Decoda’s Summer Reading: Aliza & Aadhya Dhungana

This is the final post of 2022’s Decoda staff’s summer reading picks. Today Aliza Dhungana, a Decoda Program Manager, and her daughter Aadhya, talk about reading an important religious and cultural book together.

Aliza

Why do we practice certain things? What are the facts about our mythology? How does one’s religion affect their culture?

My 12-year-old daughter asked me to bring her a book called the Bhagavad Gita as I tried to answer her questions. We read many books on self-help and this time decided to read more about our culture and values. This summer, I am reading Bhagavad Gita together with my daughter, Aadhya.

The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Hindu scripture which is part of the Mahabharata. It is actually written in the form of a conversation between the Lord Krishna and the warrior-prince Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra over 5000 years ago. It is full of life lessons about the values of life, self-realization and relations. These kinds of books give children a basis for creative thinking, teach them to manage tough situations and help them learn to navigate the journey of life. So far, we are enjoying the book!

Aadhya

I was doing a school project on Ancient Egypt, and I learned pretty much everything there is to know about civilization. Days later, I started asking my mom a bunch of questions about our culture, religion and history. My mom told me the answers to all my questions were in the Gita.

We had one copy of the Gita in our house. There was just one problem, it was written in Sanskrit, and I don’t know how to read Sanskrit. Luckily, I got a gift of an English version from my cousin! My mom and I recently started reading the Bhagavad Gita together, which is so attention-grabbing. We discuss the book while we’re reading and we both keep asking questions to one another and try to relate it to what’s happening in our daily lives. It is helping me clear up some things about our rituals, events and our cultural practices. I think it’s important to know the history of our religion and mythology. So far, it is very appealing, and I want to read more!

Stay safe and read lots!

“If you don’t fight for what you want, don’t cry for what you lost.” – Bhagavad Gita

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