Introductory/ Junior Balavihar:
In class we continued with F for Friendship and learnt five ways of starting a friendship and being a good friend.
We learnt these by enacting examples from day-to-day experiences.
- Smile at others.
- Be nice and give turns to others. Children used the example of playing a ball game at school and making friends with a new arrival to the class by including the new child in the ball game and making them feel welcome.
- Give compliments frequently. We sat in a circle and played the game of ‘passing the ball’. Everytime the music stopped the child who had the ball had to choose a friend from the circle and give them a compliment. Children realised how happy they felt when they received a compliment.
- Be a good listener. We demonstrated this by showing how when three friends were discussing how they enjoyed the weekend, one of them was disinterested in what the others did but focused on herself.
- Always be forgiving. We discussed the activity from last week wherein we drew our best friend on a paper and then crushed it and threw it away. When we went back to straighten it, it was not the same as it had creases on it. In the same way, if we do not practise the art of forgiving our friends straight away, we may speak a harsh word or two. Even when we make up afterwards, there is still a division similar to the crease on the paper. We can avoid this by being forgiving always.
Homework: To learn the Saraswati sloka at home.
This week we started by brainstorming why trees are noble and in how many ways they serve us and how they do so much impartially. We listened to the story of King Shibi’s kindness and service. We then listened to the story of a man who got stranded on the road in snow. A stranger came to help him but refused to accept any money from the man and only asked the man to help someone else in need. We must all aim to
become members of the “Do Unto Others”(DUO) Club and practise the virtue of Service. We then continued with the stories of Krishna. In Vrindavan, as rainy season was drawing near, grand preparations were under way for a yagna. Krishna curiously asked Nandababa why and whom the yagna was for. Nandababa said that it was to worship and thank Indra (the Lord of clouds and rain) and pray to him to be kind to them. Krishna replied that since each person experiences birth, joy, sorrow, death etc as per one’s karmas, and since cows are their wealth, Brahmins gave them knowledge and Mount Govardhana gave them grass and rich pastures, there was no need to worship Indra. Nandababa and the elders initially objected but later agreed to not worship Indra each year. When Lord Indra learnt this he felt insulted, jealous and angry and wanted to punish the villagers. He called on thunder, lightening, clouds and winds and instructed them to destroy and create havoc in Vrindavan. It started to rain heavily and all the villagers ran to Krishna to help them and keep them safe. Krishna lifted mount Govardhana with his little finger and everyone took shelter under the mountain. Krishna held up the mountain for 7 days and nights. Seeing this Indra realised his mistake, withdrew his forces and asked Krishna for forgiveness. We learnt that if we seek Krishna’s shelter, He will keep us safe every single day. We learnt that ‘Karma’ means action and all actions give results -‘karmaphalas’. Depending on the karmas we perform (good or bad), we get corresponding karmaphalas – As you sow, so shall you reap! We also learnt that each person is responsible for their own karmas and karmaphalas and that the situations that we face always depend on the past choices that we have made in life. Like Mother Teresa, we must learn to serve and perform Nishkama Karmas (selfless actions).
Homework: To practise the virtue of Service through the week and complete the virtue sheet. To practise being members of the DUO Club.
We decided to have a revision class on chapter 25 of Kindle Life to consolidate our understanding before continuing with chapter 26. We split up in two groups, whereby each group attempted to summarise the following two aspects of this chapter: (1) science and religion and (2) experiences and four aspects of our personality. Accordingly, the following points were raised.
- The relationship between science and religion
Our age has been branded as aesthetic and secular.
We claim to live in an age of perfect intellectual awareness and scientific precision although scientific conclusions are changeable.
Meaning of science: physical and literal reasoning, improves the materialistic aspects of our life, is observation based.
Meaning of religion: intellectual & spiritual growth, continuously reflecting and working on ourselves, teaches us concepts which science cannot yet explain.
Science and religion both serve different purposes in our life. Science provides us with necessary short term solutions (e.g. advancements in technology or medication which is vital for a civilisation to continue functioning during a specific period of time).
Neither of them can stand on its own if it wants to bring happiness to society and serve man in living his daily life.
- Experiences and four aspects of our personality
The true goal of life can be reached only if the mind and intellect of the individuals are controlled.
An experience consists of three fundamental factors, (1) The Subject – The Experiencer, (2) The Object – The Experiences, (3) The relation between the subject and the object – The Experiencing.
If any of the above is absent, an experience cannot occur.
When a subject comes across an object in which an experience occurs, the experiencer becomes a composite of four different personalities; the physical, the psychological, the intellectual and the spiritual.
The greater the integration between these four aspects of our personality, the greater our freedom from the thraldom of life.
Next week in class, we will continue summarising the remainder of chapter 25.
Sadhana: To remind ourselves of our ‘biggest’ goal during times of confusion/chaos.
This week we studied Verse 11 of Chapter 13. Here the “yoga of non-separation”(ananya yoga) is mentioned.
This is the practice of total devotion and enthusiasm towards the Lord. A focused concentration on the Lord, will
help dissipate negative “mental excitements and agitations”. To achieve this form of yoga, the following is prescribed.
1) To resort to solitary places – Spend some time with yourself in quite contemplation on a daily basis. In the video commentary a minimum of 20 minutes a day is suggested where the seeker spends solitary time in contemplation of the Lord.
2) To develop a distaste for crowded societal life – This does not mean one should totally be cut-off from society, but rather one should not be mesmerised and consumed by the materialistic aspects of society.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 42 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.