While educating children, we should not instruct them in a manner which they find difficult to follow. In the early years, children should not be taught anything that is difficult to comprehend, but should be educated through practical activities and play.
If ordinary things of this world are difficult to understand, then how much more difficult it must be to fathom God. It is here that the role of our preceptors assumes significance. They show us the path to reach God, and they do so in a way which we can relate to.
Manickavasagar, for example, conveys the greatness of Lord Siva through his Ammanai verses. These verses were sung by him in Thiruvannamalai. Ilango Adigal too used the Ammanai technique in Silappadikaram. Usually, in Ammanai, three women sing songs. The first woman asks a question. The second raises a further doubt relating to this question. The third answers the question, and clears the doubt. But in Manickavasagar’s verses, there is no question-answer method to convey the message.
These verses of Manickavasagar are simply praises of Lord Siva, but they convey in very simple words, the Lord’s greatness. The Lord is so simple that we do not have to resort to any special mode of worshipping Him, said K. Sambandan, in a discourse. He answers our prayers for help when we call out to Him. Sekkizhar in his Peria Puranam says that Karaikkal Ammaiyar sang Siva’s praise even while she was playing.
So how do we lead people to God? All we have to do is to facilitate worship. Gentle guidance will do. We must teach children to worship God, and for this, all we have to do is to create an environment conducive to prayer. Their natural instincts will then take over and lead them in the right path.
We all know the story of a crow which put pebbles in a jug of water to make the water level rise. If there had been no pebbles around, the crow would have found it difficult to drink water out of the jug. It was its instinct that guided it. Likewise, all we have to do is to provide a good environment for a child to develop its faith in God.