Maryada Purushotam Ram, the hero of the Ramayana, is referred to as the ideal man in our scriptures. The story may appear seemingly simple, but it is a storehouse of numerous values, replete with symbolism. In this class, we will not only go through the awesome story of Ramayana but will also learn timeless values and virtues which can be incorporated in our lives in this day and age.
In this Sampoorna Ramayana (“The Complete Ramayana”) class, we have started to explore the life story of Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita Mata, and Sri Hanuman. We have begun with many of the stories from Bala Ramayana, then put on our critical thinking hats to understand the meaning, morals, and symbolism of stories, characters, and even Sanskrit names. Some of these teachings even show up in discussions on current events.
Through September and October this year, we are focusing on Bala Kanda, the first chapter in Sri Rama’s life from Birth to Marriage, as illustrated in Tulsi Ramayana. We are also referring to other texts like Valmiki Ramayana, Ramayana by C. Rajagopalachari etc. All textbooks and study materials are shared with the class in our Google Classroom session. This allows the class to read the study material ahead of time and enjoy the stories and their deep meaning.
In addition to the journey of Ramayana, we have started to learn to chant the Rama Raksha Stotram, a melodious journey through Sri Rama’s travels.
While we were discussing Lord Rama and Lakshmana’s journey into the forest as their first experience outside the comforts of the city, a sort of coming-of-age event, we asked the class to think about “What are similar examples that we see today?”. The discussion and responses from the class were very interesting. Here are some of the responses…
· Middle school brings new experiences and challenges associated with a larger school, new classmates, changing rooms etc. In new experiences, parents have been like King Dasharatha, friends and teachers like Sage Vishwamitra, and siblings like Sage Vasishtha.
· Going to a new school involves more responsibility, such as a new time and place to get onto the bus
· Kim Jong II (North Korea) parallels Ravana in that he maintains authoritative control over his people and prevents them from seeing (comforts) of the outside world.
· Though King Dasharatha also follows the same governance structure for Kosala, he rules following a King's dharma which empowers, rather than restricts the citizens of Ayodhya.
As we continue to explore this epic story of Sampoorna Ramayana this year, we will endeavor to provide an ongoing commentary on topics that we cover in the class along with some examples of the opinions and thoughts presented by students.
Stay tuned !
Hari Om !!
Shantanu & Nishant