We continued with letter G which stands for God. Children revised the bhajan that they learnt last week and learnt how to perform a puja. They perfotmed puja to Lord Ganesha using the following materials: milk, yoghurt, yellow rice (rice with turmeric), kum kum, chandan water, incense stick, lamp for aarti, bell and a murthi of Lord Ganesha. They performed the Puja with love and devotion to the Lord thanking Him for all the gifts in life. They offered prasaad to Lord Ganseha and learnt about the significance of it. When we make an offering to God with love, He takes all our love, puts his love into it and returns it to us with His love. That is why Prasaad is always more tasty than other food.
Homework: To revise the Saraswati sloka at home; To share what they learnt in class with family and friends
This week, as first class of new term, we revised what we had learnt previously. We discussed the characters and story of how King Parikshit put the dead snake on sage Samika, and seeing this, the sage’s enraged son cursed the king to die of a snake bite on the seventh day. King Parikshit repented his anger, handed over his kingdom to his son Janmejay and went into the forest to be in the divine company of sages in his last few days. He listened to Sage Sukadeva’s story of Lord’s divine play in the universe, the cycle of pralaya (dissolution or end) and creation, and the becoming of Varaha avataar. Lord Brahma created the first man Manu and woman Satarupa, but had no place to feed and grow them as Bhu or Mother earth was buried under water. A boar no larger than a thumb emerged from Brahma’s nostril and grew bigger and bigger. The Devas looked in awe, at this creature who They knew was none other than an avatar of Lord Narayana. The boar, with a strong sense of smell, dived deep into the water and brought mother earth delicately balanced between His powerful tusks. Thus, Varaha avatar came into being, and the creation restarted on earth. We did a few activities to understand the cycle of pralaya. Children made a paper boat (creation), and then destroyed it (pralaya/end). They repeated this a few times to understand the cycle of creation/pralaya/creation. We also did an activity where we wrote a friend’s good quality on a strip of paper. We made bangles of each strip and linked them. We then took another paper strip and wrote a negative quality/value that we wouldnt like our friends to treat us with. We again linked these together. Each chain (good values or bad qualities) when pulled with the first ring, moved and started a chain reaction, either good or bad. Thus, the kids understood that it is in their control to start a good chain reaction. As part of quiet activity, we offered craisins to Lord Vishnu, closed our eyes and chanted “Om namoh bhagavate vasudevaaya” and “Om namoh narayanaya” 11 times. When we were chanting, our mouth was busy focussing on God and could not be used to say bad things, thus quietening our mind. Also, the children learnt that the craisins we offered with our love, transformed into prasaad with God’s love. When we were praying, God accepted all our love in the craisins and filled them with all His love, making it prasaad. We shared the prasaad.
Homework: To find an opportunity to do an act of goodness, and thus to start a good chain reaction during the week. To write “Om namoh narayanaya” 3 times in the book.
We started by revising Control
of Senses and discussed how we practised this virtue over the holidays. We then
continued with the story of Krishna. As the time for Kamsa’s death was nearing,
Narada went to Kamsa and said “Oh Kamsa, you have been tricked. The eighth
son of Devaki and Vasudeva is living with Nanda and the female child whom you
tried to call was Yashoda’s – the two were exchanged at birth. Rohini’s son Balarama
and Krishna have been killing all the asuras you have sent”. Kamsa got
very angry and once again put Devaki and Vasudeva in prison-along with his own
father! He then came up with a plan to organise a Dhanuryagna (a ritual to
worship the scared bow), invite Krishna and Balarama to Mathura and get them
trampled by an elephant at the gates. If they somehow survived, he would get
his wrestlers to kill them. Kamsa then sent for Akrura, a respected Yadava chief.
He told Akrura his plan and asked him to invite and convince Krishna and
Balarama to come to Mathura. Akrura told Kamsa “your plan is detailed and
I will carry it out. But keep
a balanced mind in success and failure”. Akrura, being a great devotee of the Lord, went to Vrindavan constantly thinking of Krishna. On reaching Vrindavan, he was overjoyed to see Krishna. He then told Nanda, Krishna
and Balarama about Kamsa’s devious plan. They all however agreed to go with Akrura to Mathura. In the morning, to the greatest sorrow of the gopis, Krishna, Balarama and Nanda along with many family elders set out to go to Mathura. We learnt that we should have devotion to the Lord and be truthful. We also learnt that we must keep a balanced mind in success and failure.
Homework: To complete all the virtue sheets. To practise keeping a balanced mind.
We continued with chapter 26 of Kindle Life. In our pursuit to attain the status of perfect Bliss, we at times fall down into a state of sorrow and finitude. In order to reach this state of Bliss, we must investigate and discover our shortcomings. In this regard, Vedanta does not consider that there is any ‘fall’ in man and contends that the world of sense objects is not real, yet we feel from our separate existence, our weaknesses, sorrows and limitations. This begs the question, how does this delusion arise? The term Maya was introduced in this regard. In summary, Maya stands for ‘that which is not’, hence you are not perceiving things the way they actually are. The following story of the boy Somadatta’s father was examined to help with understanding the concept of Maya: A hermit was feeling tired on a hot day and decided to rest on an arbour near the Ganges banks. As he started to doze off (between the waking and sleeping state), his attention was attracted to two village girls.
This vision generated a line of thinking in the half asleep hermit who then had a dream of marrying one of the village girls. In this dream, they had a son called Somadatta. All three of them would sleep on the same bed.
One night, to given each other more room on the bed, Somadatta’s father (the hermit) moved over to one side. In doing so, he rolled down the Ganges water. The hermit woke up and swam out to the shore. The hermit created the world of Somadatta in himself, and lived that life in his dream as if it were ‘real’. Somadatta’s father living that domestic life which eventually led to him falling into the Ganges is an example of Maya, ‘that which is not’ in his own mind existing as its own nature.
Maya is manifested in the following three distinct eternal qualities (this will be discussed in class next week):
1. Sattva (unactivity); 2. Rajas (activity); 3. Tamas (inactivity).
This week we studied verse 13 of Chapter 13. Having illustrated the twenty qualities by which one attains knowledge in the previous verses, the Lord here begins to explain “what is to be known”. This is said to be the Supreme Consciousness. The Lord further declares that “knowing which one attains the immortal”. The twenty attributes in previous verses are prerequisites before the seeker can begin to understand Supreme Consciousness. In this verse the Lord also states the Supreme Brahman exists neither in a state of being(“Sat”) nor in a state of non-being(“Asat”). In the finite realm of space and time, the finite self can comprehend the binary states of existence and non-existence. The Supreme Brahman is said to be beyond that.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 44 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.