In class this week we continued with alphabet B and learnt a new value which is ‘not being boastful’. Children learnt the meaning of boasting and how it spreads unhappiness around. We discussed the festival Holi and listened to the story of Prahlad as below (Senior Balavihar). We learnt how Hiranyakashyap met his end because he was proud and boastful.
Homework: To learn the pledge over the holidays and this will be marked using the power sheet in their books (last page) over Term 2; Tocontinue revising the Guru Stotram and share the Prahlad story with family and friends.
This week, on the occasion of Holi festival, we talked about the significance of the festival, and heard the story behind it – the story of Vishnu-bhakt Prahlad, his father asura-king Hiranyakashyap, his aunt Holika and Narasimha, the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Holi is also the festival of colours as it signifies the onset of spring. Each of us wrote on a piece of paper, a bad habit that we wanted to get rid of. We then placed it in the fire and prayed to Lord Narayana to help us to destroy it. We then talked about how our story book text Bhagavatam came into being. It was written by Rishi Vyasa after he had written the entire Mahabharata. The Bhagavatam was composed of 18000 verses glorifying Lord Vishnu. We will talk about this further next term. We glued the pictures of Holika and Narasimha in our books.
Homework: To colour all pictures and ready book so that it can be presented to Pujya Swamiji for viewing next week. To say The Chinmaya Pledge three times during the week.
We started the class by chanting the Maha Mrtyunjaya Mantra which the kids had memorised and chanted very well. Well done!!! We then discussed the festival Holi which was celebrated last week-on the full moon day of the month of Phalguna. Holi is a celebration of victory of Good over Evil. Forgiveness is practised. Sage Sukadeva narrates the story of Bhagavatam to King Pariskhit and one of the stories is about Narasimha-an avatar of Lord Vishnu. When Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Vishnu, his brother Hiranyakashyap was very angry and wanted to kill Lord Vishnu. Realising the he can do that only by becoming immortal he prayed to Lord Brahma. Brahmaji pleased with Hiranyakashyap’spenance agrees to give him a boon. Hiranyakashyap asks that “no entity created by you can kill me; I cannot die inside or outside; during day ornight; cannot be killed by any weapon, human or beast; living or non-living; please grant me this boon”. Brahmaji grants him the boon. While Hiranyakashyap was praying to Brahmaji, Indra invades the kingdom. Hiranyakashyap’s wife Kayadu, who was pregnant, is taken by Narada to his ashram and the unborn baby Prahlad is exposed to devotion to LordVishnu. Hiranyakashyap returns to his kingdom as a very powerful king and orders everyone to pray to him. When Prahlad, his own son praises Narayana, he gets very angry and tries to get him killed by pushing him over the cliff, hanging him etc but Prahlad ia saved by Narayana every time! Seeing Hiranyakshyap’s distress, his sister Holika offers to sit in a burning pyre with Prahlad in her lap to ensure he burns. Holika had a shawl that would protect her from the fire! Prahlad kept chanting “Narayana Narayana“ and in the intensity of the fire Holika got burnt but nothing happened to Prahlad. Enraged Hiranyakshyap asked Parhladwhere Narayana was so he could kill him. When Prahlad said Narayanawas everywhere, “Even in this pillar” ? Hiranyakshyap asked. When Prahlad said yes, he struck the pillar with his mace, out came Vishnu as Narasimha avatar!!! He was the head of a lion and the body of a man. He picked Hiranyakashyap into his lap and at the threshold of the courtyard, put him on his lap and just as the sun was setting during twilight time he killed Hiranyakshayap with his claws. For this story we learnt that God is everywhere, He will always save His devotees, devotion can start at any time-even when the baby is in mother’s womb and people who practise evil will be punished. We then listened to the story that Sage Sukadevanarrated about Mother Earth’s distress. Once Mother Earth took the form of a cow and went to Brahmaji to complain about the sins being committed on earth. Brahmaji then took her to Lord Vishnu and prayed to Him. Lord Vishnu said that he would be born to Vasudeva and Devaki and cleanseearth of sins and sinners and Mother Earth was comforted. We then brainstormed how Mother Earth is still in distress now
and what we can do to help and comfort her.
Homework: To choose one thing that we can specifically do to help Mother Earth and keep doing it all through the holidays. To continue chanting the Maha Mrytyunjaya Mantra.
This week we started reading chapter 25 (‘Vedanata – Life and Art of Living’). This chapter is primarily concerning the relationship between science and religion. For majority of the class we had a discussion on what our understanding of this topic is prior to reading the text.
In summary, our discussion revolved around the following concepts:
After we read chapter 25, we will re-visit our ideas outlined above, and consider whether our views have changed.
Sadhana: Write down an experience during the week where you were feeling overwhelmed or stressed and the strategies you adopted to calm your mind.
This week we studied verse 5 of Chapter 13. Continuing on from verse 4, where the Lord states he will explain what the nature of the Field is, verse 5 further advertises the Field and the Knower of the Field. In verse 5, Krishna says that even great Saints and Rishis have sung praises of the Field and of the Knower of the Field. It provides further impetus for the seeker to learn the qualities of the field which will be discussed in the coming verses. Also in verse 5 we learn that the forthcoming verses will be “full of reason and decision”. This reinforces the theme of logical reasoning which is a major asset of the Gita.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 35 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.