TK Ramchandar & Praveen Gopalakrishnan
Bala vihar 10th grade class covered Bhagavad Geeta chapters 1 through 8. The 18 chapters of Geeta can be divided into three parts following the upanishad mantra ‘Tat Tvam Asi’ (Thou Art That) — with the first 6 chapters representing ‘Tavam’ or who we are, the next 6 representing ‘Tat’ or God and the last 6 is about the union between us and God. In the first 6 chapters we tried to understand our nature in terms of body, mind, intellect, desires, ego etc. And various paths towards being able to win over our mind (so as to understand ourselves and God) such as ‘Karma Yoga’ or the path of selfless action as a first step in purifying our thoughts. We also discussed ‘Jnana Yoga’ the path of knowledge. A key concept discussed was to do our best in any given situation, to give up our strong attachment to particular outcomes for our actions, and be willing to accept different outcomes.
In chapters 7 and 8, we started learning about God where Bhagavan Krishna in the Geeta covers His splendor as embodied by the various manifest things in the universe and the core teaching being God is present in everything and everywhere just as the ‘thread that holds together a pearl necklace’.
10th graders are a highly curious and engaged group, and their feedback about the class was that they enjoyed how the class connected spiritual concepts with application to daily life — especially through several discussions and debates in terms of how they applied in their high school context — about parent and friend relationships and ‘achievement pressures’. They would also like to see more activities in class and outside.