1) Attached to the email is a pdf document of the slokas of Chapter 15 of the Geeta. Please learn verses 1 to 7 for class next Sunday.
Kindy and Junior Balavihar:
We started the class by brainstorming on the one quality that Hanuman displayed all the time – He always stayed focussed on Lord Rama and His purpose. Whenever He introduced Himself, He would say, “I am Hanuman, sevak of Lord Rama.” Children heard the story of how child Maruti (son of the Wind God), thinking the sun was a yummy mango, went to get it, fell in the process and broke His jaw. Thus, Maruti came to be known as Hanuman (one with a broken jaw). Continuing on with our story, after Hanuman had met Mother Sita, with the sole purpose of being Lord Rama’s peace messenger, He wanted to get to Ravana. With this in mind, He grew in size and pranked around Lanka destroying Asoka Vatika (Lanka’s most beautiful royal garden). A fight ensued between Hanuman and Ravana’s warriors. Eventually, Hanuman was dragged to Ravana’s palace. He cared not and continued singing the praises of His Lord Rama. As usual, Hanuman introduced Himself to Ravana, and asked him to return Sita to Rama and keep peace. Angry Ravana would not listen and was ready to kill the peace messenger, Hanuman. Ravana’s brother Vibhishana reminded Ravana of the royal custom not to kill peace envoys. So Ravana ordered Hanuman’s tail to be set alight before setting Him free. Hanuman grew His tail bigger and bigger and with His tail alight, wandered the streets of Lanka, setting on fire everything in His path, leaving the whole city in a golden blaze. At the end, He dipped the tail’s tip in the ocean to put out the fire. Magically, the place where Mother Sita was sitting (under the Asoka tree) was untouched and remained cool. Ensuring that Mother Sita was safe, Hanuman set out on His return journey. Children did an activity where they had to get to Lord Rama by dodging the obstacles and temptations that were on the way, just like Hanuman did. They also practised the Chinmaya Pledge.
Their homework is: To share with family and friends, the various parts of the Ramayana story heard today. During the week, to practise staying focussed like Hanuman inspite of obstacles and temptations.
“I roar day and night, but I am cool! I am blue and vast.” The 10th teacher is the Ocean. It does not swell up when the rivers flow into it nor does it dry out in the hot summer days. The Ocean teaches us ‘Samattva Buddhi” or equal-mindedness, equipoise or staying cool and calm under all circumstances. Do not go crazy happy when you get what you desire or become very very sad when you don’t. In life, stay cool and calm even when you win the lottery or when you are having a really bad day! The children discussed how they would maintain their calm in different situations. They did an experiment in which they had to have a spoonful of salt which really tasted awful. But when the same teaspoon of salt was diluted in a glass of water and then in a huge bowl of water, they could hardly taste the salt. Similarly, when we encounter ‘salt’, i.e. bad situations, people, etc. in our life, we need to keep an open mind and have a large heart, accepting all in the world as part of one big family.
Their homework is: Practise for every day next week – not be fussy about food, eat whatever is given thankfully and learn to compliment the person who made the food for you. Revise the concept of ‘Samattva Buddhi”. Write aims, methods, results and conclusions from the salt experiment conducted in class today.
We started reading the chapter ‘Fundamentals of Vedanta’ wherein it is explained that deterioration of culture leads to increase in barbarism and immorality. Through discussion we understood that culture involves a set of values, morals, beliefs and lifestyle choices that help us live as a community which provides well being, safety and protection of its members. We also agreed that the religious rituals we perform also have an underlying philosophy of disciplining the mind, creating a sense of community and bestowing protection on the ritual performers. We also learnt that life is a series of experiences and an experience consists of the subject, the object and a relationship between the two. The scientists who study the external world of objects are known as material scientists while the Rishis tried to develop the inner personality of man. In conclusion, we understood that we need to slowly and consistently transform our personality so that we can experience longer lasting tranquility.
Sadhana for the week: Pick an activity that you will perform differently than usual and which will make you calmer and more peaceful eg: taking time to plan a task rather than just jumping into it head first; in the middle of an argument, saying that you need 5 minutes of time-out to think instead of saying whatever comes to mind. Also, continue the bedtime 10-15 minute reflection about external objects creating temporary emotions and then recalling events from the day and linking them to this knowledge.
Verse 6 of Chapter 10 – The Seven Great Rishis, the Ancient four and also the Manus, possessed of powers like Me were born of (My) mind; from them are these creatures in the world, (originated and sustained).
It is described in the Puranas that Brahma, the Creator, at the very beginning of creation, produced out of his own mind, four eternal boys: Sanatkumara, Sanaka, Sanatana and Sanandana. The creator in us is the life in us functioning through an ‘urge to create’ in any field. Whenever the creative urge express itself, immediately the factors constituting the subtle-body (Anthakarana) express themselves and function in full vigour. When the Creator of the whole universe comes under the ‘urge to express’, He has to maintain a constant Sankalpa, which immediately produces a channel of ‘constant thoughts’ creating the stuff for the ‘inner-instruments’. The bundle of thoughts, flowing consistently, functions as the mind, intellect, memory and ego. These four factors, comprising the total inner-instrument, are represented as the Eternal Boys of Wisdom born out of mind of the Creator, at the very beginning of his creative activity.
Sadhana for the week: To contemplate on the deeper meanings of the scriptural suggestions based on Gurudev’s directions.