In class children revised the 3L’s that Balavihar stands for 1. Learn – about God, prayers, chanting, meditation 2. Love – everyone 3. Laugh – together. They learnt the motto of Balavihar is to ‘Keep Smiling’. They listened to the story of ‘The noble King, curious crown Prince, devotional Minister and intelligent Cook’ to understand better why they came to Balavihar and what they learnt here.
Once upon a time there was a noble king who was loved by all. He had a very efficient and devotional minister who had great faith in God and everyone in the kingdom was very religious. The king had an intelligent and curious son who was the crown prince and who was trained by the minister. Although he followed all religious rituals advocated by the minister, he always had doubts about who this God was. When the King died and he was crowned the new king, he asked the old minister the following questions: Who is God? Where is God? What does God do? He then said that if the minister could not provide satisfactory answers to these questions within 45 days, then he would ban all places of worship in the kingdom and no one would be allowed to pray to God. The minister was very worried and set out to find answers from learned men, sages, saints in the kingdom, but no one could provide a proper answer. Exhausted he returned to his home after 44 days. His cook for many years could not see his minister like this and on finding out reason for stress, told him not to worry and that he would answer the king. The next day, the cook went and told the king that he would answer the questions for the minister but would do so only if the king let him sit on the throne and he sat at his feet like a student. The King was curious and was willing to do anything to get the answers. The cook asked for a brown cow, bowl of milk and green grass and also a candle and matchsticks. Then he provided the answers:
Who is God? God is the one who makes a brown cow who eats green grass give us white milk!
Where is God? He lit the candle and asked the King where the light was. Like how the light is everywhere, God is everywhere too.
Just then the minister came crying and apologising to the king for being unable to find answers and was surprised to see his cook on the throne and the King at his feet. What does God do? God makes an ordinary cook sit on the throne, the King at his feet and makes a wise minister cry!!
Although we know God is everywhere, we cannot see and feel his presence most times. The kids will learn how they can see and feel God always during their subsequent Balavihar classes!
Children also learnt a Bhajan on Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda in preparation for Annual Day celebrations.
Homework: To revise the Bhajan and share the story with family.
As it was the first class for this year, we revised and discussed the meaning and purpose of Balavihar. Bala means ‘child’ and vihar means ‘recreation’. The purpose of Balavihar is to help children learn values, while having fun. We talked about our class rules. We also learnt the motto of Chinmaya Mission – “To give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time”. We then discussed how we can do this e.g. by helping others, by studying and performing well etc. We introduced the concept of Secret Kindness Agents (SKA), who are like superheroes or avatars on earth. We brainstormed what acts of kindness can make us a SKA as well. We will continue to explore this concept at every class this year. We also discussed about Gurudev – Swami Chinmayananda (the founder of Chinmaya Mission), Guruji – Swami Tejomayananda, Pujya Swamiji – Swami Swaroopananda and our Acharya – Swami Shrikarananda. We practised the Chinmaya Pledge as well. Our class motto this term is “Love all and keep smiling.”
Children also learnt a Bhajan on Gurudev in preparation for our Annual day. At the end, we took photos of each of our Secret Kindness Agents (SKA) to create a class display board.
Homework: To decide on a name for yourself as the SKA. To put your hand on your heart, stand in front of the mirror and say the Pledge. As we do this, we observe the actions of our reflection in the mirror.
In the first class for this year, we revised and discussed the meaning and purpose of Balavhar. Bala means ‘child’ and vihar means ‘recreation’. The purpose of Balavihar is to help children learn values, while having fun. Each of us then shared why we come to balavihar. We also revised the motto of Chinmaya Mission- “To give maximum happiness to maximum people for maximum time”. We then discussed how we can do this e.g. by helping others. In order to help make the world a better place, all the children have taken up the role of Balavihar Secret Kindness Agents (BVSKA)-practising kindness and helping others. We also discussed about Gurudev – Swami Chinmayananda – the founder of Chinmaya Mission (and about His Guru -Swami Tapovanam), Guruji – Swami Tejomayananda, Pujya Swamiji – Swami Swaroopananda and our Acharya – Swami Shrikarananda.
Homework: To practise being kind to others at home and at school. To come up with a code name/pseudonym for themselves as secret kindness agents.
Given the shorter class this week, we did not continue with the text ‘Kindle Life’. Instead we started by introducing ourselves to the rest of class and discussed what we would cover during this term. Next week we will start revising the most recent chapters of the book Kindle Life we went through last year, being chapters 27 (‘Japa-Yoga’) and 28 (‘Gayatri Mantra’) before we continue with the text.
This being the first week back, we very briefly studied Verse 29 of Chapter 13. In this verse, it is explained that the Lord resides in all matter envelopments. We will study this verse in more detail in the coming week. We also watched the Chinmaya satsang series, Think Big, Think Chinmaya. Here the spirit of selfless service was well explained by Pujya Swami Swaroopananda.