SSE Group 1 Archives

Class Notes 4/10-4/11

We started the class by chanting the Gayatri Mantra. We recapped what we discussed in last class about appointment with God. The teachers did a role play where a child is praying hard to get selected in soccer tournament, but is doubtful if God is hearing, as he thinks there are so many other children praying and so God must be busy. Children were asked to share their thoughts on what we should be persistent in our prayers. All children unanimously agreed, we have to play with faith in God, belief in oneself and also maintain a positive attitude. We subtly brought the point that delays are nor denials, it’s just that God gives the best for us and at the right time. The story about Sabari on her steadfast faith and her devotion to Lord Rama.

Class Notes 4/3-4/4

We started the class by chanting the Gayatri Mantra.

Since we were meeting after a week’s break we reviewed our previous learnings. This was an interactive session with children.

We went ahead and learnt the technique of silence sitting by focusing on breath. We learnt that to move from mind being full to being mindful this technique helps. The way it is done is by remembering the triangle which has three sides, the first step is to breath in for three counts, the second is to hold the breath for three counts and the third step to breath out for three counts.

We then talked about how important it is to be regular with our prayers – setting aside a particular time in the day and doing silent sitting and prayers every day at the same time. We then narrated an experience of Dr. Srikanth Sola, cardiologist at SSSIHMS whitefield,who after being very regular with his meditation for decades one day delays it for half an hour because he decides to shave and take shower before meditation. And so while he was shaving, swami opens the bathroom door and tells him that he has been waiting for him for half an hour, closes the door and leaves. Dr.Sola says the time we set aside for our meditation and prayers is like our appointment time with God, our interview with God. 

We talked to children about how God is more than eager to sit with us and converse with us during our prayers. And it is in that silence that we can hear his voice, inspiring us and guiding us.

Life  Application :

Practice silence sitting  by focusing on breath before chanting Gayathri Mantra. Set aside a particular time for everyday prayers.

Class Notes for 3/20-3/21

Started  the class by chanting the Gayathri Mantra.

We introduced a new sub-topic SILENCE under the main topic prayers.

We explained to children that just before we sit for prayers it’s important that we steady our mind and calm it down from all the thoughts and distractions it’s engaged in.

We used the analogy of a bowl filled with water to make our point. In this analogy the bowl is the body and the water is the mind. When we shake the bowl the water too will start shaking but when we set the bowl aside for something the water settles down and stays still. So the first step to calm the mind is to still the body.

Then we brought in the concept of breath to steady the mind.

We played an audio book titled ‘ The Boy Who Searched for Silence’ by Andrew Newman. In the book the boy discovers that silence is within him and he can take it with him everywhere he went. 

We then spoke about how swami compares the mind to a mad monkey and one of the ways to steady the mind is to keep it engaged and busy. Swami says this can be done by bringing mind’s attention to the tip of the nose and focus on the breath.

The class was an interactive session, we initially asked the children to remain silent and asked them to notice what went on in their minds when they sat in silence, we then asked them to focus on the breath and asked them if there were any differences from the first time.Though all the children were not able to sit still and engage in the activity fully some of the children could see the difference and understood the concept of breath.

Class Notes for 3/13-3/14

We began the class by chanting the Gayatri Mantra.

We then asked all the children to share their understanding of the Gayatri Mantra and their experiences of chanting the mantra. Each of their answers are unique and awe inspiring. 

We then talked about the overall meaning of the Gayatri Mantra by explaining that it has got three elements in it—— description/praise, meditation, and prayer. Talked about what is being described, what we are meditating on and what we are praying for.

We then shared two stories of devotees who have experienced the grace and benevolence of the Gayatri Mantra during times of trouble and on their health.

Played a crossword puzzle on Gayatri Mantra 

Ended the class with delightful set presentations by children showcasing their talents.

 Class Notes for 3/6-3/7

We began by chanting the Gayatri Mantra five times.

We then talked about the meaning of the Gayatri Mantra as explained to us by swami— what does each line in the mantra denote, the significance of the form of Gayatri devi, the benefits we derive by chanting the mantra and how and when the mantra be chanted.

To provide a conceptual understanding on how the Gayatri mantra  protects us from all troubles, illumines our intellect and purifies our minds we conducted an activity/experiment. It’s called the penny and candle experiment.

After gaining some insight into the meaning and significance of the Gayatri mantra, to be able to relate to real life benefits of chanting we played a video of Sri Sathya Sai primary school children relating their experiences of how chanting Gayatri mantra helped them tremendously with their studies and in times of trouble.

We then learnt a Shiva bhajan— Shivaya Namahshiva Shivaya NamahShiva Shivaya Namath Om Namah Shivaya.

We ended the class with another round of amazing and inspiring presentations by students, which they learnt staying away from the screen and in turn reducing the screen time.

Life  Application :

 Continue chanting the food prayer, track your screen time and green time with the time  tracker, Chant 108 times Gayatri Mantra towards the bead project.

Class Notes for 2/27-2/28

Started the class by chanting Aum and slokas followed by silent sitting

Lesson for the dayBegan by reviewing the newly introduced topic from last class, which is prayer.

Discussed with children what their understanding of prayer is and concluded that prayer is one that helps us to connect with God. Prayer is nothing but a conversation with God. We then pointed to the Gayatri mantra as one of the most powerful prayers.

Narrated the story of sage Vasista and king Viswamitra on how the Gayatri mantra came into existence.

Outlined some of the key features of the Gayatri Mantra.

Chanted the prayer five times as a chant along with swami’s audio clip.

We had yet another amazing presentations by students showcasing their talent which they developed utilizing green time and reducing screen time.

Ended the class talking about ‘the bead project’. This is a service opportunity where in we take beads and energize them with 108 recitations of Gayatri mantra, which will  then be collected and made into bracelets for the needy people. We have asked the children to energize at least one bead and return it before shivaratri.

  • Life application: Continue the time tracker for this week as well and compare the time spent for each category from last week. Chant Brahmarpanam before every meal

  • Class Notes for 2/20-2/21

    Started the class by chanting Aum and slokas followed by silent sitting

    Lesson for the day: We started new topic on purity today – Prayers. A wonderful story from nature on purity was narrated. Dakshinamoorthy , an epitome of peace was once taking a stroll on the sea shore. He was enjoying the beauty of the waves and the the resounding OM from the sound of waved. As he was engrossed in this, he noticed that the gust of wind brought a bunch of straw and some trash which feel on the ocean. The waves in the ocean, immediately pushed the trash to the shore. When Dakshinamoorthy noticed this few times, he asked the ocean, why it was not taking it into itself. The ocean calmly replied that they were impurities and did not belong to ocean and hence it was gently pushing it away. It was then he realized what a profound lesson the ocean was teaching us, our nature is to be loving and to have pure thoughts and anything that not pure comes to us, we must discard it. This process can be achieved by different means, one of the powerful methods is by Prayer.

    Activity: The class did an experiment in alignment with the above story where they had a glass of water, some lentils and a kerchief. The lentils was mixed in the water and then poured into a bowl with the kerchief acting as a filter. 

    Through this simple activity children were immediately able to catch that the kerchief filtered out the lentils and let only the water seep through it

    We also played a quiz to talk about different methods of Prayer – Bhajans/Meditation/Namasmarana/Likhita Japa/Vedams/Ritual Poojas/Reading Holy books/Listening to Discourses/Spiritual messages.

    Take home message: With the above analogy, the point that was brought home was, Prayer is like the filter, that helps us to filter out unwanted thoughts and emotions.

    We ended the class by discussing the time tracker from last week and was very heart warming to see many children focussed on increasing the green time by engaging in constructing activities like gardening, learning music on their instruments, making utility out of waste etc.

    Eight children demonstrated what they did during the green time, very inspiring! Kudos to all the children and thanks to parents for the follow through and reinforcing the teachings from the class

    Life application: Continue the time tracker for this week as well and compare the time spent for each category from last week. Chant Brahmarpanam before every meal.

  •  

    Lesson for the day: We started with a recap of what we learnt in the previous classes by playing a quiz on kahoot.   How purity of vision is important for us to have pleasant and positive thoughts, fast paced movies and videos has impact on our mental and physical health, we lose the opportunity to explore if we only watch. 

    Inference

    Hands on activities give us the complete experience , for eg: watching a recipe show does not give us the complete understanding of the dish. We gain understanding by actually doing it and experience the process. There’s lot of will power that comes into picture when we want to achieve our goal.

    Take home message: Have a exploratory mindset and spend time learning and doing than just watching. Increase the “Green time” by having the creative mindset and reduce the “Screen time” as part of it.

    Children shared the time tracker life application that they did last week and compared the green vs screen time. It was very inspiring to see children actually tracking their time and being conscious.

    In the spirit of increasing the green time, a list of activities have been shared with the class. Children can choose one activity out of it and work on it the coming weeks. This will increase their “Green time”. They will also be presenting and sharing the class

    Life application: Continue the time tracker for this week as well and compare the time spent for each category from last week.

  • Class Notes for 2/6 – 2/7

    Lesson for the day: Began by narrating a student’s experience where swami taught him to always be watchful of his actions.

    We posed questions to the children about how we can be watchful of what we see. What should we look for to decide what is right to watch and what is not right to watch in the context of screen time.

    Showed two videos to bring out the contrast. One was fast paced, action packed, dramatic with loud sound effects, and the other was normal paced, fun to watch and with pleasant background sound. 

    Inference

    Watching fast paced video leads to hyper stimulation of the brain, which in turn tricks us into thinking that the normal pace in which we operate is boring.

    Our brain registers all the emotions that we experience merely by watching/reacting to something on screen. And Some of these negative emotions do come in the way when we have to behave our best.

    Loud sounds do affect us with our focus and attention.

    Take home message: Be watchful of what we watch

    Activity: Did an activity to show how jarring sounds vs pleasant sounds affect our focus.

    Practiced the bhajan – Govinda Rama Jai Jai Gopala Rama

    Life application: It’s an activity to track screen time. Details are posted in a video format in WhatsApp groups.

  • Class Notes for 1/30-1/31
    We started with sloka chanting, bhajan and silent meditation. Children shared how they felt when they were sitting in silence with eyes closed. 

    We talked about etiquette in SSE class. SSE is a learning place and we are invoking Swami to be with us, so it’s all the more important that we conduct ourselves in an appropriate way – presentable clothing, sitting in a proper place, no food near us, participation in the class etc. We also watched a cute video of two children offering  card to Swami’s photo and how he blessed them by dropping a flower from the photo, indicating he is always with us.

    We continued with the topic of Power of vision and how it can impact the purity of thoughts. A beautiful story of Swami where He demonstrated how purity brings out the strength both mentally and physically. Swami once had a hand wrestling match with the institute boys. Even though there were multiple boys against Swami, He could easily defeat them and he mentioned it was due to his purity from head to toe, that he was able to do it.

    Then, we talked about how the 5 sense organs are like “doors” to the body, sight being one of them. What you see, “enters” your body and affects your thoughts and also emotions. Just like we keep our homes safe by not allowing poisonous creatures to enter and allow only our family, friends and relatives, we should do the similar to our body also, by allowing only good thoughts to enter our mind.

    Children shared last week’s life application experience, how watching their favorite show/playing video game had an impact on their thoughts/emotions.

    Life application : Observe feelings as we watch/see things around us (outside, at home, on screen) and note down in journal under 2 columns – pleasant and unpleasant feelings. eg : Pleasant feeling – saw a family of deer, felt joyful.Unpleasant feeling – watched a dramatic scene on tv, felt agitated. This can be done as a family activity with a meaningful discussion

  • Class Notes for 1/23-1/24

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared how they felt when they were sitting in silence with eyes closed.

    We did a recap of what we did last week and discussed the food journal. Next we asked children what other thing other than food can impact our thoughts Children came up with wonderful answers like words, actions can make others happy or can hurt. Then we played a game where few pictures were shown one by one like a birthday party decoration, lego game, chocolate box, barbie dolls, theme park and Gods’ photos. For each photo we asked them what thought came to mind when they first saw it. Children shared, some of them had the desire to play with the dolls/legos. excited and happy, wanted to eat the chocolates thought about Swami and the cute Ganesha. 

    It was to bring home the point of “Power of vision”. What we see has an immediate impact on our thoughts and cascade into different emotions. So, it’s important to watch our thoughts when we see anything, could be TV video games etc.

    We concluded with a fun game of emojis, to bring out different emotions that we can have.

    We learnt a new bhajan : Allah Allah karo pukar

    Life Application: Continue food tracker if children want to, Chant food prayer before every meal. In addition, ask children to note down what thought they had when they were watching their favorite TV show or while playing their favorite video game. We will be discussing this in the next class

  • Class Notes for 1/16-1/17

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared how they felt when they were sitting in silence with eyes closed.

    Next, we discussed about the food journal tracker. Children had updated the tracker daily where they identified the food that they ate for each of the meal – breakfast/lunch/snacks/dinner fell into which category – Happy(Satwik)/DonalDuck (Rajasic)/Sloth(Tamasic). This was based off of last week’s discussion. Then we looked at the tracker to see if we could have more “H” and children shared their ideas on what they can replace for junk/processed food . The suggested baked items instead of deep fried, fresh fruit juices /milkshakes instead of aerated drinks high in sugar, jaggery/honey instead of refined sugar. In essence, everybody agreed that we have to eat Rajasic and Tamasic food in moderation.

    Then we talked about what constitutes a “Happy Kitchen” . Few things we can do

    • Do not watch TV/other devices during meals
    • Help mom/dad in kitchen in small ways
    • Help with laying the dining table/cleaning up
    • Chant prayer together before meals
    • Enjoy family time

    We also had fun time with “food riddles “.

    Finally, we had a wonderful fun activity where children made a food art with cut vegetables/fruits

    Life Application: Continue food tracker for this week. Chant food prayer before every meal

  • Class Notes for 1/9-1/10

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared what sounds they heard while sitting silent, many of them are able to hear multiple sounds, even very feeble sounds like door opening, someone walking down stairs etc

    We recapped about what we learnt before holidays – How Purity of food affects our thoughts.

    Story/Video: We watched the video of Sloth from Zootopia, the hyper active Donald duck and then of a Happy Boy who shared his lunch with a stranger who was hungry. Then we discussed why they all behaved differently. One of the big reasons for behavior is, nature of food. We slowly learnt about Satwik(healthy food) – keeps us happy, Rajasic(spicy and oily food- Donald duck) – makes us angry, Tamasic (processed food, high sugar content – Sloth) – makes us lazy. So, we need to watch the food that we eat.

    We learnt a new bhajan – Narayan Narayan Bhaja man Narayan

    Life Application: Make a food tracker table to track food type eaten for every day/ever meal. Use different color pens to mark them as “H”, “D”, “S”. Chant food prayer before every meal.

  • Class Notes for 1/2-1/3, 12/26-12/27

     Break for holidays

  • Class Notes for 12/19

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared what sounds they heard while sitting silent, many of them are able to hear multiple sounds

    We are discussing why purity of food is important. We learnt the food prayer – Brahmarpanam and its meaning. The meaning of the prayer is that the act of eating is same as yagna. Just like items are offered to the fire in yagna, food is offered to the divine energy in the form of digestive fire. So, we have to be prayerful while eating and swami has has said personally he would remove al unwanted things from the food we eat, if we pray before meals.

    Story: There is a beautiful story of Swami. Once during a lunch , Swami was sitting and a school boy offered the food to swami. He took a pinch of the “vada” and then he told the boy, he took the chilly from the “vada” which may be spicy for the boy, symbolically telling he will remove all impurities from food, if we pray to him before meal.

    Activity : We made a 3D heart shaped Christmas ornament to celebrate Christmas.

    Life Application: Chant Brahmapranam before every meal

  • Class Notes for 12/12

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared what sounds they heard while sitting silent, many of them are able to hear multiple sounds

    We started with discussion on what are the thins that can affect the purity of our mind. One of the important thing that affect our thoughts is food. 3 steps of purity of food – Pathra shuddhi (purity of container for cooking), Padartha shuddhi (purity of the ingredients) and Pachaka shudhi (cook’s thoughts). 

    Story : Narrated a story of a priest who was invited to king’s palace for a feast. The priest who was a good hearted person, at the end of the meal stole the silver cutleries. When he went back home, he was thinking why did he do it. he next day, he went back t return it and then the court ministers were called for help to find out what made him steal and then return back. They found out that the rice that was cooked was taken from the thieves who were caught the previous day, so the rice was stolen material. This induced the thought of stealing into the priest’s mind, who otherwise was a very good hearted person. This showed us how much our thoughts are impacted by the food.

    Activity: We put the 3 steps of purity for food preparation into practice by doing a recipe. We cleaned the ingredients and the container that we used and we were chanting slokas or bhajan while preparing. we made a “happy cracker” by decorating cracker with grated vegetables and grated cheese/spread.

    Life Application: Say any prayer or a “thank you” to God before eating any meal. have happy thoughts while eating.

  • Class Notes for 12/5

    We started with sloka chanting and silent meditation. Children shared what sounds they heard while sitting silent, many of them are able to hear multiple sounds

    We started new topic – Purity. We discussed what is purity – keeping your surroundings/yourself/house clean.

    Why is it important – Helps us connect with God. What you put inside(feelings/thoughts/emotions) is what comes out in the form of words/actions.

    Activity : We did 2 activities to bring out the ida of purity. A clean glass of water in a transparent glass. Add stones, dried leaves/sticks to eat. Now it becomes not suitable to drink. Second one, we took a cellophane tape and rubbed it on carpet, then when we tried sticking, we were not able to as it had dirt on it. Same way when we have not pure thoughts, we will not be able to connect to God.

    Life Application: Keep your surroundings clean.