React, Responsibilty and Realise/Realisation

~Saranya and Ranjith

This story is about reacting to the problem, realizing  and being responsible.  If problem occurs in our life  either we react to the problem or we do realize and react.

Parikshith

(The story behind Srimad Bhagavatam)

 Parikshit, was the son of veera Abhimanyu and Uttara and was the only successor of the Pandavas.

After Krishna left the earth, the Bhu-devi sank into uncontrollable sorrow due to the entrance of Kali (Kali yuga, the age we live in). All kinds of adharmic activites starting taking place. There was a slow withdrawal from our Vedic heritage, charity decreased, adherence to Satya or Truth reduced. But King Parikshit, with his power, controlled Kali and kept him under check. Kali however begged Parikshit Mahaaraja not to kill him saying that following the dharma of time, since it is the start of Kaliyuga, he must be allowed to come and must not be killed. Thus obeying the kaala-dharma, Parikshith allowed Kali to saty in some specific places such as places of ill repute such as gambling, slaughter houses and the like.

Once after a long hunt in the forest, completely exhausted, Parikshit reached the ashram of a great rishi, Shameeka maharshi. The maharshi at that time was in deep meditation and completely detached from the external world. Hence, he did not notice the exhausted Parikshit mahaaraaja. King Parikshit, completely exhausted and very thirsty, thought that the maharshi, despite being aware of his exhaustion, chose not to offer him even water. In anger, he performed an act he normally would never have done. The anger itself and the way it was manifested was due to the presence of Kali it is said, because the King was a strict follower of Dharma and would have never shown allowed himself to get angry in such a manner. Thus in anger he put a dead snake around the neck of the rishi to insult him and left the ashrama. A little while later, the rishi’s son Shrungi, arrived and saw the dead snake around his father’s neck. Realizing that Parikshit had done this act, he cursed Parishit saying within a week’s time, the King who had insulted his father thus would be killed by Takshaka, a mighty snake. Meanwhile the maharshi opened his eyes from his deep meditation and learnt about all that had happened.

Maharshi Shameeka told his son Shrungi “Anger is the main hindrance to tapas / sadhana / meditation. It is a big hurdle for one who follows the path of Dharma. He never should give way to anger. One must always think twice before he acts and never come into the clutches of anger. One’s anger is his greatest enemy. A person loses his dharma-adharma discrimination, does not think and causes harm to others and himself because of anger. Parikshit mahaaraja is not an ordinary king. It is because of him that Dharma is still alive on earth today. It is because of him that Kali has been restricted. ”

“Alas! What a great sin you have committed yourself today in awarding such a heavy punishment for the small mistake King Parishit committed! Your command of intelligence is still immature.  Completely protected by his just way of rule, all beings in Parikshith’s kingdom enjoy prosperity. Once he is killed because of your curse, this world will be full of thieves who immediately trouble innocent, unprotected souls like they are lambs. Because of this curse, there will be great social disruption. The wealth everywhere will be seized by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of money, women and animals. The righteous civilization, of humanity united in proper conduct of progress in the vocations and stages of life according to the Vedic injunctions, will at that time systematically be vanquished. The protector of the religion, the king, is a highly celebrated emperor, a direct, first class devotee of the Lord, a saint of nobility and a great performer of horse sacrifices. When he, hungry and thirsty, is stricken with fatigue, he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.”

“I am quite sure, Parikshit mahaaraaja will not give you a counter curse, such a great king that he is. Good people do good to those who help them and to those who hurt them as well. Mahatmas do not even feel the pleasures and sorrows, everything is same.”

The Maharshi thus regretted the curse of his son and certainly did not think that the insult by Parikshit was a sin. Generally saints are not distressed or happy when others pull them into worldly dualities because they are situated in the transcendence of the soul. These incidents (such as the dead snake put around his neck) they consider insignificant.

In the meantime, King Parikshit realised what he had done was something terrible, something he should not have done and thought thus, “Alas, it was uncivilized and evil what I did to the faultless, grave and powerful Maharshi. Because of the contempt of what I did against that godly person, I undoubtedly very soon will meet with a very troublesome calamity. I certainly hope that that will happen so that I will be relieved of my sins and never do anything like that again.”

Shameeka, knowing that now nothing could be done (since the words of his son Shrungi could not be undone), sent word to King Parikshit informing him about Shrungi’s curse. Thus did Parikshit mahaaraaja come to know about the curse.

Having heard that he only had seven days to live, Parikshit handed over his kingdom to his son and sat down at the banks of river Ganga in order to fast and observe religious rites unto his death. Many sages and wise men came to see him. Parikshit paid his respects to them and humbly spoke about his decision to fast. He stood with folded hands before them as someone whose mind is detached from worldly affairs. And thus it came to pass that the king, having arrived at that decision, fully self-controlled, seated himself near river Ganga. On this occasion the gods, who from the sky had seen that the king would fast until his end, all in praise scattered the earth with flowers, continually beating celestial drums in pleasure. All the great sages who had assembled there praised him for the wisdom he had thus shown.

It was at that time the great Suka Maharishi came that way, and he was received with great respect by the audience seated around King Parikshit. Then Parikshit asked him a question: “What is good for man, especially at this hour when his life is about to end? What should such a person hear about, repeat, do, remember and worship.”

How are we to answer this question? What is good for any person? In the freezing heights of the Himalayas, it is good to have a blanket over oneself. But a blanket is not good in the hot deserts of Africa; we would like to have cold water there. When we are hungry, it is good to have delicious food; when we are vomiting due to illness, it is good not to eat at all. Anyone who desires his or her own good cannot answer this question of what is actually good for oneself, because whatever answer we give, we will find it is connected to some cause thereof, and it is not the final good.

Riches will end, the body will wither, and life is uncertain. None of these things connected with life in this world can be regarded as really good in their ultimate sense. Then, what is really good for the human individual? The difficulty in answering this question arises because we think that we are living only in this world of sensory perception.

So, when we ask the question, “What is good for us at the end of time?” it is implied that it is that which is good for us at all times because, knowing the brittleness/short life of things in the world, all times are the end of time. The supreme good, therefore, is the Supreme Brahman, the Ultimate Reality that we call God which is intimately, vitally, inextricably connected with our own souls.

Suka Maharshi said, “This inquiry of yours, O King, for the good of all people is the best thing you can do. This subject of study carries the approval of Rishis. The subject matter is the supreme of all, Divine, God, is worth the attention. O Emperor, there are countless subject matters to hear about in human society that are of interest to those who, attached to their household life, are materially engrossed and are blind to the reality of the soul. They spend their lives, O King, with sleeping, making money, taking care of their family and other such related activities. They are unable to see the fleeting nature of these activities. For that reason, O King, He (Divine/God) must be discussed, glorified and remembered who as the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality, the controller and vanquishing Lord, frees those who are of desire from their anxieties.

Thus in response to the question Parikshit asked, Suka Deva narrated the stories of Bhagavatam. It is believed that this great scripture, the Srimad Bhagavatam, is like a delicious nectar. It is a combination of bhakti or devotion, vairagya or renunciation and jnana or knowledge. Jnana, vairagya, and bhakti – all the three are combined in a wonderful manner in the narration of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Krishna Himself is supposed to be living in this wonderful scripture. Whoever studies the Bhagavatam is supposed to be reading the life of Lord Krishna Himself.

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam

 kavibhiriditam kalmashapaham

shravana-mangalam srimad atatam

 bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah

 

your story which is like Amritam revives the scorched spirit of a man;

purifies a sinner, the holy men thrive on it.

To hear it is auspicious and peace generating.

Those who chant your name are the real benefactors.

Srimad Bhagavatam

The History of Pugal Chola Nayanar (True education team)

~Ranjith, Saranya

Each team have two choose one nayanar. For true education, we choosed pugal chola nayanar why because we were able to connect with our 16 components in this nayanar story.

 

Pugal Chola ruled the Chola kingdom from its capital Uraiyur, presently a neighbourhood of the Indian city of Tiruchirappalli. He is described as a devotee of Shiva, the patron god of Shaivism. He appears in two chapters in the Periya Puranam. In the chapter of Eripatha Nayanar, a detailed account of his encounter with fellow Nayanar, Eripatha Nayanar, is given. His primary account in his chapter relates to his death in Karuvur, generally identified as the Indian city of Karur, which is famous for its Pasupateeswarar temple dedicated to Shiva. Pugal Chola is described as an ideal monarch who served his subjects, Shiva and devotees of Shiva. Shaivism prospered under his reign. He was the emperor of the region and had numerous vassals. Once, he visited Karuvur, which was one of the chief towns of the Chola kingdom. Once on the day of Maha Navami, the royal elephant of the Chola was being paraded through the town. The elephant saw Sivakami Andar and seized the basket of flowers from his hands and crushed the flowers, which were meant for the worship of Shiva. Seeing the wailing devotee, Eripatha not only slew the beast, but also its mahout and accompanying guards who failed in their duty to control the elephant. The news of murder of the royal elephant reached Pugal Chola. The enraged king reached the spot of the massacre. While the king expected an army who challenged his authority, he saw a lone crusader standing over the elephant. Upon enquiry, the guards pointed to and introduced Eripatha as the slayer of the elephant. Pugal Chola alighted from his horse and bowed to the angry Eripatha in reverence and asked about the crime of his elephant and men. Eripatha informed him of the events leading to the killing and said that he had punished them for a sin against Shiva. The Chola felt it was his moral responsibility. He bent before the Nayanar and presenting his sword asked the Nayanar to kill him too, as the king is ultimately culpable for the actions of his elephant and army. Eripatha was taken aback by the king’s devotion and actions and felt remorseful. He thought it would be best to commit suicide by the sword as penance for the murders. As Eripatha raised the sword to cut his head, the horrified king held his hands to stop him. As they struggled with Life Eripatha trying to Suicide and Pugal Chola protecting. the sword to sacrifice their lives, Shiva appeared pleased with their devotion and blessed them. He also resurrected the elephant and the king’s men. Sivakami Andar’s basket was also restored with flowers. Eripatha was given the honour of seating on the royal elephant, while the king held the royal umbrella over his head, like a slave. Both of them went to the Pasupateeswarar temple and worshipped Shiva. While in Karuvur, the Chola king learnt that a vassal prince named Adigan (Adiyaman) was due to pay tributes to the king. The king declared war on the vassal and ordered his troops to destroy the enemy fort. An account of a fierce battle is told in the Periya Puranam. Ultimately, the Chola army triumphed, annihilating the armies of Adigan and razing this fort to dust. Adigan escaped death, by abandoning his citadel. The Chola warriors arrived with the wealth and women from Adigan’s city and brought severed heads of their fallen foes as a sign of valour. As the king surveyed the pile of heads, he saw a head with matted hair. On further investigation, he realized his soldiers had killed a Shaiva ascetic. To expiate the sin of killing a devotee of Shiva, he decided to end his life. He crowned his son as the king. He built a funeral pyre. He smeared his body with sacred ash and took the head of the devotee in a golden, jewel-studded vessel on his head. He circumambulated the blazing flames, reciting the Panchakshara mantra to placate Shiva and finally plunged into the fire. For his supreme sacrifice, he attained Kailash, the abode of Shiva after his death.                              Pukazch Choza Nayanar - The History of Pukazch Choza Nayanar                                                    தார்தாங்கிக் கடன்முடித்த சடைதாங்குந் திருமுடியார் நீர்தாங்குஞ்

Intern ship at STEM land

Pratap.G

Three students from college came to STEM land for intern-ship for two weeks  to learn programming in Scratch. We have asked them to create some project in scratch. They have created some videos projects on addition ,fraction, number line, multiplication, representing and arranging  ascending order and descending order with squares. People from STEM land took Steward ship for new emergence for them . They took few tools from that session for them like stand , fear,  deep listening and back ground conversation , four profile , CFSR  sheet.

Reflection of the interns

Here are the list of  projects that they made in scratch.

 

Art of Meditation

Dhruva’s step mother: If you want to sit on your father’s lap, you should ask God to make you be born as my son.

Dhruva’s step mother: If you want to sit on your father’s lap, you should ask God to make you be born as my son.

Dhruva tells his mother everything that happened.
Mother, I was told to ask God for permission to sit on father’s lap.

Mother: Yes, my child, you ask Vishnu.
Dhruva: Where will I find him, Mother?
Mother: I have heard people meditate on him in silent, deep forests.

Dhruva meets Narada on the way to the forest.

Dhruva meditated for months. He meditated on Vishnu in his heart. He forgot to take food and even water.

O Lord, I want to sing your glory. I don’t have the knowledge to compose a song. Please grant me the knowledge.

And Dhruva became the Dhruva nakshatram.
The star that is steady, it never moves. May we all learn from him.

Origami Session on Saturday Class

On Saturday class with the 4th graders I had taken a session on Origami. We made an origami bird.

To make the bird we needed 15cm x 15cm A4 paper. For that we asked the children to draw a 15cm x 15cm square on their A4 sheet. With the paper cutter we were able to cut the paper as per the requirement.

Then I started demonstrating on how to make the paper bird by giving them instruction for each and every steps.

What I was able to do well:

First, I showed the square and asked what shape it is? They were able to reply that is was a square. Then, I folded the paper into half diagonally and asked what shape it is? They were able to reply that is was a triangle. By this way, I was able to connect shapes while making the origami.

My observation of the class:

The children were able to focus on what they were doing. A few of the folds were a bit confusing for them. But, still they did not give up and they tried to  complete the fold. Some of the children were able to complete the folds faster than the others. They did not disturb the others, instead they asked me whether they can help others who were having difficulties in completing the folding.  They were able to work as a team.

After completing the origami bird, the children children colored the bird. Each and every person colored the bird differently and were naming the birds.

The children happy and were playing with the birds.

Inspiration “Secret of concentration”

~ Sundar, Murali, Naveen

Transferred to the next group this week 🙂 , and worked on the secret of Concentration.

The following passages were translated to Tamil and read with the children in both English and Tamil.

From the teachings of Swami Vivekananda :

——————————————————-

To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind,not the collecting of facts.If i had to do my education over again,and had any voice in the matter,i would not study facts at all.I would develop the power of concentration and detachment,and then with a perfect instrument i could collect facts at will.

How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration of the powers of the mind?The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock,how to give it the necessary blow.The strength and force of the blow come through concentration.There is no limit to the power of the human mind.The more concentrated it is,the more power is brought to bear on one point;that is the secret.

Do you see,simply by the observance of strict brahmacharya(continence)all learning can be mastered in a very short time-one has an unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once.It is owing to this want of continence that everything is on the brink of of ruin in our country.

Herein is the difference between man and the animals-man has the greater power of concentration.The difference in their power of concentration also constitutes the difference between man and man.Compare the lowest with the highest man.The difference is in the degree of concentration.This is the only difference

Take one idea,Make that one idea your life;Think of it,dream of ir,live on that idea.Let the brain,muscles,nerves,every part of your body,be full of that idea,and just leave every other idea alone.This is the way to success,and this is the way spiritual giants are produced.Others are talking machines.

How are we to know that the mind has become concentrated?Because the idea of time will vanish.The more time pass unnoticed the more concentrated we are.In common life we see that when we are interested in a book we do not note the time at all; and when we leave the book,we are often surprised to find how many hours have passed.


During the whole week(201906 22-29) and the sleep over the children worked on creating their own drawings and depicted the following story.

Group members: Shakthi, Murali, Ajay, Kalai, Jagathishwari, Sundar(Newcomer), Adhiyaman, Hemavarshini, Parimila, Stella

link to PDF: Arjuna Secret of Concentration

20190706 – children creating their own presentations:

link to PDF: Secret of Concentration V1

Recitation work from the children:

Recitation Presentation

tamil english  translation text

2019/08/17 One liner for our passages

1.Concentration is the essence of all knowledge, a trained mind never makes a mistakes.
2.Collecting facts with the power of concentration and detachment is the essence of education.
3.The world is ready to give up its secrets and the idea of where to look for comes through concentration.
4,All learning can be mastered in a short time by following the code of strict Bramacharya which involves immense concentration.
5.The difference between human beings is in their degree of concentration.
6.You will know that the mind has become concentrated, when the idea of time has vanished.
7.Success in life depends on clear thinking and intellectual understanding which is inherited by the power of concentration.

2019/08/31

The teachers and children together worked on scripts to show all the seven points as a play.

Link to Document: Script secret of concentration

 

Inspiration

At Isaiambalan school a project on value with Swammy Krishnan Maharaj was started last week(20190615) and children along with teachers were split into six groups each with a specific title . Our group was given the topic “True Education” whose avatar was “Narasimha”. Each group had a set of values and their corresponding meaning in terms of the groups name.

The following was ours:

1. Respect: Respect your parents, teachers, and elders
2. Love: Love your Country, your culture and your ancestors
3. Self Discipline: Discipline your body, your senses and our mind.
4. Self Control: Control your words, your thoughts and your actions.
5. Faith:Have faith in yourself, in others an in god.
6. Discrimination: Discrimination between good and bad, real and unreal, vice and virtue.
7. Concentration: Concentrate whole heartedly while studying or playing.
8. Truthfulness: Be truthful in words and actions.
9. Hard work : Work hard to acquire knowledge, skills, and wisdom.
10. Strength : Be strong physically, mentally, intellectually, morally, and spiritually.
11. Conviction: Have conviction in the power of goodness, purity, and honesty
12. Devotion: Have devotion for duty, scriptures, holy people and God.
13. Habits : Cultivate regular habits of prayer, meditation, and reading inspiring and strengthening literature.
14. Same Sightedness: Feel the presence of the divine in all beings and treat them with the same standard as you treat yourself.
15. Firm Determination: Have firm determination strong will power to cultivate good habits in order to achieve permanent happiness, peace, success and fulfillment in life.

Children were asked to write what they understood of these and we shared in group what it meant for each person and translated it to Tamil.

Today(20190622) we read the story of Prahlada and the children were asked to reflect on it by next Saturday.

Link to story : Prahlada

During sleep over (26/06/2019) our team drawn the story. In that story we captured the main thing and drew it. Whatever question we had regarding the story we asked and it got clarified by Anita. On saturday (29/06/2019) we discussed the question we came up and it got clarified. We started preparing the script for drama. We wrote a script with help of our children and teachers.

to be cont..

Group members : Saranya, Kishore, Pravin Kumar, Vasiga, Monkia, AasisKumar, Jagathambal, Sanjith, Prajan, Vimal and Sundar

Session with Heidi Watts on Research

Aura Auro team, Kavitha and Nirmala from Isai Ambalam had a session with Heidi_Watts   on research in the i-SMART class room.

We started the session with what we wanted to learn. Then we looked at kinds of research as following

Qualitative research – Describe more to prove

  • Action research – making a change
  • Participatory action research – I am part of it and effecting the outcome and adding myself
  • ethnographic research – culture and forms

Quantitative research – Numbers and phenomenon. Prove again and again and say that it works. More about measuring.

  • Statistics
  • Bell curve – Large number  of people (10% needs a large number)

Mixed methods – Some description and some measurements survey, ask the same question in many different ways.

Methods – to be able to use more than one method in a research

Case study/studies – look for one thing; e.g one classroom, one set of children, one child (who is very reluctant and his progress through the term)

Formal observations – check list

Informal observations – observe every day at a particular time

Field notes – taken at class then and there

Journals – to think about the session and reflect later

Interviews, individual and group – one on one with child or with a group

Video and audio tapes – with video on needs to be careful as it changes the way one acts in from of cameras, with audios on can review at a later time.

Surveys –  Has sample of different sources and structures in comparison e.g rural/urban, young/old, men/women,

Then we had a look at the work done in kindergarten and how it can be considered a research.

ISMART Class in Udavi

– Pratap

We set up a new smart board for our iSMART class room. Children came from STEM land to the ISMART room and they saw the smart board. Children were so excited to see the smart board class room. They were sharing how they solved the questions in their Maths annual examination. When Sanjeev was writing on the smart board with his finger children were very excited and they all tried using the smart board.

They discussed every question and gave turn for each children to explain when they know answer for the question. 9th graders were able to use the smart board. We are looking forward for various opportunities to use the smart board for its fullest  potential. I was really impressed when children were using the smart board. I didn’t  get such opportunities when I was studying in school.

       

We still need a lot of explorations before figuring out how to use it effectively. But, look forward to the new schooling year to put it to full use.

Iffat in Isai Ambalam

– Logeshwari

Iffat from Bangladesh came along with her friend to Isai Ambalam School. She completed her Vipassana meditation in Chennai and came to Auroville. She is a writer and involved in arts. Initially she visited Udavi School and then came to Isai Ambalam. Pratap and I were showing and explaining the EBD (Education By Design) that children made. We showed all the EBDs like pond, clay room, tree house, clay oven, India map, vegetable garden and Kitchen waste water treatment. Tree house was explained by the Josh who made this initiative possible in school. Both of them climbed the tree house and enjoyed it.

Students had their examinations at that time. The sixth and seventh graders built a small India map, which was an assessment for them. Two hours was allocated for them to complete it and they completed with five minutes to spare. Then they project was assessed by Ragu. Then later Iffat and her friend interacted with children.