In class we learnt about the alphabet F which stands for Friendship. We discussed how friendship is about having a feeling of mutual love and respect. Children were excited to share names of their friends at school. We talked about how our parents are our best friends at home. We soon learnt how we all have a very good friend who always listens us; helps us whenever we need and is very patient with us – this friend is none other than GOD. A true friend is one who is ready to help us even when we do not ask for it. To understand this better, children listened to the story of Krishna and Sudhama’s friendship. Krishna loved and respected Sudhama who was his childhood friend. Poor Sudhama was struggling to feed his children but did not feel like asking his best friend Krishna who was the King of Dwaraka for help. But Krishna still ate the rice flakes that Sudhama gifted him with affection and showered Sudhama with gifts so he and his family could live happily. We also did an activity wherein children were asked to draw their best friend on a piece of paper and then crush it. We then went back to the crushed paper and when asked how they would make it better, they tried to roll out the paper to straighten it. There was still some crease on it that could not be removed. Through this, children learnt that they should never hurt or crush the feeling of their friends. If they did, then it is hard to straighten it up. We will learn more about friendship in the next class.
Homework: To complete the colouring sheet; To continue learning the Ganesha sloka.
We continued the story of Parikshit who is ready to take the punishment; he goes to the bank of the river and sits there to meet the sages. Each child was named after a sage – Vyasa, Vashishta, Gautam, Agastya, Deval, Brgu.
We spoke about the grandness of the sages and how Sukhdev and the sages bless the King and are ready to teach him how he could stay close to the Lord and the sages. We also learnt to meditate.
We chanted the name of Lord Narayana.
We discueed what it is to be on guard …We check the way we talk and act.
We learnt a Narayan bhajan and played a quiz which helped us visualise the form of Narayan.
We started the class by discussing why Krishna was the darling of all and reflecting on why we think people love us. We then listened to the story of Dhenukasura. As Krishna grew older, He and his friends took cows to graze. Close to where they played was a beautiful garden filled with Tala (Toddy Palm) trees. The juicy fruit of the trees would ripen and fall to the ground but no one dared to pick them as a donkey named Dhenuka was guarding the garden and would not let anyone enter it. The boys wanted to taste the fruit and so asked Krishna and Balarama to get them some. Balarama went to the trees and shook them vigorously until the ground was covered with Tala fruits. Hearing the noise, Dhenukasura got angry and charged at Balarama. Balarama caught the back legs of Dhenukasura, twirled and threw him into the trees. Dhenukasura died but his other donkey friends continued the attack only to be killed by Krishna and Balarama. We learnt that our heart is like the Tala garden and instead of offering the fruits of our actions to Krishna, we have many Dhenukasuras like anger, pride, jealousy staying in our heart and keeping Krishna away. A Guru or teacher, like Balarama, will destroy the Dhenukas (negative qualities) in our heart so Krishna can enter and enjoy the fruits that we offer. We also listened to the story of Kaliya Mardanam. A serpent named Kaliya lived in Lake Madu (near Yamuna river) and had poisoned the waters. Krishna jumped into the lake and fiercely fought with Kaliya. Kaliya’s wives prayed to Krishna with devotion and the exhausted Kaliya asked for forgiveness. Krishna forgave Kaliya and asked him to leave Lake Madu and go back to Ramanaka Island. We learnt that Kaliya represents our ego and the ‘I’ and ‘My-ness’ poisons our hearts. When we get rid of them our hearts become pure and we can spread sweetness and joy. We also learnt that when we make mistakes we must ask for forgiveness.
Homework: To continue practising the qualities of humility, kindness, forgiveness and sharing.
This week in class, we continued our discussion on chapter 26 of Kindle Life. We started by revisiting the importance of integration between the mind and intellect, whereby, the lack of alignment between these two instruments can amount to chaos and confusion. To maintain this integration within, it is important to be guided by our ‘biggest’ goal. We established that the following criteria can help us with setting our ‘biggest goal’: ensure it is a noble purpose, it should make a positive difference in the community, endeavor to be the best that you can be in that field (this will ensure we keep striving to improve irrespective of any milestones achieved along the way).
Life is not meant to be a meaningless routine of chaos/confusion. Alternatively, life can be viewed as an opportunity to attain a state of ‘godhood’ though a process of self-integration and meditation (this notion will be explored further next week). Life is expressed in varying degrees and in different languages. To this end, we discussed the forms in the world which can be divided into four groups: (a) the inert stone (expresses itself as existence), (b) plant-life (life has started expressing itself through their developed equipment in terms of a vague awareness of the outer world), (c) animal-life (a greater awareness of the outer world and a vague awareness within) and (d) man-life (largest amount of awareness and consciousness of the outer world and the world within also).
Sadhana: During times of uncertainty/lack of clarity, let us remind ourselves of our ‘biggest goal’.
This week we studied verse 10 of Chapter 13. Here the noble quality of non-attachment is mentioned. The mind constantly seeks various sense objects and forms an attachment or desire for these sense objects. This verse reinforces the previous verse, however in verse 10, the detachment of the Self from family and home is specifically mentioned. Attachment for family is natural, however excessive attachment can lead to moral ambiguity as shown in the Mahabaratha. Verse 10 also encourages the “constant even-mindedness on the attainment of the desirable and the undesirable.” The mind should be trained to be unperturbed in the presence of both desirable and undesirable sense objects.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 41 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.