How can parents instill spirituality in their children?
It is the duty of parents to inform and educate their children about our culture from a tender age. For example, as children, we were regularly told stories from the Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagavata. We took in these stories and their morals and ethics. The glory of God, how He saved and elevated His devotees, the way devotees sought Him–these were etched in our minds. It made us resolve to live the same way, carrying these values, as our ancestors had done before us. Thus, whenever any Western hero is highlighted, we were certain that nobody could be greater than our own Rama. And not just at home. These stories were taught to us in our textbooks when I was in school–Ramayana, etc., as well as stories of the great pilgrim centers of our land. I don’t think there are any lessons in our textbooks today that highlight and showcase our culture. This is a very serious setback. If an environment to understand our culture is created at home and school, then elevating our children and making them worthwhile citizens is possible. But the situation is now the diametric opposite. Children do not learn our culture at home or school, and are being instead exposed to alien and contrary cultures through TV and cinema. Under these adverse influences, they are becoming rebellious and treating their parents with disregard.
What is your advice for Hindu parents in other countries?
Haven’t these parents come from here, India? Whether they are in America or in London, our culture does not change–praying to God, keeping a tulsi plant in front of the house, touching the feet of parents–these are simple things. The parents have grown up in Hindu culture and should carry it and inculcate it in their children wherever they are.