The story of an Intelligent Monkey & Foolish Crocodile

“Ankur, you look so tensed. What’s the matter?”

“Oh! Rishi. You have come at the right time. One of my friend has to complete his project. The target date is fast approaching and there is a lot of work to do. I promised to help him. But am not sure, if I can. Can you help me?”

“I am reminded of the story of the cool and relaxed monkey.”

“Sorry Rishi, I have no time for stories now.”

“But, I thought you wanted my help.”

“This is unfair, Rishi.”

“Honestly, I am trying to help you.”

“OK. Tell me the story” asked Ankur.

Once upon a time, there lived a monkey on a tree that bore juicy apples near the banks of a river. One fine day, a hungry crocodile swam up to that tree looking for food. He saw the monkey on the tree and asked if the monkey can offer something to eat.

The kind monkey offered him a few apples. The crocodile enjoyed them very much and asked the monkey “can I come again for some more”.  The generous monkey happily agreed.

croc1

The crocodile returned the next day. And from that day their friendship grew. They started discussing everything under the sky, like all friends do. The crocodile told the monkey about his wife living on the other side of the river. The kind monkey offered him some extra apples to take home to his wife. The crocodile’s wife loved the apples and made her husband promise to get her some every day.

Meanwhile, the friendship between the monkey and the crocodile deepened. The crocodile’s wife started getting jealous. She wanted to put an end to this friendship. The crocodile’s wife thought to herself that if the monkey lived on a diet of sweet apples, his flesh would be very sweet. So she asked the crocodile to invite the monkey to their house.

The crocodile did not like the idea and refused. But the wife was determined to eat the monkey’s flesh. So she thought of a plan and pretended to be very ill. She told the crocodile that the doctor said that she would recover only if she ate a monkey’s heart. If her husband wanted to save her life, he must bring her his friend’s heart.

The crocodile was now in a dilemma. He could not decide what to do. The crocodile’s wife pleaded to save her life, as without her the crocodile would become very lonely. Finally the crocodile decided to invite the monkey home. He offered the monkey a ride on his back across the river to his wife. The monkey happily agreed. As they reached the middle of the river, the crocodile began to sink. The frightened monkey asked, “What’s happening?”

croc2

The crocodile said “Sorry friend.  My wife is ill and the only cure is a monkey’s heart. So I will have to kill you, to save my wife”

The monkey was shocked. He couldn’t believe that his good friend would do this. He had to act quickly to save his life. He knew getting tensed is not an option. In a relaxed tone, he said “What a wonderful opportunity you have given me my friend, to save your wife’s life. I am very happy and glad you chose me for this job.” He waited for a moment and acted as if he has forgotten something. He said, “Oh! I have left my heart on the tree. Can you please ride back to the tree, so that I can bring my heart and give it to your sick wife?”

The crocodile felt bad for cheating such a good friend. He expressed surprise and ignorance that monkeys can keep their hearts separately. The clever monkey said, “We are given this ability, to keep our hearts safe while jumping from one tree to another.”

The crocodile who didn’t understand the monkey’s plan, swam back to the tree. The monkey ran up the tree to safety.

He told the crocodile “ Oh foolish crocodile.  My heart is very much with me.  I will never trust you again or give you fruit from my tree. Go away and don’t come back again.”

“Hmmm… Ok. Now I get the message. You mean to say, I need to stay relaxed and alert to help my friend. If I get tensed, I will only spoil the work further”, said Ankur.

Rishi smiled.

Ankur thanked Rishi for the timely advice and flew away singing happily…

Ankur Kshetra Inauguration

Ankur Kshetra was inaugurated on 2nd November 2014 at Shri. Krishnaswamy Matriculation Higher Secondary School, J-Block, 15th Street, Vaigai Colony, Anna Nagar West, Chennai – 600040, by Sn. Shiv Rishiji, Founder, Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane.  Havan was performed which was followed by a lecture by Sn. Shiv Rishiji.

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Ankur Kshetra – The place to be!!! is the after-school division of Ankur.

At Kshetra we currently offer Yoga Programs for children, their parents and other adult members of their family. Very soon we shall be launching Jiva Vigyan – Life SKILL programs for children at Kshetra.

For more details, contact us at 98400 76654 or 96001 44117

or

write to us at ankur@blissgroup.com

Introductory Workshops on Yoga

Introductory Workshops an various aspects of Yoga – for children, parents and other adults in a family are conducted every Saturday and Sunday at Kshetra – Shri. Krishnaswamy Mat. Hr. Sec. School, J-Block, 15th Street, Vaigai Colony, Anna Nagar West, Chennai – 600040.

The topics for the Workshops is given below.

For more details please contact 98400 76654 or 96001 44117.

WORKSHOP SESSIONS FOR NOV_DEC

uvAcha Quiz – 12

Which classical Indian dance is traditionally performed by men

  1. Kathak
  2. Kathakali
  3. Odissi
  4. Kuchipudi

 

Which of the following classical Indian dance is from the state of Andhra Pradesh

  1. Manipuri
  2. Odissi
  3. Kuchipudi
  4. Kathak

 

This dance form doesn’t involve anklets as a part of the dancer’s attire.

  1. Manipuri
  2. Odissi
  3. Mohiniattam
  4. Kuchipudi

 

This classical dance originated in Tamil Nadu

  1. Kathak
  2. Kuchipudi
  3. Bharatanatyam
  4. Kathakali

 

Which one of the following is essentially a solo dance?

  1. Odissi
  2. Manipuri
  3. Bharatanatyam
  4. Mohiniattam

 

Answers for uvAcha quiz – 11

(a)  Vishnu Sharma (b)  The Rigveda  (c)  Sage Vyasa  (d)  Katha Upanishad (e) Tamil

Letting the Child be Both the Sculpture and the Sculptor

“Education is The Manifestation of The Perfection Already in Man”… This quote by Swami Vivekananda demonstrates the clarity and crispness with which Swami Vivekananda delivered his messages.

Three important messages pop out from this statement – Manifestation, The Perfection, Already in Man…

Manifestation – It is not assimilation, but Manifestation. Mere intellectualisation of concepts and ideas do not suffice. True education is to ensure that the learning gets manifested in actions.

There is no purpose learning hundred things, without giving scope to find expression in life. It is advisable to take one thing at a time and internalise, before claiming to have learnt that.

Perfection – Whatever we learn should be manifested. But the question arises… what should we learn? What should be manifested? Swamiji talks of manifestation of perfection. As it is the case with most of Ancient Indian Scriptural Concepts – Perfection, as used by Swami Vivekananda needs to be viewed from two levels/perspectives.

  • At the spiritual level, it denotes the divinity or completeness of an individual. The perfection or divinity in man should find expression as a result of education. In Swamiji’s own words…

“The Light Divine within is obscured in most people. It is like a lamp in a cask of iron, no gleam of light can shine through. Gradually, by purity and unselfishness, we can make the obscuring medium less and less dense, until at last it becomes transparent as glass”. Note that Swamiji talks not only about the Divine within, but also the means by which that Divinity has to be brought out. Education should provide tools for one to be pure and unselfish.

  • At the day-to-day practical, worldly level, perfection denotes the ability to address various problems human beings encounter in society. Again in Swamiji’s words…

“The education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out the strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion – is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs.”

Education must provide “life-building, man-making and character making” assimilation of ideas to evolve as a holistic individual – one who has learned how to improve his intellect, purify his heart, handle his emotions and stand firm on moral virtues and unselfishness.

Already in Man – This is the key message in the above quote. The perfection which has to be manifested, Swamiji declares, is already in man. When we already have it, what is the role of education? What are we learning? The process of education is actually a process of purification.

It is a process of removing the blinding mask and realise the perfectness within.

It is a process which brings out the strength within and makes us courageous like a lion and help us stand on our own legs.

Here lies the critical role of an educator – be it a parent at home or a teacher at school, we need to make education student centric.

It is an educator’s responsibility to throw light on the strengths of the student and facilitate ways to bring out those strengths, to nurture a confident and courageous adult. An educator’s role is that of a farmer, not a sculptor.

A Sculptor carves out a beautiful image from a barren rock. There are many sculptors who do such fine job that the sculptures look real and life laden. A sculptor replicates the image he had conceptualised, in the rock. The stone with no inherent characteristics simply takes the shape, its sculptor gives.

Many a time, a parent or teacher act as sculptors and the children their sculptures. They try to mould and carve them into wonderful human beings. A noble objective… Is it really so?

We frequent with parents wanting their children to grow up and become like them or like what they wanted to be, but could not. Several others want to mould them into money-making machines. They force them to get into a field which is sought after in the market so that they can make more money. This market driven trend in human development is one of the main cause of stress. We come across youngsters – four to five years in the industry and disinterested in what they are doing, because their heart, passion and skill-set is elsewhere. This is counter-productive for all – the individual, organisation, family and the society.

A Farmer grows a mighty tree or a small plant, all with same amount of Love and Care. A farmer knows that each seed is different. Like all living beings, seeds have a unique inherent nature. The farmer provides the right environment for the seedling to emerge and simply act as a facilitator in its growth process.

Similarly an ideal educator has to provide the Right, Conducive, Compassionate and Loving environment for the child to grow into establishing his full potential…

An ideal educator sees the child from child’s eyes and let him grow based on his inherent strengths…

An ideal educator remain as helper/facilitator in the process of learning providing the child with necessary environment and tools letting the child be both the sculptor and the sculpture…

Self Made Man

Yoga is a time-tested and effective tool to realize the above objective. Yogic science explains five facets of human personality – Physcial, Vital, Mental, Intellectual and Spiritual. Different elements of Yoga help develop and hone these aspects of human personality at the individual level creating an ideal foundation for evolution of a responsible social personality

The five primary aspects of human personality are highly integrated. Evolving on one aspect also help evolve the other aspects. A good yoga teacher aware of this subtle aspect, provides student-centric tools, so that one is able to use the strengths to work on the weaknesses and evolve in a balanced manner.

For example let us take asana – one of the yogic tools. A single asana can work on all five aspects of human personality:

  • physical personality – making the body relaxed, fit, flexible and healthy
  • energy levels – directing the energies to the right place at the right time keeping one energetic
  • mental and psychic personality – making the mind calm, relaxed and focused
  • intellectual persona – brining out the spontaneity and creativity within
  • spiritual persona – helping one realize the completeness within and unity without

Similarly other aspects of Hatha Yoga like pranayama, various types of meditation practices etc., can also be used to evolve one or more aspects of human personality. Apart from Hatha Yoga, there are also other types of yoga, like karma yoga, bhakthi yoga, jnana yoga, etc., which can be practiced by all.

Practiced under expert guidance Yoga helps develop a clear, pure and focused mind making one more effective in life. The clarity and focus help one identify the strengths and weaknesses, prioritize needs and wants, discriminate right and appropriate from the wrong and make right decisions both in simple day-to-day activities and in life-influencing career choices. Thus Yoga is an effective tool with which children can sculpt their own life.

On this Children’s Day let us educators, resolve to help the child become a good sculptor of his own sculpture.

Inauguration of first Ankur Kshetra – THE place to be for children

InauguralInvite

Program

5:00 – 6:30 pm – Havan

6:30 – 7:30 pm – Inaugural lecture on “Awakening the Hidden Potential in Children” by Sn Shivrishi, Founder – Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane.

Welcome to share the Joy in this New beginning in Ankur’s journey for bringing the best in our children.

Know your thoughts

What do you wake up to, every morning?

Have you ever observed the constant chatter going on in your mind from the moment you wake up till you fall asleep?

Are you aware of what thoughts traverse your mind daily?

It has been scientifically proven that one does not have a big range of thoughts, but a small number of similar thoughts projecting themselves differently all through the day. As we know, our thoughts determine our action, our habits and ultimately our character.

Training gurus recommend that if one can manage thoughts, one can change their destiny.  But how do we manage our thoughts?

First we need to become aware of them.  For the next one month try this out…

Take out five minutes every day. Close your eyes and observe the thoughts that flow in your mind. You need not judge whether the thought is good or bad, right or wrong. You may simply observe the thought as if watching a movie.  At the end of five minutes, you may note down the list of thoughts that traversed your mind.

Doing this exercise for 30 days will help one become aware of their thoughts. Awareness solves 90% of the problem. It makes easier to move to the next step to manage the thoughts and reshape one’s destiny.

The Argumentative Couple

Ankur and Rishi are on a walk by the lake side. There is greenery all around. It is absolutely silent and calm except for the chirping of birds and the soothing sound of gentle breeze.

Both had actually set out for a stroll to chat on some interesting topic. But the weather was so engrossing they had not opened the mouth.  They are enjoying the weather to the fullest.

Screeeeeeech! 

A motor bike stopped suddenly on the road.  The guy riding the bike parked it and walked towards the bench swiftly. From the expression on his face one could observe he was very angry.

Ankur’s eyes fell on the girl on the bench equally agitated.  She was restless.  The mood of the duo is contrary to the surroundings.  As soon as the guy approached the girl he lifted his hands as if to slap her.  But the girl acted faster.

For a moment there was silence.  The guy was shocked.  Within seconds, the area was echoing with the arguments of the two.  They were both shouting at the top of their voices.  Probably, someone standing on the top of the mountain beside the lake, could clearly hear their argument.

Rishi was also observing this.  Suddenly, a smile emerged on his face.

When Ankur turned around to see Rishi’s response, he was surprised.  He could not understand why Rishi is amused. As if reading Ankur’s mind, Rishi started explaining.

“Can you observe Ankur, how both of them are telling the same thing and neither are able to understand that”

Ankur listened to their argument closely and concurred with Rishi. He could not understand why are they arguing, when both are of the same opinion.

He asked Rishi “why is this happening?  At the first instance, I don’t see any reason for them to shout so loudly in such a calm atmosphere.  Probably if they start speaking with each other calmly they will understand better”

“You are right Ankur.  They are not even two feet apart from each other.  Even a whisper can be clear to each other in such a calm atmosphere.  But the problem is  – physically they are very close to each other; their thoughts are also matching, but mentally and psychologically they are separated far wide.”

Rishi continued… “Contrary to what we generally believe, it is the un-manifest and not so obvious thoughts and emotions that drive our day.  If these two people become aware of their emotions and psychological distance, they will be able to interact in a pleasant tone and realise that their opinions don’t differ.”

Ankur responded in agreement.  He further added “I believe, even if they had different opinions, they could come to an understanding if they speak to each other calmly and reduce the psychic and emotional distance between them”

“You are right Ankur” agreed Rishi.

“I suggest Rishi, you should go and speak to them so that they stop their fight.  You should help them.”

“Unsolicited help or advice won’t work Ankur.  Now that they have vented out their anger, within a few minutes you will see that they would calm down and start talking to each other normally”

As they were conversing on these lines, they had moved past the boy and girl to the other end of the lake.  After about half an hour on their way back , Ankur observed the couple – now calm and talking to each other in a normal tone.

Ankur was once more convinced of Rishi’s wisdom.

CLASSICAL DANCES OF INDIA

There are many dance forms in India – some are deeply religious in content while others are danced just as an expression of joy or for relieving the stress after a day’s hard work. The classical dance forms use basically the same ‘mudras’ or signs of hand as a common language of expression and were originally performed in the temples to entertain various Gods and Goddesses. They were also effective in carrying forward the various mythological stories from generation to generation while entertaining the audiences.

BHARATANATYAM

Bharatanatyam

 Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest dance forms of India.  This dance originated in the state of Tamilnadu and was nurtured in the temples and courts of Southern India.   Bharata Natyam dance has been handed down through the centuries by dance teachers called nattuwanars and the temple dancers, called devadasis. The four great nattuwanars of Tanjore were known as the Tanjore Quartet and were brothers named Chinnaiah, Ponnaiah, Vadivelu and Shivanandam. The complete performance of this dance involves six stages known as Alarippu, Jatiswaram, Sabdam, Varnam, Padam and Thillana.  Nritta comprises of three elements – a basic standing position, movement of the legs and feet and decorative hand gestures.  Music for this dance is based on important tunes or ragas such as Bhairavi, Kalyani and Kambodhi.

 KATHAK

kathak

This style of dance which is said to have originated from the Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas is derived from the word Katha meaning ‘story telling’.  Traditionally the stories were of Radha and Krishna but after the invasion of the Mughuls, it shows traces of Muslim court etiquette.

The structure of a conventional Kathak performance tends to follow a progression in tempo from slow to fast, ending with a dramatic climax. A short dance composition is known as a tukra, a longer one as a toda. There are also compositions consisting solely of footwork.

MANIPURI

manipuri

This classical dance form is associated with the state of Manipur from North Eastern India.  The main theme of this dance is “Krishna’s Ras Leela”.  Manipuri dancers do not wear ankle bells to accentuate the beats tapped out by the feet, in contrast with other Indian dance forms, and the dancers’ feet never strike the ground hard. Movements of the body and feet and facial expressions in Manipuri dance are subtle and aim at devotion and grace.  Ornamated and starched skirts are typical dress codes of the Manipuri dance.

 KATHAKALI

kathakali

It is a classical dance form of Kerala.  This dance form is based mostly on themes derived from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other Hindu epics, mythologies and legends. A Striking feature of Kathakali is the use of elaborate make-up and colourful costumes.  Loud drums are played while the dance drama, depicting the courage of heroic kings and the cunning of evil characters, is performed.

 MOHINI ATTAM

mohiniattam

Mohiniattam is derived from the words “Mohini” (meaning beautiful women) and “attam”(meaning dance).  This dance form is a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Mohiniattam dance in Kerala is developed in the tradition of Devadasi system, which later grew and developed a classical status.  The theme of Mohini attam dance is love and devotion to god. Vishnu or Krishna is most often the hero. The spectators can feel His invisible presence when the heroine or her maid details dreams and ambitions through circular movements, delicate footsteps and subtle expressions.

 KUCHIPUDI

 kuchipudi

Kuchipudi derives its name from the Kuchipudi village of Andhra Pradesh. In the seventeenth century the Kuchipudi village was presented to the Brahmins, who were experts in staging dance and drama. Kuchipudi exhibits scenes from the Hindu Epics, legends and mythological tales through a combination of music, dance and acting.The technique of Kuchipudi makes use of fast rhythmic footwork and sculpturesque body movements.  Stylized mime, using hand gestures and subtle facial expressions, is combined with more realistic acting, occasionally including dialogues spoken by the dancers.

 ODISSI

odissi

Odissi is one of the famous classical Indian dances from Orissa state. This dance traces its origins to the ritual dances performed in the temples of Orissa, by the devadasis.  The dancers use their head, bust and torso in soft flowing movements to express specific moods and emotions. This dance has been mentioned in the inscriptions and depicted on sculptures in temples like the Brahmeswara and the dancing hall of the Sun Temple of Konark.

E3 Communication for Success – Energy of Action

Healthy IO channels are the key to high energy of action. Through consistent practice, confidence is built up which enhances the energy of action. Disciplines like cleanliness, contentment, self-restraint, consistency, etc., helps in keeping your IO channels alert providing impetus to your communication.

Silence is also a tool to activate the energy of action. The mental chatter within has to stop to facilitate smooth flow of thoughts and words. There is a gestation period between communication conception and delivery. Practising silence for some time every day, helps to internalise this skill.

Practice makes a man perfect – preparing well in advance and rehearsing the same in mind before communicating helps remove obstacles and lacunae, if any irrespective of the channel of communication – oral, written or visual.

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The pathway for a typical “Call for Action” communication…

Visuddhi chakra is the chakra directly related to oral communication while active manipura chakra helps build confidence. Yogic practices to activate the above chakras are the yogic answer to build energy of action.

Antarmouna practices help purify the chitta (memory), manas (mind) enhance buddhi (intelligence) build positive self-image and enhance clarity in communication.

It is to be noted that various practices and tools mentioned above, chakras and hence the three energies do not act in isolation or in a sequential order. They act concurrently. Practices to activate one energy will also have a positive indirect effect on the other chakras.

These tools learnt under expert guidance along with commonly taught communication etiquettes help one become an effective communicator.

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