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: the heroine of the Mahabharata - Draupadi, and Arjuna's marriage to Subhadra

Section 1   

                                                                             Nov 18, 2012

Hari Om,
The class of Sunday, November 18th was one of the many jubilant classes with stories, discussions, and fun activities.    As usual we started off with our deep breathing and three OM’s followed by our daily prayers. We skipped right into our journey through Bhagavad Geeta Chanting and have learned verses 4-6! 
In our voyage through Mahabharata we’ve been learning about the heroine of the story-Draupadi, daughter of king Drupada king of Panchala. He had organized a Swayamvaraor an event  of choosing a husband where many prince’s  of various kingdom, or kshatriyas have to complete various tasks or missions that are assigned to take the daughters hand in marriage. When she garlands the prince they immediately get married, Drupada’s challenge to the princes was to hit a clay fish fixed to a long pole balancing on a revolving disc with a hole.  Whoever hits five arrows in a row through the hole and hits the eye of the fish causing it to drop to the ground wins her as their wife. Many had tried but no one succeeded. Even mighty Duryodhana attempted to shoot the fish but even with his great strength he couldn’t lift the bow. Next Karna came and everyone thought they had finally found the prince but, Draupudi called out "you are a sutaputhra( a charioteers son) I will never marry you. Leave the palace immediately! "
A brahmana (Arjuna,Spoiler Alert!) came up, lifted the bow and arrows, shot the five arrows into the disc and made the fish clattered to the ground. Draupudi put the garland around Arjuna’s neck and Arjuna brought her home.  Kunti, his mother had heard from his son Arjuna that he had brought her a gift but mistakenly she had said to share it equally amongst the rest of the Pandavas. Kunti was surprised to see it was a woman, how could she say to share this? And back then in this time period a mother’s word was final and so all the Pandavas were bound to marry Draupudi! 
Lord Krishna and Balarama arrived shortly to bless them. Dhrishtadyumna, Draupudi’s brother followed them hearing the fact that his own sister was married to five Pandavas. A Sage named Veda Vyasa advised King Drupada that in Draupudi’s last birth she had prayed to Lord Shiva asking him for good husbands, With the qualities of: Just and Truthfulness, Strength and Might, An Excellent Archer, and Incredibly Handsome. Lord Shiva’s way of granting this wish was by giving her a boon in her next life (the one she is living now) of having five husbands with each specialized in each qualities: Yudhisthira is Just and Truthful, Bhima is strong and Mighty, Arjuna the incredibly skilled archer,Nakula and Suhadeva were split for the boon of Handsomeness. The king was delighted and gave each of his five son in-laws gifts. 
Later the Pandavas were invited to Dwaraka for a celebration. There Arjuna reconnected with his friends Krishna and Balarama. Arjuna also met Krishna’s sister Subadhra for the first time. Arjuna fell in love at first sight. He immediately  seeked Krishna’s help for his sister hand in marriage. Krishna gave him two options (1) to either be at her Swayamvara or(2) carry her away in a chariot. Arjuna was informed that she was visiting a temple one day and so he planned to whisk her away to Hastinapura that very day in a chariot! Once he took her away everyone tried to attack the couple from leaving but no one can beat the mighty Arjuna. Even Balarama was about to go after them but Krishna calmed him down and changed his point of view! After that Arjuna finally got married to Subadhra and she gave birth to a son named Abimanyu. 
This was the end of this week’s story but not the end of class. After the story there was a lot of excitement through the classroom. We were playing Mahabharata Charades. We were allowed to draw or act out a character we’ve met so far in the story. For example one of the students got the character Karna and took of their earrings and jackets to represent taking off kavachas (armor) and kundalas (earrings). Another student drew a picture of a person falling into a fire representing the character Amba. And another student had covered her eyes with a scarf to represent Gandhari who blindfolded herself for her husband who was blind. It was interesting to see these creative ways to reenact and show these characters with simple jesters and drawings. We look forward to our next class on December 2nd. Enjoy your Thanksgiving break and see you soon

- Shivani Iyer

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