- To continue to revise Geeta Chapter 15.
In class we revised the letter B which stands for Brotherhood. We discussed how sharing, loving and caring for one another is what brotherhood is all about. We talked about how this starts at Home and then spreads to our extended family, friends, neighbours and the entire world. 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.
Homework: To share what they learnt in class – ie, how OM is inside our HOME. To learn the first 2 lines of Ganesha prayer by-heart.
The children seemed to be full of beans today! We started our class by taking turns to write the 4-step “Om” on the whiteboard. We then played a game – the aim of the game was, when your name is called, to say “Hari Om” with the biggest smile and then take the next vacant seat starting at one corner. It was interesting to see how children, in following through the complex instruction forgot to say “Hari Om” as they were working in their little heads, what seat would be the next one! We then recapped our story by talking about who – Rama or Ravana – was really winning the battle, and what are the qualities of a winner. Which of them was fair, just and empathetic. What did Rama say (“Ravana, go home and take some rest. Get refreshed and come back tomorrow with new weapons You are tired. You fought very well today.”) We also introduced the funny character of Kumbhakarna (Ravana’s brother and last resort to win the battle) to our story. We also practised the Alphabet Safari song.
Homework: To talk to family and find out why Kumbhakarna slept for so many months. (Googleananda has some nice pictures and stories about this to share as well) To write the answer in their books. To practise the good qualities of fairness and empathy during the week.
This week we explored further what a child can teach us- they had learnt that a child is always honest and says the truth not worried about what others might think. A child also teaches us that we do not need expensive toys and fancy things to be really happy – children are so happy with just a tickle or when you lift and swing them- sometimes they prefer to play with the packaging of an expensive toy rather than the toy itself. Reflecting on the other teacher of lady with one bangle, students discussed the importance of being in silence and alone for at least some time during day as that is when our thoughts and goals in life become clear. They also learnt Gurudev’s quote:” Learn to be happy alone. If we do not enjoy our own company why inflict it on others!!”
Homework: To try and enjoy and find joy in small things in life and be honest like a child. To discuss Gurudev’s quote with family.
In class, we looked at Talk V which talked about the foundations of dharma. There are four key aspects to the foundations of dharma. Firstly, reverence for life. It is extremely important that we are compassionate towards all living things and not destroy life unnecessarily. Secondly, respect for knowledge. It is essential that we are not ignorant and that we receive and give knowledge where possible. Thirdly, respect for happiness. One of our primary duties is to give happiness. This can be done in so many different ways, but can be as simple as smiling at people. The fourth is integration. Dharma is designed to bring people together, establish friendships and relationships for life. All four aspects are part of the greater concept of love. Love leads to happiness and respect. We also learnt that love for God is bhakti.
Sadhana: Consciously smile on a daily basis. Make the most of any opportunity to smile to people at school and your family and observe how it contributes to your happiness during the week.
In class we discussed the importance of equality using the topic of feminism. We understood that feminism is not just the promotion of women but is a movement that fights for equal opportunities for all humans. We discussed further that one does not necessarily have to be in an under privileged position to question status quo of the lack of equality but can also question it from a situation of privilege. For example, if I got a certain grade for an answer on a test and a friend of mine got a lower grade for the same answer, from my position of privilege I can still ask why my friend got a lower grade in order to achieve equality. We discussed this because Vedanta says that we are all part of the same consciousness but if we support inequality in the external materialistic world then we are being untrue to our nature.
Sadhana: To observe and identify cases of inequality in the external world and identify ways in which something can be done about it.
Chapter 10: Verse 12,13 & 14
Verse 12: You are the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Abode, the Supreme Purifier, Eternal, Divine Purusha, the God of all gods, Unborn, Omnipresent.
Verse 13: All the Rishis have thus declared You, as also the Deva-Rishi; so also Asita, Devala and Vyasa; and now the same You yourself say to me.
Verse 14: I belive all this that You say to me as true; O Keshava; verily, O Blessed Lord! Neither the Devas nor the Danavas know Your manifestation: (identity)
In these verses, Arjuna, raises the question to Krishna. Everybody including all the deva Rishi’s says that Self is everything. In that case why the Self can be fixed up neither by the subtlest and noblest of our perceptions, nor can we apprehend this Self through our “Danava” like challenges to possess, to acquire, to investigate and to know. Neither the good in us can embrace the Self, nor can the bad in us challenge and bring up the Self as an opposing force right in front of us. In other words, why the Self is not visible to us or why we are not in a position to understand that?
Sadana : Introspect daily, detect diligently, negate ruthlessly.