Although he is maintaining his Sankalpa for 3 months and did not watch TV, we thought to watch it together for 20 mins to taste the poison a bit again after staying away from it by self-will . We decided to watch Malgudi Days. The famous first series: Swami and his friends.
My goal was to expose him to village schools, friendships etc.
After watching, as expected, there was a question:
“Pappa, a question!”
“All kids in this show had cap on head. I don’t see kids wearing it to school anymore. Sometimes kids wear it when they go to playground but that is it. Why? Are those kids show in TV are different from us?”
“First of all, wonderful observation beta! You picking right things from the media! What those kids were wearing is known as पघडी/साफा. It was integral part of our clothes few decades back. ”
“Why not now? Was it not useful?”
“Indeed, it was useful and very much needed for regions like us (tropical). It served several purposes. But then we picked bad things for TV and media, reason why we don’t watch TV at home. It was taught by TV that it is inferior to wear it. So people stopped wearing it.”
“Bad, we should start wearing it. What are the benefits?”
“We must wear it under the exposure of extreme heat, cold and wind. There are rules for it. I am studying it, will explain you in detail.”
“Yes. Let us wear it for travelling on bike, or when walking/playing under the sun.”
My job is now to explain him value of protecting grey and white matter by wearing cap at right occasions.
One thing I always followed in my relation with my son : Never enforce anything. Nothing. Let there be demonstration, slow and steady exposure to idea and concept. Give enough time and space for digestion.
He is 5+ now. More observations, varied questions. For last 5 years, he did not demand to establish Ganesa Vigrah at home. He enjoyed visiting different pandals and observe shapes and sizes.
This year too. Day 1 went into visiting relatives and friends sthapana. But in evening, there was question : Why not at our home?
Day2 : We started with our first attempt to give shape to our Ganesa. What did we use? We collected clay from the shore of Maa Narmada few months back.
What is planned for day 3 : Give appropriate colors so that a divide vigraha emerge from it. And yes, don’t fall in modern trap of calling it Idol or Statue! This is Vigraha(विग्रह). मूर्तिसे देवता स्थापन! तत्त्व स्थापन! जल स्थापन, पृथ्वी तत्त्वसे!
Day 4 to Day 10 : We will recite and memorize गणपति अथर्वशीर्ष. We will observe and note down different forms and their characteristics. And this will continue for next 5 years.
You may bring most beautiful vigrah at home but don’t miss to prepare one at home by self. Your involvement. Family’s involvement. Your vigrah is your prana representation. Reflection of your muladhar.
This (गणेश चतुर्थी to अनंत चतुर्दशी) is the open window of the year where mother nature naturally allow you get rid of excessive toxins built during varsha ritu due to मन्दाग्नि(low digestive fire with uncontrolled food habits).
1) Food during this time will help. Modak and Kheer, pomegranate
2) Devotion to Shri Ganesa will help. गणपति अथर्वशीर्ष
3) Spending time with clay will definitely help as it is पृथ्वी तत्त्व’s trait to absorb toxins from body. Plus, vigraha making yields concentration and attentive mind, result is observed in body cleansing. Stabilize Vata prakop.
Your imperfections in vigraha making will inspire you to correct the foundation. Foundation is in learning different art forms.
There is interesting conversation between King Vajra and Sage Markendya in Vishnudharmottara Purana about it.
King Vajra wants to learn art of Idol making.
He seeks guidance from Sage Markendya.
And Sage prescribes him to learn following art in sequence to become master of Idol creator.
Vocal music (Reciting Vedas) => Instrumental Music => Natya Shashtra => Chitra Kala (Painting in 2D) => Becoming sculptor
In short, it is important to realize cosmos, to express it so potently so that seekers can connect with God by concentrating on divine play captured in Idol.
Generally, I don’t really need to open refrigerator as there is no such need 🙂 But for a change, I opened it Today evening. And what do I find?
I asked my wife with astonishment, :”What is this?”
“Ask your son! This is his act.”
I summoned my son.
“Kathan, please come here. What is this?”
“Oh..this! 🙂 Pappa, this is temple.”
“Why in fridge?”
“You once said that God’s Murti and picture are alive. If they are alive, they deserve the same treatment or better than us. If we use fan or AC, they too need it, right? That is why I installed my God, Shri Krushn here. He will sleep here and during day, he will be in temple.”
Speechless. People often talk about being like a child. And they often capture only one aspect of childhood. Being childish…acting mindlessly. But if there is something important to learn from kids, it is their devotion and faith.Highest level of sincerity and devotion are two primary aspects of हनुमान अवस्था. Kids are always in Hanuman state. It is this factor of childhood, being more प्राणवान like Hanuman and remain devoted and faithful to center of attraction.
Bhakti is essential for achievement of Karma(Yajna, selfless devotion for Nation and Culture) mentioned in Gita. Not so long ago, this land had witnessed many examples proving this point. In fact, they are the only examples where native culture could survive against foreign oppression.
Children must learn this factor of life. Unfortunately, arrogant parents educated in leftist liberal education, mar this innocence of kids and make them ruthless zombies from childhood. If not Istha Murti, your kid will succumb to cartoon. It is inevitable.
What is Bhakti anyway?
Human = Cognition + Feeling + Will
Human = Knowledge + Devotion + Action
Human = ज्ञान+ उपासना + कर्म
Devotion gives powerful hint about Bhakti. Devotion towards God. Devotion towards self. Devotion towards all living and non-living beings. Devotion for own karma. Devotion to Society. Devotion to dharma-sustenance. Devotion to Nation. For example, we call राष्ट्र-भक्ति which means Devotion towards Nation (and there is well known राष्ट्र-सूक्त in Rigveda).
During last Sunday’s tree plantation drive, we found several flowers. They were new to Kathan. Since last Monday, we focused on target-oriented morning sessions. Our goal was to explore weeds’ flowers in the wild. Everyday, we come home with new set of flowers.
One day, we observed something interesting.
“Pappa! Look at here! This plant is vomiting!”
“What? Plant and vomit? Let me see. Oh there is some foam on this plant!”
“Just like how soap foam is created during bath!? Can I take it on hand?”
“No..don’t touch for now. Let us observe it further!”
“Why this foam here? Did someone bath here?”
“lol! Good question! Let us find out. Let’s do one thing. Let’s come here again tomorrow. We will observe for some more time.”
“Pappa! Look at there! Same foam but on different plant!”
“Oh yes! That means, it is not just one plant! Then what is it? Interesting!”
“Is someone throwing foam here or..is it due to rain?”
“No dear. Look closely. It is on specific branches of plant. And on specific plants. Not all plants. Humans or rain can’t achieve such perfection. Must be some bird or animal or insect.”
“You find out from office!”
—- Same day evening——
“Kathan!! It is indeed insect! It is nest for this insect. Look at the video!”
“Yes! These insects are common on plants who can imbibe more and more nitrogen from soil. And they are because soil as more nitrogen due to chemical farming in adjacent famrs. This insect sap food from plant while baby-insects grow!”
“woow! But pappa…one more question! What is this chemical word? What all things can be considered as chemical!”
“Very good question! Let’s discuss is some other time. Add it in your list of queries!”
“પપ્પા, અહી આવો! જુઓ આ શું છે! આ છોડ ઉલટી કરે છે!”
“શું? છોડ અને ઉલટી? લાવ જોવા દે તો! ઓહો…આ છોડ પર ફીણ? આ ઉલટી નથી..કંઇક ફીણ જેવું છે.”
“સાબુનું ફીણ થાય છે એવું? હાથમાં લઉં?”
“હા એવું જ પણ હાથમાં ના લઈશ.”
“પણ આવું કેમ છે? અહી કોઈ નાહવા બેઠું હશે?”
“હા હા :D! સરસ પ્રશ્ન!મારે પણ જાણવું પડશે. એક કામ કરીએ..કાલે ફરી આવી ને જોઇશ..થોડો વધારે સમય લઈને નિરીક્ષણ કરીશું!”
—- બીજા દિવસે——–
“પપ્પા! જુઓ જુઓ! આ એકજ છોડ પર નથી..અલગ અલગ છોડ પર છે!”
“અરે હા! એટલે એ આ માત્ર એક છોડ પુરતું નથી! તો શું હોઈ શકે?”
“કોઈ માણસે સાબુનું ફીણ ફેંક્યું હોય?કે પછી વરસાદ પડવાથી થયું હોય?”
“હોઈ શકે! પણ ધ્યાનથી જો બેટા…એ માત્ર છોડની અમુક ડાળી પર જ છે. જો વરસાદકે બીજા કોઈએ માણસે કર્યું હોય તો આટલું ચીવટતા થી ન થઇ શકે! મને લાગે છે…કોઈ પક્ષી કે જીવડું હોઈ શકે.”
“પપ્પા…કાલે શોધી લાવજો!”
—- એ દિવસે સાંજે———
“કથન! પેલા ફીણનો જવાબ મળી ગયો!”
“ઓહો!! બોલો બોલો જલ્દી!!”
“એક જીવડું છે! એનો એ માળો છે!”
“હા એમાંથી એના બચ્ચા નીકળશે! આ જીવડું એવાજ છોડ પર થાયકે જ્યાં જમીનમાં કેમિકલ ખેતીના કારણે Nitrogen વધારે હોય! જો આ વિડીઓ!”
“ઓહો! કેટલા સરસ છે…પણ પપ્પા..નવો પ્રશ્ન! આ કેમિકલ શું છે!”
“સુંદર! એના પર ફરી ક્યારેક! 🙂 ”
Age 10 and below is the age to cultivate observation skills. Insects and weeds are unknown areas for modern schooling curriculum. Hardly any focus on it. But if we don’t expose it to kids, they will never realize system aspect of nature. Role of everyone into mother nature. Nothing is useless – is difficult to grasp developed urban mind.
And foam is not only possible in soap or the soap-toy! Such foam in wild was wealth earned for this little mind. This is possible when we could spend more time with kids in nature. Time well spent in observations and projects.
Our journey to explore wild flowers is continuing. Will share more on it once the project is over.
Some old articles on Weeds and the lesson I wish to teach my son:
Mother nature provides common sense sensors and we run to lab for soil testing with soil health card 😉
Technological arrogance vs Sensible observations
Later is win-win situation.
Weeds were never useless. Those who consider them useless are actually useless.”
“Pappa, what exactly Anil dada (Granfather’s friend and tree lover) asked you to for trees recently planted on divider?”
“He asked to take care of them.”
“What kind of care? Monsoon is going on. Water is everywhere. ”
“Water is not enough. If it was forest, we really don’t need to take care of trees as such. Mother nature takes care of them but since we (or civic authority) plant trees in urban area, we need to take care of them like how we take care of you. Let’s go to the main road. I will show you.”
“Can you this scar? See, here.”
“This is what we need to prevent. We don’t want trees to die prematurely by such fatal injuries.”
“Why do they get such scars? Can’t we plant properly.”
“Yes, we can plant them properly but since they are here in open, in public place, they are prone to chaos. Even wind will change their position. We need to take care of them till the roots are strong and stable.”
“How can we avoid it?”
“We will put a support so that they don’t rest on iron protector around them. Support will allow them to grow straight.”
“Let’s take a संकल्प pappa! We will take care of all trees on this road!”
“Sure, beta! We will. Every morning, 3 trees! Deal?”
“Remember, the way we provide these trees support, in life, never hesitate your support to needy. That is the purpose of our life! It is always govt or official’s duty to take care needy! We must act as mature society and uplift to be more powerful!”
“Yes! Imagine how strong these trees will turn after 10 years.”
This week, we covered two trees. One that gives us wood and another fruit. Teak tree and African Cherry Tree.
When we approach mother nature, we don’t follow text book. We pick up one hint and then observe it for several months. For example, teak wood tree. Monsoon is when flowering starts in this tree and by the time winter arrives, fruits mature. We enjoyed the flower, will keep a close watch on the progress!
Schools’ syllabus often introduce stereotypes to kids. Even when it is class about nature or environment. For flowers, roses and for fruits, apple and oranges. For wood, teak and neem. Hardly, any tree or plant is introduced as a whole. Even if it is done, it is restricted to Bsc Biology . That is it. Ideally, all our kids should have total exposure to mother nature. Not only rose flower but the rose plant, from root to fruit.
Teak tree is known for quality wood. But what about its flower and fruits. Today morning was spent with teak tree, observing its fruits and flower. They are in full bloom these days!
Don’t trap kids in stereotypes. That is fundamental to flourish their creativity and enhance their imagination horizon.
ભારતની સરકારી અભ્યાસક્રમથી ચાલતી શાળામાં, હંમેશા બાળકને વિષયનો બીબાઢાળ પરિચય આપી શકે. એ અભ્યાસક્રમની મર્યાદા છે પણ શિક્ષકની નહિ. શિક્ષક ધારેતો વિષયની સમગ્રતા બાળકોને બતાવી શકે. દાખલા તરીકે, ગુલાબના પુષ્પ પહેલા ગુલાબના છોડનો અભ્યાસ અને નિરીક્ષણ. કેરીના ફળ પહેલા કેરીના ઝાડનું આંબાવાડિયામાં સ્થાન અને આસપાસના પર્યાવરણમાં એનો ફાળો.
આજે અમે સાગના ઝાડ સાથે સત્સંગ કર્યો. અત્યારે સાગને ભરપુર પુષ્પ આવ્યા છે…મજબુત લાકડાનું બીજ સમજવાનો પ્રયત્ન કર્યો.
After a long break, we got a chance to visit our Gau shala this week. It was great feeling to see Ocra (lady-finger) grown up so fast and healthy in last 1 month’s rain! All of them are matured now. Flowering is started. Some of them have early fruits too! Wow!
This is one vegetable that is grown across India with heavy pesticide usage and here we have Zero Budget Ocra! Yes, there are insects and pests but Cow-dung and urine based treatment is enough!
Our farmer friend and Gau-palak explained us, how to make जीवामृत!
This is most potent season of they year to demonstrate how Prana plays role of magician in our life. We can’t really see how Prana act. It is not physical so not deducible by logic or experiments. We can only experience. Our life is so fast and numb that it is difficult to even experience impact of Prana in our life. Breathing and Pranayama helps but the changes are withing. For kids, it is not possible to fathom the control Prana has over all of us.
Monsoon is best season to educate kids about Prana.
Plant trees. Plant small plants. Plant grass! All of them will grow faster than other seasons. Especially,grass! All our monsoon vrata(s) involve grass of one or another kind in rituals. Play significant role to establish value and experience of Prana!
Show the liveliness and changing colors of mother nature. Rapid changes all around.
From Amavasya to Purnima and Purnima to Amavasya, observe how growing plants and their rasa act under the controlled of abundant prana due to rain!
We, father-son, act like crazy wanderer during this season. We try to observe every minute change in our daily route! From weeds to flowers to insects! All of them under our radar!
We generally don’t travel with camera or phone but sometimes, we do capture the fun.
“પપ્પા , તમે પૂજામાં બાંધેલો આ લાલ દોરો કેમ લાંબા સમય સુધી રાખો છો? મમ્મી મારો દોરો થોડા સમયમાં કાઢી તુલસીમાતાને ચઢાવી દે છે ?”
“બેટા, ખુબ સરસ પ્રશ્ન છે ! જે લાલ દોરો બાંધીયે છે એને નાડાછડી , કલાવા કે મૌલી કહેવાય। એ માત્ર સનાતન ધર્મ ચિન્હ માત્ર નથી પણ એમાં કેટ કેટલાય શુભ આશય રહેલા છે। .સાદી ભાષામાં કહું તો। ..કોઈપણ પૂજા કરતી વખતે સંકલ્પ લેવાનો હોય છે। આ સૂત્ર મને એ સંકલ્પ યાદ કરાવે છે અને એના એક એક તાંતણા માં પૂજામાં આવેલ દેવોનો આશીર્વાદ રહેલો હોય છે કે જેથી સંકલ્પ સિદ્ધ થાય.જ્યાં સુધી સંકલ્પ પૂરો ન થાય ત્યાં સુધી હું એને રાખું છું !”
“સંકલ્પ એટલે ?”
“સંકલ્પ એટલે એક સ્વાર્થ રહિત એવો નિર્ણયકે જેના સિદ્ધ થવાથી પરિવાર / સમાજ /રાષ્ટ્ર /સૃષ્ટિ નું કલ્યાણ થાય ”
“પોતાના માટે સંકલ્પ ના હોય ?”
“હોય ને ? કેમ તારે ફરીથી નાડાછડી બાંધવી છે ?”
“હા ! હું કેવા સંકલ્પ લઇ શકું ?”
“વ્યક્તિગત સંકલ્પ જેમકે હું ક્યારેય ટીવી નહિ જોવ। ..હું શરીર ને યોગ્ય ખોરાક માત્ર ભૂખ લાગી હોય ત્યારે જ ખાઈશ। હું હંમેશા ગૌ સેવા કરીશ વડીલની સેવા કરીશ ..વગેરે વગેરે ”
“તો ચાલો ઘરે..આજે હું સંકલ્પ લઇ જ લઉં !”
— ઘરે આવીને —
“પપ્પા। ..હું સંકલ્પ લઉં છું કે હું ટીવી નહિ જોવ! હવે બાંધો નાડાછડી !”
“તથાસ્તુઃ બેટા ! ખુબ સુંદર !”
સંસ્કૃતિ રક્ષણ ત્યારે જ થશે કે જયારે આપણામાં એ જીવંત હશે અને આવનારી પેઢી એની નોંધ લઇ એનું મહત્વ સમજશે !
“Pappa! This read thread that we tre during pooja..you never remove it for long! Mom removes my thread after sometime!”
“Great question beta! The red thread you see is called Kalava or Mauli. It has deeper meanings in our ritualistic dharma but I will tell you in simple terms. Whenever we perform pooja, we take some vow to observe in life. This thread reminds me it and I keep it until I achieve the vow decided in life.”
“Vow is either selfless goal or habit that we wish to follow in life for the benefit of family, society , nation or the universe!”
“Can’t it be for self?”
“Yes..sure. Do you wish to tie it again?”
“Yes, it can be. It can be related to some habits that can help us improve our life and align life to ultimate goal of life.”
“Let’s go home. I will tie and and take a vow!”
— After reaching home—
“Pappa! I take a vow that I will never watch TV. Now tie the thread!”
“Wonderful! As you wish!”
Culture thrives only when the tenets are alive in our life, demonstrated well so that next generation not only notices it but also adopt it wholeheartedly!
When schools are closed, when peers are inside home, we decided to explore & play in rain!
We observed how ducks moved to pond from canal as ponds are now full.
Roadside is covered by green lush weeds.
There is nothing like sailing in streets clogged by rain water!
Farm lands are full of water
Birds are enjoying rain sitting on trees
“પપ્પા..જુઓ પેલી બતક!કેનાલમાં રહેતી હતી..હવે તળાવમાં આવી ગઈ!”
“હા..કુદરતી ઘર એમને બહુ ગમે…”
“બતકને ક્યાં ગમે એ કેવી રીતે ખબર પડે?”
“હા હા..અહી તળાવમાં એમને સારો ખોરાક મળી રહે એટલે કદાચ વધારે ગમતું હશે. પશુ-પક્ષી માટે જીવનનું સર્વોચ્ચ લક્ષ્ય એટલે ખોરાક વ્યવસ્થા! અને જો આપણું જીવન પણ એના માટે જ મર્યાદિત રહે તો આપના અને એમનામાં શું ફરક?”
“તો આપણે બીજું શું કરવાનું?”
“આપણને મળેલ બુદ્ધિ અને વિચારશક્તિનો યોગ્ય ઉપયોગ. એ કરીએ તો આપણે મનુષ્ય. એ ઉત્તમ રીતે કરીએ તો આપણે દેવ! અને જયારે કર્મમાં સંપૂર્ણતા સાર્થક થાય એટલે ભગવાનનું પ્રતિબિંબ!”
“Pappa..look at here! Ducks have migrated from canal to pond!”
“Yes..they love natural habitat over artificial.”
“How can we determine that they love pond over canal?”
“:) they have more access to food in pond over canal. For animals and birds, life’s ultimate goal is to manage food for self. That is it. And if we too limit life to same goal, there is no difference between us and them.”
“What else do we need to do?”
“We are gifted free-will and intellect. Use it wisely for self and society. If we excel in it, we are Deva(s). If there is absolute perfection in our actions, we are God’s reflection.”