Pancha Nitya Karmas is a Sanskrit term that means, “The five perpetual duties of every Hindu.” By living according to these noble religious principles, we spiritualize our religious life and come to realize our own divine nature. It is the duty of the parents and elder members of the family to inculcate in their children these simple principles that will allow them to grow up with a strong religious and spiritual base and become “BETTER HUMAN BEING”.
1. Upasana: Worship in the altar at home or in the temple
It refers to the religious education that the children receive at home, through the example of the adults, who teach them to duly carry out their rituals at the home altar on a daily basis.
2. Utsava: Holy days
Participation in the different festivals of Hinduism, as well as the participation on the holy days, is impressed upon the children, both at home and in the temple. Utsava also includes fasting on Ekadasi, as well as attending the temple during festivities.
3. Dharma: Living a virtuous life
It is impressed upon the children to live a life of high moral and ethical values; to comply with one’s duty and to maintain good behavior; to respect their elders and the sannyasis; to follow a life of respect for religious values, especially to maintain the principle of ahimsa, or not to damage or hurt any living being in thought, word or action; teaching the children and youth about Hinduism, its holy scriptures and the exemplary lives of its great saints and masters. These are instruments for the development, evolution and maturity of future generations.
4. Tirthayatra: Pilgrimage
The children are exposed to the value of making pilgrimages to holy places and temples, with the objective of receiving benedictions and inspiration from holy persons through darshan. It is important that the children acquire religious and spiritual values while making such journeys, where the central focus is not the satisfaction of the senses but God, the guru and the religion.
5. Samskara: Rites and ceremonies of passage
The children are taught to observe the different sacraments of Hinduism, which sanctify and emphasize the diverse transitions in one’s life. It is important to impress upon the children, from a young age, the meaning of the sacraments and an affection towards their tradition, culture and religion.
~ Avadhuta Sri Ramakrishnananda