(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23 July 2013, Durban, South Africa, First grain ceremony)
Growing up in a family of devotees, it is mentioned in the scriptures, is someone who is finishing something from a previous life; one resumes devotional service! The early impressions in life are the most powerful. Whatever the impressions are of a child for the first three years, they influence their whole life. This is actually the most important time. The child gets a lot of love, support and Krsna consciousness because that is Krsna consciousness. It is based on loving Krsna and Krsna loves all living beings. Krsna consciousness will only conquer the heart of a child if it is given with love; one cannot give it with discipline. We, ourselves, must be very Krsna conscious otherwise how can we really give Krsna with love. Arguments don’t convince so deeply. Love for Krsna is what convinces us the most so our children make us Krsna conscious!
In this way, everyone blesses everyone else and this is a wonderful aspect to all of this. The ritual in a sense is secondary. The essential thing of a gathering like this is the blessings of all the devotees. We come together; we take the opportunity of the first grains (ceremony) to get some blessings.
Culture is very nice because all these things are part of the rites of passage which give meaning at different junctions in life; just as when one first goes to school or gets married and so on… all these things are to be observed with a nice ceremony so that it makes a deep impression. She (the child) may not remember but we all do. When she reached to the Bhagavatam, then everyone smiled…
It says that to bring up a child, it doesn’t just take the parents, it takes a village. So this is our village here – the community of devotees.