VFA's Choice of Books and Media

for Children and Young Adults


            With our search for ways to preserve and pass along Vedic culture to future generations, we have researched a variety of books. Herein is a list that exemplifies some of the best books and media to educate and engage children in understanding the principles, philosophy and stories of many aspects of the Vedic spiritual lifestyle and tradition. These books accurately represent the various aspects of Vedic culture. We hope you will find this list helpful in picking out books that would be most beneficial for your children and passing along the importance and uniqueness of the Vedic culture to them.

            If you find any additional books or media that are particularly helpful, be sure to send in your own review of it to us at the Vedic Friends Association.





Vedic Heritage Teaching program 

From Arshavidya Guru Kulam founded by Swami Dayanada Saraswati.

By Sunita Ramaswamy, Sundar Ramaswamy

            This extensive home study course takes children from a few years of age to late teens.  It provides a powerful and in-depth presentation of Vedic culture.  Most importantly it provides a series of age appropriate workbooks as well so children learn both moralistic as well as Vedic principles, and stories from the Vedic legends. Available from http://www.arshavidya.org/


The Cosmic Calculator (A Vedic Mathematics Course for Schools) by Kenneth Williams and Mark Gaskell, Published by Motilal Banarsidas. 1st Indian edition 2002, ISBN 81-208-1871-7 (set)



Books for Younger Children


Stories from Panchatantra, by Shivkumar 

Published by Children's Book Trust.  1979

This is a classic text. For an untold number of years, children have enjoyed storyies from the Panchatantra. 


Finders Keepers, by Robert Arnett, Illustrated by Smita Turakhia.

Published by Atman Press, Available at www.india-unveiled.com

This book is an excellent and true story of one's man journey to India and the honesty and honor he encountered. 


India Unveiled, by Rober Arnett

Published by Atman Press, Available at www.india-unveiled.com

This is largely pictures from India by the author.  It is an excellent book to look at with children and to discuss some of the areas that are included in the pictures. Many children love to look at pictures, this provides quality time for parents and children to explore India. 


Let Us Know India, (12 volume set) by Swarn Khandpur.

This is a comprehensive series that focuses on all aspects of India and Indian life.

Published by India Book House, 249, Dr. D.N. Road, Bombay 400 001, India. 1976


Rupa the Elephant, By Mickey Patel.

An excellent book for very young children that focuses on a very friendly elephant. 

Published by National Book Trust, A-5 Green Park, New Delhi 110 016, India. 1974.


ABC Coloring Book, by Tilak-devi dasi

This is a good coloring book for children. Published by Bala Books, 125520 Kirkham Court, Suite 7, Poway, California 92064, USA. 1982.


Cradle Tales of Hinduism, by Sister Nivedita. 

This book features India's classic stories presented in a suitable format for children.  Featured stories such as "The Story of Shiva, the Great God," "The Cycle of the Ramayana," "The Cycle of Krishna". Published by Advaita Ashrama, available from Auromere, 1291 Weber Street, Pomona, California 91768, USA. 1907. Also available through Ramakrishna organizations.


Don't Think of a Monkey and Other Stories My Guru Told Me, by Swami Prakashananda.

This features a collection of traditional and more modern stories that were told by Swami Muktananda.  Published by Swami Saraswati Productions, 43463 Columbia Avenue, Fremont, California 94538, USA.


A Child and a Tree, by Forrest Crokery and Marti Mueller.

This book examines world issues through the eyes of a small boy. Dealing with subjects such as deforestation, its causes and possible solutions. Published by Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research Aspiration, Auroville, Tamil Nadu 605 104, India. 1989.


Mystic Mouse On-Line Coloring Book.

This wonderful coloring book can be purchased and is available as an on-line PDF file to download.  The book is 136 pages in length.  This is an excellent coloring book for children. Available at: http://www.himalayanacademy.com/resources/children/mystic_mouse/index.html


A Gift of Love: The Story of Sudama the Brahmin, by Dasa, Yogesvara and Jyotirmayi-devi dasi.

This book is the story of Krishna's friend Sudama. Published by Bala Books, 125520 Kirkham Court, Suite 7, Poway, California, 92064, USA. 1982.


A Bowl of Water, by Pratibha Nath.

This is a nice book for children of a young age that teaches kindness to animals.

Published by  Children's Book Trust, Nehru House, 4, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi, India.


Gita for Children, by Swami Chinmayananda.

This book is about 145 pages and is simplified for children. Publisher Chinmaya Mission.


Bhagavadgita for the Young, (English, with Sanskrit text) by  Kambhampati S. Sastry

Publisher: Yugadi Publishers, Hyderabad, ISBN 81-87745-12-6

The author has compiled this selection of thirty-six verses (out of the total seven hundred) keeping in mind the young of the world. At this stage of their lives, the young may be even skeptical about the existence of God. Nevertheless, they do look for guidance on how to conduct themselves, what actions to perform, how and when.


The Fish Who Wouldn't Stop Growing And Other Wisdom Stories From Ancient India -- 12 Stories of Wit, Wisdom and Wonder, by Andy Fraenkel (Illustrated by Visnupriya Fraenkel).  For 8 years old and up, especially meant help connect young readers to the Vedic stories and increase their vocabulary


Books for Blind Children

These can be found at http://www.shivabraille.org/.

They offer a variety of books on Shiva.  Most books are from the teachings of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. They also offer some study courses and other services. 




Weavers Wisdom (Tiruvalluvar), Satguru Shivaya Subramuniyaswami

This book offers the opportunity for parents and their children to explore various character-building teachings.  Each night a kural can be shared at bedtime.  When children are older they can memorize a kural daily or weekly. Teenagers and adults can greatly benefit from this south Indian classic.


Daily Prayers, by M. G. Prasad

This book offers several Sanskrit prayers that can be read, chanted and memorized.  This book is best starting at age 10 or 11 and is excellent for 14 or 15 year olds.  Published by Taranga Inc.




A wide selection of comic books are available from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.  Featuring titles such as:

1. Mahabharata

2.  Mahabharata for Children Vol. I, Raghaveshananda, Swami

3. Mahabharata for Children Vol. II, Raghaveshananda, Swami

4. Mahabharata for Children Vol. III, Raghaveshananda, Swami

5. Mahabharata for Children Vol. IV, Raghaveshananda, Swami

6. Mahabharata for Children Vol. V, Raghaveshananda, Swami

7. Panchtantra

8. Rama (Comic), Pai, Anant (Editor)

9. Ramayana

10. Shiv Mahima

11. Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta

12. Sons of Rama, The (Comic), Pai, Anant (Editor)

13. Ten Masters

14. Vishnu Mahima

These are available from the Arsha Vidya online bookstore at:








Epic Characters of Mahabharata,

Booklets on Bhishma, Kunti, Draupadi, and Vidura, for ages 8+, $4.95 each.


The Prince and the Polestar, the story of Dhruva Maharaja. Hardbound, full color, 32 pages, 9"x11 1/2 " $14.95


100 Stories From Panchatantra, great moral lessons from India's oldest fables,

Softbound, 237 pages, 71/4" x 91/4", $5.95


Churning the Milk Ocean, traditional tale from the Puranas,

Hardbound, 40 pages, 91/4"x111/4", $16.95


Agha, The Terrible Demon, story of Krishna defeating the serpent demon,

Softbound, 32 pages, 103/4" x 81/4", $5.95


Hanuman, based on the Ramayana

Hardbound, 40 pages, 9 3/4" x 11 3/4", $17.95





Rama, 32 pages, 93/4" x 131/2", $3.95

Gopal, 32 pages, 11"x14", $4.95

Nimai, 32 pages, 11"x14", $4.95

Dasa Avatar, 12 pages, 8"x11", $1.95

Gods & Goddess, 12 pages, 91/2" x 131/2", $3.95

Ten Incarnations, 12 pages, 11"x14", $3.95

Ramayana, 16 pages, 93/4"x131/2", $2.95

Ayodhya, 16 pages, 91/2"x131/2", $3.95

Krishna Pastimes, Part 1 & Part 2, 81/2" x 11", $3.95 each. 




These are some of the classics put to film, great for the whole family. These are in Hindi (except where indicated otherwise) with English subtitles. DVDs are $14.95, VHS is $10.95, unless indicated otherwise.


Sita's Wedding, award winning film based on the Ramayana, 99 minutes.


Gopal Krishna, based on Lord Krishna's childhood pastimes in Vrindavana, color, 85 minutes.


Mahabharata, classic on the events leading up to the great battle at Kuruksetra, color, 150 minutes


Hari Darshan, story of Prabhlada and how he was rescued by Lord Narasimha.


Nimai of Nadia, story of Lord Chaitanya's life up to His taking sannyasa, in Bengali with English subtitles, B&W, 80 minutes.


Krishna Cinema DVD Collection, contains all the above movies plus more, 24 altogether, for $99.


The Story of Dhruva Maharaja, how Dhruva gained the audience of the Supreme Lord, B&W, 90 minutes.


Lord Ganesh and the Shyamantaka Jewel, story of Ganesh and his connection to the sacred jewel, B&W, 140 minutes.


Lava & Kusa, story of the sons of Rama and Sita, in Telugu with English subtitles, color, 150 minutes.


Other movies include those of Meera, Madhavacarya, Ramanujacarya, etc.


Puppet Shows, for children, stories of Ajamila, Bali Maharaja, Jada Bharata, King Citraketu, and more. DVD-$19.95.





Adventures of Krishna & Balarama: Animated Story Book, for ages 4+, $9.95


Krishna, The Butter Thief: An Animated Melody,

has matching games, puzzles, coloring pictures, quizzes, Ages 5+, $12.95


Messages From Mahabharata: Essences of the Epics

Contains 3 animated stories, Ages 6+, $10.95   





Mahabharata of Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, an easy to read rendition of the classic by Purnaprajna Dasa, Softbound, 759 pages, 71/2"x 91/2", $17.95.


Ramayana, another easy to read version of this India classic by Krishna Dharma, Hardbound 432 pages, 61/4"x 91/4", $27.95.


Shrimad-Bhagavatam Retold, all 12 cantos of this major text condensed into one easy-to-read book by Purnaprajna Dasa, Softbound, 603 pages, 71/4"x 91/2", $16.95.



From the Very Beginning, a guide for parents to help their children spend their early years in spiritual activities, by Nataka-chandrika Dasi. Softbound, 160 pages, 6"x9", $11.95.





The Elephant Prince: The Story of Ganesh, by Amy Novesky

Illustrated story of Ganesh for ages 4-8, Hardbound, 32 pages, 8½”x 11”, $16.95.


The Essential Gita: 64 Key Verses from the Bhagavad-Gita

Uses some of the most educational and instructive verses to explain its essential message of spirituality. Hardbound, 3¼”x 4½”, 96 pages, 13 illustrations, $9.95.


Illuminations From the Bhagavad-Gita, by Chris Murray and Kim Waters

Beautifully illustrated. Uses essential verses to bring to life its essential teachings. Hardbound, 10”x14”, $19.95

Also miniature size, hardbound, 3¾”x 5”, 80 pages, $12.95.


The Gopal Children’s Stories Trilogy:

Gopal the Infallible

Miraculous Gopal

The Gift of Gopal

Each is 4-color illustrated, relates the playful stories and adventures of Gopal, Krishna. Hardbound, 8”x 11 ¼”, $9.95 each.


The Butter Thief, by Kim Waters and Chris Murray

Beautifully illustrated story of Lord Krishna in His Vrindavan pastimes, especially for children. Hardbound, 8½”x 11”, $9.25.


Enchanted Tales: An A B C Fantasy, by Kim Waters

This alphabet primer uses angels, elves, bees, bulls, tigers, birds and other animals woven into tales around each letter. Uses 29 illustrations and subtle Eastern spirituality. Hardbound, 8”x9”, $15.95.





Our Most Dear Friend, An Illustrated Bhagavad-Gita for Children, by Visakha

This presents the essence of the Bhagavad-gita through simple yet captivating paintings, text, and photographic montages so children of every race, nationality and religion will deepen their understanding of themselves, God and His creation. An inspiring book for ages 4 and up.

Paperback, 8½”x 11”, 32 pages, 32 color plates, $8.95, Hardbound $14.95.


Dear Teenager, If You Only Knew, by Peter Burwash

In a straightforward yet sympathetic style, Peter hones in on their major problems and concerns and offers knowledge from his own life experiences to help teens through difficult transitions, so they can grow up healthy and whole physically, mentally and spiritually. Helpful for parents as well.

Hardbound, 5”x7”, 128 pages, $12.95.


Vaishnava Saints, by Ananta Shakti das & Vishakha devi dasi

Younger readers will enjoy the summary studies of great devotees.

Softbound, 8½” x 11”, 144 pages, illustrated, $11.95.



OTHER BOOKS ON VEDIC CULTURE AND HINDUISM IN GENERAL FOR YOUNG ADULTS (This list can be combined with our other book recommendations by our VFA authors.)


Garland, An Anthology on Vedic Hinduism, by M.G. Prasad.

This book is a jewel that explains various aspects of Hinduism.  It is an excellent read for teens.  Published by ARSI.


On Hinduism, by Ram Swarup

This book features powerful arguments on important challenges and issues of Hinduism.  Recommended for adults and late teens. Published by Voice of India. ISBN 81-85990-62-X


Lights on the Veda,  by T.V Kapali Sastry 

This book is a summary of a much larger work.  It covers numerous Vedic principles and is an excellent introduction to Vedic teachings.  Recommended for late teens and adult. Published by Sri Aurobindo's organization.


The Mahabharata, by Lakshmi Lal

Orient Longman Limited. Reprinted 1991. ISBN 0 86131 805 6


The Ramayana, by Shanta Rameshwar Rao

Orient Longman Limited.  Reprinted 1991. ISBN 0 89131 607 x


Daughters of the Goddess, the Women Saints of India. By Linda Johnsen.  

This has been a very popular book since its publication in 1994.  It focuses on women saints, featuring short biographies on such notables as Ammachi, Anandamayi Ma, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, and others.  An excellent read for girls and an important read for boys. Published by Yes International Publishers, 1317 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota 55105, USA. 1994.





The American Sanskrit Institute. Directed by noted Sanskrit scholar Vyas Houston.

They offer several home study courses.  Featuring an excellent and easy way to learn basic Sanskrit including grammar.  Available from http://www.americansanskrit.com/


Introduction to Sanskrit, by Yogi Harinam Baba Prem

This program is good for beginners that only wish to properly read and pronounce Sanskrit.  It is a good starter for teen-agers and adults.  But does include grammar or noun case endings.



First Lessons in Sanskrit Grammar and Reading, by Judith M. Tyberg

Published by East-West Cultural Center. This book provides a basic foundation into Sanskrit.  It is written for western students though, and does not offer the depth of eastern study and understanding pertaining to terms.  But this is a common problem with most western Sanskrit books. 


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