Editor's introduction

Many years ago I asked Sri Chinmoy the question, "Is there a particular spiritual quality to invoke while teaching our children?" His answer was brief and is included in this book. The key word in that answer is "self-giving." Honestly speaking, at the time I wasn't sure just what that word meant. In time, however, it became for me not only a goal to work towards but more and more a way of life. Sri Chinmoy says:

A mother gives and gives to her child simply because she loves him. If she is lucky enough, when the child grows up he will give to her in return. But very often he does not return her offering. He has his own life. But as the mother gives, she is blessed by God. The light, affection and other divine qualities which she gives to her child are blessings in themselves.

Through the profound communication with God that we call meditation, we can tap the wellspring of peace, love and light that resides deep within. To bring forward these qualities is to transform our own lives and the lives of our children and to discover real fulfilment. We can then offer these qualities not only to our families and friends, but to all of humanity.

Inner and outer transformation can only take place if parents make a conscious effort to nurture themselves and their children with spiritual sustenance. Modern society has placed our children in one of the most precarious positions of any group of youngsters in history. In their everyday lives they are faced with temptations which may have never before lured such youthful targets. In a larger sense, many have a very real concern for the survival of our planet. It has never been more imperative for parents to offer their children constant love and concern which, in fact, is none other than God's Love. Further, a child can be taught to find this love himself, in his own heart. He then becomes a beautiful flower of self-giving. As Sri Chinmoy says, "If you can inspire your child with love, then he will inspire someone else with love. It is from one that we come to many."

In this book Sri Chinmoy offers practical advice on a subject that is not only an idealist's dream, but a concerned parent's lifeline: fostering your child's spiritual life, so that he grows up with love for God and a heart of self-giving to all. For thirteen years my family has lived under the loving guidance of Sri Chinmoy. I have witnessed the inner blossoming not only of our daughter but also of the children of Sri Chinmoy's other disciples, sustained by the philosophy contained in this book.

It is not necessarily easy to teach a child to meditate or to give him or her constant loving concern in the face of a parent's mundane routines. It can be a challenge to offer discipline and strength as well as love. Sri Chinmoy and his illumining philosophy have made this more possible than I could ever have imagined. The children I know who have been touched by Sri Chinmoy's wisdom have come to embody the loving hearts and peaceful lives inherent in true spirituality. In their lives the quality of self-giving is understood. For this, we, their parents, will forever remain profoundly grateful.