Remember the Sunday morning show where the deep voice of Harish Bhimani would say – Main Samay Hoon. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. Mahabharata and Ramayana are usually the first bedtime stories for every Indian child. I heard them growing up, my parents heard them growing up and I narrate these stories to my daughter too. They are such captivating stories that everyone from child to adult listens to them with rapt attention. However, no story comes without a moral. Similarly, Mahabharata and Ramayana are treasure troves of lessons for children. Let’s see these 10 valuable lessons children can learn from Mahabharata and its colourful characters.
Everyone needs a loyal friend: Duryodhana was an arrogant person, but he did right in saving Karna from humiliation. This won lifelong loyalty and friendship of Karna. It would not be wrong to say he wouldn’t have gone far without Karna’s friendship, skill and advice.
Lesson: Teach your child that intelligence and skill are admirable, but no one can reach far in life without the support of good friends.
Beware of bad company: Shakunimama though a well-wisher of the Kauravas gave them wrong advice, influenced them to be negative and in the end, led to their downfall.
Lesson: While one needs a loyal friend, no one actually needs a bad influence. So beware of bad company, it can ruin your life.
Respect your elders: The Pandavas respected their mother’s wish by accepting Draupadi as the legal wife of all 5 brothers. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Arjuna refused to fight in the Karmabhoomi against his elders. And how can we forget the ‘BheeshmaPratigya’ – the ultimate sacrifice Bheeshma made for his father by taking a lifelong vow of celibacy.
Lesson: Children must always respect their elders. However, don’t accept anything blindly. There is nothing wrong in questioning the elders if in confusion. After all, elders can commit mistakes too.
Fight for your right: The Pandavas fought for what was legally theirs. Even when their army was comparatively smaller to Kauravas, it didn’t deter their determination because they knew they were right and they were just.
Lesson: This is a very important lesson every child can learn from Mahabharata and is particularly very relevant in today’s age. Child bullying is a real and painful subject. Children should be taught to not cow down to injustice and raise their voice and fight against wrong doing.
Passion for knowledge is very important: Eklavya hid behind the trees and learnt what Dronacharya was teaching Arjuna. His passion for archery and hunger for knowledge made him a better archer than Arjuna.
Lesson: You might not get access to the best classes or tools, but if you have the passion to learn and hunger for knowledge, you can still learn and be good at it.
Half knowledge can be dangerous: Abhimanyu jumped into the battlefield with his half knowledge of how to bust a Chakravyuha, a deadly maze. Though he was brave and courageous, his lack of knowledge proved fatal for him.
Lesson: Whatever a child learns, he should learn it thoroughly, because half knowledge can lead to irreparable damages.
Every one should learn a skill: Though the Pandavas were great warriors, for their 13 years of exile, they needed to learn new and different skills. They learnt cleaning, cooking and dancing which eventually helped them survive in the last year of exile where they had to live in disguise.
Lesson: Even if a child is good in studies, he should learn a skill. Learning a skill is never wasted, you never know when it might come in handy.
Pride brings downfall: Duryodhana was proud and arrogant, he was also greedy and selfish. Look where these bad qualities led him to – to his downfall. He goes down into the history as one of the bad guys for waging war against his own brothers and for wrong doing towards his brothers’ wife.
Lesson: Greed and arrogance are not desirable qualities and never go good for anyone. Be humble like the Pandavas and the victory shall be yours.
Addictions can cost you dearly: Yudhishthira was the Son of Dharma (God of Righteousness). He was mature and righteous. However, he had a weakness of gambling and in his addiction, he gambled away his kingdom, his brothers and even his wife.
Lesson: Addictions can make you do objectionable things and can lead to your doom. Never let your weakness control your reasoning.
Think before you speak: Draupadi insulted Karna during her swayamvar. She also insulted Duryodhana when he visited their palace at Indraprastha. It is believed that her harsh words fermented revenge in Duryodhana’s heart which led to her disrobing and then to the war.
Lesson: One must think before speaking. There is always a right time and place for some words – however, for harsh words, there is neither a right time nor a place.
As I said, Mahabharata doesn’t teach only children, but adults too. This is one important lesson from Mahabharata for parents as well – Dhitrashtra who loved Duryodhana was blind to his faults. And we all know the consequence. If you know your child is wrong, don’t blindly go with him. Point it out to him, scold him if need be. I have seen many families getting shattered because they never found a fault with their children.
So, these were the 10 valuable lessons children can learn from Mahabharata. Have you come across more lessons from the war epic Mahabharata? Do share here, let all parents benefit from this epic war book.
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