A few days ago on my Instagram stories, I talked about my struggle to stay connected to my religion, my desire to improve this disconnect (especially as I become a parent) and most importantly my search for the right resources to guide me. Hinduism is what my family practices and believes in, but I feel I’ve known it more as a culture and really failed to understand it as a religion. I found that many other Indian Americans felt the same way I did and wanted to know about books, movies or any other resources that would not only be educational and inspirational but also be enjoyable and understandable!
Of course as I prepare to bring a child into this world, all of this takes on a whole new meaning! It’s more important to me now than ever to lay a foundation for my family that will provide them with an understanding of their culture and religion- and learn along with them.
Below I’ve compiled a list of resources for you! I hope you find these useful and if you have questions please ask! If you also have additional recommendations please comment on this post so others can see and I will update it accordingly !
- Ramayana on Netflix – This is easily accesible since its on Netflix and I’ve been told my family members its great to watch when you’re pregnant 🙂
- Mahabharat on Hot Star – People loved this version and called it “the best cinematic interpretation of Mahabharat” You can also watch other versions of this on Youtube!
- Devlok on Netflix– not necessarily “religious” but this show explores Indian folklore and is hosted by Devdutt Pattanaik, who has authored many modern renditions of religious books and has a PhD in Indian Mythology.
Books for Adults
- The following books by author Devdutt Pattanaik were highly recommended: Jaya (Mahabarata , Sita (Ramayana) , and Gita. Jaya is also available on Audible .
- Another author who came highly recommended is Eknath Easwaran. He has authored The Bhagavad Gita & The Upanishads. Readers loved how well translated both of these books were!
- The Ramayana Series by Ashok Banker. Readers enjoyed this series because of its “Harry Potter/ Game of Thrones” kind of feel.
Books & Resources for Kids
- Ramayana: Divine Loophole by Sanjay Patel. A reader bought this book for her young boys and found that she too became hooked after reading just a few pages! You can read a preview on Amazon!
- Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth -by Sanjay Patel. I’ve personally gifted this to so many families!
- Super Satya Saves the Day– by Rakhee Mirchandani. A fun story that allows little girls to see themselves as superheroes! The story is inspired by the author’s daughter, Satya!
- Desi Babies – A website that offers story books, coloring books and more for your little ones. Use code “thechutneylife” for 10% off of your order.
- Kitaab World – Story books not only about Hinduism but many South Asian religions & cultures! Also some amazing & FREE lesson plans to use with older kids. Use code “CHUTNEY15” for 15% off your order.
- Modi Toys – This mantra singing plush Ganesha practically breaks the internet whenever they’re able to keep it in stock! Kids love taking this everywhere they go and many end up learning the mantra all on their own! Use code “Chutneylife10” for 10% off the medium size Ganesh- valid for 48 hours only.
- Jai Jai Hooray – Check out their beautifully illustrated Goddess Tower blocks and flash cards that make learning fun for kids! Use code “PALAK” for 15% off sitewide.
- Sanksar Teaching – This amazing site offers a WIDE variety of options for parents to choose from. You can sign up for virtual classes according to age group for gujurati language and writing skills, purchase the Gujurati memory games/flash cards or just follow along on the blog! The Gujurati tongue twisters are my FAVORITE!! Use code “chutney15” for 15% off sitewide.
Finding Local Resources
Many temples ofter classes for children, chances to partake in religious events for adults, or they can point you in the right direction to help you find resources. It’s as simple as picking up the phone and calling them or just showing up 🙂