In class we continued with letter K and learnt that it stands for Kindness. Children brainstormed ways in which they can express the virtue of kindness to others at home and in school. We listened to the story of Androcles and the lion. Androcles is a boy in Rome who runs away from his cruel master and hides in a cave. A lion enters the cave and Androcles is too tired to bother. Suddenly he notices that the lion is limping and is in pain. He removes the thorn from the lion’s paw that has been bothering him. The lion licks him and walks away. Two days later, Androcles gets caught by the guards and taken to the King. The King orders his death sentence by putting him in a cage with a lion. As the crowds watch, the lion walks towards Androcles and begins to lick him. It is the same lion that Androcles helped in the cave. The crowd cheer with joy. Children reflected on why we should be kind to others: being kind makes us happy; and if we are kind to others, others are kind to us too. We also learnt about the significance of Navaratri.
Homework: To learn the sloka ‘Vakra Thunda’ at home.
This week, we started class by talking about what exciting things we did and saw during the term break. The children talked about how they had visited lots of friends due to Golu/Navratri and what we saw. Then, we discussed the significance of Navratri and Dussehra – the reverence to the Goddess Durga, Lakshmi Saraswati – to help us remove our negative qualities, to help us imbibe good qualities and bestow on us the wealth of knowledge. Dussehra signifies the triumph of good by destruction of evil. We also chanted the Devi mantra. We also learnt a Devi bhajan. We then talked about how an avatar (superhero) looks like. To be like avatars, we can try to do good each day to make this world a better place. The children then created their very own avatar masks.
Homework: To google if corals are plants or animals. And if they are animals, why don’t they move. Also, to do 3 good deeds every day to become more and more like our favourite avatars.
This week we learnt about the significance of Navaratri. Navaratri is divided into sets of 3 days during which the Supreme Goddess is worshipped in 3 different forms. For the first 3 days She is worshipped as Goddess Durga- in order to destroy all our negative qualities. The next 3 days She is worshipped as Goddess Lakshmi in order to bless us with the wealth of virtues such as devotion, patience, endurance, charity, kindness etc. During the last 3 days we worship Goddess Saraswati to bestow us with knowledge. On the 10th day their combined Shakti is invoked to destroy the ego. The day is also celebrated as Dussehra (Dasha+Papa+Hara-ending of 10 sins i.e ego, cruelty, injustice, lust, anger, greed, pride, jealousy, attachment & selfishness). On this day Rama killed the ten headed Ravana. The day is celebrated as Vijayadasami – the victory of good over evil. We then did an activity where we each wrote on a piece of paper the negative qualities that we would like to get rid of. We then folded the paper in half, tried to get rid of it by throwing it into a basket a few feet away and found that we could not accurately do that. We tried folding/scrunching it and throwing it but still could not do it. We then wrapped the paper around a ball and threw it successfully into the basket! We also tried throwing it into the basket by holding it with a clip and could successfully do so. We learnt from the activity that we cannot get rid of all our negative qualities by ourselves-even if we reduce them to a minimum. To successfully get rid of them we need help- of a Guru or a teacher-who can be in any form (similar to the ball, clip etc). We then discussed who our teachers are. We will start with our new book “My 24 Teachers” next week.
Homework: To learn the Devi Mantra (attached) and to share the significance of Navarathri and Dussehra with family and friends.
This week in class we finished Chapter 27 Japa-Yoga. When we start something new, we will never be perfect at it, when we are consistent and put in effort then we will see results and will be able to manage our time better. Just as with any new task or hobby we take up, Japa requires our own energy, stamina and artistic rhythm in order for us to discover the harmony for ourselves. That is why Japa is a very healthy and effective aid to meditation. Sincerity is the secret to success in anything, however, we are often drawn to a particular activity by the profit motive. In this case, sincerity needs to come in and in order to do that we must view Japa as yajna and offer the purest and best part of ourselves. Japa encompasses many things, but an important one is the act of surrender. A way that we surrender is by prostration, by giving up our ego and bowing to the feet of the higher. Before the holidays we set a few goals for ourselves individually, by increasing the number of times we repeated a mantra. Slowly everyone started to progress using the mala beads a few times a week. It was found that with constant practice of Japa, the concentration got easier and they were able to go for longer. This sadhana of Japa will continue and we will check in every few weeks to see the progression.
We studied Verse 22 of Chapter 13 this week. The Purusha, seated in Prakriti, experiences the qualities born of Prakriti. Attachment to the qualities is the cause of his birth in good and bad wombs. The rediscovery of the Self and the awakening of our spiritual nature would, therefore be through the path of 1. Detachment from the ‘field’ and 2. Experience of the real knowledge. Vairagya and Viveka are the means for regaining the God in ourselves.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 49 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.