Attracting Kids to Krishna
Children's Day is celebrated on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally. In India, Children's Day is celebrated on 14 November, the birthday of the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. All over the country, various cultural and social institutions conduct competitions for children. Children's Day is seen as a day for the kids to engage in fun.
On these lines in April each year, Gokulananda Mela, an annual festival of joy, is organized by Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar congregation, Goregaon (E) (under the aegis of ISKCON Juhu). Over 3000 local residents comprising of children and their parents attend this eventful evening program in Gokuldham, a locality in the western suburb. There is never a dull moment with the stage program and a plethora of games, competitions and stalls that positively engage all the visitors in joyful Krishna consciousness.
Stage programs range from sloka recitation by the local Krishna Kids Club, kirtan, transcendental games like Housie with Krishna’s names, classical dances depicting the Lord’s pastimes, contemporary dances and a show-stopping drama at the end.
Gokulananda Mela 2012 had an added attraction of a quiz program called: “Kaun Banega Krishna Ka Bhakta” on lines of the popular TV show KBC. In the chanting booth, children were introduced to mantra meditation. On-the-spot coloring competitions with hourly winners helped children rev up their creative minds.
Gokulananda Mela is preceded by Sri Jagannath Rath Yatra and various congregations get together for a Mridang harinam procession along Film City Road and Gokuldham. On both the days sumptuous Krishna prasadam is served to all.
Through these programs, the seed of devotion in Krishna consciousness is planted in the young and versatile minds of children, thus molding the future of the nation to respect and preserve its invaluable cultural and spiritual heritage.