Suma Krishnamurthy & Preeti Kashyap
Sundays have been a joy as 12 enthusiastic 2nd graders and 2 teachers gathered in a classroom to share the next hour together, filled with so many activities centered around Śri Hanuman, the Super Superman.
Starting off with opening prayers and attendance, the class moved on to learning the hanuman chalisa. The adorable 7-8 year olds were keen to learn new tongue-twister verses every week, and enthusiastically anticipated the completion as the year came to a close. And then, to present their yearlong learning to an audience at the annual varshikotsav!! How exciting!!
Story time brought out a new eagerness in the children to listen and to share their own information.
Stories that portrayed the eight virtuous qualities of Śri Hanuman – बुद्धिर् बलम् यशो धैर्यम् …… qualities that help build a strong ‘backbone’ towards mental strength and strong character. Kids shared how they would imbibe Hanumanji’s qualities in their everyday life. Like standing up to bullies, and not staying quiet when they see something wrong happening at school.
The eighth quality वाक्पटुत्वम was probably the most confusing for the kids. Eloquence? And what does that mean teacher? Fluency?articulation?oratory…I still don’t get it, they said. The class turned into a safe practice ground, each student did an impromptu talk for 30 seconds with the topic being – how can we improve and be like Hanumanji.
Control of mind goes hand in hand with control of body, and the entire year the class practiced to stay still and calm whether it is during prayers, or stretches postures, or while chanting Rama-naama with their very own creations of japa-maala. They also used their creativity to make their own name tags, sometimes solved crosswords, and worked on the Hanuman backbone project.
Always finishing off the hour with closing prayers, 🕉पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम्….🙏 and an intent to keep the calmness as the class walks down the stairs.
The year came to an end rather too quickly, with the realization that there is so much to learn from Śri Hanumanji, if only we can train our monkey minds….
Preeti & Suma