Introductory / Junior Balavihar:
In class both Introductory and Junior Balavihar children revised the 3L’s that Balavihar stands for 1. Learn – about God, prayers, chanting, meditation 2. Love – everyone 3. Laugh – together not at anyone. They listened to the story of ‘The Noble King, curious crown Prince, devotional Minister and intelligent Cook’ to understand better why they came to Balavihar and what they learnt here.
Once upon a time there was a noble king who was loved by all. He had a very efficient and devotional minister who had great faith in God and everyone in the kingdom was very religious. The king had an intelligent and curious son who was the crown prince and who was trained by the minister. Although he followed all religious rituals advocated by the minister, he always had doubts about who this God was. When the King died and he was crowned the new king, he asked the old minister the following questions: Who is God? Where is God? What does God do? He then said that if the minister could not provide satisfactory answers to these questions within 45 days, then he would ban all places of worship in the kingdom and no one would be allowed to pray to God. The minister was very worried and set out to find answers from learned men, sages, saints in the kingdom, but no one could provide a proper answer. Exhausted he returned to his home after 44 days. His cook for many years could not see his minister like this and on finding out reason for stress, told him not to worry and that he would answer the king. The next day, the cook went and told the king that he would answer the questions for the minister, but would do so only if the king let him sit on the throne and he sat at his feet like a student. The King was curious and was willing to do anything to get the answers. The cook asked for a brown cow, bowl of milk and green grass and also a candle and matchsticks. Then he provided the answers:
Who is God? God is the one who makes a brown cow who eats green grass give us white milk!
Where is God? He lit the candle and asked the King where the light was. Like how the light is everywhere, God is everywhere too.
Just then the minister came crying and apologising to the king for being unable to find answers and was surprised to see his cook on the throne and the King at his feet. What does God do? God makes an ordinary cook sit on the throne, the King at his feet and makes a wise minister cry!!
Although we know God is everywhere we cannot see and feel his presence most times. The kids will learn how they can see and feel God always during their subsequent Balavihar classes!
Children also learnt a Bhajan on Lord Shiva in preparation for Mahasivaratri.
Homework: To revise all the verses of the Guru Stotram.
As it was the first class for this year, we revised and discussed the meaning and purpose of Balavihar. Bala means ‘child’ and vihar means ‘recreation’. The purpose of Balavihar is to help children learn values, while having fun. We also learnt the motto of Chinmaya Mission- “To give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time” . We then discussed how we can do this e.g. by helping others, by studying and performing well etc. We also discussed about Gurudev – Swami Chinmayananda (the founder of Chinmaya Mission), Guruji – Swami Tejomayananda, Mukhya Swamiji – Swami Swaroopananda and our Acharya – Swami Shrikarananda.
Homework: To learn all the verses of Guru Stotram.
In class this week, we revisited Chapter 21 of Kindle Life. We began by discussing the body, mind and intellect and how we use these instruments to experience the world. We then linked this to our vasanas and talked about how our desires develop. We need to fine tune our BMI instruments to exhaust these vasanas and experience the Truth or Self that is one and the same in each one of us. We also discussed the three states of the mind: Sattva (pure and noble), Rajas (passionate and agitated) and Tamas (dull and inactive). We talked about how each one of us fluctuate between the states of mind and how we need to find ways to remain in a state of sattva. We also spoke about the two categories of the intellect, the gross and subtle intellect, and how the subtle intellect plays an important role in our relationship with the higher.
Sadhana: To write down one example of how the BMI is involved in an experience you have during the week.
For the first lesson of this year, we decided to go through the summary of the chapters done previously as a recap before continuing with Kindle Life. We got through the summary of chapters 1-3.
We started by defining what freedom meant to each of us and then looked at another meaning of freedom. We discussed that freedom isn’t merely doing what pleases you, but having freedom comes with intelligence, self-restraint and discipline. Then we looked at the general complaint of this world. That it is filled with evil and imperfections, disturbances and despairs and sometimes we think how we can attain peace and tranquillity through this. Through scriptures, it was found that the evils of the world are not the greatest problem, but our lack of dexterity in facing the challenges in front of us is. And lastly we looked at Man’s heritage, through every materialistic things we encounter sometimes we don’t know which direction is the right way to follow. The secret of success lies in two areas; the first using our faculty of discrimination and second dedicating our lives to a higher purpose than our own.
Sadhana: To reflect on what we learnt in class this week.
This week we studied from the book – The Logic of Spirituality. Here the three logical laws of
spirituality were explained.
1) For every effect there is a cause – For example the essential component of a gold ring (the effect) is
Gold (cause). Without the gold, the gold ring will not exist.
2) Effects are plural – The cause can manifest itself in many forms. To continue from the example above, a gold
ring, a gold pendant and a gold bangle are all different manifestations of gold.
3) From the effect if the cause is removed nothing remains – From the gold chain if all gold is removed then
From these laws we derive that the universe and everything in it (the effects), must have a cause (God or the truth).
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 30 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.