In class we continued with J that stands for Japa which needs concentration. We did an activity to see what our concentration power was like. We had 30 seconds to look at 18 little objects and then we had to say the things we had just seen without looking. Children realised how important it was to concentrate if we have to remember what we saw. This applies to all things we do in life. We need concentration and focus in order to succeed.
We also learnt about Lord Ganesha and His symbolism. Ganesha’s big head tells us to think big; His small eyes to concentrate; His big ears to listen more; His small mouth to talk less; His big tummy to digest both good and bad and His axe to chop off all attachments. We listened to the story of Kubera, the God of wealth and Lord Ganesha and how He taught Kubera not to be proud as it only leads to loss and failure. We also learnt the sloka ‘Vakra Thunda’ in praise of Lord Ganesha.
Homework: To revise the sloka we learnt and share symbolism of Lord Ganesha with family and friends.
We started the class by discussing what we learnt from the limbs of Vishnu and the virtues that bring us close to Krishna. We then continued with the story of Krishna. During the Gurukul days in Rishi Sandipani’s ashram, a poor brahmin boy called Sudama was Krishna’s best friend. Sudama was very poor and lived on charity. He and his wife and children often did not have enough to eat and good clothes to wear. But Sudama was calm and unaffected as his mind was always on the Lord and he was content with his life. One day his wife gently suggested to him that as Lord Krishna was his dear friend and Krishna gives his own Self to those who love and worship Him, would he not give a few things to help Sudama? Sudama did not pay heed to her but after many reminders decided to visit Krishna. He thought “If nothing else I can see my dear friend Krishna again”. His wife got some flattened rice in alms, packed them in a piece of cloth and gave them to Sudama to give to Krishna. Sudama went to Dwaraka thinking of Krishna all the way. When Krishna came to know from the guards that Sudama was there, He ran out happily to greet him! Krishna led Sudama to the palace, washed his feet, fed him and while they sat relaxing, they remembered their old student days. Krishna knowing very well that Sudama got some flattened rice and was very shy to give them, teasingly asked him if he got Him a gift. When Sudama was still shy, Krishna took the packet, opened it and stuffed a handful of the rice saying “Hmmm, these are very tasty”. He ate another handful and as He was taking a third handful, Rukmini stopped Him and took the packet away saying “My Lord, two handfuls are enough-you already gave him all material wealth and spiritual wealth and if you take one more mouthful you will have to give me away!”. Sudama started back home the next day without asking Krishna for anything. When Sudama reached his street he saw a huge mansion with lots of servants. Thinking he took a wrong turn by mistake he was about to turn away when he saw a well dressed jewelled lady running towards him-it was his wife!! Sudama realised that Krishna gave him all of it even without asking. Sudama and his wife continued to live a humble and simple life, thinking of the Lord. We learnt that God gives us all that we need even without asking, we must be content with what we have, that we must be simple and humble and we should think of the Lord all the time.
Homework: To continue practising the virtues that we learnt. Complete any outstanding virtue sheets.
This week in class, we continued with discussing Japa-Yoga (chapter 27 of the text, Kindle Life). In particular we learnt about the following technique / steps in which Japa should be conducted;
1.Identify a special room for Japa to be undertaken (e.g. prayer room);
2.Fix a picture of the Lord at a height where the Lord’s feet should be on level with your eyes when you are seated;
3.Spread a seat-asana in front of your Ista;
4.Sitting on the seat-asana in any comfortable legs-folded pose, gaze at the Lord’s face, body, legs and feet. Then, raise the gaze up from the Lord’s feet to the face;
5.Close your eyes;
6.Try visualise the Lord exactly as in the picture; and
7.Repeat your Ista mantra (everyone decided to repeat the mantra Om Namah Sivaya);
Sadhana: To undertake the above Japa technique once a day with an aim to repeat your Ista mantra (step 7) up to 50 times.
This week we studied Verse 19 of Chapter 13. This verse is a summary of the Chapter thus far. In this Chapter the concept of the field and the knower of the field has been expounded. Also, the attributes which are necessary for the keen seeker have been stated. The practice of this knowledge allows the devotee to merge with the Supreme.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 47 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.