In class we continued with the letter C and learnt another value for C which is Caring. Children brainstormed ways in which they could care for others in little ways that they could. They listened to the story of ‘The Lion and the Mouse’. A Lion lay asleep in the forest under a tree. A timid little Mouse lived in a hole in that tree. Unaware that it was a Lion, the Mouse jumped on his tummy and accidentally pulled his whiskers. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny Mouse and wanted to eat her. “Spare me!” begged the poor Mouse. “Please let me go and someday I will surely repay you.” The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go. Some days later, the Lion was caught by a hunter’s net. Unable to free himself, he began to cry. The Mouse heard the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free. The Lion was happy and hugged the Mouse. The story showed us that however little we are, we can be caring and help others in need. Children also learnt the Ganesha Slokham.
Homework: To share the story with family and friends; To revise the first 2 lines of the Ganesha Slokham ‘Shuklaam bharadharam…’ at home.
This week, we first practised the two songs in preparation for Gurudev Jayanti. The children then heard the story of King Parikshit and a well-dressed but cruel man called Kali. As King Pariksit was strolling in his kingdom by the banks of River Saraswati, he saw this man in royal clothes, torturing a bull and having decapacitated 3 of the bull’s four legs. A crying helpless cow was the onlooker. The king stopped Kali and asked the bull who had brought it to this state. Without blaming or bad-mouthing the cruel man Kali or anyone else, the bull said, “O King, you wonder who has caused my suffering. Some people say that beings in their ignorance, cause their own happiness and sorrow. Others say that it is due to their past karmas. I do not know which one is true.” The king realised that the bull personified dharma. Its four legs are like the four pillars of good values/dharma – Austerity (self-control), Purity, Kindness and Truthfulness. Austerity is when you make a self-promise and keep it. For example, you promise yourself to do your homework first before watching TV or eating dinner, and you strive to complete your homework before anything else. We also did an experiment to understand what purity means. We added salt and sugar to pure water. It is like expecting something in return for our help to people around us. Then we added bits of paper to another cup of water. The water was visibly impure – this is like when we tell lies or cheat or gossip or bad-mouth others. The clean water shows a reflection of God, and the dirty water is devoid of this reflection! We will continue to explore this further in the next class. The children also recited the Pledge individually and received stickers for the lines they knew by-heart.
Homework: To say The Chinmaya Pledge on way to school daily, so as to memorise it. To sing the Gurudev songs learnt on way home from school daily. This is in preparation of performance at Chinmaya Jayanti celebrations next week 🙂
This week we continued with revising ‘Krshna Krshna Everywhere’. The children who had already listened to the stories, discussed among themselves what they had learnt and enacted a story of their choice (the story of Krishna and the fruit seller) as their summary to everyone. When we give anything to the Lord selflessly, it will not only become pure and everlasting, but He will also give back many fold. The rest of the class continued with last week’s story. With a flash Lord Vishnu appeared before Devaki and Vasudeva, reassured them that he will protect the righteous and asked Vasudeva to take Him to Gokula -to the house of Nanda and Yashoda (who just had a baby girl). Vasudeva took Him to Nanda’s house, left the baby boy there, took the baby girl and returned to the prison in Mathura. When Kamsa tried to kill the baby girl, she slipped away and warned Kamsa that his enemy is born and will eventually destroy him. Kamsa got worried and at the advice of his counsellors planned on killing all the new born babies. He sent a demoness named Putana to Gokula to kill the baby boy. Putana disguised herself and fed the baby with poisoned milk. The Lord sucked the life out of her along with the milk! Mother Yashoda was happy that the baby was safe and when the villagers burnt the body of Putana, a lovely fragrant smell spread everywhere. The touch of the Lord had purified Putana as He forgave her. Forgiveness is the first virtue on the road map that will lead us to Krishna. We also learnt that we must first remove ignorance (Putana) to reach the feet of the Lord and we must not get diverted by maya (disguise). Kamsa on hearing of the death of Putana sent a demon named Trnaavarta. Trnaavarta could raise dust storms and cyclones in a moment. He went to Gokula, and while Mother Yashoda and her baby were sitting in the courtyard raised a terrific dust storm and lifted the baby high up in the air. As he lifted higher, the baby got heavier and finally the baby caught Trnaavarta by the throat and choked him to death. We learnt that desires, like Trnaavarta, fills our mind with agitations and blows dust into our eyes and we must conquer these tendencies. We then learnt that Brahmins, cows, Vedas, austerity, truth, physical and mental disciplines, faith, kindness, forbearance and sacrifices are the limbs of Vishnu and by putting the limbs of Bhagavan together in our personality, we will see God clearly.
Homework: To practise forgiveness and sharing and to complete the virtue log sheets during the week.
This week in class, we continued with discussion on chapter 25 of Kindle Life. We started by revising on the four aspects of our personality (physical, psychological, intellectual and spiritual) and discussed experiences during the previous week where we analysed how each aspect of our personality played a role in that experience. We moved on to discuss the technique of self-development, namely, that man comes to make a ready sacrifice of the grosser, in preference to the subtler in him (e.g. making physical or mental sacrifices for intellectual satisfaction). We considered that the subtler the personality, the greater is the satisfaction that is derived by the individual enabling us to transcend from the world of grosser and its joys and sorrows.
Sadhana: Write down examples of when you sacrificed the grosser for the subtler.
Following on from the explanation of Ksetra (Field) and Ksetrajna (the knower-of-the-Field), the Lord enumerates the items constituting ‘Ksetra’. These include the 5 great elements (space, air, fire, water and earth), the egoism (the sense of I-ness that arises in us in our identification of the world of objects), the intellect, the unmanifested factor (the vasanas), the 10 senses, the one (or the mind), the 5 objects of the senses – a total of 24 factors (these are the famous 24 principles of the Saankyan philosophy. Further Lord Krishna says that the ‘ksetra’ does not stop with these gross equipments of matter, but includes the perceptions experienced through them (such as desire, hatred, pain, pleasure intelligence and so on). Further the Lord elaborates 20 qualities which we will study in the following classes.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 36 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.