Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

11-Year-Old Devotee Wins Bhagavad Gita Sanskrit Recitation Award at International Event Held in Sydney
By Thomas Haribol, ISKCON News Managing Editor   |  May 03, 2023

Dr. Meena Srinivasan, Krishna Balaram, and his mother, Abhidheya Devi Dasi at the event.

Krishna Balaram, an 11-year-old devotee living in Sydney, Australia was awarded second place for his memorized recitation of chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita in Sanskrit at the International Gita Mahotsav held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre.

The three-day event, held April 28-30th, brought together Hindus from several sampradayas to celebrate the Bhagavad Gita. It included attendees from several other countries, including the UK and Canada. The annual event not only celebrates the Gita but also spreads awareness of Haranya, India – the location of the Battle of Kurukshetra.    

In addition to musical, dramatic, and cultural presentations, there were competitions in coloring, painting, essay writing, and Bhagavad Gita recitation to cater to all ages and abilities present at the event. 

The Gita recitation contest was hosted by ISKCON Western Sydney. Many children participated and were divided into age categories. They publicly recited a part of the Gita or, in some cases, a whole chapter. For example, Krishna Balaram recited the entire twelfth chapter on bhakti-yoga in Sanskrit and garnered a second-place trophy for his efforts.  

Krishna Balaram with his award.

“I didn’t see it as a competition; I saw it as my offering to Srila Prabhupada for all he has done for us,” said Krishna Balaram, “Getting a trophy was exciting and encouraging but what motivated me was offering my recitation to Prabhupada and representing ISKCON on the international stage.” 

His teacher, Dr. Meena Srinivasan, Co-founder of the Sydney Sanskrit School said, “Krishna Balaram has been my student for three years. He came with no South Asian language experience, only English. But he was successful due to the purity of his atma and his hard work and determination in his studies.” 

Krishna Balaram’s mother, Abhidheya Devi Dasi, is a well-known advocate of children in ISKCON and the founder of Bhakti Kids Sangha which produces many fantastic learning resources and a podcast for parents and children. “Srila Prabhupada wanted all of ISKCON’s children to learn English and Sanskrit- so it should be a priority for all parents, when possible, to arrange Sanskrit learning for their children.” 

To learn more about Bhakti Kids Sangha, you can watch their podcast on YouTube, visit their Facebook page, or Instagram

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