23rd July 2017 Class Summary
In class, we continued with the alphabet safari and learnt what J stands for. J is for Japa & to never be Jealous. Children learnt what Japa meant. It is a form of meditation – a way of remembering God by turning the beads in the Japamala and repeating the name of our favourite God several times focussing our mind fully on Him. In class we made a mala with Meru and 9 beads and learnt how to do Japa. We then heard the story of a man with a donkey and a doggy. The donkey had a beautiful shed in the backyard of his home, ate well and worked for the man. The dog was a cute little puppy that played with the man by licking him and jumping around him. One day the tired and angry donkey looked through the window to see the doggy playing happily with the owner. The donkey was so jealous that he came up with a plan. He entered the dining room and ran around the table; then he put his big paw on the man’s lap and opened his hairy wide mouth to lick him. Down came the jug of milk and cereal. The man screamed and ran to get his stick to beat the donkey. The donkey was ashamed and went back to his shed. He realised that jealousy can get him into trouble. Children learnt that they should never get jealous but be content and happy with what they have. Whenever the thought arose, they promised to think that they were behaving like a SILLY DONKEY!
Homework: To complete colouring sheet; learn the second line of the pledge and do Japa every night before bed-time.
During class this week, we brainstormed further on the properties of the physical backbone humans have, and the virtues of the invisible or mental backbone (our character). If we follow the virtues of our Super Hero Hanuman, we are able to have a strong mental backbone. The children also listened to the Hanuman Dhyana sloka which describes Hanuman’s 8 virtues. We discussed and understood the first virtue of Intelligence (buddhih). We will keep learning more about the other 7 virtues as we go along. Sloka below:
Buddhir Balam Yasho Dhairyam Nir Bhayatvam Arogata Ajatyam Vak Patutvam Cha Hanumat Smaranat Bhavet
By remembering Hanuman, one can gain intelligence, strength, fame, courage, fearlessness, good health, alertness, and eloquence.
The children also heard a story about King Akbar and his intelligent minister, Birbal. To find out how wise his ministers were, Akbar asked them to find out the total number of crows in the kingdom within 7 days. The ministers tried several things but were not able to find the correct count. Birbal, when asked, said there were 2057 crows! The surprised king asked him how he could be so sure. Wise and witty Birbal calmly replied, “If you find more crows than the number, it means there some of their relatives that are visiting from another kingdom, and if you find them to be less, some of our crows have flown away to visit their relatives in the other kingdom!” The children learnt that it was important to use their intelligence to discriminate between the right and the wrong.
The children also started a craft activity to create their very own Hanuman with the embedded eight virtues and a strong backbone. This will be a continuing class activity until completed.
Homework: To practise the Hanuman Dhyana shloka by saying it daily before going to bed. We used the tune in this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k25wcRbPEI (only above verse, which is upto 1min 10 secs)
This week we learnt that all our 5 senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch) are gifts to us and we can either use, abuse or neglect them. We listened to the story of an young man who lost everything-wife, children, job, home, wealth etc. The man was so sad that he had nothing and so depressed that he decided to commit suicide. Just as he was getting ready to end his life, he heard the voice of a Swami behind him. The Swami said “since you are anyway going to end your life, can you give me what I ask of you”. The young man said he had nothing but on the insistence of the Swami agreed to give what the Swami wanted. The Swami asked the man to give his eyes. The man was shocked and said “NO, I cannot give them to you!”. The Swami offered $20,000 but the young man still refused. The Swami then tried getting the man to give his hands, legs etc for larger
sums of money and each time the young man refused. The Swami then explained to the young man that it was not true that the man had nothing-he had a priceless body! The man then gave up the idea of taking his life and learnt to appreciate and value what he had. God lives in the hearts of people who offer food, clothes etc to God before using them. We learnt that we have to be grateful for all that we have. We did an activity where one of the children acted as Lord Rama and another child tried to garland the Lord blindfolded! We realised that not having even one of our 5 senses makes living difficult. We have to be grateful for all that we have and we need to express our gratitude as well. We watched a short film on gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg https://vimeo.com/44131171. We remembered the Chinmaya Mission Motto “To give maximum happiness to maximum people for the maximum amount of time”.
We ended the class with Gurudev’s quote
“What we have is a gift from HIM. What we do with what we have is our gift to HIM”.
Homework: To remember to be grateful for the gift of the 5 senses. To write down each day at least one thing that you are grateful for.
This week we started Chapter 1 Kindle Life on Freedom and Licence. We learnt that we live in a world where we can indulge in objects and have very little restraint. However, indulgence in these sensual enjoyments causes dissipation and destruction of one’s personality and leads to sorrow and misery. We must therefore learn self-restraint and discipline so that we can gain a more permanent joy out of our relationship with the world of objects. We learnt that freedom without restrictions is not freedom at all and that we need to intelligently and voluntary set our own rules to follow so that we can attain happiness and follow our dharma.
Sadhana: Write down an example of an activity or aspect of your life where you need to self-restrain and how you will do so.
We discussed Kindle Life: Chapter 24: “Life is yours- Kindle it!” Life is a series of experiences involving interactions with other living beings, objects and circumstances.
Gurudev explains the importance of religion to enable us to live our best life, but he stresses that Religion has to be dynamic.
We watched Gita Capsule 64: Dynamic religion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cML75tfGiSo
It has to keep evolving with the changing times- just like we require updates in order to keep using our apps on phones, tablets, computers, etc.
Religion which is only associated with temples, places of worship, varying interpretation of scriptures and confusing rituals tends to be abandoned by people as it becomes irrelevant to their daily life.
Religion is essentially the Science of living so that we can practice and live a wise day-to-day existence. Science without religion is lame and Religion without science is blind!
Sadhana: Reflect on how the knowledge gained in the classes has enhanced their day-to-day existence- think about a specific action during the week- acting intellectually and not emotionally.
This week we studied Verses 34 and 35 of Chapter 10. Lord Krishna expounds on his feminine qualities in verse 34. These include fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, firmness and forgiveness. Lord Krishna also mentions he is death and that death is a great