Introductory & Junior Balavihar:
This week, we did the letter “M” for mother. We discussed who does most chores in and around the house. The unanimous answer was “my mum” (some did say “my dad”!). Then the children were asked how much does she get paid in return. Nothing in terms of money, but she does it for the love of the family. The children learnt that mother is like God, and they even wrote “Matru Devo Bhavah” in Hindi using lines and circles technique. They then heard the story of a little boy named Chinku, who was afraid to leave his mother and so refused to go to school. Chinku’s mum planted a kiss on his left palm, which travelled straight to his heart via his left arm. Mum told him that when ever he was sad, he could take his hand to his heart, and feel mum’s love, as it was always there with him, no matter what. Thus, Chinku felt happy and did not fuss to go to school. The children then made a card for mum, and talked about how they would give mum a cuddle as soon as they see mum. They then made a bookmark to take home for mum. Children also heard a story of a little girl Amy, who would always help with chores around the house, without getting paid. When she went to school one day, her friend Amanda suggested that Amy not do any work in the house if she wasn’t paid any pocket money. That afternoon, Amy went home and watched TV, refusing to do any work. Her mum was concerned with her unusual behaviour, so checked if she was okay. Amy let mum know that she was not going to help in the house unless she got paid money. Mum just smiled. Then, in the night when Amy went to bed, mum wrote a note for Amy. In that, she wrote down a list of things she does in and around the house. Of course, this list was very long! At the bottom she wrote “Paid – $0.00” and “Mum loves you”. When Amy saw the note the next morning, she realised her mistake. She vowed to help mum to show her gratitude. As part of the lesson, we also talked about other Mothers like Mother Earth, Mother Nature, Mother Cow, Mother India, and how mum is such a selfless being, and we should always care for her.
Homework: To be like Amy and help around the house/when mum is rushing in the morning. Writing “Matru Devo Bhavah” in Hindi 3 times using the lines and circles technique.
We started the class by revising what is needed to play a game and what is the recipe for success. We then discussed what makes one a good student or disciple and learnt that willingness, enthusiasm, conviction, humility and the discipline to practise what we learn makes one a good disciple. We then did an activity where we took 3 clear glasses-left 1 empty, filled 1 completely with water and the last one filled half with water. We then got a bottle of delicious and healthy freshly squeezed juice and wanted to pour the juice into the 3 glasses. We realised that the full glass could not take any juice; we could pour some juice into the half empty one and could completely fill the empty glass with the delicious juice. Only when we are humble and have room for new knowledge (like the empty glass) are we fully receptive to learn what is taught! We then learnt that although teachers are everywhere and anything or anyone can be teacher, only with the right attitude and outlook can we recognise and learn from them.
Homework: To learn the first verse of Guru Paduka Stotram and to teach it to family and friends. To practise being a good disciple all through the week.
Continuing from the previous class on the Gayatri Mantra chapter, we learnt that a piece of music has three parts to it, 1. The meaning of the song, 2. The laws of music and 3. The sound of the song. This can be applied when chanting the mantra Om – there is the sound of the word, then the meaning followed by the application of Om to our character.
This week we discussed the sound meaning of the word ‘Om’. There are three sounds when pronouncing the word Om, A, U and M. And this one word represents the four states that we all go through. The sound A represents the waking state, U represents the dream state and M represents the deep sleep state. The fourth state is known as Turiya and is the state of bliss. This fourth state is experienced at the short silence that follows after Om. This is the breakdown of the syllables and their meaning of the word Om.
Sadhana: To continue with Japa as many times during the week as one can manage.
This week we studied Verse 25 of Chapter 13. This verse guides us to seek true Self. Three techniques are indicated to discover the Supreme. The first technique is meditation. This is a process of withdrawing our senses from the outer world and then focusing all our concentration on the Supreme. This is the most difficult path to the Supreme. The second technique is by study of the scriptures. Daily study leads to the Yoga of Knowledge and over time a realisation of the Supreme. This path requires dedication and focus over a long period of time. The final technique is Karma Yoga, or the path of doing noble deeds and actions. It is noted that none of the techniques are nobler that the other. The path chosen by an individual is dependent on the personality and temperament of the individual.