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Vedic Hinduism (for Children)

Description:

The Vedic Hinduism classes provide children with exposure to our religion and culture. Using these classes as a means, our goal is to instill in children a sense of belonging and a yearning to understand the explicit and implicit messages provided through our religion and traditional beliefs.
Bhajans are easily learnt by the kids and can stay with them for a lifetime.
Yoga one of the richness of our tradition, has been adopted as a simple and workable means to a healthy body and a sound mind throughout the world.
Craft classes involve art work that relate to our culture and beliefs and serve as a means to express our involvement in this community.
Prayers/Shlokas and Stories help us with answers to many questions. As we know, Hinduism cannot be taught with a single book or a single discourse. It is learnt through a journey that involves being a part of the tradition. Hinduism, being a way of life, has accumulated over the years: many moral stories, written and oral philosophical teachings and a wealth of knowledge. Hinduism has also added value and meaning to our day-to-day life through simple rituals and beliefs that are symbolic ways to reach the Ultimate.

SYLLABUS

For the little ones (upto 9 years old):
This class is designed to cater to small children so that they can begin their journey of exploring the vastness of this religion through bhajans, yoga, simple prayers and stories from the Puranas and Epics. We hope that as they grow up, like many of us, they will explore the meaning of the bhajans, the value of yoga and relate the lessons they learn in life to the teachings in the prayers and stories.

Week 1 : The founding of Hinduism, Manu and the Vedas

Week 2 : Symbols of Hinduism - Aum, Bindi, Linga, Lous, Kolam, Swatik, Tilak, Trishul, Yantras Origin of the word Hindu

Week 3 : Comparing Hinduism with other religions

Week 4 : Hindu beliefs - Advaita, Authority of the Vedas and Brahmins, Brahman - The Ultimate Reality, Karma, Polytheism, Meaning and purpose of life

Week 5 : Hindu way of life - Moksha, Dharma, Artha, Karma

Week 6 : The discipline of a Hindu life - Jnana yoga, Dhyana yoga, Bhakti yoga, Karma yoga

Week 7 : Hindu practices - birth, nama karan, first meal, first book, thread ceremony, marriage, pilgrimage, renunciation, death, cremation

All of this is augmented and interwoven into a class schedule that uses

1.   teachings of Chapter 12 of the Bhagawad Gita (Bhakti Yoga)

2.   carefully selected bhajans

3.   skits from folklore (Panchatantra, Jataka Tales, Hindu Scriptures)

to teach the intended values.

A basic focus of the classes is to instill a sense of pride and belonging to the Hindu way of life, respect for everyone and discipline into the daily schedule of the child.

Older Children (9 years to 18 years of age):

The origin of Indian history, and the Upanishads and Puranas.

Week 1 : The Divineness of Hindu history and the definition of Hinduism

Week 2 : The unbroken continuity of Indian civilization and its history

1.   Material science – shortcomings and incompleteness –how Hinduism provides the missing links

2.   A brief history of creation, and the Puranas

3.   Hindu  civilization after the destruction of the Mahabharat war, and the Harappan culture

Week 3 : The continuing validity of the tenets of the Puranas

(a) The Puranas and the affiliated descriptions

                                               i.     The main body of the Puranas and the eternal Sages and Saints

                                              ii.     Variations and the timely descriptions of the Puranas

(b) Secret of Sages and Rishis taking rebirth and their longevity

(c)  The eternity of the holy rivers and places, and the peculiarity of certain Divine forms of God

Week 4 : Revelation of the Vedas, Upanishads and the Sanskrit grammar

(a) Hindu scriptures relating to the philosophy, religion and the path to God

(b)  The written form of the scriptures

(c) History, religion and the practice of a virtuous simple life

Week 5 : Divine underpinnings of Hindu philosophy, and characteristics of the myths of the world

(a) Divine writings – what is their divinity and what makes them valid

(b) Myths of the world and their characteristics

(c) The source of mythological imagination

Week 6 : General theme of the Upanishads

(a) The 33 celestial gods

(b) General definitions of soul, maya and God

(c) Divine forms of God, and Their abodes

(d) Illusive nature of the world

(e) Correct understanding of the ‘self’ and ‘soul’

(f) The terms atma and brahm in the Upanishads

Week 7 : A glimpse of the perfection of the Sanskrit grammar

(a) The Sanskrit grammar and the formation of Sanskrit words and phrases

(b) The Divineness of Sanskrit language

Adults:

An investigation into the core tenets of Hindu Philosophy:

1.   Why do we light a lamp?

2.   Why do we have a prayer room?

3.   Why do we do namaste?

4.   Why do we prostrate before parents & elders?

5.   Why do we wear marks on the forehead?

6.   Why do we not touch papers, books and people with the feet?

7.   Why do we apply holy ash?

8.   Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it?

9.   Why do we do pradakshina?

10. Why do we regard trees and plants as sacred?

11. Why do we fast?

12. Why do we ring the bell in a temple?

13. Why do we worship the kalash?

14. Why do we worship the tulsi?

15. Why do we consider the lotus as special?

Contacts:

       Mr. Mani Akella:   mani@consultantgurus.com
         Mr. Laxminarayan (Naren) Chakarapani:  908-350-3434  narenchakrapani@gmail.com
       Temple Office: 908-725-4477

Schedule:
  
Sundays 10:30-12:00 noon

      Hindu Temple & Cultural Society of USA, Inc.
      Sri Venkateswara Temple (Balaji Mandir) & Community Center
          (Non-Profit Tax-Exempt Organization.)
       1 Balaji Temple Drive, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
        Ph: (908) 725-4477