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.

Stepping into the Mahabharata - September 22nd class

Section:1         Hari Om!

Beginning prayers
  • Breathing exercise, 3 times ॐ chanting,  Sahanaavavatu,  Meditation
  • Daily Prayers - Karagre Vasathe,  Saraswathi Namastubhyam,  Brahmarpanam,  Shubham Karoti,  Karacharana Kritamva
  • Guru Stotram (Page 9 of My Prayers Book)  
  • Gauri Nandana Gajanana
  • Dashavatara Stotram(Page 117 of My Prayers Book - Shlokas 1-2)   
Gitaa chanting
  • bhagavadgItaa 14th adhyaaya 1 - 2 shlokas
  • Why it is important to study the Gita?  
  • Where can we apply the values of Mahabharata in our daily lives ?
  • Name tags
Ending prayers and pledge
  • sarve bhavantu sukhinaH, pUrNamadaH pUrNamidam
  • aarati and pledge 

We started the class with the breathing exercise, Chanting OM three times, and then the Shanti mantra to clear our minds and to fill with peace.

We sang the following daily prayers to help us with our lives:
 Kaaragre vasate Lakshmi- Early in the morning after we get up from bed to start our day.

Saraswati Namastubyam- Before our studies to invoke Saraswatiji.

Brahmarpanam- Before we begin eating.

Shubham Karoti-before we turn on the evening lights, inviting Lakshmi in the form of health, happiness, good thoughts, and spirituality.

Karacharana Kritamva- Before we go to bed we pray to the lord to forgive us for all the bad actions, we did during the day.  

We moved on to sing Ganesh bhajan followed by Gurusthotram, and 2 verses of Dasavatara Strotram. 

We did the meditation to silence our minds.

We talked about the importance of learning of Bhagavad geeta with a story implying the dirty container getting cleaned by chanting.

Then we talked about chapter 14 of Geeta, Guna Traiya Vibhaga Yoga (The Yoga of Gunas), emphasizing.....SatvikRajasic and Tamasic percentage of Gunas or attributes in all of us.

We learned to chant 1 and 2 verses of chapter 14 of Bhagavad Geeta, after a short break of attendance and an announcement. 


We discussed why it is important to study the Gita even if we may not understand or retain everything we learnt now. We heard the story of a young boy whose grandfather asks him to fill a coal basket with water from the river - it turns out that the basket has holes and every time the boy runs back all the water flows out. Moral is even though no water is retained after some time the really dirty basket is now shiny clean. Similarly Bhagavad Gita helps to purify our mind. We then learnt the first two shlokas of the Chapter 14.

Mahabharata story: Bhishma, the great!

Veda Vyasa was a noble and great sage who wanted the world to know about the wonderful Mahabharata. But he could not think of anybody to write it so he prayed to Lord Brahma, and asked how will I write the great epic of Mahabharata by myself, it is so intense and hard to write this great story of family and war. Lord Brahma said that you should ask none other than the great Ganesh to write this story. Veda Vyasa was pleased with Lord Brahma's answer and then set of to find the great Ganesha. Ganesha said yes on one condition, the story should be non stop explained and should have no pauses other wise he will leave. Veda Vyasa agreed to this on another condition that Ganesha understood every word that Veda Vyasa said before writing it down.  Ganesha agreed and that was how the Epic Of the Mahabharata got started. 

 On finishing it, Vyasa taught it to his son Sukha who taught it to Gandharvas, Rakshasas and Yakshas.

Shantanu was the king of a kingdom called Hastinapura. He was very well known for his bravery and wisdom.One day as the king was passing and there he saw the fabulous Ganga but he did not know it was her. He instantly fell in love with her. Immediately asked the maiden if she would marry him. She said yes on one condition and that condition was that he must never ask who she is what she is doing and why she is doing it. He said yes because he was so awestruck with her beauty.

They lived very happy together for several years. Then Ganga had some children. The children were all thrown in to the river by Ganga herself one at a time. Shantanu just had to watch in despair. When it came to throw the 8th child in to the river Shantanu just could not bear it any more.he asked who she was, and why she was doing this. Ganga told the Vasus story, she did that only to releive them. She had to tell him. that she was actually Ganga and that she could no longer stay with him because he broke his promise. King Shantanu was so sad to know he had just caused his wife to leave. Ganga told Shantanu that the last Vasu, Dyu is their eighth son, and he will stay on earth per the curse.   She will teach him how to do archery, how to be brave, and train to be well versed and learned man. Then he will come to live with him.   King Shantanu was so sad and left to go to the palace without a wife or a son. 

One day while the king was hunting he saw a boy who was about the age of 16 shooting arrows into the river Ganga and building a dam across it. Shantanu was very well impressed with the actions of this little boy. Then Ganga appeared before his eyes and said that this boy was his son. Shantanu was very pleased with how Ganga had raised the boy. Shantanu took the boy back to the palace to raise. The boy was none other than the great Bhishma. 

One day Shantanu went to the river banks and saw a beautiful woman who gave this great fragrance. The king wanted to marry the beautiful lady, Satyavati. She said he would have to ask her father the fisherman permission. So King Shantanu went to go ask the fisherman if he could marry his daughter. The fisherman said yes on one condition, that Satyavati's son would have to become the king. Shantanu could not agree to this condition because Bhishma was already heir to the throne. Hence Shantanu said that he could not fulfill that wish and he left the fisherman’s place. Later when the king went back to his palace he was very sad and then Bhishma found out about what was happening. He confronted the fisherman and told him that he was willing to not get married for the King. That is when Heavens showered flowers all over the great Bhishma, who had taken a terrible vow.
Shantanu had blessed him with the boon that death comes to him only when he wants it.  

At the end of the class the parents came in for a short meeting and were briefed about all the main events in the year. All parents were handed out a welcome letter too. 

My thoughts:

I think that the deal Veda Vyasa made with Ganesha was a reasonable deal.   I also think that Ganesha would leave before the story was done because Veda Vyasa had to take a break, but he  was a great sage and he should not have been underestimated by Ganesha himself.

Whenever I think that about Kunti's story, I feel that she should not have "tested" out the blessing that she got from the great sage.  I think that she was being very childish, questioning a great sages powers.  It was also very thin minded for her to float Karna along the river and hope the baby would be safe. If I was in her steps,  I would have at least found a good care taker for my boy, or I would have secretly raised him with out letting anybody know.

The last thing I think that would have done different was, if I was King Shantanu I would not have let  my son just take this vow that he took for me,  and I would have refused it because I think that I have to always make sure to put my children in front of me.

Hari Om,
Varsha. P

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