- Please revise the 1st 14 slokas of Chapter 2 of the Gita. Below are 2 links that have the verses of Chapter 2
In class children heard the story about why the Hindu festival of Holi is being celebrated.
Hiranyakashyap was a strong demon who wanted to become immortal. He decided to pray to Lord Brahma and ask for a boon that would protect him from all forms of death. He went to the mountains to begin his penance. At this time, his wife was pregnant with their child. Seizing the opportunity of his absence, Indra the king of demi-gods, invaded Hiranyakashyap’s kingdom. Narada took his wife and her unborn son Prahlad under his care. Thus, Prahlad was exposed to Vishnu bhakti (devotion to Lord Vishnu) from his child hood years.
Meanwhile, Brahma was very pleased with Hiranyakashyap’s penance and agreed to give him a boon. Hiranyakashyap asked “Lord, I want a boon that I cannot die inside the house or outside, during the day or the night. I cannot be killed by any weapon, by any human or beast, Grant me this boon.” Brahma granted him the boon.
Hiranyakashyap became very powerful and ordered everyone to pray to him instead of any other God. However, his own son Prahlad sang a different tune “Narayana, Narayana.” Nothing would make Prahlad praise his own father instead of Narayana. Hiranyakashyap was so angry at this that he ordered his guards, “Go throw this wretched child over the cliffs and let us see if his Narayana will save him.” The guards threw Prahlad over the cliffs. Nothing happened to Prahlad, he was saved by Narayana. He then asked them to put Prahlad in a room full of venomous snakes – still Prahlad continued to chant the name of Narayana and came out unharmed.
Holika, Hiranyakashyap’s sister had a shawl that could protect against fire. Seeing her brother’s distress she offered to sit with Prahlad on her lap in the fire. Prahlad happily sat on his aunt’s lap chanting “Narayana, Narayana”. It was Holika who was burnt down and killed by the fire while Prahlad did not even feel the heat. This event is celebrated with burning of old rags and wood during the festival of Holi. The next day is celebrated as the ‘Festival of colours’ with people throwing coloured water at each other.
This made Hiranyakashyap so angry that he said to Prahlad, “Where is this Narayana? I will fight him and kill him. That will make you stop chanting his name.” Prahlad replied, “Narayana is everywhere, he is in all living beings as well as non-living things.” “Is he in this pillar?” asked Hiranyakashyap. “Yes, he is,” replied Prahlad. Hiranyakashyap picked his mace and struck the pillar breaking it in two halves. Out came Vishnu in Narasimha avatar. He had the head of a lion and the body of a man. The arms were lion’s arms with sharp paws. He picked Hiranyakashyap and took him to the steps of the palace. Just as the sun set and twilight set in, he laid Hiranyakashyap on his lap and killed him using his sharp paws. Hiranyakahsyap’s boon was unable to save him. Narsimha was neither human nor animal, it was neither day nor night, Hiranyakashyap was neither on the earth nor in the sky and was killed by the lion’s paws; not any weapon.
The story of Prahlad teaches us that God prevails everywhere and will always save his devotees. Senior Balavihar children also enacted the Holi story; all children learnt a Guru Bhajan and made a Hanunman bookmark to take home.
Homework: To complete colouring; To continue revising the slokas and pledge.
This week, we combined the JC classes for an activity based lesson. The activity was called pause and play. The JCs were presented with different unresolved scenarios. The scenario was acted out up until a ‘climax’ where the scene was paused and a decision had to be made. They split into groups and acted out the end of each scenario to show what they would have done to resolve each situation. For example, the first scenario involved a friend asking you if they could look through your assignment by getting you to send it to them. The JCs acted out what they would do in this situation. It was a tough situation as the person is your friend and you want the best for them, but at the same time, plagiarism is against the school rules. The purpose of this activity was to understand that life presents many situations where there is no clear right or wrong. However, we must use our intellect in every situation and not let our mind and emotions cloud our judgment when we make decisions.
Sadhana: To practice using your intellect for decision making and think of examples – to be shared in class next week.
This week we studied verses 33, 34 of Chapter 11. In verse 33 Lord Krishna, stresses to Arjuna that he is a mere instrument in the hands of the Lord. Our ego-sense constantly tries to assert its importance and mask the real nature of all our achievements. Our contributions to our own actions are very meager and inconsequential. The commentary states that we must strive towards self-surrender and have a constant awareness of the Lord. In verse 34, Lord Krishna again reassures Arjuna that he need not have any fear and that he will conquer his enemies. Lord Krishna states that even the great warriors Drona, Bhisma, Jayadratha and Karna will be the victims of time.