4th Annual Gita Camp Held at Houston Hare Krishna Temple


By Vrajesvari Devi Dasi

HOUSTON: In this day and age, our lives are busy, and we are all running around with the urgency to fulfill various needs. If we have any more time left in between, we are bombarded with electronic stimulation in different ways. The sad part of this life style is that our children follow what they see around, and become attached to those habits. Our children need to be engaged in our ever blissful spiritual culture and values. The only way, they can experience this bliss, is by engaging in pure spiritual connection with the process of Bhakti Yoga.  Engaging their intelligence, mind, and senses in the devotional service to the Lord.

This was the essence of the just concluded successful Children’s 4th Annual Gita Camp, held at Houston Hare Krishna Temple from July 7 – 13. There were over 60 enthusiastic children ages from 4 to 14 years old from all across the greater Houston area in attendance. The camp combined activities with traditional Vedic learning and included a field trip and a grand presentation during the regular Sunday feast celebration to put the values they learned into practice. There were over a dozen adult volunteers on hand to help with the various activities, lessons and cooking. The camp was conducted on the temple grounds new gorgeous temple building that opened this past May as well as its fellowship hall.


Each day the children led a morning Guru Puja Arati as well as Noon Arati Kirtan accompanied by Mridanga (Drum) and Kartals (Cymbals). There were daily Japa Meditation on beads. Part of the Vedic learning is to learn slokas and devotional songs. Great emphasis was placed on the students truly grasping the meaning of the slokas and application of this timeless knowledge from Bhagavad-Gita in their daily lives. The week’s teaching centered on Chapter 9 of the Bhagavad Gita – The Most Confidential Knowledge. The children learned on how to engage their minds always thinking of Krishna and become His devotees and how to worship Him, as Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna in conclusion that “Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me”.

Sumptuous vegetarian lunches were served along with healthy snacks. In the afternoon, children had art class, yoga class, spiritual story reading, and also music lessons on mridanga and harmonium. On Saturday, there was an ecstatic Harinam Sankirtan (congregational chanting along with musical instruments) parade by the children at the SugarLand Town Square. They made quite an impression on the onlookers with their colorful camp T-shirts and overflowing enthusiasm to sing and distribute books and flyers to the public. This year it was nice to see so many of the children who attended the previous Gita camps brought their friends and neighbors to share the fun and learning experience they had during previous years. Seva Priya Devi Dasi and Ananda Lila Devi Dasi working along with Hare Krishna Dham Sunday School teachers and parents organized the camp, led the classes and kept the children focused with their good humor and energy.

As a befitting grand finale of the weeklong camp, all the children led the arati kirtan for the main Sunday worship at the temple and made an inspiring presentation of the topics they learned for the divine pleasure of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha Nila Madhava and the whole congregation.  They were also presented with recognition awards and gifts and were very happy to take home the art master pieces they created during the camp. The students enjoyed the Gita Camp and are looking forward to starting Sunday School as well as the new private day school – Goswami Academy with their close camp friends in early September.