In class we continued with the Fourth key message of our pledge. “Ever ready to fight against the all low tendencies and false values, Within and without us.”
Children discussed the meaning and goal of the of Chinmaya / Balavihar army-Balavihar army is a group of disciplined people with a common goal to fight against all our low tendencies. We then brainstormed the meaning of the word ‘Low tendencies’ and ‘False value’. Children learned that ‘Tendencies are also called habits, so low tendencies mean bad habits. And habits are things we do repeatedly without thinking. Also, good habit makes us happy and bad habits may makes us happy in the beginning, but ultimately, they make us unhappy, for e.g: eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner might make us happy while eating however later we might get a cavity in the tooth that will be painful. So, our Chinmaya army’s goal is to fight against all our bad habits so that we are happy all the time.
In Activity Time: we made our two puppets Milloo and Iloo to remind us of our good and bad habits.
Homework: To complete the colouring and revise the third line of the pledge.
We started by chanting the first 12 caupais of the Chalisa, and trying to understand what made Hanuman such an ardent devotee. Much like the selfless devotion of a mother for her child, He was prepared to do anything for and to please Lord Rama. Just like grandparents who never get tired of listening to the stories of their grandchildren, Hanumanji loves listening to the glories of Lord Rama.
Prabhu charitra suneeve ko rasiya
Ramalakhana Sita mana basiya
You always take delight in listening to the glories of Lord Rama, and you have Lord Rama, Sitaji and Lakshmana permanently residing in your heart. We then heard the story of when Sitaji gifted Hanuman with her favourite and precious pearl necklace. After a while, she saw the beads strewn on the floor. Annoyed, She asked Hanumanji what this was. Hanumanji said that He separated every bead and looked for Rama in each of them and couldn’t find Him, so threw them as they were useless to Him. Sitaji queried if there was Rama in Hanumanji. Without hesitation, Hanumanji opened His chest to reveal Sitaji and Ramaji in His heart! This is symbolised by the various temples in India – Hanumanji temples do not have idol of Rama in them and we revere Lord Rama through Hanuman, however Rama temple has idol of Hanuman, generally at His feet. Another incident was when Hanumanji saw Sitaji putting sindur in her forehead and asked her why. She replied “this pleases Lord Rama.” Hanuman covered His entire body with sindur to always be able to please Rama!
We then understood the essence of caupai 9:
Sukshma roop dhari siyahim dikhava
Bikat roop dhari Lanka jarava
You (Hanumanji) assumed the smallest form to present before Sitaji, and the most fierce form to destroy Lanka.
Hanuman used His power to change His size wisely. He became big to cross the ocean to get to Lanka in search of Sitaji, then became small as a mosquito to present in front of Sitaji, and hide from sight of the surrounding demonesses guarding Her, and then became big again to show Rama’s power to Ravana and put Lanka on fire, when Ravana ordered to burn Hanuman’s tail, the pride of a monkey. After setting Lanka on fire, Hanuman became small again to loosen the fire rags covering His tale! Thus He teaches us to use whatever resources we have, wisely, and make the most of every opportunity we get.
Homework: To share the story of how Hanuman was a good devotee of Lord Rama, and how He used His powers wisely. To google “Eternity Sydney” to find out the history behind this. To chant all the caupais learnt.
We started the class by discussing how, during the week, we practised the virtue of being kind and gentle towards animals and people. We then continued with the tales of Krishna. One day Krishna wanted to have breakfast in the forest. He got up early in the morning and played the flute. Hearing the beautiful sound, all the gopas woke up and came running and so did the calves. All the gopas were very excited to go to the forest and they were very playful and having a lot of fun along the way. Aghasura was the brother of Putana and Bakasura (who were killed by Krishna) and he wanted to avenge their deaths by killing Krishna. Aghasura took the form of a very huge and long python (nearly 8 miles long). He lay still on the road with his mouth wide open-his lower jaw on the ground and the upper jaw high in the clouds and he waited. When the gopas came near Aghasura, they came up with different ideas on what it could be: some thought it could be a giant serpent, some thought it could be a geographical feature, some thought it was a mountain range. They were curious to find out what it was and thinking if they were in trouble Krishna would save them like He saved them from Bakasura, they all walked into the mouth of Aghasura. Aghasura still kept his mouth open as he wanted Krishna also to enter so he could kill him. Krishna thought on how to save he gopas and after a few moments entered the mouth of Aghasura and lodged himself in the windpipe. Aghasura unable to breathe, choked and died. Krishna then released the gopas. We learnt that we must learn to look where you are going before you walk into anything. Agha means ‘Sin’. Like Aghasura, Sin sits with its mouth open. We must learn to
recognise when and where it is waiting and avoid it. After the death of Aghasura, Krishna and the gopas went to the banks of Yamuna. As they were very hungry, they took the food that they got and started eating-all the gopas sitting in a circle with Krishna in the middle. The gopas were having so much fun that they did not notice that the calves had wandered away. When they noticed they wanted to go looking for them but Krishna told them to finish their meal and he would go searching for calves. Lord Brahma, seeing Krishna’s strength and power wanted to further test Krishna and in a moment of mischief hid all the calves in a cave. Krishna looked for the calves everywhere, couldn’t find them and went back to tell the gopas. But when he went back, the gopas were missing too! Brahmaji had hidden the gopas along with the calves. Krishna meditated for a moment and realised what happened. Krishna then multiplied himself and took the forms of all the calves and the gopas. When they all returned home, the cows showed extra love to the calves and the mothers to the gopas!!-they were after all Krishna in various forms. Krishna, the gopas and the calves continued to go to the forest daily and an year has passed. Brahmaji came back to see how Krishna was handling the tricky situation and was puzzled to see two sets of calved and gopas-one set where he hid them in the cave and the other with Krishna!! Suddenly the delusion or maya of Brahmaji was gone and he saw the calves and gopas as Krishna and then as Lord Vishnu. He understood what has happened and apologised to Krishna. The Krishna-gopas and the Krishna-calves disappeared and the calves and gopas from the cave came back to the forest and they had no memory of how long they were away. We learnt that the calves represent our sense organs-which will wander into the world and the gopas represent our mind-which is meant to control the sense organs and not run after them. When the calves and the gopas are with Krishna there is always happiness. We also learnt that when we are deluded (like how Brahmaji was) we become egoistic, unable to see the truth and we tend to show off. We must be humble.
Homework: To consciously remember to practise being humble throughout the week.
This week we continued discussing the pledge. Gurudev has conveyed the message that the whole world is a family and includes plants, birds and animals. This is his vision of oneness which inculcates harmony. He says to love and respect the world. We learnt how respect is acceptance – accept people for what they are and then interact with them. Standing signifies readiness – a preparedness to work, move or act. He wants us to serve as an army – a disciplined group of people working together towards a common goal, taking guidance from their seniors or teachers. We analysed the low tendencies that each of us have and shared means to help overcome them. We will continue to read and understand the pledge next week.
For this week we began a summary of Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is entitled the Cosmic – Form divine and in this Chapter the Lord reveals his cosmic-form to Arjuna. This form encompasses the entire total physical bodies in the universe. The cosmic-form can only be revealed to mere mortals by single-minded devotion. With devotion the form can be ‘known, seen and entered into’. This is explained in earlier chapters as the goal of self-realisation. A practical 5 step guide or Krishna plan is provided to gain insight into the Cosmic-Form. The 5 steps are 1) to dedicate all work to the Lord 2) live life with the goal being the Lord 3) devote oneself to the Lord 4) become free of all attachments 5) have no enmity to all persons.