used to chant at least 50 shlokas of bhagavadgita every morning from Age 8 till 10.

At the age of 10 plus, I got UPANAYAN(BRAHMOPADESH= a RITUAL= A PROCES OF GIVING SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE TO A BRAAHMIN MALE CHILD].

I got some friends to play and there was no time for Bhakti. Surprisingly all the Bhakti stopped. But I had belief in Vishnu and all other Gods.

I had confusion, why trimurtis are quarrelling, why Ram's Sita was stolen/captured by Ravan. I also had confusion how can Vishnu be Supreme since it is said that when Shiva opens his third eye, the whole world burns. I was not comfortable to agree that God is omnipresent.

In the age of around 11, I got BK knowledge. My lowkik Father became instrument in this. I got faith in Baba as soon as I heard the knowledge.

At the age of around 12, my relatives requested/suggested my Father to send me to Veda Pathashala(A spiritual school where Vedic knowldege and the methods of doing/performing poojas are taught). I did not accept the offer since I was a Bk and was confident that they are of no use. [But now, sometimes I think if I had been there, I would have that knowledge too which would have been of some use in service. Anyhow, it is drama].

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by bansy » 24 Apr 2009

In the age of around 11, I got BK knowledge. My lowkik Father became instrument in this. I got faith in Baba as soon as I heard The Knowledge.
Well I am happy for you mbbhat.

I sometimes find I am happy when someone else is happy and is at balance. Regardless of whether on he or she is BK or PBK or other. Religious or not.

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by arjun » 24 Apr 2009

sister bansy wrote:Could I ask the Indians (esp those from India) on this forum, if they were told about God from an early age, not necessarily from parents, but from their school. i.e. are you taught about God in your elementary education (6+), from your junior high school, (11+) or upper high school years (14+)? Is Religious education part of the curriculam, and from what age? And then what "God" are you taught at school (Vishnu, Ganesh, Shankar etc) ? Does your parents get to choose the school you go to (depending on their religious preferences) or you just had to go to the school nearest to your family home and accept the religious tendencies at that school ?
Since India is officially/constitutionally a secular country, the beliefs about God of one religion are not thrust upon the followers of other religion. The same principle is followed in school education right from the primary level. I speak basically from the point of view of Government-run schools (be it the Central schools or the State Govt. Schools). The children studying in these schools are given information about all the religions. I studied Ramayana and Mahabharata in Hindi as part of my school syllabus in Standard 6 and 7 respectively. But that was more than 20 years ago. I don't know if the same books are being followed now or not. Besides one can find many religious/mythological stories from different religions as part of English and Hindi language textbooks.

But there are also educational institutions run by religious minority groups, like the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Arya Samajis, etc. In these schools the students are also taught about the concerned religion (mostly at the school level and not at the College level because at the College level the subjects are chosen by the students).

It is generally the parents who choose the school that their children would go to depending upon the economic status and their nature of employment (Government or private sector).

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by nivi » 24 Apr 2009

It's interesting to see how other parts of India plays a role in all this.. While i was at Texas A& M most indians at my college came from southern part of India, and so i had a first hand experience to get to know them..From what i observed i think the south is deeply rooted in Hindu religion/tradition/mythology despite having the most Christian schools, and colleges. Even when they go overseas they carry their traditions, and customs with them as you can observe most of temples here are run by south indians or gujrati's ...But, i do know that the academic world in India is still very much run by the Christian system.

I just want to clarify what i meant by "borderline atheist" in my post above..I by no means want to label my relatives atheist from a worldly perspective..They are actually very good, descent human beings with great moral, and ethical values. My understanding is that deity/idol worship is such an intergal part of being a Hindu that if taken away you loose a great part of your religion despite having all the dharna's, vedic knowledge etc. After all these years it's still the Hindus who have carried the tradition of deity worship, while the rest of them worship god as light..

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by mbbhat » 25 Apr 2009

bansy wrote:I sometimes find I am happy when someone else is happy and is at balance. Regardless of whether on he or she is BK or PBK or other. Religious or not.
This is what one should have.

BK philosophy says- ek ka part na miley doosrey se= Role of each soul is unique. So it is the responsibility of BKs to accept every soul however it may be. BKs should feel happiness in happiness of others and should be able to maintain saakshi stage when other person cries(or having ego) and not able to follow the right path.

Thanks to you once again Dear soul.

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by spiritual spy » 06 May 2009

Hi bansy

Do Indians receive/introduced to 'god' through education (school )

NO. The education system is secular still.

But some institutions run by 'Christian missionaries' do link education with religion but not directly through the extra curricular activities. Ans of coarse all madrasa run by Muslims have direct religious links.

Normally Hindus get introduced to 'god' through family and society.

PT

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by bansy » 06 May 2009

Thanks for the replies.

As an addition to this thread, what kind of songs do children sing in India at school ? Are the songs often in some way related to folktales and character in religious scriptures ?

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Re: One's First Learning about God

Post by arjun » 07 May 2009

Sister bansy,
Normally every new day of a school in India begins with a meeting of all the students and teachers. In all the Government run schools this meeting begins with a prayer which is generally in Hindi or any regional language and is generally secular in nature (without the specific mention of the God of any particular religion). They also sing the national song and/or the national anthem. In the schools run by the Central Government the students are taught a song each from all the languages listed in the eighth schedule of the Constitution of India.
I haven't studied in a school run by the religious minorities. So, I don't know what kind of prayers they sing. But I guess, they teach songs/prayers related to the respective religion.
Regards,
OGS,
Arjun

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