Lessons for Sequestered Families. Chapter 10

Affirmation

Today’s lesson  begins with the affirmation seen above, for the family to repeat together or alone. These are little mental mantras. Each is a medicine for the mind, a salve for the spirit, a comrade during quarantine. This is the final one in our series, and an apt summary of all the others. The family can talk about what this short but profound quote means, philosophically and also to us, personally, during the pandemic.

An Audio Story from The Guru Chronicles

DISCOVERING THE LEMURIAN SCROLLS

This audio story goes back to a special time in Gurudeva’s life. It describes the unusual way he wrote The Lemurian Scrolls, guided by inner plane devas. As the art above depicts, writing was an important part of Gurudeva’s life and mission, something he did almost daily, sometimes dictating to the monks and sometimes writing himself. This story takes place in the early 1970s in the Coco Palms Hotel just down the hill from Kauai’s Hindu Monastery. Enjoy our final tale from the Guru Chronicles and remember, the entire book, all 804 pages, is online in audio book (narrated) form if you want to keep exploring. Here is the link

A Tale About Purity

Ten Tales About Self-Control

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A Friend’s Bad Influence

The first day of each school term was always exciting for Ranjit. He liked school and looked forward to learning new subjects. He wore the new clothes his mom had bought for him, he had his notebooks and study materials all neatly arranged in his backpack and had set up his study corner in his room at home. He approached the first day of school with a mix of uncertainty and excitement. Sitting in the third row of his 6th grade classroom, Ranjit looked around for Shailesh. The bell rang and, as the teacher appeared, Shailesh came rushing in. Ranjit hissed, “Come, Shailesh. Sit beside me.”

Shailesh grinned and plopped down into his seat.

The teacher, Mrs. Sivan, wished them good morning, then said, “Children, let me introduce a new boy who has joined our school this year.” She beckoned a boy who was seated just behind Ranjit. Tall and lean, with a mop of curly hair, he walked up casually to the front of the class, “Hi, I’m Ravi. Ravi means the sun—and believe me, I’m sure to bring sunshine and fun into your lives.” He smiled broadly. Most of the students took a liking to him right away.

Ranjit, however, felt a strange uneasiness. Something about Ravi was not right. He seemed too sure of himself. Over the next few weeks, it became clear that Ravi liked to have fun at the expense of others. For example, one day he let the air out of Mahesh’s bike tire, knowing that Mahesh had to rush home for his younger sister’s birthday. When Mahesh was on the verge of tears, Ravi walked up and offered to take him home on his bike. From then on, Mahesh hung around with Ravi, not realizing that it was Ravi who had caused him the trouble in the first place.

In class, Ravi constantly whispered about Mrs. Sivan. Some of his remarks were really funny. The children sitting near him had to work hard to not break out laughing. Ranjit enjoyed the jokes some of the time, but Shailesh was really getting hooked on Ravi. One rainy day, Ravi didn’t turn up at school. The whole day, Shailesh complained how boring it was without Ravi and how much he missed him.

Just a month into the new term, Shailesh insisted Ravi sit with them at lunch. Shailesh and Ranjit had been best friends from third grade, and neither had ever invited anyone to join them. All the other children were casual friends. They would meet over a game of cricket or during swimming practice, but during lunch it was always just the two of them. Now Shailesh wanted Ravi to join them every day. Ravi talked nonstop at lunch. Ranjit started to miss the days when he and Shailesh could enjoy lunchtime alone.

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One day in class, while the teacher’s back was turned, Ravi snuck up to the front and snatched her pen. Everyone knew the pen was her prized possession, a gift from her father upon her college graduation. The class saw him doing it. Some smirked and others shook their heads and motioned with their hands for him to put it back. But Ravi just grinned and ran back to his seat.

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As the bell rang, Mrs. Sivan, looked around her desk and murmured with a frown, “Where did I leave my pen? Maybe it’s in the staff room!” She hurried out with a worried look.

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Some of the children giggled loudly. Taking that as a sign of approval, Ravi stood up and bowed humorously. Shailesh laughed and said, “You are sure bold. How did you think of doing that? You know she won’t drop the matter. Once she is sure it’s missing, she is going to grill all of us.”

Ravi grinned, “Let’s face that when it happens.”

Ranjit’s eyes did not move from Ravi. After class he secretly followed him out of the school. He watched Ravi put the pen into a paper bag, then drop it on the road and walk off. In another moment, a passing vehicle would run over it.

It was one thing for Ravi to play up to the class by stealing the pen in front of everyone. But this was entirely different. Now Ravi was attempting to destroy the pen the teacher valued so much. “That’s just plain mean,” thought Ranjit. “He should have found a way to give it back.” Ranjit dashed onto the road and picked up the bag.

“What kind of person is this Ravi?” Ranjit wondered as he walked back to school. But he would deal with Ravi later. First, he had to relieve Mrs. Sivan’s anguish.

When he reached the staff room, she was sitting nearly in tears. “Madam, here is your pen. It had rolled under the table.” That was a lie, but Ranjit was not brave enough to turn Ravi in.

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Her face brightened, but her smile quickly changed to a frown when she saw the sweat on Ranjit’s face. He looked like he had run a mile. She knew something was not right. She didn’t think Ranjit had stolen the pen, but she wondered how he had really found it. “Thank you, Ranjit. I would be a very proud parent if you were my son.” Her mind turned to Ravi. She had suspected him from the beginning.

The next day, Shailesh was about to rush out of class to catch up with Ravi, but Ranjit caught him. Shailesh stopped and turned around.

“One minute,” Ranjit blurted out, “I need to talk to you. You spend too much time with Ravi. I, too, like his jokes and think he’s really funny. But you need to watch out. He’s really not a nice person.”

Shailesh was offended by this chiding. “Hey, why are you giving me a lecture? I like Ravi. I think he’s fun to be with. He and I have lots more fun than you and I ever did. You need to chill.”

Shailesh took off after Ravi, leaving Ranjit very irritated.

The next day the teacher came in with a sad look. She stared at the students and said, “I never believed that this class is capable of something like what happened yesterday.”

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A quiet panic swept over the room. Several children lowered their heads. Shailesh stole a glance at Ravi, who was sitting straight up, staring at Mrs. Sivan. She returned his look and asked, “I wonder if you know who took my pen, Ravi? I would like you to come and meet me after class.”

Without thinking, Shailesh spoke, “Why Ravi? It could have been me!” He said the words in a whisper but the teacher heard him. She looked at Shailesh for a moment and then turned towards the blackboard and continued the class.

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Ranjit approached Shailesh after school. “You fool! You could have gotten into trouble with the teacher today! She kept quiet because this is the first time you have behaved badly. But the next time you talk back like that, you’ll be in for it. Remember what the Tirukural says, ‘As water changes according to the soil through which it flows, so a man takes on the character of his friends.’ A swami once told me that means just as water running through red soil turns red, so will being friends with a dishonest person make you dishonest.”

Ranjit looked at Shailesh with real concern, but Shailesh just laughed, “Remember my words, Ranjit? You really need to have a bit of fun in your life. I need to go. Ravi is waiting for me.”

As Ranjit walked home, he had a strange feeling that something bad was about to happen. He felt this way once before, and the next day his dog fell ill. Softly he whispered a prayer, “Lord Ganesha, please keep Shailesh out of trouble.”

That night he slept restlessly. Once he thought he heard police sirens. In the morning he woke up still feeling tired. The moment Ranjit reached his first class, Mahesh told him that Ravi and Shailesh had been picked up by the police for trying to break into the school last night. Neither was at school today.

After school, Ranjit rushed to Shailesh’s house. Shailesh was sitting in the living room with his father, mother and grandparents, staring down at his feet. It was obvious he had been crying. Walking in, Ranjit asked, “Shailesh, are you okay?”

The boy’s father glared at Ranjit, “Of course, he’s okay. But we aren’t! Why did he break into the school? Now he could be expelled!”

Ranjit turned to his friend, “Why did you do it?”

Shailesh held back his tears, “Just for the heck of it. Ravi said it would be a lot of fun. But as soon as we got in, the guard dog heard us. We barely managed to run into a classroom and lock the door before the dog caught up with us. He barked outside the door until the police came. They thought we were there to rob the place, or maybe steal test papers. I told them we were just having some fun, but they didn’t believe me. Our parents had to come to the police station to pick us up.”

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Shailesh’s voice broke and he starting crying.

Ranjit said, “Didn’t I warn you to keep away from Ravi? He’s bad company for you.”

Shailesh hung his head, “Now I know, but I had started to think like Ravi. I believed we could do anything we wanted to. Now look at the trouble I’m in. I’ll be lucky if I don’t get suspended from school. You were right to warn me. While I was waiting for my parents in the police station, your verse from the Tirukural kept replaying in my mind. I remembered another one, too, ‘What matters in making friends is not having fun, but a stern rebuking when friends go astray.’ When you told me I was wrong to be friends with Ravi, I thought you were just jealous of him. But you were being a real friend. You’ve never let me down. I’ve been such a fool!”

Inspiration from Bodhinatha

 

In this video, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami takes us through a series of practices that, if followed, will reveal our innate perfection. Being perfect while the world is shaken by fear is a welcome point of view.

Humor from Hinduism Today

Path to Siva for Kids

Lesson 3: What is the ultimate goal of life?

When we are faced with difficulties, like the current pandemic, it is natural to ask ourselves what life is all about. So it is natural that we end this series of catechism lessons with reflections on that question.

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The ultimate goal of each lifetime is to know Siva and stop reincarnating in this world.

Souls who already went through many, many lives are called old souls. The oldest souls know God and are fully disciplined.

When you truly know Siva, you no longer feel different from your friends or other people. Instead, when you look at them, you see Siva. You see your friend, and in your mind you say:  ”Hello, I know you, you are myself.” When you look in the mirror, you see Siva.

When you know Siva fully, you stop reincarnating. There is no need to be born again in another body. This is called moksha, which means freedom. Imagine thousands of people trying to reach the peak of the highest mountain on Earth, called Mount Everest. Only the most highly disciplined mountain climbers will reach the peak. In the same way, only a few souls will reach life’s highest summit in this lifetime—moksha.

Featured Video: An Aerial Tour of Iraivan


A short visual journey from a small lava tube in the Wailua River up to the majestic, hand-carved Iraivan Temple.

Character Quality: Tactful

Read here——the story of Amala who learns the art of negotiation from her mother early in life, a skill she later uses to convince Christians in her school that their “friendship evangelism” is not really an ethical strategy.

Tactfulness means being diplomatic and skillful in dealing with people and situations. I strengthen it by being considerate of others’ feelings and responding to disagreements judiciously, seeking solutions that offend no one. The opposite is tactlessness.”

Gurudeva explained: “Diplomacy, a kind of love—one not wanting to hurt one’s fellow man, suppression of the emotions of hate and anger—brings about a kind of harmony. These are products of the intellect which when developed into a strong intellectual sheath is able to control the baser emotions through controlled memory, controlled reason and controlled willpower, the three faculties of our ability to govern forces of nature.…be tactful in what you say, and say it always with a smile…”

Art for Coloring

Coloring Art

In each lesson we will include some black and white illustrations, some simple, like the two below, and others complex, like the family dinner preparations above (more of that thanusual during the pandemic, no?). The idea is to print these out on paper and invite the kids to color them with crayons, colored pencils or chalk. Their uniqueness lies in their Saivite style and subject matter.

Whenever we go to the temple, we take an offering which we give to the priest who puts it at the feet of God. Often the items, fruits, incense, coconut, flowers and incense, are placed on a simple tray as shown above.

Here the artist draws the sandals of the satguru. Someone has offered flowers as a sign of respect and love for the spiritual master.

Kolam of the Day

Kolams are auspicious designs which many households in India draw daily in the home’s compound to bring protection and goodness to the family. We will give some kolams in each lesson. Simple designs for the little ones, complex for the more grown up. The dotted grids can be printed out if you want to draw them on paper, or if the family wants to get ambitious you can make the grid somewhere in the house or yard and draw with colored flour.

Gurudeva Reads from His Trilogy

Making Wise Decisions

Gurudeva made a million decisions during his life, and he became an expert on just how to make the right decisions in our life, which is important since decisions guide our progress through life. Listen here to his advice on how you can make the right decisions now and in the future.

Sadhana of the Day

Volunteering

Take one opportunity today and offer to help beyond what is required of you. An attitude of humble service diminishes the ego and strengthens our spiritual identity. Hold the attitude of being willing to help when called upon, to not resist or refuse. Having a great day also includes making spiritual progress.

Quote of the Day

“Becoming upset is a temporary suspension of our higher faculties.” Bodhinatha

 

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