Kids Corner

/Kids Corner
Kids Corner2017-03-02T14:12:10+00:00
Go:da – I hear this word ‘scripture’ many times. What does it mean?

Vishnu – A scripture is a book! Obviously!

Go:da – So is any book a scripture?

Vishnu – Oh, well I’m not sure. Grandpa can you please tell us?

Grandpa –A scripture is a sacred or a holy book. It is divine.

Go:da – Who wrote them Grandpa?

Grandpa –Great sages, saints, and a:cha:ryas wrote them.The only exception is Ve:das. They are not written by anyone.

Go:da –  Can you tell us more about scriptures?

Grandpa – Sure.

The whole mass of Ve:das was classified into 4 parts with 1131 branches by great sage Ve:da Vyasa.

We have Upanishads which are part of Ve:das.

Pura:nas were written by the great Sage Ve:da Vya:sa, and sage Para:sara, the father of Ve:da Vya:sa.

A:gamas are texts which describe the process of worshipping God and de:vathas.

Smruthis, Dharmasa:stras,  Ve:da:ngas, and many more scriptures… All these were written by sages.

Vishnu – What about Ra:ma:yana and Maha:bha:ratha?

Grandpa – Vishnu! I was just about to tell you. Ithiha:sas are our history. Ra:ma:yana and Maha:bha:ratha are ithiha:sas. They are histories of the world that happened ages ago. Bhagavad Gi:tha is a part of Maha:bha:ratha too.

Go:da – Who wrote them?

Grandpa – Ra:ma:yana was written by Sage Va:lmiki .Maha:bha:ratha was documented by Sage Ve:da Vya:sa.

Vishnu – Is that all?

Grandpa – No. So far, we only discussed about the contributions of sages.  We have scriptures handed over to us by great saints whom we call a:lwa:rs.

Grandpa – They sang about 4000 songs in Tamil which are called Divya Prabandham.

Go:da – What did A:cha:ryas write Grandpa?

Grandpa – They wrote many commentaries on the above.  Our Ve:dic literature is very rich in culture, heritage, knowledge and tradition. These scriptures teach us how a human being should conduct with himself, his family, the society around him, how to live harmoniously with Nature and ultimately how to reach the final goal.

Go:da– But why are there many scriptures with this information?

Grandpa – Well, as time goes on, man is growing weak with memory. Man could once remember all the above. However, now, we are finding it difficult to even remember a few phone numbers! To deal with this, our a:cha:ryas have simplified the vast Ve:dic knowledge in many ways.

And our Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji and other gurus talk about these scriptures in their discourses in the most simple language to make us understand.

Grandpa – Jai Srimannarayana Kids!

Kids – Jai Srimannarayana grandpa.

Go:da – Grandpa, I have a question for you.

Grandpa – Go ahead.

Go:da  – I often hear there are 3 lokas – thribhuvanam

Vishnu – What are they and where do they exist?

Grandpa – Good question. ‘thribhuvanam’ means three worlds. They are u:rdhva lo:ka, bhu: lo:ka and adho: lo:ka.

Bhu:lo:ka is earth. Anything we see above is called u:rdhva lo:ka. And anything relatively below is called adho:lo:ka. According to our scriptures, there is a setup for this universe. Here it is. (picture) These worlds rotate on their orbits at different speeds just like the solar family. The setup of these worlds never changes.

Go:da – Grandpa, we often hear about swarga, heaven. Where is it?

Grandpa – Well, U:rdhva lo:ka infact has seven lo:kas. All these worlds are clubbed together and called u:rdhva lo:ka.  Swarga lo:ka is one among them. Similarly, adho:lo:ka has seven worlds.

Go:da – Does anyone live in these worlds?

Grandpa – Why not, our scriptures clearly tell us that souls live in these worlds. However, their bodies are different from ours. The souls which live in the u:rdhva lo:kas have  ‘te:jas sariras’ to enjoy the benefits of good deeds they did in their previous births. The souls in the adho: lo:kas undergo punishments for the bad deeds they did in their previous births.

Vishnu – Thanks grandpa for giving this wonderful insight into the three worlds.

What are Ve:das

Vishnu –Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa.  Do you have some time?

Grandpa – Yeah sure. What do you want?

Go:da – Grandpa, have a question. What are Ve:das?

Vishnu – Go:da , don’t you know? Ve:das are manthras, they are sounds.

Go:da – Yes, but what are those manthras about Grandpa?

Grandpa – Here it is…

Rug Ve:da has manthras. These manthras praise de:vathas to please them. They are used to invite the de:vathas during yajnas and other divine occasions.

Yajur Ve:da describes the process and procedures to  conduct all kinds of yajnas and rituals.

Sa:ma Ve:da is the source of sonorous tunes to please the invited de:vathas to fulfill our desires.

And, Attharva Ve:da is a treasure mine having all the secrets of medicine, astronomy, black magic, aviation and many more sciences.

Vishnu – Astronomy! Are its roots also in Ve:das? Oh my god! I can’t believe it!

Grandpa –  Yes Vishnu , our  Ve:das revealed a lot about astronomy and our sages were using the technology too.  Unfortunately, we’ve lost it now.

Go:da – Grandpa, what about A:yurve:da or Dhanurve:da? Are they not Ve:das?  Why didn’t you mention them?

Grandpa – Well! Each veda has some branches in it – A:yurve:da, Gandharva Ve:da,  Dhanur Ve:da  are parts  of the main Ve:das.  Infact, Ve:das are the source of all kinds of sciences. Unfortunately, we lost the links.

Go:da – Can we find them now?

Grandpa – Yes, we can. A lot of research is needed.

Vishnu – I will research on Ve:das when I grow big.

Grandpa – That will be awesome Vishnu!

Convert Any Activity Into Yajna

All our activities when offered to God become Yajna.  Even eating food is a yajna. This yajna is called Anuya:ga.  Hence, learned people never say “I ate food”, instead they say “I took  Anuya:ga”.  In each activity, you can visualize the homa kunda, fire, ghee, ho:tha (one who performs yajna ), receiver i.e God.  Here are a few examples on how to relate yajna altar to activity we do every day .

Imagine Ear as a homa kunda

Hearing power  becomes fire

Sounds are the ghee

Sources of sounds are ho:thas

Recipient of the yajna is God in us

Places, World around us  is the homa kunda

Objects, colors we see  is the fire

eye  becomes the  ho:tha

vision is the  ghee offered in the yajna fire

Recipient  is the God within those objects. Thus seeing every object becomes a yajna.

How to convert Eating into yajna

Consider mouth to be homa kunda

Our hands become the ho:tha, performer of yajna

The hunger is fire

Food is the ghee

Recipient is God in us

any activity we do for a student

classroom is the altar – homa kunda

teacher will be hotha

lesson – ghee

ears – fire

Recipients –  God and our brain

Ve:da means……..

Grandpa – Children, what are you doing?

Vishnu and Go:da  –  Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa.  Our  teacher asked us to research the meaning of word ‘Ve:da’ and create a poster on it. Can you help us?

Grandpa – Sure kids.  Ve:da is a Sanskrit word. It is derived from the root “vid” which has two meanings –

  1. ‘to know’ – ve:da ithi ve:daha , that which reveals all kinds of knowledge

ve:ththi ane:na upa:ya:n  ithi ve:daha, one who knows many means for becoming wise is Ve:da

  1. ‘to obtain’ – vindathe: phala:n ane:na ithi ve:daha – obtaining  good fruits through this, hence it is called Ve:da.

Go:da – Oh! So Ve:da means Knowledge through which we can obtain many things.

Grandpa – Yes. Go:da do you know that Ve:das are divided into 4 categories?

Vishnu – I know…  I know them – Rug, Yajur, Sa:ma and Attharva Ve:da.

Grandpa –  Good.  Each Ve:da has three sections  – Samhitha, Bra:mhanam, A:ranyakam

Go:da – Can you tell me more about them?

Grandpa – Later kids, meanwhile start working on your poster on Ve:das.  I will see it when I come to visit you next time.

Vishnu –  Sure grandpa. Jai Srimannarayana

Go:da – I am so excited. I will make a beautiful poster and show it to you. Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa.

 

Synonymns of Vedas

Grandpa – Jai Srimannarayana children, today I am going to test you.

Vishnu – Oh no!

Go:da- Wow! grandpa. I love tests. Ask me!  ask me!

Grandpa – What are the synonyms of Ve:das?

Go:da – sruthi, a:mna:ya:ha, apourushe:ya:ha, nirdushtam, aprame:yam

Vishnu – svathah prama:nam, sa:sthra, a:gama……,Don’t remember the remaining ones. But do they all have the same meaning grandpa?

Grandpa  – No.  Now let us understand why they are called so.

sruthis – As they are passed on orally by word of mouth from teacher to the student. So it is sruthi – heard and learnt.

It is a:mna:ya:m because  Ve:da is  memorized by repeated chanting

It is apourushe:ya:s  as Ve:das are not written by anyone.

nirdushtam – Man written works  may have some defects. Ve:da is apaurushe:ya. Hence no defects.

svathah prama:nam –  It stands as authority for everything else and it  didn’t have any authority for its existence.

sa:sthra –  Its an eternal command for dos and don’ts .

a:gama – it leads us to the ultimate goal of life.

ana:di nidhanam – eternal source of divine wealth.

nithyaha – Ve:da is timeless –exists past, present and future.

aprame:yam – Ve:da is beyond anyone’s conception.

Kids – Thanks grandpa.  Next time you test us, we will ace the test. Jai Srimannarayana

Our Rishis are Great Scientists

Kids – Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa!

Grandpa  – Jai Srimannarayana kids!

Vishnu – Grandpa, we learned today that Ve:da Vya:sa wrote Bramha Su:thras. What are they?

Go:da – Perhaps, life story of Bramha…

Grandpa – No, Bramhasu:thras is a scripture having 545 sentences.

Vishnu – What is the essence of them?

Grandpa – They reveal everything about Ve:dantha.

Go:da – Ve:dantha?

Grandpa – Ve:dantha – it is philosophy

Vishnu – Philosophy about what?

Grandpa – Philosophy about God, souls and nature.

Go:da – Grandpa! What are pura:nas?

Grandpa – Pura:nas are scriptures talking about the ancient history of life.

Vishnu – Ancient history?

Grandpa – Yes, all about its beginning, evolution and how it developed, who ruled, their lineages etc.

Go:da – Wow! So evolution is also described in pura:nas.

Vishnu – Its so amazing to know that our sages were great scientists. Thanks grandpa for educating us about our scriptures. Jai Srimannarayana!

What do Vedas Teach Us – A small story

Once Indra and Viro:chana approached Praja:pathi to gain knowledge. They prostrated before him and requested him to accept them as his disciples. Praja:pathi accepted them as his pupils.

Indra and Viro:chana stayed in the gurukulam for thirty two years and underwent severe austerities.

After thirty two years, Praja:pathi called his disciples and said, “Dear ones, I am happy with your sincerity. I will now reveal the eternal knowledge to you. Stand in front of a person and look into his eyes. Whomever you see in those eyes is God. He is the absolute truth.” The disciples were very excited that their efforts have been fructified.

Viro:chana said, “Indra, come here. Stand in front of me”. Indra did so and Virochana saw his own reflection in the eyes of Indra. Immediately, he thought “ Oh God! I am the God” and was filled with pride. He rushed to his abode and ordered everyone to worship him only. He became uncontrollable and became asura.

Indra returned to heaven. He noticed that everyone was seeing their own reflection in the eyes of others. He was not convinced that the reflection of oneself is God because it varies always. And then, He realized that his understanding was incomplete.

Seeking clarity, he returned to Praja:pathi. He stayed for 120 years more in the gurukula and perceived real truth.

Examining the eyes of a patient, doctor diagnoizes whether the patient is living or not. This means that eyes indicate if there is life in the body. Thus, eyes are the gateways of life. In fact, God supports that life. So, eyes are the place of God now.

Indra realized this truth and became very humble. He started respecting everybody for he saw God in the eyes of every creature. He became a de:vatha.

 Age of Bramha

Bramha is only 51 years old according to his time. Let us see how.

1 human year = 1 day and 1 night for de:vathas

360 days and nights of de:vathas  =  1 de:vatha year

12,000 de:vatha years =  1 Chathuryuga (4,320,000 human years)

71 Chathuryugas = 1 Manvantharam ( life span of one Manu)

14 Manvantharas = 1 kalpa (1 day of Bramha)

2 Kalpas = 1 day + 1 night for Bramha

360 days of Bramha = one year to Bramha

100 Bramha years = life span of one Brahma

Now, can you calculate age of Bramha in human years?

 

 

What are Gunas?

Kids – Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa!

Grandpa – Jai Srimannarayana Kids.

Vishnu – What does sathva guna mean?

Go:da – Don’t you know?

Vishnu – Hmm.. I faintly remember…. Can you  tell me grandpa?

Grandpa – Sure.. listen.. There are 3 gunas – sathva guna, rajo: guna and thamo: guna

Vishnu – What does guna mean Grandpa?

Grandpa – Guna is an attribute.

Vishnu – Who has these gunas?

Grandpa – Nature has these 3 gunas. They influence all the objects, living and non-living.

Go:da – oh! Then, we too have them?

Grandpa –  Yes. Our bodies are products of Nature only. Hence, our bodies too have these 3 gunas.

Go:da – Can we see these gunas?

Grandpa – No, they are not visible. But they are exhibited through our words, deeds, attire and the surroundings we organize.

Vishnu – So… gunas influence our behavior. Right Grandpa?

Grandpa – Not only ours Vishnu. They influence the other creatures too.  Gunas provoke our actions.

Go:da –  In what way Grandpa?

Grandpa – A person with rajo:guna  is in an agitated mood, irritating others with rough  behavior etc.,

A person with sathva guna speaks good words, acts well, dresses plain, leads a simple life and is helpful.

Go:da – Do we have control over these gunas?

Grandpa – Fortunately, only we, human beings have this capacity. But, we need to make an effort to improve sa:thvik quality in us.

Vishnu – But, how can we control these 3 gunas, I mean how can we become more sa:thvik?

Grandpa – Let any quality dominate in us, but by practice we can control unwanted quality and enhance sa:thvik guna.

Vishnu – Can you give us an example grandpa?

Grandpa- Sugri:va was a ra:jasik but he turned sa:thvik by joining Ra:ma and serving him. So also Vibhi:shana, a tha:masik by birth yet  surrenderance to Ra:ma helped him in enhancing sathva guna.  Whichever guna is predominant in a person, practice enables him to become sa:thvik.

Kids –Thank you. Jai Srimannarayana.

Grandpa – Jai Srimannarayana

 What is a manthra

Grandpa – Good Evening kids!

Kids – Good evening grandpa. What did you do today?

Grandpa – Well, I did meditation on Ashta:kshari manthra today.

Go:da –  What is a manthra Grandpa?

Vishnu – I heard that word many times but don’t know what it really means!

Grandpa – Manthra is defined as “mantha:ram thra:yathe: ithi manthraha”

Manthra is one which protects whoever chants it with faith.

Go:da – Protection from what, grandpa?

Grandpa – We always are in need of something everytime. Also, new troubles crop up every now and then. Manthra helps in overcoming those hurdles. Thus we can fulfill our desires and wishes.  A manthra forms a protective shield around us.

Go:da – hmmm.. But, how are God and manthras connected? I mean – what is …

Grandpa – I understood your question. It is the manthra which creates the channel between us and God and thus makes us experience him. Our scriptures symbolize manthra as a Mother.

Vishnu – Wow! Let me pick up a small manthra from Ve:das and chant it from today.

Grandpa – No, that is not the way. You need to get manthra from a qualified guru. Hence, our scriptures say that A:cha:rya is our Spiritual Father.

Go:da – Are there any other rules Grandpa?

Grandpa – Chanting manthra will be effective and powerful if you get it from a qualified guru. Also, it should be chanted properly. Even a small mistake will make it ineffective. Not only that, it will cause disturbance in the Nature around us. Hence, manthras need to be learned under a qualified guru with rapt attention and faith. Sometimes wrong chanting of manthra will lead to illhealth. Therefore,chanting with proper intonation and accent is important.

Vishnu – Can you tell what is intonation and accent?

Grandpa – Yes but not now. Now off you go and do your homework.

Kids – Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa.

Symbolism of Swans

Swans are beautiful, large and majestic water birds. They drink milk. While drinking milk, they leave the  water behind. Milk is equated to good values and water with lesser values.  Good people are considered as swans.

Both good and bad exist in this world. Good people can segregate good from bad and choose the good like the swan.When we take good people as role models, we will also be able to develop the ability to segregate between good and bad. Then, we will develop courage to accept only good things.

Swans also have some symbolism in our Vedic culture.  A swan is called hamsa in Sanskrit.  A:charyas are compared to hamsas and if the a:cha:ryas are superior, they are called ‘Paramahamsas’.  A:cha:ryas have two titles –

  • Paramahamsa – who is able to realize the difference between divine and worldly objects.
  • Parivra:jika – They go round the world to spread the message. Hence, they are called pari + vra:jaka a:cha:ryas – always on the move.
How to prostrate

Go:da – What is prostration?

Vishnu – It means bowing down. Right Grandpa ?

Grandpa – Yes, it means bowing down.

Go:da – Before whom?

Grandpa – Before parents, elders, gurus and God out of reverence and submission.

Go:da – When should we postrate Grandpa?

Vishnu –We have to prostrate before mother every day in the morning.

Grandpa –  Correct. We prostrate before parents, gurus,  elders and God in the morning. We seek special blessings from them on occasions such as birthdays, festivals, important days and when we are about to start a new task.

Pranipa:thana si:lasya nithyam vruddho:pase:vinaha

Chathwa:rasthasya vardhanthe: ayur vidya: yaso: balaha

Who ever prostrates before elders will be blessed with longevity, knowledge, fame and strength.

Kids – Wow!

Grandpa – As per our scriptures one should also prostrate before wise irrespective of their age. No matter what a person’s status is in the society, whether he is the president or a peasant, he should prostrate to a:cha:rya.

Go:da – How do we prostrate?

Vishnu – Are there any rules?

Grandpa –Yes… we should touch the ground with 8 parts of our body – 2 hands, 2 feet, head, manas – mind, buddhi – intellect,  and abhima:nam – ego. It is called ashta:nga prana:ma.

Vishnu – Today we learnt what is  ashta:nga prana:ma.

Go:da – We will share it with our friends. Thanks Grandpa. Jai Srimannarayana

What is Karma

Go:da – No! Evil fate means karma.

Vishnu – You are wrong. Karma means action.

Go:da – No, I am not wrong. Karma means…

Grandpa –  Kids! What are you arguing about?

Kids – Grandpa! What is karma?

Grandpa – Karma means action. It also means the stock of records of past deeds.

Vishnu– Mmm….. Still not clear grandpa!

Grandpa – Vishnu! Strike a key on this laptop.

Grandpa – What’s happening?

Vishnu – Well, it is showing up something….

Go:da – Yeah, there is always an outcome when you strike a key.

Grandpa – Some are major, some are minor.  Right?

Kids  – Yeah!

Grandpa – Similarly, any action in the body yields some result.

Kids – Where?

Grandpa – Sometimes the result is limited to body; sometimes it expands to the Nature.

Go:da – How?

Grandpa – For example, you say something, it goes into the Nature. It has an effect but it cannot be seen.

Kids – Do any actions show their effect on Nature?

Kids – Why not? If a nuclear bomb explodes, it breaches the ozone layer.

Go:da – Oh yeah!

Grandpa – Did you guys observe that though Computer is not responsible for any action, all actions are recorded in it.

Vishnu – Oh yes! They are stored in the computer files.

Go:da – One who has computer knowledge will be able to deal with them.

Grandpa – Similarly, body also maintains the records of all the actions done with it.

Vishnu – But, earlier you said  that we cross through many bodies.

Grandpa – That is true, the records of all those bodies are carried by the soul.

Go:da – My god, .. are all the records stored with me.

Vishnu – Is it so Grandpa? Am I carrying all the records?

Grandpa – Yes, you are carrying them.

Vishnu – Where are they?

Grandpa – They are preserved at various levels – at body level, senses, mind, intellect. With every body, new records are created and some old records are deleted.

Go:da – How is it possible Grandpa?

Grandpa – Why not? The memory power in each of the cells on our body is unbelievably many many terra bytes.

Go:da – When will these records be deleted?

Grandpa – When the soul leaves, people burn the body. Records at body level will be burnt, but records at other levels will be well preserved.  Only grace of God can delete them.

Vishnu – Oh is it ‘viluptha’ in the sloka?

Go:da – The sloka says that it will take care of records on heads. What about others?

Grandpa – Actually, it symbolically implies all records that exist at other levels.

Kids – Oh!

Grandmother – Dinner is ready.

Grandpa – Lets go kids.

 Why should we light a lamp

Grandpa is lighting a lamp in front of God.

Vishnu –Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa! Why are you lighting a lamp?

Goda- Instead of an oil lamp, why don’t you use an electric bulb or fluorescent lamp?

Vishnu – Yeah? Why should we take the trouble of using oil, wick, container, etc?

Grandpa – You guys are always full of questions! We have to follow what ever our elders say without any question.

Go:da: There has to be reason. Our elders have always recommended us to do things for our own welfare.

Vishnu – Can you answer two of my questions? Please….

Grandpa – What are they?

Vishnu – During the day, we have more than enough light.  In the night, people turn on electric light bulbs that fill the room with light. Inspite of this, people still light lamps in the mandir.  Why do we need to light an oil or ghee lamp in the mandir when there is enough light?

Grandpa – It is not a question of day or night, or whether there is light or not. A lamp indicates life.  As we need life in the body, thus we need a lamp in the mandir. Without life,  the body becomes impure, Similarly, without a lamp the mandir or home becomes impure.

Lamp also indicates knowledge. Life is there in trees and animals. But for man, it is knowledge which adds more value than other creatures.  We light the lamp praying God to bless us with knowledge.

Go:da – So, a lamp in the mandir is very important regardless of whether it is night or day…

Vishu -As life in our body… right Grandpa?

Grandpa – Yes. What is your other question?

Vishnu – Why do we need to light a lamp with oil or ghee when electric bulbs are available?

Grandpa – A lamp indicates knowledge.  Knowledge should lead us to joy. Joy comes with love. That love is symbolized by oil.

Vishnu – How?

Grandpa – When a wick is soaked with oil and is lit, the continuous flow of oil through the wick allows it to glow. The quality in the oil is called sneham i.e cohesiveness. You can see it and feel it.

Love and joy, our feelings towards God should contain that sneham ie cohesiveness. As oil symbolizes that sne:ham, we light the lamp using ghee or oil and thus to pray God to give us sneham towards God Himself, Nature and fellowbeings.

Go:da – Oh! The fruit of aradhana is to  learn how to love god, nature and fellow beings?

Grandpa – Yes, all our elders worshipped Lord in the same way.

Vishnu – Wow…

Grandpa – Our body is the container, our love is the oil, our mind with positive thoughts is the wick, and knowledge is the lamp.

Go:da – That’s wonderful Grandpa! What a beautiful comparision!

Vishnu – From today, we will also light lamps before God!

  

Ve:das and Ve:da:ngas

Vishnu – Why do you always wear that chain of beads around your neck Grandpa?

Go:da – Yeah, only girls wear beads!

Grandpa – This isn’t a normal chain, guys. It’s called a thulasi ma:la.

Vishnu – Why are you wearing it?

Grandpa – Well, we all have a few inherent qualities in us. Some are good, and some are bad. To enhance our good qualities, we can use external sources. A thulasi ma:la is one such source which makes a huge difference in our thought process. It purifies our mind and improves our memory.

Go:da – Oh, really? Can you give me one?

Vishnu – Uncle wears a different one. Is that a thulasi ma:la too?

Grandpa – No, it is made of lotus beads. Lotus flowers are very auspicious. They are the favorite flowers of Lakshmi De:vi. Besides, a lotus signifies health, wealth, and prosperity. Hence, people wear ma:las made of lotus beads too.

Vishnu – So, can anyone wear these?

Grandpa – Yes, whoever wants to increase the above qualities can wear either of these.

Go:da – Why do you use another ma:la for chanting?

Grandpa – That ma:la is called a japa ma:la. Some of us use it to keep a count of the manthra chanting. Each ma:la has 108 beads.

Go:da – Are there any other types of ma:las?

Grandpa – Why not? Rudra:ksha ma:la, sphatika ma:la, etc. There are so many types!

Vishnu – Who uses them?

Grandpa – Why don’t you guys find out and let me know?

Vishnu – We will! Do you have some more time Grandpa? I have another question.

Grandpa – Sure.

Vishnu – In this slo:ka picture, what is written on the chanting beads?

Grandpa – They are called Ve:da:ngas.

Go:da – What are Ve:dangas Grandpa?

Vishnu – I think Veda:ngas are Ve:das. Am I correct grandpa?

Grandpa – No.  Listen carefully. Ve:das are complex, mystical and encrypted sounds. There are six auxiliary subjects which support Ve:das for better understanding.  These six subjects are called Ve:da:ngas  meaning ‘limbs of Ve:das’.

Go:da and Vishnu – Thanks Grandpa. We will make flash cards with this information.

 

 Why do we need a guru

Vishnu – Hey look Goda! Grandma is pouring flour on the ground!

Go:da –  She is not pouring flour. She is decorating the entrance with ‘muggulu’. Yesterday, I was told that these “muggulu”are auspicious and become food for small insects!

Vishnu – Wow! That is very compassionate!

Grandma – Our ancestors were really concerned  and compassionate towards all creatures. Hence they brought this practice to feed small insects, birds etc.

Go:da – Then they can also live in harmony with us.

Grandma – Exactly! You are right. We are living not because of our own efforts, but because all these birds, animals and insects are helping us in many ways. Drawing “muggulu”, adds beauty to the house, improves our skills, connects us with neighbours, and helps other creatures to live.

Vishnu – Grandma, but why are you drawing birds in the muggulu?

Go:da – What birds are they?

Grandma  – These are parrots!

Vishnu – Why parrots? Why not sparrows?

Grandma – I learned this muggu from my mother. Ask you grandfather why we draw parrots instead of sparrows. I have lots of work to do. I still need to cook dinner for you guys!

VishnuGo:da – Grandpa! Grandpa!

Grandpa – Calm down children! Whats up?

Go:da – Why is Grandma drawing a parrot in the muggu and not a sparrow? Is there any significance?

Grandpa – Yeah, sure, why not? Everything has an inner meaning. Parrots symbolize a:cha:ryas. Parrots also represent good speech. A:cha:rya is one who gives us good messages. We draw parrots, to remind ourselves to speak good words as taught by our acharyas.

Vishnu – There is a chako:ram in this slo:ka. What about that bird?

Go:da – What is a chako:ra bird anyway?

Grandpa – This bird’s only food is moonlight. Similarly, for a disciple, a:cha:rya’s upadesam is food. We should always grow with the knowledge provided by a:charya and not with anything else.

Vishnu – Are there any other birds which are significant?

Grandpa – Yes!  There are many other birds.

Birds are commonly compared to a:cha:ryas. Scriptures mention many birds that each reveal certain qualities of an a:cha:rya. By understanding these birds, you will be able to admire a few qualities of a:cha:ryas.

Go:da – Can you name a few birds grandpa?

Grandpa – Sure. Cha:thaka, swan, peacock, cuckoo, crow, hen. Can you find out how these birds relate to a:cha:ryas?

Vishnu – Please tell us, we can’t do the research.

Grandpa – Okay. A cha:thaka collects and drinks only rainwater. Similarly, a perfect a:cha:rya  collects knowledge only from the lineage of a:cha:ryas.

Go:da – Wow! What about a swan?

Vishnu – A swan.. it never lives in dirt.  It lives only in pure water and drinks only the milk leaving the water behind.

Grandpa – Yes, you got it. Better than that, a a:charya eliminates the dirt and makes his disciples pure. Though the world is mixed with good and bad, a:charya selects only good things for us.

A cuckoo bird is known for its sweet song. A:cha:yas speak good for our welfare.

A crow invites all other crows before eating. It never eats alone. Similarly, a:cha:rya shares all good things with his disciples. He never enjoys alone.

A hen awakes people on a timely basis. A:charyas also remind us about our duties on a timely basis.

Peacock dances seeing the clouds. Similarly a:charyas feel joy when see their disciplies doing good and divine practices.

Vishnu – This is amazing Grandpa! A:cha:rya is so great!

Go:da – Thanks Grandpa! I will make a chart with this information and show it to my friends and classmates.

 

Does God have compassion?

Vishnu & Go:da – Good evening, Grandpa!

Grandpa – Good evening!

Vishnu & Go:da – We have a question.

Grandpa – Yes. I know that.

Vishnu – In Hayagri:va Stho:thram, we keep hearing the word, ‘daya’.

Go:da – What does ‘daya’ mean Grandpa? Why does it keep appearing?

Grandpa – That’s a very good question! ‘Daya’ means compassion in English. Do you know what compassion is?

Vishnu – Yeah, compassion means sympathy!

Go:da – It comes out of kindness.

Grandpa – Yes, exactly. That is what compassion means. Compassion was analyzed beautifully by our a:cha:ryas.

Vishnu & Go:da – How do you define ‘daya’?

Grandpa – There are three stages in ‘daya’. Each stage is well defined. The first stage is ‘para dukha dukhithwam’. In this stage, a compassionate person drowns in sorrow when he sees others in sorrow.

Go:da – What is the second stage?

Grandpa – He cannot bear the pains of his sorrow.

Vishnu – What is the cause for his sorrow?

Grandpa – The sorrow of other person. A compassionate person cannot bear the sorrow of others. This stage is called ‘para dukha asahishnutha’. This is the second stage.

Vishnu – What is the third stage Grandpa?

Grandpa – Now, he wants to eliminate the sorrow of others. Otherwise, he cannot be relieved from his sorrow. He puts his efforts to bring them out of their grief. This is third stage called  ‘para dukha nira:chiki:rsha’

Grandpa – Can you think of anyone who has  ‘daya’?

Vishnu – God! Ra:ma!

Go:da – Lakshmi De:vi too!

Grandpa – Excellent! Why don’t you make a list of everyone who shows ‘daya’ and how they show it.

VishnuGo:da – Sure! We’re on it right now! Jai Srimannarayana

 

 What are the three realities

Kids – Jai Srimannarayana Grandpa!

Grandpa – Jai Srimannarayana Goda and Vishnu!

Vishnu – Grandpa, we learnt about the three realities….

Goda  – Nature, Soul and Supreme Soul. Can you please explain what they are?

Vishnu – Yeah! Our teacher asked us to create a poster on this topic.

Grandpa – This is a wonderful topic. Now, you guys answer my question. Who is God?

Go:da – Mmmmm…….. The all powerful one

Vishnu – The only one Supreme, master of everyone,

Go:da – who supports everything in this universe

Vishnu – by being inside every object and supporting them

Go:da – as well as surrounding the objects and supporting them

Vishnu – He is Na:ra:yana.

Grandpa – You guys are awesome… God is one of the three realities. You already know about Him.

Now tell me what is Nature?

Go:da – Well, Nature is beautiful scenery

Vishnu – Nature is also mountains, oceans, deserts, plains, hills

Grandpa – Good.  Almost correct.  Now listen carefully:

Nature has 5 elements – earth, water, fire, air, space.

All the objects we see around are the combination of these 5 elements in different ratios.

Go:da – Oh! So… everything we see around like our body, trees etc are made of these 5 elements?

Grandpa – Yes. Nature is called  ‘açhit’  – which doesn’t have any life. It does not have any knowledge of its own. This is the second reality.

Vishnu & Go:da – What about souls?

Grandpa – Souls are us. We exist inside this body. We have knowledge and are full of life. Hence, we are called ‘chit’.

Vishnu – What about trees, animals and bugs?

Grandpa – Well, their body is product of Nature and a soul exits inside each one of them.

Go:da – What about stones, mountains, sand etc?

Grandpa – There is a soul inside those objects too.  Supreme Lord also exists along with that soul. Because the soul is in a bug’s body, it behaves like a bug; if the soul is in the body of a dog, it behaves like a dog. If the soul is inside a mountain, it conducts itself like a mountain and because we are inside a human body, we are supposed to behave like human beingsJ

Take any object. The physical form is the result of Nature. Soul and Supreme soul exist inside that object.

Kids – Wow!

Grandpa – Knowing about these three realities is called  Real Knowledge,  ‘thathva thraya jna:na’

Vishnu – ‘thrayam’ means one which has three things. What is thathva?

Grandpa – ‘thathva’means reality. Understanding these three realities will release us from the clutches of ego, selfishness, dominance etc.

Kids – Thank you grandpa. You explained it so well. We can now make a wonderful poster and get an A on this project.