In class we learnt the letter B which stands for Brotherhood. We discussed how sharing, loving and caring for one another is what brotherhood is all about. We played a game of passing the parcel using chocolates. While some children got many chocolates a couple of them did not get any. They were however, quick to resolve this by sharing them around. We talked about how brotherhood starts at home and then spreads to our extended family, friends, neighbours and the entire world. The whole world is one big family. We explored the meaning of the word HOME. This word is special because it has OM in the middle. Children recognised the word OM as the beginning of their prayers. H = Happy OM = God E = Ever. Every happy person sees God in their home always. We stay happy ever by praying to God as a family. It was good to see children talking in class that they were practising this value when they shared colour pencils with each other for their colouring activity.
Homework: To complete the colouring and practise the Guru Stotram
This week, we further delved into our book on Bala Bhagavatam – the stories about Dasha Avatar (10 avatars of Lord Vishnu). We played two rounds of an activity to pick items out of a hat with our eyes closed and without talking at all. This helped us to practise self-control even when the children were surprised at what each of them took out. They were allowed to keep the items they picked, as a reward for not talking. We then discussed how it is human tendency to “indulge in a little evil” when we think no one is watching – we sneak in a bit of TV time instead of doing homework if mum is not around. God is everywhere and is watching, but cannot be seen. When the amount of evil increases too much, He comes down as an avatar to teach people a lesson, destroy the evil and protect the good. We talked about the names of the ten avatars (the superheroes of our story book), and used mnemonics technique (use of each letter to form a sentence) to remember how to spell each of their names. Some examples are Parasurama = Parrot and rabbits and swans understood Rama’s all magic actions, Rama = Ravi ate many apples, Varaha = Vera and Reva are happy animals. As we wrote this in our books, we thought of what a superhero looks like and does. The children practised use of mnemonics to spell their own names.
Homework: To colour in beautifully their avatar picture in their books and also in their parachute (if not already done so). To use mnemonics to spell their mum and dad’s names and write in their books. To remember to bring both their exercise book and their parachute back to class next week.
This week we continued revising what we learnt till now and heard the story of how King Parikshit was cursed.
One day King Parikshit went hunting and lost his way. Hungry, thirsty andtired he saw a small hut with a sage meditating nearby. The King asked thesage for some water and got no answer. The King got angry thinking the
sage was pretending to meditate and taking a dead snake lying nearby,threw it around the sage’s neck and left. The sage’s son Sringi came to the hut, saw the dead snake around his father’s neck and was very angry.
He cursed King Pariskhit saying “On the seventh day, the King of snakes,Takshaka, will bite and take the life of the man who put the snake aroundmy father’s neck”. The sage (who was Sameeka Maharshi) on hearing what
Sringi did was very sad and told Sringi what a good king Pariskhit was andthat everyone made mistakes and we must learn to forgive them. He thensent the message to Pariskhit informing him of the curse. King Parikshitafter reaching the palace realised what a big mistake he had committed andthat instead of protecting and revering saints and sages he had insultedone! When he heard of Sringi’s curse he accepted it as a blessing. Hecrowned his son as the King and went to the river Ganga where he met thegreat Sage Sukadeva. Parikshit asked Sukadevaji “What is the duty of aperson facing imminent death and how do I free myself from its agony”?
Sukadevaji said that the only way to remove the fear of death is to listen to the stories of the Lord, think about the meaning of them and meditate upon the Lord. He then narrated Srimad Bhagavatam to Parikshit.
From the story we learnt 1) when we get angry we lose our ability to think and our intellect is divided. We must therefore be alert 2) everyone makes mistakes – we must learn to FORGIVE them 3) when we
commit mistakes we must accept the punishment 4) we must listen to thestories of the Lord, think about their meaning and meditate upon the Lord.We also discussed how the consequences of some of our actions can be very severe and apologies will not reduce the severity of the results of theactions.
Homework: To completely learn the Maha Mrtynjaya Mantra. To continue practising being careful with words and not use harsh words.To practise forgiveness during the week and note down the instances in the sheet given. To share with family and friends the story of King Parikshit’s curse and what we learnt from it.
This week we finished chapter 23 and discussed Vedānta philosophy and the four Vedas. We also spoke about and defined philosophy and religionas well as what they will be without each other. Philosophy is a view of life while religion is a way of life. Religion without philosophy is a bundle of superstitions and philosophy without religion is a utopian myth. We also went through chapter 24, and read how Hinduism is like a worn tree and how we need to redeem our religion and nourish it with the salt of understanding. We also went on to discuss that religion is not identified inplaces of worship like temples, churches or in sacred books. Religion should be understood as a science of living which we can rebuild on our day to day existence. We also started chapter 25-Vedanta life and art of living. We briefly discussed how our scriptures may not change but with new generations we may find a different meaning to our lives and how Vedanta serves the growing demand of men.
We will continue with chapter 25 in the next class.
This week we studied verses 3 and 4 of Chapter 13. In verse 3, the Lord says “Know Me as the Knower-of-Fields in all fields”. In the previous verse we saw the knower-of-fields is one who understands the world of matter. Here the Lord is saying that he is the one who understands the universe of matter in all forms (fields). The Lord is “identifying himself with the Self that is everywhere.” The Lord is the field and also the knower of the field. In verse 4, an executive summary of the coming verses is presented. Henceforth the Lord will explain “what the field is, of what nature it is, what are its modifications; whence it is; and also who He is”. The statement “whence it is” is the study of cause and effects in the field, and the statement “who He is” is an explanation of the Knowing Principle behind the field.
Chanting: To revise up to Verse 34 of Chapter 2 of the Gita.