Kindy and Junior Balavihar:
We continued with the Ramayana story. As suggested by Jatayu, Rama and Lakshmana headed southward in search of dear Sita. In the middle of the dense forest, they came across a strange creature called Kabandha. Kabandha was huge, with no head, a big mouth with fat lips on his belly, one large eye on his chest and really long arms. He quickly picked up Rama and Lakshmana in his hands and started hurting them. Rama and Lakshmana chopped off his arm to set themselves free. As soon as they did this, the creature turned into a normal person like us and got freed from an old curse. As a being (Gandharva), Kabandha was greedy and all he wanted to do was eat and drink and possess material things and enjoy life, and so he got morphed into that strange creature. In some ways, we are all Kabandhas, focussed on gathering things for ourselves. We also played a game where we were tied to each other in pairs, and had to collect as many things as we could around the room. The rules were to always stick to our pair, and to be able to carry all the things picked up by us. The children collected many things, useful or not. Next we played the game again. This time, the rule was to go around, stuck to our pair and pick up the thing after analysing if we really needed it. They hardly picked up anything!
Their homework is: To practise NOT being Kabandha, by giving up one thing each day by analysing whether we really need it.
In class, we discussed our teacher from last week, ‘Fire’, by going through the story about the discovery of fire. We learnt that fire, when left alone is man’s best friend but when people try to steal it or hoard it, then it causes destruction. Fire teaches us never to hoard or be greedy. We then worked out our next teacher who is so beautiful that poets like to write about it; not slim like Miss World; more on the rounded side – ‘MOON’. The moon appears to be changing in shape but actually is always the same. Similarly, we undergo change constantly including in our body, but what is changeless is the Bhagavan within us. We learnt and enacted the story called, ‘This too shall pass’. Anand, a poor villager undergoes so many changes in his life from being very poor to being crowned the King. He is not perturbed by change as he always knows that this too shall pass. We learnt that in both joy and sorrow, we must remain calm and thank the Lord for the opportunity to experience the NOW.
Their homework is: To practise saying ‘This too shall pass’ when we feel happy or sad. Learn by-heart the first 2 slokas of Ch 15 of Gita (attached).
We continued our discussion on religion. We understood that like all other sciences and fields of knowledge, religion too has both theoretical and practical components to it. Without the former, religion is akin to superstitious beliefs while if not practiced then religion is non-beneficial information stored in our minds. We also discussed that the practices of religion require one to alter one’s inner self. However, as man finds it easier to modify his external environment rather than his inner personality, religious practices come with obstacles which can only be overcome with dedication, discipline and conviction in the practice based on knowledge. To demonstrate this, the JCs were asked to write down an activity that they would want to do on a daily basis (aim). They had to identify the resources they would require to complete the activity (methods), obstacles that would prevent them from doing so and ideas on how they can overcome these obstacles (risk assessment). Finally they had to hypothesize how this activity would benefit them.
Sadhana for the week: To perform the chosen activity every day of the week with dedication, discipline and conviction.
This week we completed Sloka 34 of Chapter 9 – Fix thy mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me, having thus united your whole Self with Me, taking me as the Supreme Goal, you shall come to Me. Gurudev explained the 3 steps with very easily understandable examples; 1. Like a mother whose love for the child makes her always think of the child, we should always think of the Lord. 2. If we totally surrender to the Lord, in the process we lose our ego like the shadow disappears when we fully prostrate. 3. For sleep onset, we let go of all thoughts and processes that keep us awake and glide into sleep; similarly if we give up all egocentric thoughts, we merge with the Lord. Also, we summarised all the slokas and decided that we will revise this chapter further in the following weeks using the ready reference guide.
Sadhana for the week: Questions to be reflected upon: 1. What is death? 2. Differentiate Iswara from jiva. 3. How does Krishna describe men of rakshasic and asuric temperaments? 4. Describe men of divine temperament. 5. What is Jnana Yagna? 6. What is Turiya state? 7. Differentiate between Yoga and Ksema.