Aparna Easwar, Raj Sistla, Sushil Nema
8th Grade 2018-19
The theme of the Bala Vihar for 8th grade is Yato Dharmah Tato Jayah (Where there is Dharma, there is Victory).
Our wonderful students: Dhvani, Anika, Sitara, Idika, Kumkum, Annika, Sagarika, Nividh, Suhas, Jayant, Rahul, Tej, Manas, Rohan, Aditi, Arshia, Arya, Sudarshan.
We started off the year with a discussion on the Karma, and the law of Karma.
We spent a good portion of the 8th grade curriculum reading & discussing the Mahabharata, which chronicles the story of the Pandavas, the Kauravas, their elders & relatives, and of course Lord Krishna. The Mahabharata is the longest epic in the world and is several thousand years old. Dharma in action, and references to Dharma, are conspicuous in almost every chapter of the Mahabharata and it was a great experience to analyze the motives, the choices made and the consequences experienced, by the characters in the Mahabharata. We are grateful to the version of C. Rajagopalachari’s translation of the Mahabharata which we used in this class. The students had lots of interesting observations, questions & debates along the way.
A wonderful episode in the Mahabharata is the “Yaksha Prashna” – a morality filled questions & answer dialogue between Yudhishthira and a Yaksha. As a class we spent a good deal of time discussing this thought provoking Q&A.
With the backdrop of the Mahabharata story, the class then discussed what Dharma is, and how to live by our Dharma. We then discussed the ten values of Sanatana Dharma as laid down by Manu, the facts of life and the roadmap to success. Then we capped off the year with a module on “How to be a darling of Krishna” by living the values of “Thirty Five Gems” from Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad Gita.
Oh..along the way, the class also had the opportunity to :
- Cook over a hundred meals for the Transitions homeless shelter (way to go, class!).
- Break new ground and fall in love with the concept of “Bala Vihar homework”
-Raj Sistla & Aparna Eswar