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The Master Course • Level One • Book One Professional Teacher’s Guide
  • The Master Course Level One Book One

    Professional Teachers Guide

  • First Edition

    Copyright by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

    aivite Hindu Religion, The Master Course, Level One, is a seven-book childrens course. Books Oneto Four contain some illustrations and text from aiva Neri, a course prepared by the EducationalPublications Department of the Government of Sri Lanka and copyrighted in 1979 by the Gov-ernment of Sri Lanka. Material from aiva Neri is used with the permission of His Excellency, theHonorable Ananda W.P. Guruge, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States.

    Sri Lanka Course Book Subcommittee: Mr. N. Shanmugaratnam, Mrs. Parashakti Sundaralingam,Mr. S. Velauthapillai, Mrs. Palam Lakshmanan, Dr. V. Ramakrishnan, Mr. S. Murugavel. Writers:Mrs. Puvaneshvari Arunasalam, Mrs. Manonmani Naganathan, Mrs. Paramesvari Alagaratnam,Mrs. Pathma Somakanthan, Mr. K.C. Shanmugam, Mr. K. Kuruswamy. Artists: Mr. K. Rajaratnam,T. Sriskandaraja, Mr. Asaipillai Gnanasekaram, Mr. Janarthanan Rathnasapapaty, Mrs. Parame-svari Alagaratnam. Editor: Mr. V. Vellipuram.

    Original English material by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Translations in Hindi have beenexpertly provided by: Vedic University of America (USA), Dr. Seshagiri Rao (USA), Dr. Shanta Sri-vastava (Canada), Paita Tirthadeva Peruman (Fiji). Translations in Tamil ably assisted by TiruRamesh Sivanathan (Malaysia), Tiru Appasamy Kuppusamy (Malaysia) and Tiru A. Rammohan(USA).

    All illustrations and text not drawn from the Sri Lanka course are copyright 1995 by Satguru SivayaSubramuniyaswami. All rights are reserved. This book may be used to share the Hindu Dharmawith others on the spiritual path, but reprinted in quantities over fifty only with the prior writ-ten consent of the publisher. Translations are available in several other languages including San-skit, Malay, French, French Creole and German. For any major printing, please write to the pub-lisher. Designed, typeset and illustrated by the swms of the aiva Siddhnta Yoga Order and pub-lished by Himalayan Academy, 107 Kaholalele Road, Kapaa, Hawaii, 96746-9304 USA.

    Published byHimalayan AcademyIndia USA PRINTED IN USA

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 95-078249isbn 0-945497-54-7

  • 1

    Welcome to the Book One School Guide. This guide was produced forthe professional school teacher, as well as for individuals involvedin education programs within Hindu organizations and individualswho are conducting their own Saivite Hindu Religion course in theircommunity. Additionally, it can effectively be used by parents teach-ing their children at home. The guide itself is written at a level of lan-guage that even teenage youth can digest and use as their guide forclasses. It has been Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswamis observationfrom many decades of teaching Saivite Hinduism that the best wayfor a person to deeply learn their religion is to begin teachingin-cluding talking and writing aboutwhat they have learned. And ofcourse, this is the challenge of all educating: how to get children ex-cited, thinking, talking, self-creating in the subject.

    This School Guide is a work in progress. It is the fruit of manyyears of teaching Saivite Hinduism to children by many peopleincluding professional Saivite teachers and the Saiva swamis in themonastic order of Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. We are con-tinually looking for feedback and suggestions of how to make thisSchool Guide better and as useful as possible. Any and all suggestionsare welcomed and encouraged.

    The School Guide is set up on a lesson format, called the lessonguide. The lessons correspond to the pages of Book One. But we alsocombined lessons that logically belong together, such as the entirestory on Semmana Selvi (which takes up ten pages of Book One) orthe lessons on the sacred cow and the temple elephant. There are 33lesson guides all total here. Each one is two pages long, and addi-tional pages can be added. Each lesson guide is clearly labeled at thetop of both of its pages. And, in most cases, all of the illustrationsfrom the Book One pages appear in the Visual Interpretation il-lustration box. So it is very easy to reference this guide to Book One.

    Each lesson guide is written as a reference for the teacher. Oftenit is written largely as if we were talking directly to the children. Atother times, it is speaking, again in simple language, right to theteacher, giving special instructions or helpful hints or specific pointsto emphasize. In other words, the guide itself is in largely simple lan-guage, and is making a painstaking attempt to step down the lessonto the level of the 6 to 8-year old child. It is written to the childspoint of view. It is written as a sentence-by-sentence reference guidefor the teacher. However, and we make this point strongly: this guideis not supposed to be read to the class. There is the temptation tostand in front of a class and just read the text of this guide. This is notthe intention of this guide. The only section that is specifically meantto be read to the class is the section called Story Reading. Theteacher does read Story Reading to the class. In addition, there areoccasional sentences, or paragraphs, in each lesson that may (orshould) be used verbatim, because they were specifically written asa very good way to present an idea to a young child.

    The major intention is for the teacher to creatively study and ex-pand upon this School Guide so that an inspiring, animated presen-tation with the children takes place. This means at least two hours ofpreparation must go into a one-hour class. Again, we have taken greatpains to provide the teacher with a step-by-step discussion of the les-son topic, and with the language and concepts necessary to present

    it, as well as an assortment of analogies and illustrative descriptionsthat make presenting complex spiritual ideas to children much easi-er. In fact, the teacher will probably find there is so much includedin each lesson guide that it cannot all be used, unless the class is verylong or divided up into several days over a given period.

    On occasion we used words such as realization or enlightenmentthat the teacher needs to give creative thought to in order to explain.We didnt attempt to step down every word we used, though we didmuch of the time. It is up to the teacher to creatively explain theseconcepts, and there are many helpful aids in this guide, as well asthe references in Dancing with Siva. Study out how we approachedthis guide. For instance, enlightenment directly relates to seeinglightthe spiritual light of Siva inside the mind in meditation. Itis actually much more than this, but the idea of bright light in themind is a good beginning place to start explaining this to children.This opens the door to use light imagery, to make some kind oflight demonstration.

    Each lesson guide is divided into a number of sections. But notevery lesson has all the sections. A brief description of the sectionsis as follows: Lesson Focus: a brief statement on what is being cov-ered in the lesson. The teacher must cover what is in the lesson focus.Key Presentations: the main guide for presenting the topic. The un-derlined sections quickly identify the key ideas, but the whole sectionshould be presented. Often there are analogies and lots of metaphorsbuilt into this section. Analogies & Illustrations: very specific imagerythat teaches the concept by comparing it to a situation the childrencan do, pictureor sense in their minds. Visual Interpretation:quick pointers to unusual features of the illustration that are partof the overall presentation. Often there is information here that ap-pears nowhere else in the lesson. Story Reading: a short story to beread dramatically by the teacher. Each story involves an 8 or 9-yearold in a different country, and the story directly relates to the les-son. The story reading is a must. Background: a brief historical dis-cussion primarily for the teachers benefit. Connections: ways thatthe current lesson relates to other lessons in Book Oneit threadslessons together for the children. Citizenship: hints on how a partic-ular lesson creates a better citizen in the nation this course is beingtaught. Wrong Thinking: a correction to very specific misinformationor disinformation concerning Saivite Hinduism. An important sec-tion. Homework: small assignments for home, often involving an ex-perience. Many lessons do not have a homework assignment, but theteacher can create their own if they wish. Activities: experientialgames designed to demonstrate the lesson dramatically. Each one ofthese activities is custom-created for these lessons. The activity is oneof the central focuses of the class.

    One thing not to do in this class. Please do not use any of the pu-ranic stories or the popular epics (Mahabharata, etc.) This guideprovides everything you need. Stick to this guide. And use Dancingwith Siva as a further reference. There is also a very good list of sup-plementary reading materials in Book One.

    IntroductionThis detailed lesson guide has been prepared at the request of teachers of Saivite Hindu Religion.

    It is meant as a series of suggestions for each class from which the teacher can develop his or her own presentations.

  • 2

    LESSON FOCUSThis simple statement is very important inSaivite Hinduism. It is important to everySaivite. No one outgrows worship. For ayoung child, worship is the first experienceof their closeness to Siva, Murugan andGanesha. The main focus of this lesson isto explain what worship is. Second, is to ex-plain when and where we worship.

    KEY PRESENTATIONSWorship means to love God. It means tothink of God. It is awe and wonder. Thislove is our most powerful emotion. It iscalled devotion. It makes us feel good andpure. It is a love that goes to Siva. He canfeel it. We feel this love mainly in our chestarea, which is why it is said love is from theheart. When we worship, our love of Godis strongest. It takes the place of all otherfeelings. We dont feel angry or jealous ortired or worried. We feel great joy.

    Our worship brings us close to God. Itworks automatically. God loves us too. Hislove is for every person and animal and forthe whole world. He does not worship us.Worship is love to God or a God muchmore spiritual than we are. The only personwe worship is the Sat Guru. It is impor-tant to make this clear.

    Worship has color. If we could see the col-or of worship, it would look light blue.When we worship this color surrounds uslike a big egg or cocoon that stretches outfarther than our outstretched hands. It is abeautiful color, soft and pure and makes usfeel good to people and animals.

    To Saivites, there are many locales of wor-ship. Ultimately, Siva is everything, every-where. But there are special places wherethe worship contact between God anddevotee is deepest. The most importantplaces of worship are our home shrine andthe Saivite temples of Siva, Murugan andGanesha. These holy locations naturallybring forth our worship devotion. We al-ways behave at our spiritual best in these lo-cations. We also worship at Saivite ashramshrines, Saivite guru samadhi shrines, andany nature localeriver, lake, mountainsacred to Siva, Ganesha or Murugan.

    Times of worship: the early morning beforethe sun rises is the most common time forthe daily worship period. Families worship

    together in the home shrine. Monks livingin ashram monasteries worship together inthe ashram shrine. Then the day begins. Of-ten people on their way to school or workwill briefly stop outside a favorite templeand worship. It used to be that Fridayevening was the customary time for thefamily to attend their favorite temple. Butthat is changing to the weekend.


    ILLUSTRATIONS1. The simplest analogy of worship is achilds love for his or her mother. Love ofGod is like the total, surrendering love of achild to mother. Mother is the supremecomforter in the childs universe. There isnothing a child can do, that the mother isnot there as a source of love, comfort andkind direction. But much higher thanmother is God. If a child can love God withthe same love he or she feels for their moth-er, that is worship. Imagine how it feels

    when you are in a large store and becomeseparated from your mothers hand. Shedisappears into a large crowd. Suddenly youare alone and lost. Strangers surround you.You look around in fear. And call out inpanic. There is only one thought in yourmind, and one emotion, finding mother.Worship is such a state of single thoughtand emotion.

    2. Doing a good deed for someone alsostimulates devotional love. We feel selflessand good. This same devotion from a gooddeed, when expressed to God, is worship.For instance, lets say a young child pickedsome flowers for another child who is sick,and is at home in bed all alone. For thefriend there is a very special joy in choos-ing the flowers and then giving them to an-other to bring cheer. This same special joy isexperienced in worship.

    3. Worship is also like the awe of watching


    Most often we worship at thetemple. Depicted here is alarge, ornate temple gatethrough which the children areabout to pass. Like a gate into alarge mansion, the temple gate(called a gopuram) takes thedevotee from the outsideworld into the inside realm ofthe temple. Our worship ofSiva begins the moment we seeany part of the temple. We seethe temple gate or main sanc-tum tower rising into the sky.We worship Siva. In manycountries the temple may nothave a a gate or tower. But youstill worship at the sight of thetemple building. This applieseven if you are not entering thetemple, but just passing by it.

    The children are worshippingby doing the namaskar saluta-tion over their head. This signi-fies the higher spiritual con-sciousness of the head region.It says the children are enteringa state of worship for the high-est Being. When you are ridinga bike or driving a car, wherethe hands are occupied, it iscustomary to briefly touch theright hand to the heart area.

    As hungry children here below sit round about their mother, even so all beings expectantly sit round the agnihotra [temple fire pit].SAMA VEDA

    We worship.

  • 3

    Book 1, Lesson 1

    the night sky. We look out into this im-mense stretch of stars and space and arestruck with wonder. Billions of galaxies,stars and the solar system planets circleoverhead. Shooting stars streak across thesky. It fills us with wonder and makes usfeel both large and small at the same time.This wonder is worship. It is the wonder ofstanding in the presence of God.

    STORY READINGThree children once lived in a kingdom inIndia. There were wide rivers with shipsand mountains often covered in clouds.There were towns and farming fields. Everytown had a big Siva temple at its center. Itstower reached into the blue sky. The threechildren were best friends in a town in themountains. They played with goats andclimbed trees and threw rocks in lakes andbuilt dams like the beavers. Everyday theywalked on the road that passed the tall andthick walls of the stone temple. It was madeof a pinkish red granite. They were on theirway to study arithmetic and writing in theforest. Two of the friends always paused atthe gateway of the temple. It was huge andthey were so small. But it was comforting,like a castle of God. They peered into theshadows, into the inner courtyard and in towhere the image of Siva stood, all aglowwith flickering lamps. They didnt step inthrough the gate, but just stood outside.Their hands were held together at theirchest and their eyes widened. Little crystalsin the stone caught the sun and glistenedlike diamonds. A shadow of a large cloudmoved over the inner temple courtyard,creating a sense of motion to the Sivashrine. The boys leaned in through thedoor to see better. Suddenly, the two friendsfelt a warm breeze wrap around them. Butthere was no wind blowing. Everything wasstill. No leaves moving. Their clothes did-nt move. But the boys felt a force pushingon them, coming from the shrine, out to-ward them. It was gentle and almost likesunlight. They both felt it, and they lookeddown at their chest, where this blessingfrom Siva was tingling their skin. Then theylooked at each other and laughed, for theyfelt very happy, more happy than whenthey were eating as many sweet balls as theycould stuff in their mouths.

    The third friend didnt pause in front ofthe temple gate each day. He didnt wor-ship. He felt no love at the temple. It waslike God was very far away, and the imageof Siva in the temple was just stone. He

    thought the temple was empty, and he did-nt believe in the power of God. His heartwas a little hard and his mind was a littlecold. He had his two friends. But he wassomehow lonely. Everyday his friendsstopped at the temple. They always seemedto get a little brighter, like their cheeks hadbeen rubbed with winters snow. And theywere smart. They understood the teachermore often than he did. Now, as his friendswere laughing with such delight, he becamecurious. He walked over to the tall templegate. And he suddenly felt a great feeling oflove come into his chest. It made him feelso happy. It felt like Siva was right in frontof him. From then on, he worshiped everyday with his two friends.

    WRONG THINKINGWhen we worship in a shrine or temple, weare not worshipping the stone or metal im-age of Siva or the Gods. That is wrongthinking. Saivite Hindus do not worshipstatues, even the statues enshrined in tem-ples. If we are not worshiping the image,then what is it we are projecting our loveand devotion to? We are worshipping theSoul Being that uses the image. Siva usesthe image to send light and blessings andcommunications to the devotees. The im-age in the temple, therefore, is a tool. It isan instrument of the Gods. Here is an easyway to explain this to youngsters. The stoneimage is like a television set. When wewatch TV we do not watch the televisionset itself. That would be like watching apiece of furniture. But we do watch the pic-tures on the TV screen that are being elec-tronically sent from long distances away.The TV is a tool, an instrument. In thesame way, we dont worship the temple im-age, but we do worship the God who sendsenergy from the worlds of light through thetemple image to us.

    CONNECTIONSThis lesson will connect with many in thefuture weeks and months. Since much ofBook I covers the Deities we worship anda number of devotional practices it is im-portant for the teacher to occasionally re-view this lesson.

    HOMEWORKHave the children practice watching theirTV at home. First they watch the TV set,while it is off, as a piece of furniture. Theyjust see the TV unit. This is like worship-ing the temple image itself. Then they turn

    on the TV and just look at it like a piece offurniture, like it was a book shelf. They ig-nore the shows on the screen. Again, this islike worshiping the stone or metal image inthe temple. This is unnatural and wrong.Then the children watch the TV shows onscreen as is normally done. You are notnormally aware of the TV set itself. This isthe correct understanding and practice ofworship.Notes:

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. Color in the drawing of the childrenand temple. While the children are col-oring have them try to feel love of God.They should color around the childrenwith the color of light blue. That iswhat worship love looks like.

    2. Have the children stand up and holdtheir hands in the namaskar greetingslightly above their heads. With eyesclosed and breathing deeply and slow-ly they feel worship to God insidethemselves. Their clasped hands abovetheir head shows they are worshipingsomebody much higher than them-selves. Repeat this several times. Askthe children to tell what they felt whenthey did this.

    3. Ask the children to briskly rub theirhands together for a minute or so. Thiscreates warmth by friction. Then theytouch their right palm to their left armand feel the warm glow from theirpalm. This is like the feeling of love. Itis warm and healing.

    4. Bring several large flashlights. Care-fully cover them with a blue plastic ma-terial so blue light shines out. Darkenthe room with the flashlights on. Ex-plain that our worship love shines outfrom us like this light. Pass the lightsaround so everybody can hold themand see the blue light coming fromthem.

  • 4

    LESSON FOCUSThe temple bell represents several themesfor the young worshipper. First, it is oftena prominent feature of the temple architec-ture. Second, it is a source of beautiful andpowerful sound. Third, it sets the timing ofworship.

    KEY PRESENTATIONSJust as there are many sizes of houses, thereare many sizes of temples. Big, medium andsmall. The large and medium size templeshave special rooms or even tall towers fortheir large bells. Small temples may have asmall hung bell or use hand bells. This iscommon in north India. But they all havebells. No temple is without bells of somekind. Anywhere a young Saiva Hindu maytravel in the world, the temple they visitwill have bells.

    Often today the sound of the bells areplayed on speakers. This is a little sad.Recorded sound is not the same as real castmetal bells. And it means no one, not evenlittle children, can actually ring the bells.One of the pleasures of going to the tem-ple for a young boy or girl is to pull andhang on the big ropes to ring the bells. InSri Lanka many large temples have tall tow-ers for their bells. They are hung way at thetop. People from a long ways away can hearthem and see them moving back and forth.The sound of the bells ringing tells us thatworship is starting at the temple. Thesound of the bells can travel very far. Any-one that hears them, whether it be in theearly morning, afternoon, or evening, willknow it is time for puja. They will turntheir attention to the temple. They mayworship and offer a prayer. They may pauseand think of Siva for a few minutes.

    Bells are rung during the performance ofthe puja. The priests ring the bells as theywave incense and arati lights before the de-ity. When the main arati is offered to thedeity, many or all of the bells in the templeare rung together. This marks the highpoint of the ceremony.

    Some bells cast in Indias ancient historyare so large you can actually stand up inthem. On occasion bells are carved entire-ly of stone, rather than metal. Many smalltemples have a large metal ring with nu-merous small bells attached. This ring of

    bells is hung on the inside of the templenear the main sanctum. When the ring isshaken, all the bells wondrously sound to-gether.

    Hand bells come in many sizes, from solarge it takes two hands to lift them to tinybells that can be rung with two fingers. Inthe island of Bali, the Hindu priests use tinybells that they ring during ceremonies withlots of intricate hand gestures. Hand bellsare used in the home shrine. Often childrenwill wake up at the sound of the morningpuja bell being rung in their home shrine.

    The sound of bells is especially lovely anduniquely powerful. Bells create a uniquesound called chiming. Chiming bells soundnaturally good to us, like listening to rush-ing water or singing birds. The bell tonesare full, far-reaching, angelic, joyful. It is aspiritual sound. It inspires. The ringing

    bells say that God is present. Chiming bellshelp children tune in to worship. They gen-erate a vibration that is carried as wavesthrough the air. The sound surrounds theyoungsters body. It even goes inside theirbody, vibrating the organs and cells. This iseasily felt along the spine of the back andneck.

    Bell chiming also makes changes in thesubtle atmosphere. The bell sound not onlyvibrates the air, but vibrates the astral at-mosphere at the same time. The ringingbell causes the astral air to become clearer,less foggy. As a result the astral world devapeople can see the physical world peoplemore clearly to help them. The bells can beheard in the heaven world.



    This is a temple tower as foundin Sri Lanka. It is a commonarchitectural design feature oftemples in Sri Lanka, or oftemples built by Sri Lankans inother countries. In India, thisstyle is not common. But it isnow becoming more widelyspread in countries whereHinduism is fairly new.

    Because it is high in the air,its sound can travel a longways. People can also see itfrom distances. It becomes fa-miliar to the townspeople. It isa landmark of security andwell-being in God Siva.

    For children, the opportuni-ty to pull and ride on the bellropes is a daily delight. Boysand girls are often lifted off theground as the weight of theswinging bell takes the ropeup. The youth become part ofthe temple experience as theyring the bell. They know it ispart of the temple ceremony.They know people listen for it,even time their day around it.To have a real temple bell,rather than a recorded bell ona speaker system is far moredesirable.

    Here is the temple bell.

    All this universe is inthe glory of god, of Siva, the God of love. The heads and faces of men are Hisown, and He is in the hearts of all.YAJUR VEDA

  • 5

    ILLUSTRATIONS1. Hearing the temple bell, which alertsand reminds us that puja is about to begin,is like our alarm clock that we all use athome to wake up by. We set the clock to thedesired time to wake up. We fall asleep as-sured that the clock will noisily buzz towake us up for a new day. The temple bellalways is rung at the same times of day. Itis the temples alarm clock. When we hearthe temple bell we are woke up from ourusual daily activities and remember to turnour minds and worship to Siva, Muruganand Ganesha.

    2. To children, smaller bells often seem totalk. It is like they have voices, or like thedeva angels talking through the bells. As thebell is ringing, a child can hear a messagebeing said, some guidance to be good or tohelp someone, or to learn something newor to see life in a different way. So everytime they hear a bell, it is like the deva an-gels speaking to them.

    3. Often bell handles will be decorated withimages of the faces or figures of Gods or theanimal symbols of Gods. This is another re-minder that the bell serves as a direct con-nection to the world of Siva, Murugan andGanesha.

    STORY READINGAnanda was an 8-year-old boy with darkblack hair and brown eyes that squinted be-cause he often stared into the white hotflames of a fire. This was not a cooking firelike his mother used at home. Anandathought of the delicious smell of the cheeseand garden pea curry his mom was cookingfor lunch that day. It would taste so good,he thought. He had picked the peas him-self that morning. His brown eyes looked atthe orange and white wall of fire he wastending now. It was for melting metal.Ananda was in his fathers metalsmithshop. It was huge, with several fire furnaces,lots of heavy black tools and neat stacks ofmetal like copper and tin. It was the largestmetal shop in the city. His family was inChina, where a large temple to God Sivawas being built. His father was in charge ofall the metal work. Today they were finish-ing a huge metal bell. It was as big as twofarm carts stacked on each other. All theboys in the shop could easily fit inside. Itwould weigh as much as an elephant. Thepouring of the bell had been two days ago.

    It had taken all day since early in the morn-ing and went late into the night. The hotfires and bubbling metal had shot orangelight into the sleeping neighborhood. Attimes Ananda just wanted to lay down andsleep. But he was brave and strong. Thistemple bell was important. It was for Siva.Its booming sound would be heard allacross the city, and even out to an island inthe nearby bay. Not even in India did theyhave a bell like this. Anandas job was tokeep tending the bees wax that went insidethe mold of thick clay. He did his job with-out complaining. And he sang Siva songs ashe worked. He ate his meals on the run,chewing on a chapati, and some honey androasted peanuts for energy. His mom hadthought of that.

    Anandas father was over at the great bellmold. He directed workers who took downtall bamboo ladders. Today the mold wouldbe carefully chipped away. The bell, calledSivas Voice, would be seen for the firsttime. There was a lot of excitement. Crowdsof Hindus and Chinese Buddhists wereoutside. Slowly the mold was broken away.The golden brownish bell began to showthrough. It glowed as if it had its own light.It was perfectly smooth. Ananda ran hishand down the metal sides. It was likesmooth ice. Finally, after several hours, thebell was free. It was magnificent. Everybodywas silent. A great feeling of awe came overeveryone. Even the crowds outside fell qui-et. Anandas father came up to the bell witha small hammer. It would be the first strike.The first sound from the bell. His fatherswung the hammer and it struck. Instant-ly, the bell gave off a wondrous chorus ofsound. It was like musical thunder in slowmotion. All the other metal in the shop vi-brated. All the people could not help butsmile at the beautiful sound. The one strikelasted for ten minutes, then died away.Ananda sat down as he heard it. To him, itwas the voice of Siva.

    CITIZENSHIPJust as we as Saivite Hindus enjoy and lookforward to the sound of chiming bells com-ing from our temples, we also respect theringing bells of Christian churches, thebeating of drums of Buddhist temples andthe prayer call from Muslim mosques. Itwould be wrong for a Hindu citizen of acountry to try and discourage another re-ligions daily calls to worship and prayer.

    CONNECTIONSBells are a standard feature of temples,home shrines and festivals, all discussed inBook 1 lessons. They can also be used at thebeginning of a yoga meditation period tohelp create a pure atmosphere. The mak-ing of bells is also an art. It is a skilled craft.As well as sounding pleasant, bells are oftenquite beautiful to look at. It is good to ap-preciate the people who make the bells, es-pecially if they are handmade. Bells athome should be polished often. Theyshould shine with brightness. If a bell hasbeen in the family for a long time, it shouldbe treated as very special.Notes:

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. Bring in several sets of hand bells.Set them in a line. Have the childrenform a circle around the bells, all sit-ting. Call up a child at random andhave them go to the center and ringone of the bells of their choice in arhythmic pattern. The other childrenclose their eyes, listen to the bell, andthen try to sing the same note and pat-tern as the bell. Make this a fast game.As soon as the bells is rung and chil-dren start to sing, call up the next childto ring the bell.

    2. Direct several of the children to ringthe bells together. The other childrengo outside, listening for the bells at adistance. They continue to go furtherway until they can barely hear the bells.They sit and just listen for the bells fora few minutes.

    3. Make a circle of the children. Theyare the outside of a bell, the bell rim.Make a smaller circle of children on theinside. They are the bell knocker. Theinside bell knockers move to one sideof the bell rim circle. When they getreal close to the bell-rim children onone side of the circle they sing outding like a booming bell. When thebell knockers get to the other side ofthe bell rim circle, they sing out dong.The bell knockers go back and forth.

    Book 1, Lesson 2

  • 6

    LESSON FOCUSWe go to the temple because it is a nice feel-ing to be near God. The temple is a sacred,holy, magical place, very different from anyother place.

    KEY PRESENTATIONS1) We go to the temple because it is so hap-py and joyous to be near God. Most chil-dren will not expect much of an explana-tioncontent that because their parentsthink it is important to go to the temple isreason enough. But some children will ben-efitnot to mention be really interestedinsome useful and imaginative explana-tions of why going to the temple is impor-tant and such a joy. Of course there aremany ways to describe the spiritual beautyand power of the temple experience, so feelfree to share the feelings with them that im-pressed you as you grew up. They carry aspecial strength.

    Before going too deep into the impor-tance of going to the temple to be near toand enjoying being in Gods home, remindchildren that actually God is in all things,lives everywhere and can be felt every-where, not only in the temple. You shouldalways keep repeating this idea that God isall-pervasive throughout the lessons as it isthe foundation of many important princi-ples, especially ahimsa (nonviolence) andcompassion. Then explain that it is easiestto feel Gods presence at the temple. Andeveryone loves to feel the presence of God.The feeling of God is of love and joy. Thefeeling of God at the temple is wonderful.Go ahead and be exclamatory like this. Letthem have the highest expectation of thetemple. Say sometimes the temple makes usfeel like a bird soaring high in the sky, free.Sometimes it fills us with the warmth ofbright sunshine. Sometimes it is like a soft,cool, nice wind. Sometimes it makes us feellike we are diving in a high mountain lakeon a hot summer day. Sometimes it has atotally magical feeling like the first time wesee snowflakes falling from the sky. Some-times being in a Hindu temple is like likegoing deep-sea diving, diving into anotherworld, so different, silent, deep, mysteriousand filled with amazing colors and beauty.And sometimes it makes us feel like we areflying in outer space, weightless, amongbright stars and galaxies and waving to allof them. And sometimes it is like being ata birthday party with lots of sharing, love,laughter and joy. But always it makes us just

    feel happier inside. Like God was inside ofus suddenly, smiling, and we had to smiletoo because His smile was so strong.

    So, for the Lesson Let us Go to the Tem-ple, we have put some images in theirminds of why going there can be so specialand looked forward to.

    Now for a little deeper discussion. Whatmakes the temple so special and why do wesay it is easiest to feel God at the templethan at other places? This will be gone intomuch more in later lessons but we want tomake some simple explanations in the be-ginning too. Compare the temple to a tele-phone booth, a divine telephone booth.The priest calls up God using Sanskritmantras like Gods telephone number.Children will enjoy that visual image andit also gives a nice simple picture of whatthe priest is doing. Children are often un-sure of what the priest does and this canlead to criticizing what he does because it isnot understood. So comparing his chantingin Sanskrit to an operator calling God on a

    divine telephone line gives children some-thing concrete to use to understand whatthe priest is doing.Minor point #1: God does not live only inthe temple. Because a connection with Godis made so often at this one spot, a feelinggets created, a Godly feeling, that isstronger than at other places. Tell themevery time a puja is done and God is con-tacted or a devotee contacts God throughheartfelt prayer or bhajan, some of thisbhakti/shakti is left at the spot. After manyyears, the spot, or the temple, has a big in-visible balloon of Gods energy and feel-ings. So when anybody comes, they firstcan feel the big spongy balloon of God en-ergy that has built up.

    God does not live only in the temple.Every soul in the universe has a private, 24-hour cellular phone service with God. (Youshould explain what wireless mobile cellu-


    1. Gopuram, a temple entrancetower. It usually has many carv-ings on it. It is high so devoteescan see it from a distance andthink of God even if they arenot going to the temple whenthey see it.2. Offerings in baskets. We al-ways bring a gift to the Deity atthe temple when we go. It is justlike taking a present when wevisit someone we love. The giftto the Deity can be as simple asa flower or as much as a bigbasket of fruit and flowers, co-conuts, incense sticks and cam-phor on special occasions. Usu-ally, the priest will return somefruit and flowers blessed at thepuja that we can take homewith us as prasadam.3. Washing feet first in the tem-ple tank. Most temples have ei-ther a tank or a water faucetoutside where you take off yourshoes and wash your feet beforeentering the temple. This prac-tice shows respect for how sa-cred the temple is.4. Knocking forehead. It is anancient custom to knock onestemples on either side of theforehead, especially when en-tering a Ganesha temple.

    For you is my offering, to you I will pray, to you who are worthy of homage and worship. You, OGod are a spring in the desert for the man who is thirsty for you, O Everliving.RIG VEDA

    Let us go tothe temple.

  • 7

    lar phones are to the children if they dontknow.) Our cellular phone connection toGod is in our heart and we can reach Godanytime 24 hours a day. This cellular phoneimage is important because we want chil-dren to always feel God is always withthem, even when they are not at the temple.Most easily felt at the temple, not only feltthere. For older children, you might addmore subtly by explaining how private mo-bile cellular phones are not as reliable as anestablished telephone booth with perma-nent wiring etc. The temple is permanent,and very reliable. With cellular phones, ifyou go into a tunnel, they dont work. Youcan say how a tunnel is similar to when weget mad and dark and have a hard timecontacting God at these times, but if wewent to a temple it would still be easy. Andsometimes with cellular phones, the batter-ies go dead, which you can compare towhen we are tired, and dont have enoughenergy to call God. But temples always haveenergy so we can go there to be with God.So that is why God really likes temples, be-cause they are very dependablelike a veryfancy telephone service center where theyhave the best professional operatorsthepriestsplacing long-distance calls to Godfor you.Minor point #2: Gods energy is at thetemple even at times pujas are not hap-pening. Although we have called the priestan operator who calls God, we do not wantto say that God is not at the temple at allunless a priest is there to call Him. You canalso compare the temple to a reservoir, a bigdam of water. Use one by name from yourarea or country and say how a temple canbe compared to a reservoir. Just as a reser-voir stores up water, so do temples store upGods energy. This reservoir image is valu-able so children know that the temple hasthe sacredness of God all the time, not justduring puja times.

    Also we should encourage bathing anddressing nicely to go to the temple. Nowa-days Hindus go to temples dressed very ca-sually, even in logo tee-shirts and shorts.They treat the temple like an ordinary placeand they lower the feeling of the placewhen they dress like this. If we go to thetemple unbathed, wearing tee-shirts andsportswear, etc. we are not treating it spe-cial. But if we bathe first and dress nicelymen in a kurta shirt and women in a sarior punjabi outfit wearing flowers in theirhairthis shows a lot of respect for thetemple as Gods home, and it makes the

    temple feel really nice because everyone islooking so nice. Give some examples ofhow we can treat the temple like a specialplace: walking around the temple at leastone time before entering, placing our shoesneatly, bringing an offering, flowers, etc.not talking loudly or joking, not runningaround, etc.


    ILLUSTRATIONS1. One of the most beautiful images of atemple that can be created in a childs mindis that of a bubble. Tell that if they could seea temple with their third eyeand maybesome of them can and have seen thistheywould see a beautiful big bubble surround-ing the temple. This is the bubble that iscreated by all the times the Deity comesand all the love and joy that the devoteesbring each time they come and all the lightthat comes from the temple devassoulslike us, who are usually between births,who are helping and serving at temples andlive in the invisible atmosphere. So tellthem each time they go to the temple notonly are they entering a physical place butthey are going inside a bubble, like into an-other world, into another dimension. Thisbubble is very real and forms the astral pro-tective sheath of a temple.2. A second beautiful image that helps un-fold the magic of a temple for a young per-son is telling them that Hindu temples havea ray of light that goes through this bubbleand into the earth. This ray of light is cos-mic force from the Deitys shakti which ismagnetized by the templelike lightning isattracted by a lightning rodand then goesdown into the earth. Those rays of light ac-tually bring peace to a whole community.

    STORY READINGHere is a beautiful story to tell. In the 1970sin New York City, a Hindu man had anamazing dream. He was flying over NewYork City. Many, many Hindus who movedfrom India to the US were living in NewYork City but they had no temple. As hewas flying, he was looking down and thenhe saw an old Christian steeple, a pointedtower that Christian churches usually have.All of a sudden, he went down and straightinto the steeple and down inside the Chris-tian church. When he was inside, it was allempty except that Ganesha was there sit-ting up in front looking at Him with a

    smile. Then he woke up and called a friendwho was in India and told him the dream.The friend knew that this was an importantdream and flew to New York and the twomen drove around that part of the city andactually found the old Christian church hesaw in the dream. It was for sale. Very soonthey bought it and tore it down and built abeautiful big Hindu temple there for LordGanesha.

    HOMEWORKTell them that the next time they go to atemple, to try to feel at exactly what pointthey enter the temple shakti bubble. Evenif they dont feel it, just trying to feel is fun.

    WRONG THINKING1. It is ok for Hindu temples to be un-clean, run-down and unlandscaped. No.This is not OK. We all know both templesthat are cared for and others that are notnicely cared for. Tell them that the templeshould be the most beautiful place, nicerthan a fancy hotel, and that if it is outsidein a forest or by a lake, still, it should still bebeautifully surrounded with flowers andplants. There is no excuse for not doingthis.

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. We are going to make a temple. Havethe class, except for 6 of them, form threecircles, one inside the other. Put four stu-dents in the very middlethree surround-ing a fourth. The very middle one is LordGanesha. The three surrounding Him areGaneshs spiritual energy. Then tell the fifthextra person that he (or she) is the pujariand should be positioned between the mostouter and middle circle. The 6th extra per-son is a temple devotee and starts by stand-ing outside all three circles. Ask all to Aumvery softly. This is the sacred feeling of thetemple. The outer circle is the temple wall.Have the devotee-student walk throughouter circle, the temple wall. He is now in-side the temple. Then have the pujari chantAum Ganesha three times. As he or shedoes, students forming the middle circleand inner circle create openings in theirlines so that the devotee can look intowhere Ganesha and His shakti is and Gane-sha looks out to the devotee. Then the threestudents, Ganeshas shakti, rush out throughthe two gaps in the circles and go around thedevotee auming, blessing her or him. Theidea here is to show that the temple is notjust physical, but is a way to open windows tothe inner world where Siva, Murugan, Gane-sha and other Mahadevas live.

    Book 1, Lesson 3

  • 8

    LESSON FOCUSThe main focus of this lesson is that Gane-sha protects dharma. Dharma is a giantword that means many, many thingslikespiritual conduct, duty, truth, inner lawsbut the most useful definition at this agelevel is: Dharma is the path to God. Gane-sha keeps this path, the dharma, open andclear so there is always a clear path to God.Because Ganesha loves dharma so much,He is even sometimes called the Guardianof Dharma, among his many, many othernames.

    KEY PRESENTATIONS1). Lord Ganesha, who He is. Ganesha is anamazing God who lives in the Third World,a real world of light where all the Gods havebodies made out of light. That is what thebodies of the Gods are like, very bright,light, and shining, but still looking like us.Tell the children to think of all the sunshinefrom the sun and moon and putting it in-side one person and all the love of allmothers and fathers on the earth and allthe intelligence of all the wise people on theearth and putting all that into that sameperson. And then add super all-knowingintelligence like a cosmic computer mighthave. That is like Ganesha and also like theother Gods too.

    But Ganesha is a very special God. Hehas an elephant head. Isnt that amazing?We dont know any humans with an ele-phant head, (or elephants with humanheads!) but this God really has one. Gane-sha decided He would give Himself a sec-ond forma form with the head of an ele-phant. One main reason He did this is sothat when humans saw Him in visions anddreams they would know it was Ganeshaimmediately. Because Ganesha wants us tobe able to know who He is easily and quick-lyand Siva told Him to love, communi-cate and stay close to humans on earthGanesha took this form.

    Another reason He took the form withan elephant head is because He is the greatGodfriend of all the animals, fish, trees andflowers, etc. on the earth. He loves animalsand flowers and fish and birds just as muchas humans and took the form with an ani-mal head, so animals would feel as close toHim just as humans do. And He chose ananimal that everyone loves, an elephant.Also, everyone respects an elephant becausethey are so strong and also very smart. SoGanesha is a God for humans and animals

    too.Ganesha can appear, in dreams and vi-

    sions, either with His human-like face orwith His elephant head. Usually His ele-phant head. But whichever head He ap-pears with, He always has the same human-like eyes. They are soft beautiful browneyesfull of love, tenderness and intelli-gence.

    Of course, small children have no realreason to question that a God would havean elephant head, but as they get older, theymight hear people say who dont believe inthe Gods things like, Oh, Ganesha is justan abstract symbol of wisdom, not a realBeing. Or they might hear teasing com-ments from non-Hindus such as, Youdont really believe in a God who has anelephant head, do you! So it is good nowto assure them that Ganesha is real so thatlater questions and teasing will not affectthem.

    Defining dharma. We need to give thechildren a very simple definition of dharma

    that will serve as the main foundation onwhich they build a deeper understandingsthey get older. Dharma is good conduct,doing what is right, like obeying our par-ents. Impress the children with the factthat even the sun and moon and stars ob-serve dharma. Tell them that the sun alwayscomes up in the morning because it is thesuns dharma. Imagine if the sun decided tosleep late and not come up and it juststayed dark until the sun decided to risesometime in the afternoon. Arent we gladthe sun follows dharma, good conduct, andcomes up on time each day? Think how un-happy all the vegetable plants would bewho need the sunshine to grow if the sundidnt do its dharma and come up eachmorning.

    Then tell them to visualize a long, beau-tiful road that had a magical golden glowand wound through valleys, throughforests, over rivers and mountains and up


    1. Noose. He uses this imple-ment (which is actually a powerof His mind) to pull positiveconditions/situations/opportu-nities/events/lessons/people intoour path that will help us growspiritually.2. Goad. He pushes negative con-ditions/forces/events and peopleaway with this implement (whichis, again, a power of His mind)that will slow down or stop ourspiritual growth are not necessaryfor us to experience.3. Modaka ball. This is a verysweet sugary pastry goodie thatrepresents the idea that Ganeshais full of sweetness.4. Mushika, Ganeshas Mouse.All the Gods have an animal orbird to travel on. Ganesha rideson a mouse. An elephant on apoor little mouse! Actually,though Ganesha is big, He does-nt weigh anything. In the Sivalo-ka, the world of the Gods, peopleand things are weightless. Ganeshachose a mouse because mice canget into very hard-to-get-to spots.Ganesha is like that because Hetoo is extremely able and agile ingetting into every little detail andcorner of our minds and karma tobetter help us in our lives.

    Worship Him with love-offerings of jackfruit, hoppers, bananas and mango fruits and thus miti-gate the burden of deeds.SAINT AUVAIYAR

    Lord Ganesha protects dharma.

  • 9

    into the sky, up through the clouds to theThird World where Lord Siva lives. Thispath is dharma. When we tell the truth, anddo things that our parents tell us to do andare nice to people, and say nice things toother people, then we stay on this happypath of dharma and reach God. When wetell lies, and do things that our parents tellus not to do and say things that make oth-er people unhappy, then we go off thisbeautiful path called dharma and get lostuntil we get sad enough and come back andget on the path again.


    ILLUSTRATIONS1. To help the children understand how biga mind Ganesha has, tell them to visualize acomputer that is 100 kilometers wide andso high it touches the clouds. Think howmuch information can be in that computer.Now tell them Ganeshas mind/memory iseven greater than this, and faster. He has in-stant access to all knowledge about our pastlives and the way we feel and think, ourhopes and fears, even at this very moment.But computers of course have no soul andare not intelligent. They just store informa-tion, tons of it and process it. Ganesha hasinformation but He is also immensely wiseand intelligent. The point here is that theanalogy of the computer is useful only tohelp children visualize how much informa-tion and knowledge Ganesha has immedi-ate access to all the time.2. To better appreciate how bright and joy-ous He is, tell the children to visualize a suninside Ganesha. See Ganesha as sort of see-through and all this brilliant sunlight com-ing out of Him in all directions is pure love.Remind them how big the sun is and howbright it is. Tell them that just as the phys-ical sun cannot stop shining, Ganesha cannever stop sending love out from Himself.There is no way He can stop waves of loveflowing out of Him to all beings, humansand other creatures, in the whole universe.Isnt that fantastic? Then tell them that thisfeeling of a sun inside oneself will happento them one day too as they grow spiritu-ally and their soul body grows and burnsaway dark karmas, like the sun burns awaythe fog in the morning.

    STORY READINGIn the middle of the black night when therewas no moon the volcano came to life. The

    top of the volcano exploded with orangeand yellow streamers of flame and big hotrocks and hot mud shot high into thenight. It was volcano fireworks. It lit up thewhole island of Bali, home of the BalineseHindus. Bali is a small island with steepcliffs on most sides, off the coast of the bigisland of Java in Indonesia. Lovely stonetemples built with tall pagoda-like towerslie all over this jungle island that the peo-ple call the meeting ground of the Gods.The main Siva temple, a huge area of mul-tiple temples, large courtyards on terraces,and steep stairs was on the mountain slopeof the volcano itself. This volcano was sa-cred to Siva. And it was still alive, eruptingevery one hundred years or so.

    The roar of the volcano woke up Dhar-ma instantly. All the houses in Bali werebuilt of wood and bamboo and were openairvery few walls so the cooling breezescould blow through. Dharma jumped upfrom his grass mat on the floor and saw thevolcano shooting up a giant fountain of fireand smoke. A huge river of red lava wasflowing down the north side of the volcano.Dharma was 9-years old with a thick bodyand long black hair. He knew he had to getup to the great Siva temple and help protectit or save the sacred items. He had just wok-en up from a dream, a bright, rainbowdream. In the dream Lord Ganesha ap-peared, like a beautiful, pinkish elephantface on a big TV, and told Dharma that hisdharma right now was to run up to the Sivatemple and rescue the sacred Bell of Dhar-ma. Then, the blast of the volcano wokehim. He knew he had to the good thingright now, the right thing to do in this goodmoment. It was a good moment because itwas a time of need, and of testing. He likedbeing helpful and following the way ofgood conduct. That was Dharmas thinkingof the way of dharma. He thought to him-self, I cant be afraid. I have the strength ofGanesha, the Lord of dharma, in my mindand muscles. He was already dressed in awhite and yellow wrap-around verthi. Sohe quickly jumped through the house en-trance, paused briefly before small, blackstone Ganesha and ran for the road that ledto the Siva temple up on the fiery volcano.He ran up the road as fast as he could,breathing hard. He found the steps, so verysteep, that led up the volcano to the grandtemple. He could feel the heat, and a blackrain was falling on him. It was black ashfrom the eruption. His chest hurt from

    running and climbing, but he kept going.Lord Ganesha was giving him strength. Hereached the first stone courtyard of thehuge temple. It was all lit up with orangelight and covered by black ash, but the lavaflow was turning to the right. There wereother people up there too. Many werepriests. He followed one priest up moresteps into a small stone shrine. Here waskept the Bell of Dharma. It sat on a deepred cushion with gold tassels. The bell it-self had a long gold handle carved into animage of lightening. The bell was beautifulbronze and made a sound like rolling thun-der. This bell started all the grand cere-monies. It could not be lost to the lava.Dharma took the bell carefully with bothhands. It was heavy. He wrapped it in athick white cotton cloth. Then he headedhome, his dharma mission done.Notes:

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. Bring a very lightweight, big plasticbeach ball to class. (Blow it up at class.)It should be at least two feet wide, verylight. bigger is fine. The ball is going torepresent dharma, acting in truthful,good ways. Have all the students forma big loose circle (single file is not nec-essary) and put one student in themiddle, sitting down quietly, who isGanesha. Tell them to throw the ball inthe air and everyone tries to keepbouncing it back into the air, not let-ting it hit the ground. If it does, itmeans that dharma stopped. No oneperson is blamed but someone, any-one, quickly takes the ball and handsit to Ganesha and says, Ganesha,please forgive us for letting dharmafall. Ganesha smiles, hugs the ball,aums three times and says, Let dhar-ma bounce high again! and throws itback into the air for the group to keepup in the air as long as they can.

    Book 1, Lesson 4

  • 10

    LESSON FOCUSThe main focus of this lesson is to tell thechildren that by going to, and/or praying toGanesha first before starting anything new,our trip or project or event will be blessedand it will happen more smoothly than ifwe did not go and get Ganeshas blessings. Italso introduces the biggest festival for Gane-sha, Ganesha Chaturthi, His birthday.

    KEY PRESENTATIONSWe take all new new things we plan to do toLord Ganesha to bless them and help makethem successful.

    We go to Lord Ganesha first before start-ing something new because this wonderfulGod has special powers to clear the path ofour projects of various obstacles. He can seewith His powerful mind by looking into thepatterns of the future. This does not meanthat just by praying to Him that automati-cally there will be no problems that arise ina project we have. We still all have our ownkarma to experience, both positive and neg-ative. Ganesha does not ignore or erase this,nor does our prayer erase it. So the bestteaching to the children will be that by pray-ing to Ganesha for the success of an event,we assure that it will be more smooth, moresuccessful than if we had not gone to Gane-sha at all. But we dont want to tell thechildren that just by going to Ganesha andasking His blessings that a project will bewithout challenges. That is not true. LordGanesha loves it when we use all our ownGod-given divine will power, intelligenceand creativity to make our own projectssuccessful. Then He is very happy to assist.

    But why do we pray to Lord Ganeshafirst, and why not Lord Murugan or evenLord Siva? The reason is that Lord Siva ap-pointed Lord Ganesha the Gatekeeper. Thisis a very nice name for Ganesha, the Gate-keeperone of His hundreds of names, bythe wayand it means that He stands at agate (not an actual gate, that is just an imageto understand) between the inner worldsand outer world, our Bhuloka world and theinner world of the Devaloka. This makesHim close to us, just like a gatekeeper is closeto visitors of a palace. A gatekeeper is thefirst one you see and the first one you wouldtell what you need or who you want to see.

    But Ganesha is more than just a gate-keeper of a palace, the inner worlds. He isalso like a king in many ways too, evensometimes called Ganapati, Lord of theGanas. He is the inspirational guide for somany devas of many inner realms. Millions

    of devas of all shades of spiritual capacityhelp Him. Ganesha can, for example, evensend messages to raincloud devas and askthem not to rain at a certain spot on a cer-tain day if ones karma is really good and aperson has prayed for sunshine. Or He canask the raincloud devas to rain for a farmerwho prays to Ganesha for rain for his veg-etable plants that need water. The rainclouddeva, the farmer and Ganesha are all mys-tically one in this magical process.

    Ganesha Chaturthi is the biggest festivalfor Lord Ganesha. It is like the birthday ofLord Ganesha, the time when we celebrateHis creation by God Siva. Now the creationof Ganesha by God Siva would have beenvery long ago, far beyond any time framethe young children can imagine. It is so longago, it was before the Earth and our moonand our stars were created. Since Ganeshais so close to us, helping us with many ofour interests and goals in life, GaneshaChaturthi is one of the best times to offerour love and thankfulness to Him. This fes-

    tival is celebrated at His temples all over theworld by Hindus all over the world. This is aworld-wide festival. It is a very fun festivalfor children. There is usually plenty of goodsweets and birthday cakes to eat. There aremore birthday cakes for Ganesha than anyother person on Earth.

    Minor point #1: Give Ganesha as much ad-vance notice as possible. Say a child wasgoing to start a new little flower garden inthe back yard. Then it is good to say a prayerto Lord Ganesha at least three days before.This gives Ganesha time to make adjust-ments that will help remove obstacles in thefuture success of the garden.

    Minor point #2: No project or plan is toosmall to pray to Ganesh first for. Somechildren always say Om Ganesha beforethey go anywhere on their bicyclejust thesame as their parents do when they get in acar and say Om Ganesha before they drive


    It is traditional to offer fruits andflowers to all the Gods, so in thisrespect, Ganesha is like the oth-er Gods who enjoy fruits andflowers too. But Ganesha, evenmore than the other Gods, likesto be offered sweetspastriesand candies and cakes etc.

    The round modaka ball, (seen inthe picture in Ganeshas handand in the plate in from of him)which can be made many ways,is one of his favorites. You cantell the children one of the rea-sons Lord Ganesha likes to be of-fered sweets, is that He knowsthat all that is offered to Him isblessed and then offered back tothe devotees.

    Notice that the men and boys areon the right, the women andgirls on the left. Lesson 46 dis-cusses this.

    Here the priests are using theirhands in special mudra seal po-sitions to channel spiritual ener-gy into the kumbha pot. The potcontains water. Water absorbsspiritual energy. Then the wateris poured over the Ganesha im-age in the background.

    If you worship the elephant-faced Vinayaka, your life will expand bountifully. SAINT AUVAIYAR

    We worship Lord Ganesha first.He likes fruits, flowers andsweet cakes.We celebrate GaneshaChaturthi at the temple.

    Book 1, Lesson 5 & 45

  • 11

    anywhere. This is asking Ganesha to makethe trip safe so neither does the child fall offthe bike, nor does the child bump intosomeone and hurt someone else.Minor point #3: If a project, plan or tripworked out really well, we should thankGanesha afterwards. Lord Ganesha andHis helper devas are just like us in the sensethat they too like to be thanked. So it is nicewhen we have first prayed to Ganesha forblessings and our project, plan or trip thenworked out really well, that we thank Gane-sha for this. This can be done by a visit tothe temple with a little offering, or a prayerbefore we go to bed in our home shrineroom or a letter/note burned in a templehoma fire. Being thankful is part of Hinduculture.Minor point #3: Ganesha does not help

    negative prayers. If Ganesha gets a prayerfrom someone who asks Ganesha to hurtsomebody else that this person is mad at,Ganesha does not respond. Ganesha re-sponds only to prayers that are positive,thought up with a feeling of love, helpful-ness, joy or sincere need.

    STORY READINGThis is the real-life story of a Hindu girlwho lived in Hawaii and had a vision ofGanesha. She was living with her parentsand brother in a very simple, tiny woodenhouse perched high up on a lush greenmountainside that sloped down to the Pa-cific ocean which was so big it looked justlike an upside down sky. Looking out fromher porch, the view of the emerald-greenand sapphire-blue ocean was so beautiful,she felt like she was in heaven. She felt like aprincess looking out from her palace. Thiswas a coffee farming region. Her nearestneighbor was was very far away. It was very,very peaceful and very quiet. Her father wasa hard-working farmer.

    When the school bus dropped her off ata spot on the highway, she would hike upthe mountain on a bumpy dirt road to herhouse about half a mile. Then after she lefther books at the house, she would hike evenfurther up the slope to a bamboo grovewhere a swami had blessed a spot for a tem-ple to be built. She had asked him if shecould do a little daily puja every day to helpbless the spot until the images of theDeities arrived from India to help keep thevibration sacred. So each day, she wouldpick flowers and get a little fruit like pa-payas or bananas that grew around herhouse and walk up and did a little arati at

    a rock the swami said was where the Deitieswould be put. She kept a little camphor, in-cense and an arati lamp at the site. She wasall alone and never missed doing this, noteven once for six months. Many times itwould rain very hard in the afternoons.Still she hiked up and did the puja, alwayssmiling. She loved Ganesha. Her puja al-ways felt magical.

    Then one day something amazing hap-pened. (Years later, she told the story tosome children who were wondering if theGods were really real. It was recorded. Theseare her words.) It all started with a funnyfeeling that something really unusual wasgoing to happen. I was on the telephone andwas telling one of my friends that some-thing unusual was going to happen. Just asI was saying that the electricity went off. SoI got king of excited and thought thatmaybe that was what was going to happen.It was just after dark. Later I found out thatthe two murthis of Ganesha and Muruganhad arrived at the dock on our island justthat afternoon. I was in the kitchen helpingmy mom. We had candles. It was dark. Andup there in the mountains where we live itsget really pitch black at night. Then all of asudden, I just had this feeling come overme. You know, where you almost get chillswhen you know something is going to hap-pen. I looked up. I wasnt looking with mytwo eyes, but it would seem like I was. I waslooking with my third eye. I just startedtalking and saying what I saw. First it wasjust a little tiny light as big around as twofingers put together. It was blue and it hadwhite on the outside of it. I thought I won-der what that is. I kept talking to my momand as I telling her what I was seeing. Shewas right next to me. She kept saying,Where? Where? She couldnt see it. I keptdescribing every detail. My family got realworried. The ball kept getting bigger and itwas coming from the direction down to-ward the ocean toward where the murthisarrived at our islands little seaport that day.I found this out later. It was coming straightfor the bamboo forest. I remember veryclearly that I wasnt using my two physicaleyes because I remember being able to al-most see the trees and things but at thesame time there was this ball of light, a bub-ble. As the bubble got closer, I could see twosomethings inside of it, two figures. As theygot closer and closer I saw Ganesha was onthe left. Murugan was on the right. Thething I remember the most about it was thespecialness of the feeling of what they were

    enclosed in. It was almost as if it was a timecapsule from outer space. Ganesha had ona white cloth tied in the front at waist leveland they both had on a lot of flower gar-lands, really lots, like about ten, with reallyincredibly beautiful flowers. Murugan waswearing orange, and really tall and justbeautiful and smiling. He had his peacock.It was walking on the left hand side. I re-member that they were walking inside thisball of light. Their feet were moving butthey werent touching any surface. They hadanklets around their feet with flowers. Theyjust smiled at me. And Im looking at themand Im going, Oh my God, I cant believethis is happening. Then it started to passover our house and right up toward thebamboo and disappeared from my sight. Ihad a real strong feeling that they had cometo bless me for the pujas that I had done. Ifelt really privileged. I did this for sixmonths and never missed one day. A cou-ple times when I was up there I saw Gane-sha, just His eyes, smiling at me

    WRONG THINKINGGanesha will remove all obstacles if wepray to Him first. No. The Gods are not likepuppets who do everything we tell them.Neither do they have us and human eventson strings that they just pull according towhat they want. Each human being has toexperience his or her karma. The Gods helpus in that experience, softening difficult kar-mas and making positive ones brighter. Butthe key is that they help us help ourselves.That way we grow, get stronger. Our soulgrows.

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. Tell the students beforehand to bringflowers, some little sweet and a piece offruit to class. Choose one of the students tobe Ganesha. a boy or a girl. Have Ganeshasit down with legs crossed and smiling. Ifyou have a ganesha mask, which is quitecommon temple item for dramas, bringthat, too, and the student can be wearingthe mask. Then everyone comes up and of-fers fruit, flowers and sweets to Ganesha asthe rest sing Ganesha Saranam or anysimple Ganesha song they know. The fruitand sweets are put in front of Ganesha. Letthe students put the flowers all over Gane-sha, decorating Him nicely. this will, ofcourse, be very funny for most and causea lot of laughter. this is fine. Then Gane-sha eats a sweet and a bite of a fruit. Hewaves His hand over all the offerings andsays, Thank you for your love offerings.Here, now you enjoy too. And Ganeshahands out a piece of fruit and sweet to all.

    Book 1, Lesson 5 & 45

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    LESSON FOCUSThe idea of a supreme God, what it meansto be supreme. The courses first introduc-tion to Aum Namah Sivaya, the most im-portant and powerful spiritual saying inSaivite Hinduism.

    KEY PRESENTATIONSAll the children in the class know fromtheir own experience that there are many,many people in the world. They see hun-dreds of people every day. Sometimes whenthey go to festivals or sports events or con-certs they see thousands of people. On tele-vision they can see millions of people.There seems to be no end to the amount ofpeople on Earth, over 5 billion now. Chil-dren are also aware that a few people arevery important in the world. They help andguide and protect large groups of people.They could be spiritual leaders or govern-ment leaders. These leaders are smart andskilled. They want to improve. They knowhow to lead. They know how to get thingsdone. They are supreme. They are abovethe people who have a duty in society tofollow. They lead the people who followthem. This could be in a country or a reli-gion that exists in many countries. But onEarth, there is no one supreme leader.There is no leader that is above all the rest.Never in history has there been a one hu-man supreme leader.

    Now, just as there are so many types of an-imals and insects, and so many millions ofpeople on Earth, there are many millionsand millions of people who have bodies oflight and live in worlds of light. There areso many that we could not begin to countthem. We call them devas (angels) andGods. These devas and Gods have manypowers. They help and guide everybody onEarth and on many other planets too. Thedevas or angels are obedient to the Gods orLords. They follow the leadership of theGods. The Gods are very spiritual people oflight. Their bodies give off light like a verybright rainbow. They are so smart theyknow all knowledge and even our future.There are many Gods. Lord Murugan andLord Ganesha are Gods. But there is onlyone supreme God. There is one Lord who isthe highest, the first God. He is the bright-est, the most powerful, with the greatestmind. He is Siva. He is God. Siva is thesupreme person. His mind is everywhere.His love is everywhere. His power is every-where. Sivas light completely goes through

    everybody on Earth. He is the supremeleader of earth and all worlds and all peo-ple. He leads by love and wisdom.

    Sivas name is very powerful. It means per-fect goodness. It is always favorable. Sivameans that which is always good for us.Siva is the beauty of a sunrise across themountains. Siva is the power to push ourplanet Earth around the sun. Often, duringthe day we want to talk to God Siva. Wewant to call His name. It makes us feel goodto say His name, which is also His power.The best way to say Gods name is to say,Aum Namah Sivaya. This means, Adora-tion to Siva.Aum is the sound of the uni-verse. Adoration is our highest love forGod. If we see something good or beauti-fula mother and child, a gift to a beggar,a man petting a dog, moonlight on apondwe can say Aum Namah Sivaya.Or if we want to change something frombad and ugly into goodness, we can sayAum Namah Sivaya and know their liveswill change in the future.


    ILLUSTRATIONS1. Supreme generally means something orsomebody that is over others by virtue ofpower, position or ability. For instance, Mt.Everest is the supreme mountain on Earthbecause it is the tallest. It is higher than allother mountain peaks on Earth. Whenstanding on the peak of Mt. Everest, and ifthere was a clear view, you could look downon the all the other mountains and valleysand glaciers and see everything aboutthem. Because we are higher we have moreknowledge. We see more. We know more.We can do more. If we are on a lowermountain and are looking up at Mt. Everestwe cannot see everything about the Everestpeak. Our knowledge is limited. Thesupreme does have mystery about it.

    2. There are many Gods. But there is onlyone Supreme God. This is like the British


    This is a picture of Siva that iscommonly seen. There aremany symbols in it. Lord Siva isseated in meditation in the Hi-malayan mountains of northIndia, His traditional earthlyhome. Sivas spiritual light is in-side the Himalayas. Sometimeswe can see Him through therock and snow of the moun-tains. Siva is in meditation. Heis one with everything andeverybody. He knows all knowl-edge of the past and future. Outof his meditation Siva createsall worlds and all people fromHis own mind. We see that byhis Third Eye symbol.The river Ganga pours fromSivas hair. This means Siva isthe creator of the entirety ofEarths environment. Siva madeour planet with oceans, rivers,lakes and all the mountains,plains, deserts and coasts.The trident of Siva tells us Hehas three supreme powers. Hehas supreme Will, supremeKnowledge, supreme Energy.Siva is Lord of the entire uni-verse.

    The Supreme God is Lord Siva.We say Aum Namah Sivaya.

    The mystic expression Namah Sivaya is the sacred name of Lord Siva, and conveys in the sa-cred path souls which are full of devotion and do utter it with a melting heart.TIRUMURAI

  • 13

    Book 1, Lesson 6

    system of government. There are manyministers, but there is only one Prime Min-ister. He or she is the supreme minister, theone with the most ability, power and com-mand.

    3. When we say Aum Namah Sivaya toourselves it is often to make us feel betterif we have been hurt. Someone said some-thing that hurt our feelings. Called us aname. Or if mom got mad at us because wedidnt eat a certain vegetable. Or if wesprained an ankle. At these times of sad-ness, Sivas name can make us feel better. Itis like an ointment that makes the pain goaway. It is like aspirin that relieves theheadache. So we say Aum Namah Sivayaand start to quickly feel better.

    STORY READINGThe ocean waves came crashing against thedark rocks. Spray jetted up like water foun-tains. The blue and silver water rolled upinto long waves. Foam bubbled at the top.With a great roar the waves hit the wetrocks. Every day and every night as themoon drifted overhead the waves hitagainst the rocks. It never ended. A littleboy loved to watch the waves. His homewas on the coast of South Africa. He livednear a beach that had lots of huge rocks.They looked like shipwrecks. Seaweed hungfrom them. Seals played around them.Starfish clung to them. The beach was theboys private place. He came nearly everyday. Even when grey clouds covered the skyand sheets of rain poured he came to watchthe sea waves, to watch the life of the sea.His family was Hindu. They had a nicestore that sold grocery items for the coasttown. But they didnt sell any meat or fishor fowl or eggs. They were devotees of GodSiva. The boy had been taught that Siva wasalive in all creatures. To even take an egg toeat was wrong. He liked those ideas. At thebeach, she knew all the crabs and mollusksand starfish and tide pool fish. They werehis friends. The tide came in, and the wa-ter flowed around his feet. And he watchedall the tide pool creatures sway with the sil-very rush of the water. Then, he wouldmove on to the rugged brown and greyrocks. He had a secret passage that tookhim up through one rock that was like ahouse. It had little rooms in it made by thewaves constant crashing. If the waves weresmall, he sat in one of these rooms, look-ing out. It was evening. The suns fire wasdripping into the ocean. Clouds driven bywind had the suns sunset fire painted on

    them. And the waves were mirrors. As thewaves hit, hid rock house shook. His bodytrembled. To him, this was the living pow-er of Siva. Every few minutes another waverolled in, rising like a horse and kicking atthe rock. The rock thumped like a drum.He thought this is how Siva is supreme. Heis the waves traveling through all creation.His power never ends. He is the ocean oflife. And with the rhythm and sound of thewaves, he would start saying softly to her-self, Aum Namah Sivaya. Each time a waverushed toward him he said Sivas name. Hefelt as if part of him became the waves andocean. He felt part of Siva.

    BACKGROUNDMany non-Hindus have interpreted Hinduprimary scripturethe Vedasas invokingmany Gods, but not recognizing a singlesupreme Deity. This is called polytheism.And even today, Hinduism is often present-ed by non-Hindu educators and texts as be-ing polytheistic. This interpretation was be-gun by Christian clergy and researchers toshow that Christianity was superior to Hin-duism because it had a one God. Histori-cally and psychologically, this was a pur-poseful distortion to help the Christianconversion campaigns. In reality, the Vedasclearly and repeatedly describe a oneSupreme Being who creates and guides allGods, devas and people, whose energiesand mind wholly are the universe.

    CONNECTIONSCompare Siva to Ganesha. Lord Ganesha isnot the supreme God. Lord Ganesha is oneof many Gods who have special powers andduties. Ganesha looks to Siva as the ulti-mate God.

    HOMEWORKAsk the children to think of God Siva eachnight before they go to bed and fall asleep.They should see Siva in all the stars in thenight sky. If there was one brightest starthat suddenly lit up so bright it filled theentire night sky, that would be Siva. Thatwould be the supreme star. Its light is thepower behind all the other stars. Have thechildren think of this as they fall asleep.

    WRONG THINKINGMany Hindus think of Siva as the destroyer,following a wrong notion that Brahma isthe creator, Vishnu the preserver and Sivathe destroyer. This would mean there arethree co-equal supreme Godsa verywrong and unenlightened understanding.

    God Siva is the Supreme Being, the FirstSoul who is the creator, preserver and de-stroyer of all existence. Destroyer is not thebest word for understanding this process. Itis more like changer, for one thing ischanged into another thing. For example,water is changed into snow. Ice is changedback into water. Also things are changedinto more fundamental forms. For exam-ple, a dead leaf breaks down into soil.Notes:

    A C T I V I T I E S

    1. Bring a strong flashlight. Arrange fora large box, big enough for one, two ormore children to fit under, to be at theclassroom. It must be totally opaque tolight. Place it with the bottom side up,and the top side open to the ground sothe children can go under the edge andbe inside the box. Cover it with a thickdark cloth that drapes down and overthe floor around the box. But leave onesmall area on the edge of the top sideopen. In this area, take a small nail orthick needle and make a pin-size hole.Cover the hole tightly so no light getsinside. One, two or more childrencrawl under the box. Turn out all thelights in the classroom. It should bepitch dark for the children inside. Theystart to chant Aum Namah Sivaya, andafter a short while the other childrenquickly remove the covering of the pinhole while shining a bright flashlightinto the hole. The incoming light to thechildren in the box represents Siva asthe supreme God in the universe asthey chant Aum Namah Sivaya. Thechildren take turns under the box.

    2. Split the class into four groups. Oneof the groups is the Supreme God Siva.The other three groups are Gods. TheSupreme God group thinks up some-thing for the other Gods group to dothat is good and helpful, like helpingpoor people get better homes. They tellthat to the other Gods groups. TheGods groups then think what they cando to accomplish that helpful task. Asthe other Gods groups are thinkingand planning, the Supreme God groupmove around in a circle saying Aum.They are maintaining the power of theuniverse.

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    LESSON FOCUSThe focus of this lesson is very, very sim-plewe want to impress on the childrenthat more than any other idea or feelingthey should hold of Siva, it is that He is purelove and happiness.

    KEY PRESENTATIONSLove and happiness are the two mostsought after feelings in our world. If a per-son has love in their heart and is happy thatperson is considered very fortunate by all.Many people feel that love and happinessare something outside of them. Love andhappiness can be gained by having a lot ofmoney, a big house, very expensive cars andclothes and perhaps even power over otherpeople. That is what many people thinkmakes them happy. Many people think thatlove is a feeling other people should give tothem. They think that to give love to some-one else depends on how they are treatingus. If they are mean to us, or dont give uswhat we want, then we dont love them any-more. So most people go through life withlove and happiness as kind of thin cloudsthey are trying to grab hold of, but theirhands just go right through.

    Now, actually the children all have a verydeep ocean-like feeling of love and happi-ness and joy and bliss already inside ofthem. Love and happiness are already thereinside of them as a part of their soul, as apart of their divine nature. The childrendont need to have the latest popular toy tobe happy. The children dont need every-body to like them and do them favors to feelpure love. Happiness and love are within us.They are as real a part of our mind asthoughts. All we do is move our mind intothe happy land of the mind. We send ourthoughts, like bubbles, to the happy land.And in doing this the children are actuallyworking with the very fabric of conscious-ness itself. They are moving their con-sciousnessthis is like a personal ball ofmindout of a sad area into another area, ahappy area. If the children were to contin-ue moving their personal ball of mind intodeeper and deeper, and more intense layersof happiness, they would come right intothe very Mind of Siva. Riding their person-al ball of mindtheir consciousnessthechildren would bump right into the verysource of love and happiness: God Siva.

    God Siva is the source of love and happi-ness. He is the Supreme Soul. The very pow-ers of love and happiness are ever-streaming

    out of Siva. Siva means auspicious orever good and the purest love and happi-ness is always radiating from that perfectgoodness. The soul is made of light. It is akind of light that we do not see in our phys-ical world. This light is so pure, so power-ful that a giant star far bigger than our suncould be made from one very tiny, tiny flashof this light. It is like white diamonds andred rubies and green emeralds and blue sap-phires turned to light that is stronger thanour hardest steel on Earth. This is the lightof our soul body and of the Siva SupremeSoul. If we were to barely touch that lightwith our fingertips, we would instantly befilled with an indescribable love and happi-ness. The intensity of love and happiness wewould feel coming from God Siva would beso great that the children could not sit still.They would literally have to get up andjump for joy. They would be filled with thevery energy of love and happiness.

    When we even think about God Sivajust have the children begin to think about

    Siva they will automatically begin to feela warm love and happiness. It is automatic.In the shrine room at their home, this feel-ing is even stronger. At the Siva temple, it isvery strong. When we sit in personal yogameditation, it is even stronger. When we sitin front of a satguruwho personally expe-riences the full power of Sivas love and hap-pinessthen it is extremely strong.


    ILLUSTRATIONSAsk the children to remember the happiestmoment of their life. Then tell them to mul-tiply that a trillion times. Siva is even hap-pier than that all the time. Amazing isnt it!

    Have the class visualize a tidal wave. First,make sure everyone knows what a tidalwave isa huge wave on the ocean createdby an earthquake or volcanic eruption un-


    1. Big ears. Yes, very big ears. Askthe children what ears are for. Yes,listening. Ganesha has big earsbecause He is the very best listen-er. He never get tired of hearingall your worries, problems, hopesand dreams. Talk to Him often.2. Ganesha is often shown in pic-tures with a big round belly. Hisbig belly tells us that in a magicalway the whole world is insideHim. Or, you could say it anoth-er wayHe is inside the wholephysical world. Have the childrenvisualize both the round earth in-side his stomach and have themvisualize the planet earth andGanesha inside it. In both images,you can impress on the childrenhow close He is to us, not way faraway somewhere.3. Mango and banana. Nevermiss the opportunity to repeathow much Ganesha likes sweetcandy-like fruits. If He likes fruitsand sweets, children figure He isat least a little like them!4. Good to just remind the chil-dren that this is a drawing, anartists drawing of Ganesha. Weare not a comic book religion andthe Gods do not look like everyartists painting. Pictures just helpus a little visualize the Gods.

    There is no difference between devotion and perfect knowledge. A person who is engrossed in devotionenjoys perpetual happiness.SIVA PURANA

    Ganesha says Lord Siva islove and happiness.

  • 15

    der the ocean. Make it about a mile high.Then say its coming toward the coastline ofwhatever country the children in the classlive. A mile high means that no matter howfar inland they live its going to reach them!Now, tell them to turn the tidal wave intopure love and happiness. It is sparkling en-ergy, twinkling lights, like the electric lights atDiwali time. It is all colors of the rainbow.There are magical fish jumping on the top ofthe wave and thousands of beautiful little be-ings of light dancing inside the wave. Let thechildren describe this visualization fromtheir imagination. If this doesnt work well,dont worry, just go ahead with the image.Let the wave finally reach land and startflooding the first towns. People who were notnice, started to say nice things. Storekeeperswho would never give anything away forfree, gave away things to the hungry.

    STORY READINGNamaste! My name is Shantini. I am 9-years-old and I live in Nadi, Fiji. For thoseof you who are reading this story of mineand have never heard of Fiji, dont feel bad.I dont know a lot of places where otherHindu children like me live. So we are bothin the same boat. But just so you know,Fiji is a little island/country in the SouthPacific and is a beautiful place to liveex-cept for one day last month. I tell you whathappened.

    I was at my bus stop waiting for theschool bus and some girls who were notHindus were giggling. Then I heard themsay something about God with an ele-phant head and they looked over at meand laughed even harder. I knew they weremaking fun of Ganesha, making fun of myreligion and laughing at me for being aHindu. I had just read the lesson the daybefore that says, Ganesha says God Siva islove and happiness, and then this! Just theopposite of love and happiness. I felt likeasking Siva why, if He is love and happinessand He lives inside everyone, why are somepeople so unloving and try to make othersunhappy. How could this be in Sivas uni-verse? I was also mad, angry, and part of mewanted to say something just to get back atthem. Anyway, I went to school that dayand felt rotten all day and came home andwent to my room and sat in front of mypicture of Siva and asked Him to help mefigure all this out. I was sitting there look-ing at His picture and thinking about thosegirls giggling at me and how awful it made

    me feel, when the most amazing, incredi-ble thing happened. A giant wave of lovecame right into my bodyflooded me, to-tally, head to toe. My anger washed away.Its hard to explain if its never happened toyou. But I suddenly felt like loving every-body, not even like I had a choice, more likeI was just love itself and it is was comingup from inside me like a fountain, geyser orvolcano and just pouring out of me andmaking what felt like a sparkling bubblearound me a little bit like that shower ofsparkling energy in Star Trek when theysay, Beam me up Scottie.

    Anyway, there I was sitting in my roomand I had turned into love. If you asked memy name at that moment, I would sayLove. If you dont believe me, I dontblame you, it sounds really weird. But youshould believe me because it really hap-pened.

    As I as sitting there, I thought of thosegirls. I now had zero hate for them. In fact,I felt sorry for them. Really sorry. Can youbelieve it? I could see that the unkind waythey treated meand probably othersactually blinded them to the core of them-selves, love, Siva. This sounds pretty com-plicated, but when it happened it was sosimple, so clear. I could just see that theywere sort of blind, almost like crippled peo-ple. And I could see. I felt sorry for them.

    I continued to sit there feeling this total-ly absolutely amazing giant bubbling feel-ing of love thrilling me for about twentyminutes. It then became less strong but thefeeling stayed in my body for several days.

    The next morning at the bus stop I sawthe girls again. As I approached them, theystarted to giggle. I walked up to and saidGood morning and smiled a smile aboutas big and happy and full of warmth as thesun. They said, Good Morning real soft-ly back to me and started to talk aboutsomething else.

    Now I didnt become a saint or anythingand I didnt even tell me Mom about thisright away it was so incredible. I dont evenknow if this story has a clear lesson be-cause the pr