Happy summer break to all!! See you in September at the ashram premises, for a new balavihar year!

Check the thumbnail on the left for the video and stills from the play.

Grade 6 teachers.

The Journey of grade 6.......boarding Pandavas,Kauravas, Dronacharya, Drupada, and the great Ekalavya, and Karna

Section: 1                                                                                     October 20, 2012

Hari Om,

We started our class with opening prayers. We reviewed last week’s story until Pandu married Kunti and Madri. We began with the birth of the Kauravas.

            Dhritarashtra and Gandhari had 100 sons and one daughter.  Duryodhana, the first son, brayed like a donkey when he was born causing many bad things to happen in the kingdom like fires randomly starting, and more.  Vidura predicted Duryodhana would cause much destruction to the world and told Dhritarashtra to sacrifice him.  But he was too attached to his first son and kept him despite Vidura’s warnings.

            Meanwhile Pandu went hunting one day, and saw a deer and a doe. Naturally, he killed them.  They were actually humans in disguise and the father of the deer was a Rishi.  He cursed Pandu saying that if he went near his wives, he would die.  Pandu sadly retreated into the forest with his wives and stayed there. There, Kunti taught Madri used the mantra to bear children and they both had children, Madri had two and Kunti had three.  Kunti called upon Yama, god of death and received Yudishtira or Dharmaraja.  Next, she requested the wind god, Vayu, and received the almighty Bhima. Last, she consulted Indra, and received Arjuna. Madri called upon the Ashwinikumars, the heavenly doctors, and received handsome twins, Nakula and Sahadeva.  These 5 sons became the Pandavas.  Many years later when Madri and Pandu were together, the curse came into effect and Pandu died. During the funeral pyre, Madri jumped in feeling that Pandu had died because of her.  Kunti, who was lost and confused, returned to Hastinapura to Bheeshma.  Yudishtira was 16 at the time.  

            Kripacharya taught the Pandavas and the Kauravas fighting skills. After the first few lessons, Duryodhana realized Bhima was a suitable enemy for the throne. He began scheming for a way to get rid of his competitor.  He invited everyone to a picnic on the banks of the Ganges.  He poisoned Bhima’s food, tied Bhima up (who had fell asleep), and threw him into the river which had spikes on the bottom. Bhima, very luckily, missed the spikes by an inch.  He instead fell into a pit of poisonous snakes. The poison of the snakes was like an antidote to the poison he had previously eaten. Bhima emerged from the river 8000 times stronger than he originally was.  After the rest of the Pandavas found out this incident, they told Vidura in secret.

            Drona was the son of Rishi Bharadwaja.  He was very poor.  Drona and Drupada, son of King Panchala, went to Gurukula together and became good friends. Drupada used to joke saying that when he grew older he would give Drona half of his kingdom.  Many years later, Drona went to King Drupada seeking alms. Drupada had grown arrogant and said he could only be friends with kings and immediately sent away Drona.  Drona was humiliated, angry, and seething with vengeance.

            The Pandavas and Kauravas were playing when their ball fell in a well.  They had many failed attempts but couldn’t get the ball.  When they were starting to get very frustrated, they heard an old man laughing behind them.  This man was none other than Drona.  Yudishtira challenged Drona to get his ring and the ball out of the well, he will give dinner at his guru’s house. Drona agreed and quickly constructed a rope of reeds and arrows and retrieved the ball and ring.  Bheeshma saw this and requested Drona to be the teacher.  He accepted on one condition which was that his disciplines had to accomplish everything he taught.  The Kauravas were silent, but the Pandavas readily agreed.  From the day on, he was called Dronacharya.  Arjuna practiced day and night and Drona promised him that he would be the best archer in the world.

            One afternoon a boy walked up to Drona and eagerly requested him to be his archery teacher. His name was Ekalavya and he was the prince of the forest tribal’s.  Dronacharya declined saying that he could only teach kshtriya prince.  Ekalavya went back to the forest, slightly discouraged, but nevertheless constructed a statue of Dronacharya and practiced in front of him.  Many years later, the Pandavas went for hunting and found their dog with many arrows lodged in its tongue.  Arjuna wanted the archer who did this amazing feat.  He began to question that was he really the best archer in the world.  They found Ekalavya and questioned on how he could shoot so well, who was his teacher?   He replied that he was a student of Dronacharya and told his story.  Arjuna immediately questioned Dronacharya about the skillful archer Ekalavya.  Dronacharya went to Ekalavya and requested Gurudakshina. He asked for Ekalvya’s right thunb which was needed for archery.  Ekalavya cheerfully sliced off his thumb and presented it to Dronacharya.   Arjuna was very pleased.

            Drona decided to test the boys at the end of their education with him.  He hid a bird in a tree and told his students to shoot the eye of the bird.  He asked Bhima what he saw.  He replied, “I see the sky, a tree, and all of you.” The rest of the Pandavas and Kauravas replied in the same way.  When Drona asked Arjuna what he saw, Arjuna said “I only see the eye of the bird.”  Drona was very pleased and told him to shoot. The bird’s head was on the ground the next second.   Another time, Dronacharya was bathing in the Ganges when a crocodile bit him on the thigh.  Although he could have easily freed himself, he called for help.  With only five arrows,  Arjuna killed the crocodile. 

Dronacharya still wanted to take revenge on King Drupada.  He asked Karna and Duryodhana to capture him, but they both failed. When he asked Arjuna, he returned with King Drupada captured alive.  Dronacharya said to him, “I have conquered you which mean I have conquered your kingdom as well.  When we were kids, I told you I would give you half of my kingdom.  So take it as a charity.”  Drupada was freed as an angry and humiliated man. He did tapas and asked for a boon that he would be given a son to kill Drona (Dhrishtadyma) and a daughter to marry Arjuna (Drupadi).  Duryodhana began to recognize Arjuna as a suitable match for the throne.

            Dronacharya held a ceremony displaying all the prince's talents.  Throughout the ceremony, the people singled out Arjuna as the best.  Suddenly, a boy named Karna said he was better than Arjuna. Whatever was hard for Arjuna,  Karna did with ease.  Finally, he challenged Arjuna to a duel.  Kunti, in the audience, recognized Karna as her first son from the Sun god.  She fainted to see her two sons fighting and was carried away.  Meanwhile, Kripacharya introduced Arjuna to the crowd as the prince of Hastinapura. . But Karna had nothing to say when it came his turn.  His “father”, who was an old charioteer, came out to the crowd saying, “Oh my son, you are doing such a great job!”  The people laughed at him and Karna was embarrassed.  But Duryodhana, seeing this as a perfect time to beat Arjuna,  made him King of Anga.  Karna than pledged loyalty to Duryodhana.  Soon after the duel, Indra went to Karna’s house in the disguise of a Brahmin begging for alms. He requested Karna’s kavacha and kundalas. Karna,  without a second thought, he gave it in.  This is how he got his name, Karna, which means “cutter“.  

At the very end, we got the crossword puzzle with a word bank and clues for homework. It helps us to reinforce and remember all the characters and stories we have learned so far from Mahabharata.

We were reminded to register for the upcoming CORD Walkathon to support our fellow folks, who are deprived of their basic needs.

We will get together as a class at Mercer County Park and walk for a worthy cause, next Sunday, Oct 28,2012 at 10:00 AM.
See ya!

Hari Om,
Anjali Akula

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