This week, we talked about Hanuman as the advisor. We recollected the story we learnt in Ramayana, of how Vibhisana, a raksasa (demon) and brother of Rama’s enemy Ravana, was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, but feared that Rama wouldn’t accept him for who he was. When Hanuman came to Lanka in search of Mata Sita, He heard Rama Namabeing chanted in this country of demons. Curious, He disguised himself as a Brahmin to find out who this person was. He discovered Vibhisanawaking up to sing the glories of Lord Rama. Having met Hanuman, Vibhisana’s heart fluttered that he was one degree away from meeting Lord Rama, but voiced his concern to Hanuman. Hanuman advised him and assured him that Rama accepts one the way one is. One need not worry about their appearance or past or connections to be close to Lord Rama. Living amongst the demons, Vibhisana’s plight was like the tongue constantly amidst the 32 sharp teeth in the mouth – but immersed in Rama Nama can help you survive the worst of circumstances. When Ravanakicked Vibhisana out of his kingdom, Vibhisana remembered Hanuman’s advice and went straight to Lord Rama, who protected him and later on crowned him the king of Lanka.
The children also heard the story of sage Narada, the proud veena player. Once in the court of Lord Vishnu, Narada played the veena so beautifully that all the gods and goddesses applauded his performance, except Lord Vishnu Himself. Then, Lord Vishnu asked Hanuman to play Narada’sveena. Hanuman immersed in Lord Rama’s devotion singing the Rama Nama so much so that all the audience started singing with Him. Even the stones started melting with this devotion. Narada soon realised his mistake and how his ego had come in the way. From this story we learnt to surrender all our actions to God and be a winner. To further reiterate this, we played rivers and mountains (similar to musical chairs) while chanting “Rama Rama”. The child who kept chanting to the end, actually won the game. We chanted the related caupai together:
Tumharo mantra Vibisana maana
Lankeshwar bhae saba jaga jaana
Vibhisana heeded Your advice. The whole world knows he became the king of Lanka.
Homework: Practise chanting of the chalisa till caupais learnt. During the week, find opportunities to chant Rama Nama.
The children are learning “Krsna Krsna Everywhere” and have been regularly practicing values of forgiveness, sharing and being gentle/ kind (like cows) and humility. They discussed what makes Krishna the Darling of all- parents, elders, friends, animals, etc. Then they discussed what makes them the ‘darling’ of people in their lives- their parents, uncles/aunts, teachers, friends, etc– what makes them lovable, adorable and cute to all was their good qualities like being respectful, kind, sharing, caring and sometimes cheeky too! Then they learnt how we use our five sense organs makes us ‘darlings’! We started with ‘touch’ and did an activity wherein we had to give hugs to each other and our teacher – but had to do it really well with a lot of love. We realised that everyone loves getting a good hug and that makes them adorable! Next we saw a video of a song with inspiring lyrics and amazing scenery of nature and wildlife and used our sense of hearing and sight. Next we smelt the pure essential oil of lavender made from the lavender grown in the French Alps- and loved it too! We shall be exploring sense of ‘taste’ next week.
Home work: Reflect on what makes us ‘darlings’ to others just like Krishna and to try and practise it in all our activities throughout the week.
This week we discussed how living together in a nation that strives for greatness is greatly different to living in a disintegrated, self-centred nation. When members of a nation live together with a goal and strive with diligence and devotion for the achievement, the formation of a nation can be seen. Majority of the time, reformations of a city or town are only concerned with the external environment and other circumstances but not with the individuals. The happiness and spirituality of individuals are more often than not a consideration when these plans are taking place. However, political revolutions and scientific progress don’t need to be disregarded completely, but it can only take a nation as far as it can. Dogmas (new word they learnt) is often introduced in order for a country to look the best in the eyes of the world. All scientific achievements can be a blessing to mankind only if we are rational and ethical. If we lose our discrimination and our moral and ethical values of life, these discoveries can turn into a curse and threat to mankind. When a country is united, when each citizen gives out their best in a form of selflessness and serving the country without an expectation of receiving anything in return only then will a nation assert itself with power, prestige and strength.
Homework: Find 5 qualities that we can improve in ourselves in order to help our nation grow together.
This week we studied verses 3 and 4 in Chapter 12. Here in verse 3, the essential qualities of the Lord are described. These are 1) aksara(Imperishable) 2) anirdesyam (Indefinable) 3) sarvatra-gam (All-pervading) 4) acintyam (Unthinkable) 5) kuta-sthah (Unchanging) 6) acalam (Immovable 7) dhruvam (Eternal) 8) avyaktam (Unmanifest). Now having indicated these qualities, the Lord says to mediate on these qualities and follow the path of devotion requires three conditions. These are 1) having restrained on all senses – having our 5 senses under our control at all times. 2) equanimous – not being distracted in any situation. The mind is held in balance. It is affected by situations and circumstances. 3) rejoicing in the welfare of others – a successful meditator should be dedicated to the welfare of all beings. This verse provides immensely practical and useful guide on the art of devotional mediation.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 20 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.