21st October 2018 Class Summary
This week we discussed the meaning of the word ‘Grace’ that appears in the pledge, ‘We seek the Lord’s Grace…’. Grace is the blessings of the Lord and if we have to receive His Grace we must be receptive. We did an experiment on this – we had two plastic cups – one with holes and the other without holes. We poured the same amount of grace of water into both the cups. The child that had the cup without holes was full of water while the cup with holes lost all its grace. In life, God showers His Grace equally upon all. The holes are the bad qualities that we have that could make us lose this Grace. We need to get rid of these if we want to receive this Grace. We also listened to the story of Prahlaada who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu and believed that God is everywhere. He was the son of arrogant King Hiranyakashyap who through his penance had been granted a wish. Hence he could not be killed by a man or animal; by any weapon; during the day or night; neither inside nor outside the palace. He was angry with his son. He wanted Prahlaada to worship him as God, but the little boy’s faith was unwavering. Desperate, he pointed at a pillar and said to Prahlaada, ‘ Is your God in this pillar?’ When his son said, ‘Yes’, he hit the pillar with all his might. To his utter surprise, Lord Vishnu in the form of Narasimha came out and killed Hiranyakashyap. Thus he was killed by a half-man, half-animal at dusk with the claws of a lion at his doorstep. Prahlaada was on the path of virtue, courage and wisdom because he had the Lord’s Grace always.
Homework: To continue to revise the pledge.
Junior/ Senior Balavihar
This week, on the occasion of Dussehra/Vijay Dashami, we started the class by learning about the significance of the festival in both North (burning of Ravana) and South India (golu). We also learnt an action bhajan “Rama Rama bolo….”. Then, we continued learning about our superhero Hanuman. We talked about Hanuman as the all-powerful. We brainstormed why the three worlds (earth, heaven and hell/lower kingdom) tremble when Hanumanji roars. It is because there is no one as powerful as Him. Most importantly, He also uses His power righteously. As we chant Hanumanji’s name, a “protective armour” covers us and evil spirits stay away, and pains and aches of body (vyadhih like cold, cough, fever, allergy) and mind (adhih like anger, jealousy,) vanish. The more we chant Hanumanji’s name, the more protected we are, and the more good things keep happening to us. To reinforce this, we drew ghosts and targeted them in a game of darts. Whenever we hit the target, we said “Jai Hanumanji”, and kept hitting and destroying more targets (ghosts), thus becoming more fearless. The children then heard the story of how faith saved the life of a little boy, Kanu. Once the smoke alarm went in Kanu’shouse, and his father quickly took Kanu and his baby brother out of the house. Suddenly, Kanu remembered his toy car and ran back upstairs to get it. Little did Dad realise that Kanu wasn’t with him! As the fire engulfed and smoke reduced visibility, Kanu screamed for help when Dad came by the window and asked Kanu to jump down, and assured him that he would catch Kanu. Kanu couldn’t see Dad due to the smoke, but had faith that his dad would save him. So, he jumped down and Dad held him. Kanu was saved! Faith in Hanumanji is much like this – we may not be able to see Him, but He is all powerful, and nothing is impossible for Him.
We then chanted the related caupais together:
Aapana Teja Sam Hari aapai
Teeno Loka haankte kaampe.
You alone are capable of controlling Your power. All the three worlds tremble when You roar.
Bhoota pisaach nikat nahin aavai
Mahaabira jab Nama sunavai.
Evil spirits dare not go near a person on hearing the name of the great warrior Hanumanji being repeated.
Naasai Roga Harai sab peera,
Japata nirantar hanumata beera
All the ailments, diseases and affliction vanish when Your name is repeated continuously.
Homework: Practise chanting of the chalisa till caupais learnt. Share the story and the bhajan learnt. Find out the number of days between Dassehra and Diwali. Do you know the reason?
Chapter 22 of Kindle Life, The State of Divinity
This week’s chapter focused on the mind and how it relates to a river. Like the river consists of water, the mind contains thoughts. Like how the water in a river flows, so is the same with our thoughts flowing through our mind. We found that our mind never takes a break and like the water, it is constantly flowing with thoughts. Through this The Self is hidden underneath our flow of thoughts and only when our mind is calm and at peace do we get a glimpse of it. Our focus should be on controlling and regulating the flow of thoughts. Using the river analogy, wherein the banks of a river determine the flow of water, likewise our intellect being banks of a river should direct our flow of thoughts.
Activity: As there were only two people in class this week, we did a small activity where one person would close their eyes and the other would read a paragraph from this chapter and we would discuss it together. At the end of the discussion, the two people switched and the first person who had their eyes closed read the same paragraph and we had a similar discussion together on that text.
The idea of this activity was to show the JCs how our mind can get distracted when we lost our sense of sight. Although we try to focus/concentrate on a task at hand, it can sometimes be difficult when we have distractions around us. This is where discipline comes in and helps reform our intellect. The JCs that participated in this activity were very impressive as they were able to concentrate for quite a while and rarely gotdistracted.
Homework: Take 10mins every day to sit with eyes closed. This activity is for the JCs to understand how the mind works; when we try to focus on doing nothing our mind does the opposite.
Lord follows up with 36 qualities of mental and intellectual conduct in the next seven slokas as a direct means to perfection. In the second week we listened to slokas 13, 14 that enumerates 11 of those attributes
He 1)who hates no creature, 2)who is friendly, 3)compassionate to all, 4) who is free from attachment and egoism, 5) balanced in pleasure and pain, 6) forgiving, 7) ever content, 8) steady in meditation, 9)self-controlled, 10) possessed of firm conviction, 11) mind and intellect dedicated to Me
And says such a person is My devotee and is dear to Me’.
Every attribute is given in a simple format for a seeker to embrace and follow with devotion.
Sadhana: To constantly practice attributes given by the Lord.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 23 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.