We continued learning the meaning of the pledge, ‘We believe that the service of our country is the service of the Lord of the Lords…’ We discussed about all the people who serve our country, namely policemen, firemen, postmen, soldiers, doctors, nurses, builders and so on. They serve the country so that their fellow citizens can live a safe and comfortable life. We must all serve our country as it is also a way of saying ‘Thank you’. We then discussed ways through which we can do service. Service, according to Pujya Gurudev is ‘Love made visible’. We learnt how service is helping and loving someone without expecting anything in return. We heard the story of Kinu, a poor little boy who was standing in front of a sweet shop during Diwali time. Kinu could smell the sweets but had no money to buy them. Seeing this, a young man bought some sweets for Kinu and gave it to him. Kinu asked the young man if he was God as his mother had always told him that God helps all. The young man replied to Kinu, “I am not God but I love you’. This is an example of service that we can do for others. We talked about things we can do to serve others and the world around us. Examples of this include helping others carry their bags, cleaning the garbage in the park, switching off lights if not used, making full use of paper so it is not wasted. We also learnt that we could also serve others by being a good person and even by the simple act of smiling and being friendly.
Homework: To continue to revise the pledge.
Junior/ Senior Balavihar
This week, on the occasion of Diwali or Deepavali, the Festival of Lights, we started the class by learning about the significance of the festival – how it depicts victory of knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, light over darkness. In North India, it is celebrated to mark Rama’s return to Ayodhya after destroying Ravana. In South India, it is celebrated to mark Lord Krishna destroying the demon Narakasura. We also talked about the time of twenty days between Dussehra (actual event of destruction of Ravana) and when Diwali (return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile) is celebrated. Each of us also decorated a “Deeya” (lamp) to take home. Then, we continued learning about our superhero Hanuman. We talked about Hanuman as the beacon of light. We brainstormed why we go to worship in the temples and what is the meaning of true puja? True puja is worshipping the Lord through our thoughts, words and actions. God resides everywhere, even in animals and worship to all beings is worship to the Lord Himself. To further reiterate this, the children heard the story of a devotee named Ekanath. One hot day, Ekanath, along with a group of friends was carrying water from the holy Ganges to Ramesvaram to seek blessings of the Lord by pouring water on the statue in Ramesvaram. Along the way, due to the heat and drought, he saw a donkey almost dying of thirst. Without thinking much, he immediately poured water from his pot for the donkey to drink. The donkey quenched his severe thirst and brayed away happily. Ekanath’s astonished friends asked him what he will offer to the Lord, to which Ekanath said, “In serving the donkey, I have served the Lord and already got His blessings.”
The children also heard the story of little boy Gopal whose Dad used to tell him a bed-time story every night, at the end of which he would say, “Remember God is everywhere.” One day during the time of famine, when his entire family was starving, Gopal’s dad resorted to stealing corns growing in the neighbouring farm. He asked Gopal to keep a watch outside the field and let him know if he sees anyone watching. Immediately Gopal asked his Daddy to stop as God was watching! Daddy realised this and explained the situation to the farmer who gladly gave some corn to him to eat! As God is everywhere, whatever we do and say, we must do with the attitude of worship. The children heard and enacted the following story. Once upon a time there was a king who had a very calm minister who always said “It’s the Lord’s wish. Everything happens for the best.” Once on a hunting trip, the king and minister got separated from their soldiers, and soon lost their way. The minister uttered his famous words. It was getting dark and the king tripped on a stone and broke his little finger and screamed in pain. Still the minister uttered his famous words! The king got really annoyed and pushed the minister into a well. Very soon, a group of tribals captured the king to sacrifice his body for their fire sacrifice. But, one of the tribals noticed the king’s broken finger and so, he couldn’t be used for sacrifice as he was not complete. Thus, they let the king go and he was saved. Thinking of his minister, he came back to the well and got the minister out from the shallow water. The minister, although bitten by lots of insects, uttered his famous words. He said that if he had not been thrown in the well, he would have been the complete animal for the tribals’ sacrifice! God has a plan for each one of us and eventually everything works out for the best.
We then chanted the related caupai together:
Sankat tay hanumana chudaave,
Mana krama bachan, dhyana jo Lavay
Sri Hanuman helps those who worship Him with sincerity and faith (ie. by thought, action, speech and prayer) in overcoming difficulties.
Homework: Practise chanting of the chalisa till caupais learnt. Share the stories and the morals learnt.
Significance of Diwali (see attached)
We discussed the significance of the Festival of Light- it symbolizes how Light overcomes Darkness, Good overcomes Evil, Knowledge overcomes Ignorance, Love overcomes Hatred and Faith overcomes Fear! We usually do Lakshmi Puja on day of Diwali seeking the blessings of the Goddess of Wealth. Then we discussed what “Wealth” is and concluded it is an abundance of Knowledge, Money, Time, Health and Values- in order to lead a happy life we need all these aspects of Wealth-not having any one of them prevents us from leading our best life! We then discussed if Wealth was good or bad and concluded that wealth itself was neither good nor bad- but what mattered is our attitude to wealth. Also Wealth gives us Power which is also good only if used for the welfare of all! The idea of this activity was to show the JCs how our mind can get distracted when we lose 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 got distracted.
We studied verses 15 & 16 of Chapter 12 in the last two classes.
Lord Krishna continues to explain the qualities of the Gnana bakhta and gives 9 more qualities and states persons with such qualities are dear to Me.
Verse 15: 1. He by whom the world is not agitated, 2.One who cannot be agitated by the world, 3. One who is freed from Joy/envy/fear/anxiety – Such a person is dear to Me.
Verse16: 4. One who is free from wants, 5.pure, 6.Alert, 7.Unconcerned, 8. Untroubled, 9. Renouncing all undertakings – Such a person is dear to Me.
We heard Gurudev explain the practical application of these attributes to everyone’s life and not to be confused by the misinterpretation of the literary meaning.
Sadhana: To reflect on these attributes and integrate them in to our daily lives by constant practice.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 24 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.