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Introduction

       “Introduction to Bhagavad Gita” is a session that deals with the history of the Pandavas. It is not meant to be a study ofthe Mahabharat. That could be studied for an entire year or more. This booklet is limited to the important events which led up to the battle ofKurlLkshetra.

       We speak often in our classes ofKrishna and the Bhagavad Gita and the Battle ofKurukshetra. But for the new student, or student llnfamiliar with the history ofthe Pandavas, these topics don’t have much significance ifthey fail to understand the reasons behind the Bhagavad Gita being spoken (on a battlefield, yet!). This session will provide the background needed for children to go on to explore the teachulgs ofBhagavad Gita.

       You may have a classroonl filled with childrel1 who know these events well. Or you may have a class who has never heard ofthe Pandavas. You will likely have some of each. The way you teach your class should be determined from what the children already know. Students familiar with Mahabharat can absorb many more details and adventures. Young children and children new to the subject should learn the basics well. Don’t complicate things by introducing too many characters and their relatiol1s to other characters. Limit the events to the ones that directly led to the war.

      Teachers are requested to read corresponding sections ofthe Mahabharat for reference. The student booklets contain only the bare facts and you can certainly juice up the story by relating emotions, dialogue al1d thoughts that you’ll learn from the lengthier version. I have used the edition by Kamala Subramaniam. Hrdayananda Goswami’s translation is not available at this writing, but that would be the preferred reference. You will find some appropriate excerpts from Hrdayananda Goswami’s translation in Back to Godhead beginning in the September/October 1993 issue.

      This session is really one big, long story. That can get quite boring for the children ifit is just read to them. In the teacher’s gtlide you’ll fil1d different interactive ways to tell each week’s story. The story itself is included in the guide to make it easier for teachers.

       It is recommended that you tell the story in class the suggested way (unless you have a more £lIn idea) and then assign the same chapter to be read at home during the week. Students can read it by themselves or have it read to them. They should also answer the questions at the end of each chapter they read. This will serve as a good review and enable the children to remember the events more clearly. You may want to offer some sort of incentive (perhaps a sticker on the inside cover oftheir booklets) for those conlpleting the reading and written homework.

      Some of the stories use flannelboard figures. You can make an inexpensive “flannelboard” by covering a bulletin board with felt. On the back ofthe flannelboard figures, glue a small square ofVelcro (hook part). The Velcro will stick to the felt. An alternative to this is to use blue tack and simply stick the figures on the wall.

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