Children and Krishna Killing Demons

Prabhu: In a family of devotees kids sometimes watch cartoons or hear audio recordings, stories about Krishna or Vedic thematics. But often this kind of material contains violence because Krishna kills demons etc...

HH BVPS Maharaja: So kids have a problem with violence?

Prabhu: Hmm?

HH BVPS Maharaja: Kids have a problem with violence?

Prabhu: Question is, yes, is it not a problem for kids' psychics to watch or listen this kind of stories? Maybe it's better to refrain from it up to a certain age and after that only allow such kind of media? Or it doesn't matter because it's Krishna?

HH BVPS Maharaja: What's connected with Krishna is good or not?

Prabhu: It's good.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Right. So therefore it doesn't matter. What is the problem with violence? Violence is the element of control. I mean, what are the main themes in the television? It's sex and violence. So violence is "I am the controller", sex is "I am the enjoyer". So the problem is that, because we see these two disconnected from Krishna. But if it's connected to Krishna then it's not sense gratification. So there is not a problem.

Prabhu: But for kids maybe it isn't connected directly to Krishna, for example...

HH BVPS Maharaja: No, no, the kids connect it with Krishna, but the parent who is saying all this nonsense doesn't connect it to Krishna. See, in logic, according to Gautama, this is called chala. Which means you are moving the definition. So you are taking the term "violence" when violence isn't the whole point, the point is Krishna's interaction, removing irreligion, establishing religion.

So they are taking violence and instead of meaning that, they are shifting it to have another modern meaning, which is that this violence is a bad thing and so therefore the kids then will learn to be violent, but who said? So they may say, "No, but statistics are showing," but statistics are not on kids watching movies about Krishna killing demons.

If you have a children's movie, what's the difference between the children's movies and the women's movies and the men's movies, or an art movie? In the kids' movies the bad guy is always killed or removed and good always prevails. Boy gets girl, good wins over evil, everything is fine.

Prabhu: [indistinct]

HH BVPS Maharaja: No, no, no. Bemby got shot, Bemby's mother got killed. See, it's just like this. Explaining subtle things of the philosophy, it's much easier to do with kids than adults. Like to say something like the fall of the jiva, you can explain it to kids thoroughly in 5 minutes. But you are talking 3 days to 2 weeks of questions by adults because they have issues.

Kids have no problem with violence, as long as at the end of it good won, bad lost. It's just one method of removing bad. So for them, Krishna is prominent. It's the adult that takes the violence separately, and violence has its own life separate from Krishna, separate from anything, and this violence itself has its own influence. But violence still, the potency comes from Krishna. Because in the same logic, as we said, sex and violence, they have no problem with the kids and Krishna and the gopis, and the Rasa dance, but that's sex! Do you understand? So therefore it is simply an individual's conditioning coming out, and that conditioning happens to be on the part of parents, not the kid. Because kids, they get together, they pick up sticks and they fight, it happens anyway.

And one thing you may have completely left out of this, do the mother and father ever fight? Does the kid ever see it or hear it? And if you are nodding your head, that will have more of a lifelong destructive effect on the kid's psyche than watching a Krishna movie where Krishna kills the bad guy and everybody is happy. If the mother and father fight and the kid sees it then it destroys in the child's mind the sense of authority, because the mother is the first guru, the father is second, if they fight, then you break the line of Parampara. I guarantee you, more kids are screwed up in this world by parents fighting than by kids watching Krishna movies where Krishna kills demons.

And if you don't teach the kid about Krishna, that's also violence. So one has to understand the full meaning of the word "violence", not just give it our own term. Because you can try talking nicely to the demons, but they are not going to respond. Krishna tried talking to Duryodhana many times, doesn't work. Therefore then if conciliation doesn't work, then there is fighting, war. So sama or danda, these are two most effective. Ok? Jaya ho!

Prabhu (2): I would like to comment. I was specifically observing my child when she was watching the first cartoon about Krishna, it was Ramayana. And when Rama was killing demon, she was scared and her face was expressing horror. I was also concerned, so I stopped the cartoon and explained who is Rama and who is the demon. So now, after 5 years, it's her favorite cartoon.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Thank you. Jaya ho! Haribol! [Applause]

(From Questions and Answers with HH Bhaktividya Purna Swami Maharaja, Summer Festival, Lithuania, 30 July 2011)

Image © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Inc.

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