Youth Chants the Gita for Annual Competition
The 2006 Gita Chanting Competition was held at the Hindu Temple of Atlanta on April 8th. The event was organized by the Hindu Temple of Atlanta and Chinmaya Mission of Middle Georgia with the intention of getting young children acquainted with Shrimad Bhagavad Gita. Over the years this event has grown in popularity especially among the younger children as the Gita can be chanted and hence intriguing for youth.
This year's event witnessed participation from thirty seven kids ranging from Pre-Kindergarten level to 8th grade. The participants were divided into five groups based on grade level. Judging was based on four criteria – pronunciation, memory, presentation and overall performance. Six judges, Mr. Chittaranjan Jyotishi, Dr. Uma Majmudar, Dr. P. V. Rao, Dr. S. Mitra, Ms. Nalini Gandhi and Shri Yogeshananda, were carefully chosen for their expertise on the Gita. Most of the judges have helped with this event in prior years.
The event began with the chanting of the Gita Dhyana Sloka by the children. This was followed by a prayer to the guru – Pujya Swami Chinmayananada. The competition was conducted at two parallel locations.
It was indeed amazing to listen to the kids chanting verses from the Eighteenth Chapter (Moksha Sanyasa Yoga) of the Gita. They were required to chant five to ten verses selected randomly from a set of ten to forty verses that they were expected to commit to memory. The flawless rendering of the verses in Sanskrit by almost all the kids was proof of the effort and interest of the parents. Most of the kids were in the Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd grade level with the youngest one just three and a half years old! The training for the competition started in early January. A learning cassette was provided along with the rules for the competition. Classes were held for 30 minute to one hour duration every Sunday at the Hindu Temple for about ten to twelve weeks.
The event was conducted with the help of the volunteer efforts of the parents of the children from Chinmaya Mission Balavihar. The Balavihar is a global organization that has been teaching Hindu culture to young children for more than 50 years through very structured courses. The event ended with prize distribution by the Hindu Temple Puja Committee Chairman who thanked the parents of the participants for volunteering their time and for helping the children learn the Gita.
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