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2. Sampoorna Ramayana (Ahilya Moksham)

After the opening prayers, we started the class with an ice-breaker activity related to the festival of Navratri. We discussed the practice of setting up ‘Golu’ to celebrate this festival and its significance.

We discussed the concept and benefits of Yoga and Meditation. As a group we practiced Anuloma-Viloma method of pranayama.

After the pranayama, we discussed the story of Ahilya Moksham. As Rishi Vishwamitra was guiding Rama and Lakshmana in their first journey outside their palace, they come across the former ashram of Rishi Gautam and Ahilya. They found Ahilya in the form of a stone statue because of the curse placed on her by Rishi Gautam. Vishwamitra tells Rama and Lakshmana how Ahilya was transformed into the stone statue and instructs Rama to release Ahilya from the curse, giving her Moksha.

We split the class in breakout rooms and discussed the story points and the moral of the story. Here are some of the comments and insights as discussed/presented by the students in the class.

· You should focus on your personal behavior and think about your actions before you do them.

· Think about why you are making this decision and then ask yourself if the decision you are making is good or bad.

· If a wife is seen with another man, of course the husband can be mad, but he should get answers first.

· When Rama and Sita got married, Ravana got jealous and kidnapped Sita because he claimed that he could give Sita all she "wanted" even though all Sita wanted was Rama.

· If you're going to do something you should think about it, whether it’s good or bad, whether it will help someone or hurt someone, and whether you’ll be affected in a negative or positive way.

· A rishi needs to be kind and thoughtful and forgiving when they need to.

· Sage Gautama thinks that Ahilya Devi lost all her interest and loyalty in him, but doesn't realize that it was a mistake, but continues to turn her into stone. He should have asked her what happened and took proper action instead of quickly doing something without thinking it through.

We concluded with the closing prayer. Both opening and closing prayers are led by student volunteers in each class.

Hari Om !!

Shantanu & Nishant

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