In class we revised alphabet safari and learnt that N stands for Nobility. We brainstormed the meaning of the word ‘Nobility’ which is to take care of others by putting others first. We discussed scenarios wherein we can practise the quality of nobility. A little boy was willing to help a friend who hurt her leg although he knew he was going to miss his football training. We discussed our behaviour in those circumstances and learnt how we can have a strong moral character by being noble. We also learnt that Q stands for Quiet. A quiet person is calm and is able to focus the mind. By doing so, he/she listens better to others. We played a word game and found how the words SILENT and LISTEN are spelled with the same letters. Being silent means to be quiet; to listen means to pay attention. God has given us two ears to listen and only one mouth to speak. Hence, He wants us to listen more and talk less. We will try hard to practise both these qualities – be noble by putting others before self; be quiet so we can listen more.
Homework: To continue to revise the pledge and slokas.
This week, we continued learning about more qualities of our superhero Hanuman – self-controlled, disciplined and perfect. When we recite Hanuman Chalisa, happy thoughts come to our mind. This helps us achieve our goals and thus, we become perfect. Also, by reciting the Chalisa, we keep Hanuman in our hearts, thus keeping Lord Rama and Mother Sita in our hearts too. Hanumanji was perfect in speech (when, how and what to say), mind and action, as He chanted Rama’s name always. We then talked about our very own Gurudev, Swami Chinmayananda. He would respond to every letter he received before he went to bed every day, no matter how late in the night it was. Not only that, he would place the letter in an envelope, write the address, and then sort all the envelopes in bundles depending on their destination. He would then bind each bundle with a rubber band with no twist. Such was his perfection! Gurudev used to say that our work should reflect the perfection like that of our Creator. To reiterate this, the children did an activity to sort cards and bind them in bundles with rubber bands. We checked the alignment of the cards and rubber bands to check how perfectly the task was done. We also talked about cleaning up after ourselves and leaving a place better than how we found it. Just like we like to live in a clean home, if we want God to reside in our hearts, we need to purify our heart by getting rid of bad habits, bad temper, jealousy etc.
We then heard the story of a magic carpet. Once a lazy man (and hence poor) pestered a sage to bless him with a magic carpet to grant all his wishes. Reluctantly the sage obliged. The lazy man thought of food, and got food. He thought of a palace, servants and beautiful robes, and he got all that. Then, he thought what if there was an earthquake. So, there was one and all his belongings were destroyed. This teaches us how self-control of thoughts, mind and action (gosaim) is so important. We then did an activity where the children stood inside a ring of yarn. Then, while talking and walking aimlessly, they entangled the yarn and made a web of it, and they got bound in it. Now, consciously, they chanted the Hanuman mantra, and worked together to tried to detangle the yarn. And did it. The essence of this activity taught us that all our vices like getting angry, pushing someone, laughing at others, speaking lies etc., bind us. If we chant and pray to Hanumanji and work towards our goal without getting distracted (single-pointedly), we are sure to achieve it.
This brought us to the completion of our study of the Hanuman Chalisa. Next week, we will do fun activities to make our very own Chalisa Toran and review the entire Chalisa.
We also chanted the related caupais (last 4 verses) together:
Jai jai jai Hanuman gosaim
Krupa Karahu guru devaki Naim
Victory to You! (3) O Lord Hanumanji, who has control over His senses! Bless us with Your grace as our preceptor.
Jo sat bar paath Kare koi
Chutahi bandi maha sukha hoi
One who recites (Hanuman Chalisa) a hundred times, is released from bondage (i.e. the cycle of death and rebirth) and enjoys absolute bliss.
Jo yeh padhe Hanuman chalisa
Hoya siddhi Saakhi gaurisa
One who reads the Hanuman Chalisa (regularly) will attain perfection to which Lord Siva is the witness
Tulasidasa Sadaa Hari chera
Keejai Naath hridaya mah dera
O Lord Hanuman, I (Tulsidasa) am always the servant of the Lord (Lord Rama), and pray that You make Your (permanent) residence in my heart
Pavantanaya sankat haran, mangal murati roop
Rama Lakhana Sita sahit, hriday basahu sura bhoop [Concluding doha]
O Son of Wind, destroyer of all miseries, You are a symbol of auspiciousness. Along with Lord Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita, reside in my heart. Oh King of gods!
Homework: Chant entire chalisa on Tuesday and Saturday. Remember to bring your books to class next week, and come in traditional clothes. Also, parents are invited to join in class next Sunday, to review the Chalisa in summary together, and partake in the festive activities planned.
This week we continued Chapter 23 and looked at the Atman.
We found that the Atman gives the ability to the sense organs to perceive, mind to feel and intellect to think.
We revised that the subtle body is made up of the mental and intellectual sheaths. So we found that this subtle body is constituted of thoughts, however there are a few distinct stages for these thoughts.
- Mind -> Manas
In an experience the first impact of the stimuli is the disturbance in thoughts and decisions.
- Buddhi -> intellect
After that first impact, there comes the decision and determination once the disturbance dies down.
Next comes a doubt and decision which will be related and the awareness of our ego (‘I’ ‘mine’).
This is the thought form of the nature of memory.
Lastly we have Cidakasa, which is the unconditioned consciousness, which is all pervading.
We see ourselves as a conditional consciousness presently-with our mind, intellect and ego surrounding us and having our attention. However beyond those things lie karma yoga, Bhakti yoga and Jnana yoga, which we use to help eliminate them.
Then the conditioned consciousness and Cidaksa merge to become one.
Homework: To read this week and last week’s summary.
This week we studied the concluding verse of Chapter 12. Here the Lord confers his Supreme love to those devotees who follow the 36 laws of life. A further qualification (besides the Laws of Life) required of the devotee is faith. Faith is described as “the necessary capacity to assimilate spiritual ideas into ourselves through subjective personal experience”. In his commentary Gurudev says that even if 1 of these 36 laws are pursued with vigour, the other laws will automatically be imbibed.
Sadhana: To reflect on these attributes and integrate them in to our daily lives by constant practice.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 28 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.