- Attached to the email is a pdf document of the prayers and pledge that we chant in class each week.
- Kindly pay the term fees if you have not done so already.
In class we started the Alphabet Safari or Alphabet of values which will enable us to become a sweet person who is able to see God in everyone and everything around. We learnt that A stands for Aspiration. They heard the story of Arjuna and his archery test of shooting the head of a toy bird on a faraway tree. While all the Pandavas and Kauravas failed, only Arjuna succeeded in this test. This was because Arjuna only saw the head and could not see anything around him or the bird. Children enthusiastically shared what they wanted to become when they grew up. We learnt that we need to have a strong determination and focus to achieve our goals in life, whether they are in the short term like doing our homework or in the long run like becoming a ballerina or a doctor. They also did an activity which taught them that we need to set realistic goals that we can reach through our hard work.
Homework: To complete the colouring sheet (s) and learn the Ganesha Prayer’ Suklaam Baradharam…”
In continuation with the Ramayana story, we recapped the chain of events after Rama and the vanara sena (monkey army) arrived in the beautiful golden kingdom of Lanka. Ravana was advised by his wise grandfather Malyavan to return Sita to avoid battle and defeat, Ravana not heeding to any good advice, sent his warriors to take positions at the various city-gates. Rama looking at the beautiful city from atop Mount Trikuta and thinking about its impending wasteful destruction, sent two peace messengers Sugriva and Angad to give Ravana one last chance. Rigid Ravana in his heart felt scared – he tricked Sita into believing that he had killed Rama by presenting a lifelike head of Rama. Sita almost fainted but Sarama, a good raksasi informed her that this was only a sorcerer’s illusion. As we discussed the story events, we heard what values were portrayed by each of the characters – god-fearing grandfather, calm and composed Rama, feeling of hatred in Sugriva and Angad as they deliver Rama’s message, good Sarama (rose among thorns) who helped Sita and, Ravana – wicked, spiteful deceitful, rigid and foolish. The children also did a couple of activities to depict the characteristics of Rama and Ravana (twisted string through a pipe, remained crooked) and a white paper covered with black lines on one side depicting bad habits like that of Ravana’s – too hard to get rid of and destruction is the only choice. The children also came up with different strategies to handle anger or when we are irritated – taking a deep breath, ignoring the person and walking away from the place for some time were the main ones.
Homework: To talk to family and find out who were Angad’s parents and what number avatar of Lord Vishnu was Rama. To write this answer in their books. Also, complete all colouring sheets.
We continued with My 24 Teachers and this week’s riddle was: “People are enchanted by my beauty and I use my talent to make lots of money although with age my vanity haunts me.” This week’s teacher was a Dancer who uses her outward beauty to get favours from wealthy men. However, as she ages and no one comes to see her anymore, she realises that instead she should strive for the eternal favour of God. Even if we forget God, he never forgets us and always finds a way to help us realise our mistakes and tries to make us happy. The dancer now dedicated her life to dancing and volunteering in temples and found true happiness. We discussed that beauty is not just external, but comes from within from the kindness and compassion in our hearts and our behaviour towards our fellow human beings.
Homework: To revise and practise ways of truly beautiful by doing our secret kindness acts.
We discussed Talk III in class, introducing the topic of dharma for the first time. Dharma are the rules by which we play the game of life. There are generally two types of dharma; that which we obey and that which we must avoid. For example, the dharma of electricity when followed is of great benefit, but when disobeyed, can be dangerous. Dharma can be both of a general and specific nature. For example, in cricket there are rules regarding batsmen and bowlers and what they can and cannot do. This is our specific dharma in this game. The general dharma is to play by fair means and accept the decisions made by the umpire. Not only do we apply this concept to school or sports, we can also apply it to the things we do daily. Brushing our teeth, having a shower, eating and sleeping all contribute to us fulfilling our dharma. We then looked further into this concept and found that dharma is our duty in life. By fulfilling our duty, we are seeking to attain long term happiness (ananda).
Sadhana: Draw a mind map including everything in your life that you think relates to your dharma. At the end of the exercise, write two or three sentences explaining how fulfilling these gives you happiness.
An experience is comprised of the experience, the object of experience and the relationship between the two. An object is anything that is external. Previously we learnt that the body mind and intellect are external sheaths. In class today we learnt that there are 5 external sheaths that envelop the Atman. The ‘food sheath’ is our physical body because it is composed of the things we eat. To enable our body to carry out its functions, we need to breathe. The air within us that allows various biological processes to occur is known as the ‘vital air sheath’. The next two layers are our mind and intellect. Our intellect is like a king that stays in the castle and has no contact with the outside world. Our mind is like the minister that receives information from the world through the sense organs and has the ability to neatly package them but does not have the power to make decisions. The mind relays information to the intellect so that the latter can make decisions. However, our minds, under the influence of vasanas, relays misleading or false information to the intellect so that it can bias the decision in its favour.
Sadhana: To observe the information your mind relays to the intellect and catch it if you think the information is misleading.
Continuing with the revision of Chapter 10, this week we revised by listening, reading and discussing Verses 8 and 9.The Infinite Self expresses through the Cosmic Mind as Ishwara, the Creator of the Universe, and through the individual mind as Jiva, projector of the individual world. i.e.: The Self is the same in both Ishwara and Jiva. When an individual is able to personally experience and comprehend that they are none other than this Self, then the individual is able to constantly and totally be aware of this Conscious Principle through all activities of life. Such seekers rejoice in always sharing and discussing their knowledge, love and devotion with other seekers.
Sadhana: To contemplate on Ishwara and Jiva and how the Infinite Self is the same in both of them.