VALUE 5 : GRATITUDE AND CONTENTMENT
This module consists of two values:
- Characteristics of Contentment – being happy with what one already has, happy with what one gets and being modest
- Characteristics of Gratitude– the feeling of thankfulness and appreciation
The objective of this program is to assists trainers understand and impart these values in the most practical manner to children/teenagers/adults using the most appropriate teaching methodology in delivering the teachings.
By the end of the training, trainers should be able to impart the values related to Contentment and Gratitude.
At the end of this training module trainees will:
- recognize the difference between needs and wants
- understand that small thing or moments that one have or experience is appreciated
- distinguish gratification and desires
- understand the meaning of living in the moment
- reinforcement of self-confident
- cultivate the gratitude journal writing
- design appropriate questions using higher order thinking skills to enhance students’ understanding of values
It is important for trainers to assimilate the value to the children/teenagers/adults in an experiential method. This requires trainers and facilitators to prepare in advance the material and watch the video for the discussion based on a drama from a video.
When we have too many desires, we become sad and angry if our desires are not fulfilled.
|WEEK||VALUE||ASPECTS||METHODOLODY / RESOURCES|
|14||Gratitude and Contentment||1) Define and explain what gratitude is?
The feeling of thankfulness and/or appreciation
It is a feeling of the heart that we cannot suppress for long when overcome with abundant memories of all the good that has come into our lives. Give examples.
2) Define and explain what appreciation is?
Turning our thanks toward the people in our lives.
The approach is to approach those you are grateful to and tell them, to their face, while looking deep into their eyes, how much you esteem and value them.
3) Give an example of living in the moment.
Trainer to give example such as I have had to write, leg to walk, eyes to see etc. Sharing with the children/teenagers on being happy with what they have now.
The Bhagavad Gita tells us in the scriptural language how to express our gratitude and thankfulness to the gods that so generously provide to us the sustenance of life.
The gods, nourished by the sacrifice, will give you the desired objects. So, he who enjoys the objects given by the gods without offering (in return) to them is verily a thief.
The Creator, having in the beginning (of creation) created mankind together with sacrifice, said, “By this shall you propagate; let this be the milch cow of your desires (the cow which yields all the desired objects”).
The righteous who eat the remnants of the sacrifice are freed from all sins; but those sinful ones who cook food (only) for their own sake verily eat sin.
This is a good game to practice gratitude.
The trainer can start the game by sharing own experience.
Instead of just saying one thing they are grateful for and moving on, these questions will provide conversations and stories that will enrich the lives of those present, deepen your feelings of gratitude, and nourish the heart while you feed your body!
This can be an additional or alternative game which can be played in a lighter mood.
Discussion also can lead to students to find alternative solutions in life, when they do not have something they want.
This Group Discussion will have the students think about the festivals which they are familiar with from a deeper level.
At the end of the session, the student will be aware that festivals are a great opportunity to show our gratitude to God, nature, and our friends and family.
There are many traditional festivals during which Hindus express gratitude.
|STORY : SRI KRISHNA’S STRANGE BLESSINGS
Tell the story until para 3 with Arjuna’s remark and stop.
Ask the students what they think about the blessings given.
1) What were blessings that Sri Krishna gave to two of his devotees?
2) How did Arjuna felt when he saw that the Lord was giving different blessings to the devotees? Was he happy, or feel that the Lord was impartial?
3) What do you feel about the conduct of Sri Krishna?
4) What do you think could be the Lord’s answer? Why the Lord did that?
Continue with the story and finish it. Then ask whether their opinion about the incidents remain the same.
Then Lord has his own plan for each one of us. Sometimes, we may feel that God is not listening to our prayer or that we are not getting what we deserve.
God is not impartial but he gives us what we really need, which even we may not know or understand. We have to believe that whatever happens in life, is God’s plan for our own good.
VIDEO: BE WITH GRATITUDE (for primary school)
1) Who sought the help of the poor farmer?
2) What did the animals felt when they were rescued?
3) How did the merchant act? What did you feel or think about his conduct?
4) What will you do if someone treat you as the merchant treated the farmer?
ACTIVITY: I AM SO GRATEFUL TODAY FOR
1. Trainer to encourage children/teens to write down 5 things that they are grateful for.
2. Later allow all children/teens to read out what that they are grateful for.
3. After reading, ask them to say a little prayer of thank you.
4. Trainer to suggest as practice for the children/teens to daily write down 5 things that they are grateful for every day in their journal.
GAME 1: GRATITUDE GAB
1. Get a jar or bowl and have a few questions or topics on folded pieces of colored or festive paper.
2. Have everyone pass around the jar and take turns pulling out a piece of paper and answer the question or sharing the experience the paper asks.
A few sample questions:
1. Describe something lucky that happened to you and how your life improved.
2. Describe an important event in your life, what made it special, and why you are grateful for it.
3. Name someone you know who makes your life better and why.
4. Describe something that you have done that you are proud of and why.
5. Describe something in your life for which you think God has blessed you.
GAME 2: “WHAT WOULD YOU FEEL WITHOUT IT”
· This game can be done any time during the day, the more silly mood you are in probably the better.
· Simply ask the children what would they feel like without various items.
· They will be surprised how different life would be without some of the things they consider “normal” to have.
· You may like to begin a discussion about how other people live without such items, if it is age appropriate, to help them remember to appreciate what is sometimes taken for granted in their life.
GROUP DISCUSSION: PONGAL FESTIVAL
During Pongal, Hindus convey appreciation to the Lord Indra, the supreme ruler of the clouds that provide rain; to the sun, whose warmth and light is necessary for the crops to grow; to cattle, who pull ploughs and give milk; and to family members, friends, and farm workers who have made the harvest possible.
STORY : SRI KRISHNA’S STRANGE BLESSING
Disguised as a wandering mendicant, Sri Krishna visits a wealthy family, who welcomes him warmly and offers him hospitality that matches both their devotion and prosperity. When it is time to leave, he blesses his host profusely, promising him even more wealth and glory.
Sri Krishna’s next visit is to a poor widow, whose only possession is a cow. She too welcomes him with great devotion but all that she can offer him is a glass of milk. When it is time to leave, Sri Krishna blesses her and tells her that her cow will die soon.
Arjuna, who has accompanied Krishna to both the places, is horrified. He asks the Lord, “Your wealthy hosts lacked nothing and yet you blessed them with even more wealth. Whereas your blessing to the poor devotee accompanied the ominous news that she will lose her cow. This is unfair and unacceptable.”
Sri Krishna smiles and tells Arjuna, “My wealthy host is insanely attached to his wealth and his reputation. He has a long way to go before he becomes spiritually awakened. On the other hand, this poor devotee is already far advanced on the spiritual path. The only thing that is separating her from the highest freedom is her attachment to her cow. I removed the hurdle from her path.”
The insights that this story provides are obvious. God can enter our lives in any form and at any time, often in most unexpected circumstances. The blessing that the divine guest bestows upon us can be difficult to decipher at first glance.
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|15||Gratitude and Contentment||Define and explain what is Contentment?
Contentment (Santosha) – seeking joy and serenity in life which is reflected in:· Being happy with what one already has· Being happy with what one gets and· Being modest
Santosha is being contented or satisfied with whatever one gets and not desiring more. When you have contentment, then only you can appreciate and enjoy what you have. Otherwise, feeling dissatisfied, you will feel unhappy.
Nurture contentment, seeking joy and serenity in life. Be happy, smile and uplift others. Live in constant gratitude for your health, your friends and your belongings. Don’t complain about what you don’t possess.
Trainer to provide more examples and if possible personal sharing.
Needs vs wants
Explain the concepts of needs and wants, that children/teenagers/adults learn that things that make them happy are not necessarily things that cost money.
Example: We need food, but we want ice cream.
|STORY 1: THE EMPEROR AND A MENDICANT
1) What did Akbar ask while praying to God?
2) Why did the mendicant felt that Akbar was begging the Lord?
3) What do you think about wishing for something which you already have but you wanted more than you need?
STORY 2 : THE SEVEN JARS OF GOLD
1) What happened when the man filled the seventh jar?
2) Explain why the jar could not be filled?
3) What can you relate to the seventh jar? Do you have a similar craving for something?
4) What do you think would have happened to the man if he did not return the jar?
5) How could we resist greediness and feel satisfied with what we have?
VIDEO: MY SHOE
· Play the video and pause the video at 2.33 min
· Form small groups and request the children/teens to answer the following questions:
Q1. What did the boy is doing in the video?
Q2. What do you think was in the mind of the boy with old shoe before meeting the boy who was wearing new shoe?
Q3. What is the commonality that I have similar to the boy with old shoe?
Trainer to ask the questions as open discussion and encourage the children/teens to voice their opinion.
Take note that there is no right or wrong answer to the question.
Trainers can probe and encourage children to share their story on how the video ends.
Trainer asks the teens on how they would like the story to end by explaining to the teens to come out with his or her own 2 minutes short drama on the outcome of the story.
Facilitator to assist the group in coming out with the 2 minutes short drama.
Trainer to probe thought in teens if the story ended as per their drama. Trainer to share on the moral of “Perceiving is not believing”.
Trainer to share on the difference of wants and needs in life and what do contentment gives.
DRAMA: Act out the outcome on My Shoes
Teens – perform a 2 minutes short drama
Game – RM1000, is it Mine? :
Q1. How was the feeling while playing the game?
Q2. How does the winner win?
Q3. How can the rest of the team improve?
ACTIVITY: Thank You Card
1. Children were given the hardcover paper to fold and design a card.
2. Children to write :
‘Thank you God for ….’ And list out as many things as they can remember that God has given them.
STORY 1 : THE EMPEROR AND A MENDICANT
During the reign of Akbar in India, there lived a mendicant in a forest in Delhi. Many people used to go to the cottage of this holy man. But as he had nothing with which to show hospitality to these visitors, he was in need of some money for this purpose. Therefore, he went for help to Akbar Shah, who was well known for his kindness to holy men.
Akbar Shah was then saying his prayers and the mendicant took his seat in the prayer room. In the course of his prayers, Akbar prayed, “Oh Lord, give me more wealth, more power, more territories!”
At once, the mendicant rose and was about to leave the room, when the Emperor beckoned him to sit again.
At the end of the prayer, Akbar asked the holy man, “Sir, you come to see me. How is it then that you wanted to leave without saying anything to me?” The mendicant said, “The object of my visit to Your Majesty… well I need not trouble you with that.” When Akbar repeatedly pressed him to say what he wanted, the mendicant at last said, “Your Majesty, many people come to me to be taught. But for want of money, I am unable to see to their comforts. So I thought it well to come to Your Majesty for help.”
Akbar then asked why he was about to go away without having told him the object of his visit. The mendicant replied, “When I saw that you were yourself a beggar begging the Lord for fortune, power and territories, I said to myself, “Why should I beg a person who is himself a beggar? I had better beg of the Lord Himself, if indeed it is not possible for me to stop begging altogether.”
STORY 2: THE SEVEN JARS OF GOLD
A BARBER who was passing under a haunted tree, heard a voice say, “Will you accept seven jars full of gold?” The barber looked around, but could see no one. The offer of seven jars of gold, however, roused his cupidity, and he cried aloud, “Yes, I shall accept the seven jars.” At once came the reply, “Go home, I have carried the jars to your house.”
The barber ran home in hot haste to verify the truth of this strange announcement. And when he entered the house, he saw the jars before him. He opened them and found them all full of gold, except the last one which was only half-full. A strong desire now arose in the barber’s mind to fill the seventh jar also for without it his happiness was incomplete. He therefore converted all his ornaments into gold coins and put them into the jar; but the mysterious vessel was, as before, unfilled. This exasperated the barber. Starving himself and his family, he saved some amount more and tried to fill the jar; but the jar remained as before. So one day he humbly requested the king to increase his pay, as his income was not sufficient to maintain himself. Now the barber was a favourite of the king, and as soon as the request was made the king doubled his pay. All this pay he saved and put into the jar, but the greedy jar showed no signs of filling.
At last he began to live by begging from door to door, and his professional income and the income from begging—all went into the insatiable cavity of the mysterious jar. Months passed, and the condition of the miserable and miserly barber grew worse every day. Seeing his sad plight the king asked him one day: “Hallo! When your pay was half of what yon now get, you were happy, cheerful and contented; but with double that pay, I see you morose, care-worn and dejected. What is the matter with you? Have you got ‘the seven jars’?” The barber was taken aback by this question and replied, “Your Majesty, who has informed you of this?”
The king said: “Don’t you know that these are the signs of the person to whom the Yaksha consigns the seven jars. He offered me also the same jars, but I asked him whether this money might be spent or was merely to be hoarded. No sooner had T asked this question than the Yaksha ran away without any reply. Don’t you know that no one can spend that money? It only brings with it the desire of hoarding. Go at once and return the money.” The barber was brought to his senses by this advice, and he went to the haunted tree and said, “Take back your gold, O Yaksha.” The Yaksha replied, “All right.” When the barber returned home, he found that the seven jars had vanished as mysteriously as they were brought in, and with it had vanished, his life-long savings too. Those who do not understand the difference between what is real expenditure and what is real income, lose all they have.
GAME: Game – RM1000, is it Mine?
Trainer to refer to the slide to provide understanding on the objective of the game. Trainer with facilitator assist in form a group of 6 team members in a team.
Trainer to allow the team to select a bank officer from the team. The bank officer must not be a facilitator.
Trainers are provided with Rules and How to Play RM1000, is it Mine Game.
Trainer reads out the rules of the game and share out how to play the game by demoing the game. This game to be played 3 rounds.
When the 1st round of the game starts trainer and facilitators observes the team by motivating them.
Trainer and facilitates are not allowed to provide suggestion.
Facilitator to take note and write down pointers in the Observation: RM1000, is it Mine Game sheet.
Before 2nd round, trainers to allow the team to strategize the game.
When the 2nd round of the game starts trainer and facilitators observes the team by motivating them.
Trainer and facilitates are not allowed to provide suggestion.
Before 3rd round, trainers to allow the team to strategize the game away from the game location. When the teams are away from the game location, trainer can make changes as stated in the Rules and How to Play RM1000, is it Mine Game sheet.
|WEEK||VALUE||ASPECTS||METHODOLOGY / RESOURCES|
|14||Gratitude & Contentment||Sharing with others – give to those who are in need.
“Give. Give with faith. Do not give without faith. Give with sensitivity. Give with a feeling of abundance. Give with right understanding.” – Taittiriya Upanishad.
It is important that the act of sharing or giving is done with right understanding. We should not give anything to anyone with pride, pity, contempt or any negative feeling. We must give with humility, full of respect and love. Then only the act of sharing or giving become a virtuous act and will give us good merit.
The well known Hindu text the Bhagavadgita (17.20-22) speaks of three types of giving:
Sattvikam – A gift that is given without any expectation of appreciation or reward is beneficial to both giver and recipient.
Rajasika – A gift that is given reluctantly and with the expectation of some advantage is harmful to both giver and recipient.
Tamasika – A gift that is given without any regard for the feelings of the recipient and at the wrong time, so causing embarrassment to the recipient, is again harmful to both giver and recipient.
Any giving that is motivated by selfish considerations loses its value from the spiritual aspect.
The right attitude for giving to others is illustrated in the life of King Rantideva and Elayankudi Mara Nayanar. As God resides in all beings, king Rantideva felt that by serving others, he was really serving God Himself. He also felt so much joy in giving away even his last bit of food and drink to other, without feeling least hesitation.
|GAME: SHARING LOVE & KINDNESS
This activity empowers the students with the knowledge that their words, choices and actions can have either positive or negative effects on himself/herself and others.
1. Ask the participants to write one note each, expressing love and kindness on a piece of paper. It may be a statement or a question. Provide examples such as: You are nice. You have beautiful eyes. I like your smile. You have great ideas. How are you?
2. Once all participants have written at least one comment on their paper, have them stand up and form a big, open circle with the bowl in the middle. Have them crumple their papers into a tight ball.
3. Tell the children that when you say, “share,” they should put their balls of paper in the bowl, and when you say “receive,” they should pick a ball of paper from the bowl and read it silently. When you say “share” again, they should crumple up the ball of paper again and put it back in the bowl.
4. Repeat this 3-5 times, so that participants can read several notes. After the last time, ask volunteers to read the last message they received out loud.
5. At the end of the game you could ask your child why he/she thinks you played this game.
Explain that sometimes we get back the very same things we send out and sometimes we don’t; we can’t predict exactly what will come back to us when we share.
Explain that we did this activity to discover that when we share, we get back what we are giving. It might not be the same thing we gave but we will always receive. It also might take some time or be from a different person, but it always comes back.
DRAMA: ELAYANKUDI MARA NAYANAR
Children can be asked to act out the story.
QUESTIONS TO PROBE:
1) Describe the qualities or values practiced by the Nayanar.
2) Relate the story with real life incidents from other great personalities who shared everything they had with others. Students can be given homework to find out such stories.
3) Discuss whether the value can be practiced by all.
4) Have the students shared anything with others, if yes, ask them to tell it before the class.
STORY: KING RANTIDEVA
This can be an additional or alternative story for the Drama.
QUESTIONS TO PROBE:
1) What do you think is the greatest quality of the King?
2) Other than showing kindness, what else can you find in King Rantideva’s life?
3) What was the King’s attitude in sharing or giving to others? Was he modest, humble, or grateful that he was the given the opportunity to serve God?
4) You can also relate the story with the story or Elayankudi Mara Nayanar.
VIDEO: IF YOU HAVE, GIVE!
QUESTIONS TO PROBE:
5) What do you feel about the boy?
6) Please relate how if you have similar situation in your life.
7) What do you think about your lifestyle?
STORY: ELAYANKUDI MARA NAYANAR
Elayankudi Mara Nayanar was born in the family of farmers in Elayankudi village, in Tamil Nadu. Even in extreme poverty, he did not give up the service of feeding the devotees of Lord Siva. Anna danan, the sharing of food with others is part of one’s religious duty (dharma). In the orthodox tradition a householder is expected to partake of food only after it has been reverentially offered to the deities, the ancestors, the mendicant, and those dependent on him.
Once on a rainy day, when he had no money with him, Lord Siva visited him in the form of a devotee and said that he was scorched by great hunger. Nayanar had nothing in his house at that time. Unperturbed, he went to his fields and collected the grains he sowed there in the morning. His wife prepared some rice with greens using the firewood from the wood pulled out from the rooftop of their house. Nayanar was taken back when he did not find the devotee there. Then Lord Siva and Mother Parvati appeared there, blessed Nayanar and his wife with long life, and assured them of liberation at the end of their earthly life.
STORY : KING RANTIDEVA
(from Srimad Bhagavatam )
Once Lord Vishnu was relaxing in Vaikunta. Lord Brahma, Indra and the Devas had come to see him. The Dark Lord was sitting and enjoying himself as Indra asked a question, ‘My Lord! Who is your favourite devotee?’
Lord Vishnu replied without any hesitation, ‘It is definitely Rantideva!’’
Brahma looked surprised, ‘Who? Do you mean the son of Sankriti?’
Vishnu nodded not saying anything. Indra frowned, ‘Of all the people in the fourteen worlds, why do you think that human is your best devotee?’
Vishnu smiled, ‘The devotion with which he worships me and the way he sees me….’ Lord Vishnu shook his head in admiration, ‘I have no doubt, he is one of the best devotees, I have.’
Brahma, Indra and the other Devas talked with Lord Vishnu for some time and then left Vaikunta. As they were returning home, Indra spoke, ‘Rantideva? Do you really think Lord Vishnu was right in thinking that a mere human would be his best devotee, when there are countless Devas and gandharvas, who are so devoted in him?’
Vayu also nodded his head, ‘I do not think that a human being can ever be devoted to God so much…Anyway what do humans know about devotion…They only pray for what they want and then forget about God…’ Vayu said contemptuously. Varuna nodded his head, ‘I think we should test this man Rantideva.’ All thedevas agreed to this.
Rantideva was a king and he was a very good king. Rantideva was also very spiritual. He was devoted to Lord Vishnu and saw Lord Vishnu everywhere. He felt that making his people happy was best ways of keeping Lord Vishnu happy, so he ruled them kindly and firmly and took good care of them. His people in turn adored him. The crops were good and the country was rich…everybody prospered. However all that changed very fast.
Rantideva’s kingdom found that all of sudden, there were unseasonal rains and winds…Crops were destroyed and suddenly there was famine in the country. Rantideva however did not let his people down. He opened up his his treasury and his granary and asked the people to take it…The people were happy with their king who had protected them.
However the situation became worse and the crops kept failing. Rantideva then gave up his palace and all his belongings so that the people could use them…The people were happy for a short time and felt that things would turn around now. But things still went from bad to worse. The entire kingdom seemed to become arid with no crops and water. People were hungry and thirsty with no place to go.
Rantideva could not bear the misfortune of his people. He was already living on very little food himself and provided all his food to his people. Rantideva decided that only Lord Vishnu could protect him. He decided to fast and meditate to Lord Vishnu to protect his people. He gave up everything and meditating on the Lord. For forty-eight days this went on. Rantideva had nothing to eat in these forty-eight days and meditated on the Lord. Rantideva was hungry and happy praying to the Lord.
Rantideva’s ministers looked at the shriveled and pathetically thin king and were worried about him. They convinced him to break his fast on the forty eighth day. With great reluctance, Rantieva agreed. The ministers and family members provided the king with some food and water. Rantideva was about to start eating when he saw a man tottering and coming towards him. Rantideva ran towards the man who was stumbling and walking. Rantideva asked him to sit down and talked to him.
‘What is it sir! You look tired….’ The man nodded feebly and spoke, ‘I am hungry sir! I have nothing to eat….’ He eyed at the king’s plate but did not say anything. Much to the dismay of the ministers, the king handed over a portion of his food to the man, ‘Sir! Please take a portion of my food and eat it…’
The man looked too hungry even to refuse the food. He did not even look at the thin king and gulped down the portion of the food as fast as he could.After eating the food, the man looked more cheerful and thanked the king, ‘Sir! I am grateful to you…I really thought I was not going to get any food….You really saved my life…’ The king nodded his head and the man left praising the king. The king looked happily at the man.
His ministers looked at each other with exasperation. They had got their king to eat with so much difficulty….And now he had given away a portion of his food… One of the ministers came forward and spoke hastily, ‘Sir…Please have whatever food is left over….‘ before anyone else comes and asks for the remaining food….He thought to himself but did not say it out loud.
The king nodded and sat down before his food and was about to start eating. Another man came with tattered clothes. Before the ministers could shoo the man away, the king saw him. The man with the tattered clothes also looked like he had not had anything to eat for a long time….He looked so tired that he did not even have the energy to talk. He just collapsed before the king. The king once again got up. He revived the man. The man opened his eyes and looked like he could not even talk.
The ministers watched helplessly as the king handed over another portion of his food to the man. The man who took the portion of the food, ate it without even thanking the king. Only after he had taken a little amount of food, he saw the king, his family members and ministers. But he ate the portion offered to him and looked at the king, ‘Sir! You have saved my life…My eyes began to water and I could not even see properly….I thought I would starve and….’ The man shook his head and spoke quietly, ‘Thank you sir!’ The king nodded his head and the man also left after thanking the king.
The minsters watched the king apprehensively looking at the pitiful food which was remaining and the king…What if someone came and took away this portion of the food too. Unfortunately for the ministers that is exactly what happened… A man came with some of his dogs. The man looked at the king and said, ‘Sir! Me and my dogs are hungry…Can you…’
Without any hesitation, the king handed over the remaining portion of the food to the man and his dogs. The man ate a portion of the food and threw the remaining portion to his dogs. The dogs chewed all the remaining food and soon all the food was over…The man thanked the king and left with his dogs and ask the man to be thrown out of there when the chandala spoke, ‘I…am thirsty…can you please….’
Now only the water was remaining, The king was about to drink the water when a huge man came in. Looking at the man, the ministers swerved away from the man. The man was a chandala. The minsters were about to talk the guards. The ministers were stunned to see the king hand over his water to the man. The chandala however hesitated, ‘Sir! I am not sure whether I can take your water….I am a chandala sir…I am an…’
The king shook his head and handed over the water to him, ‘You were also created by the great Lord Vishnu…I see him in you also….I cannot say that you are any different from my own people.’
The chandala took the water from the king and happily drank it. The king watched the man happily drink the water and leave, and had a smile on his face. His minsters were looking unhappily at the king. Suddenly there was a flash of light. The king opened his eyes in surprise as he saw Lord Brahma, with Indra and the Devas. And between them, Rantideva saw the Lord Vishny, the beautiful black God who looked at Rantideva with pride.
Lord Vishnu spoke softly, ‘Rantideva! I had told the Devas that you were my greatest devotee….’ Lord Vishnu looked at Indra with mischievous twinkling eyes, ‘I don’t think Indra believed me….So everything that happened to you….the famine for your kingdom and everything after than…the Devas were testing you to see whether you were indeed one of my greatest devotee….And I must say…I am proud of you…I have no doubt that you are the one of the best devotees I have ever had….’
Yama, the God of death spoke, ‘All the Devas had come disguised as the first three man and their dogs…I still did not believe them…I came as the chandala…And I must say that you stumped me…I believe that you are one of the the greatest devotee ever…’
Rantideva looked at all the Devas and Lord Vishnu as he bowed to them. Lord Vishnu spoke, ‘You have understood me in a way, no one ever has….For this I grant you moksha…’ Rantideva felt a blissful feeling come over him…His Dark Lord had come to make him a part of him…Lord Vishnu spoke, ‘Don’t worry about your people….All the famine was a part of the ploy of the Devas…Everything will be back to normal and your people would always be happy and prosperous….’
Rantideva smiled as he merged with Lord Vishnu attaining Moksha.
|WEEK||VALUE||ASPECTS||METHODOLOGY / RESOURCES|
|14||Gratitude & Contentment||Feeling happy with other’s success and absence of jealousy.
The five steps to feel happy for others:
1. Don’t fake it. To be happy for another person can be pretty tough and should not appear to you as an obligation.
2. Remember that things are constantly changing. There are ups and downs in everyone’s life. The world is like a carousel and never stops turning. If you watch a television series about a group, you must have noticed every character gets lucky and unlucky by turn, depending on the episode. Real life is no different.
3. See what you’ve got. Consider the things you have before examining the ones you miss. Draw a list of the good stuff, the breaks and the opportunities you’ve met during the course of your life.
4. Tend your own fire. If everything is going wrong with your life, and you see no reason to make a list of the good stuff, the best thing would be to take special good care of yourself! Become your best friend.
5. Keep in mind that happy attracts happy. Generally, bitter people are not considered as lovable. Because they feel sad, they often spread sadness around them. And you don’t want that to happen to you! Rejoicing in others’ happiness is actually likely to be in your interest.
6. Talk to God or Pray
Next time you feel jealous, talk to God about it. Seriously, He wants to hear from you!
The next time you start to envy something that someone has, or become jealous over an opportunity that someone else got, just start praying! Tell God you’re feeling jealous and ask God to help you overcome it. Ask God to help you be less selfish and more selfless. Ask God to help you focus on Him instead of your feelings of jealousy.
Once jeolouss is in your life, it creeps into every part of it. You can’t just have a little bit of jealousy. If you don’t do anything about that little bit, it soon grows and becomes bigger and bigger, effecting every area of your life. If you’re jealous over one thing, soon you’ll be jealous over more, and pretty soon you won’t be happy with anything in your life. To show the effect of jealousy in our life, play the game.
“Jealousy is the root of all evil, and a most difficult thing to conquer.” – Swami Vivekananda
Jealousy is a terrible, horrible sin; it enters a man so mysteriously.” – Swami Vivekananda
Jealousy is such a harmful thing, it enters the heart and burns us like fire. The Atharva Veda prescribes mantra to remove jealousy:
“The first approach of Jealousy, and that which followeth the first, the pain, the fire that burns within thy heart we quench and drive away.
Atharva Veda also compares jealous people to dogs.
“O Indra, destroy all those lustful people behaving like birds…. angry ones behaving like wolves….
greedy ones behaving like vultures….
enticed ones like owls….. a
rrogant ones like eagles and
the jealous ones behaving like dogs.”
|GAME: COLOUR OF JEOLOUSY
· Green food colouring
· Cup of water
Get out water and food coloring.
Let’s pretend that this cup of water is your life, and this food coloring is jealousy.
Uncap the food coloring and hold it pretty high over the cup of water, but don’t squeeze any in.
Now, this is what it’s like when there’s a little bit of jealousy in your life. Let’s say your friend and you both audition for the same part in the play at school, and she was the one who got the part. A little bit of jealousy is natural, right? So you just ignore it.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup.
You don’t pray about it, you don’t try to get over it, you just leave it there. And sure, you feel a little guilty about the way you’re thinking about your friend. But you convince yourself that being a little jealous is fine.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup.
Then, all of the sudden, everything about her makes you jealous—her hair, her clothes, the way your teacher seems to really like her. You start dislike your own things because hers seem so much better.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup.
And then, you can’t help but look at everyone else around you and all of the things they have. You can’t help but compare yourself to everyone else and be jealous of them.
Squeeze the food coloring into the cup.
Now, can we separate that food coloring back into just one thing? Is it possible to move it to just one part of the cup? No! It’s in all of the water in the cup, because once it spreads, you can’t take it back.
Jealousy never turns out good. It eats away at you. It harms you and your relationship. It steals your happiness, love, and peace. Does that sound like something you want in your life?
VIDEO: A JEOLOUS COW
QUESTIONS TO PROBE:
1. Why the cow was jealous of the pig?
2. How did the cow felt seeing the better life of the pig? Was it happy, peaceful, and contented?
3. Have you felt the same seeing your siblings or friends?
4. What can you do to stop envying others and instead feeling happy to see their success?
STORY: GAURANGA AND RAGHUNATHA
QUESTIONS TO PROBE:
1. What was the ambition of Raghunatha?
2. Why did he weep when he heard the commentary of Gauranga?
3. What was Gauranga’s feeling and reaction when he heard that his book was better than Raghunatha’s book?
1) What are some of the things you find yourself being jealous over the most?
2) What do you think about the verse that compares jealous people to dogs and jealousy as a terrible sin?
3) Does that make you think differently about jealousy?
4) How do you think it makes God feel when you’re jealous over other people and the things they have? Do you think it makes Him feel like you’re not thankful for all the things He’s blessed you with?
5) When you focus on being thankful for what you have, is it harder to be jealous of others? Why do you think that is?
6) Do you think that if you saw yourself the way God sees you, you’d still struggle with being jealous of other people?
7) Are you content with your life and the things in it? Why or why not?
8) Do you think that you would be less jealous if you were content with yourself and your life?
9) Do you think that talking to God when you feel jealous will help you get over your jealousy? Do you think God wants to hear about it?
10) Do you think that comparing yourself to others is what leads to you being jealous of them? Do you want to stop comparing yourself to others? Why or why not?
STORY: GAURANGA AND RAGHUNATHA
Gauranga (also known as Sri Krishna Caitanya) studied logic at the school of Vasudeva Sarvabhauma, a reputed professor of Nyaya philosophy. The extraordinary intellect of Gauranga attracted the attention of Raghunath, author of the famous book on logic called Didheeti. Raghunath thought within himself that he was the most intelligent youth in the world. He thought that he was more intelligent than his teacher Sarvabhauma. Raghunath’s one great ambition was that he should be the foremost man of learning in the whole world. But, when he found that Gauranga, though much younger than himself, was more intelligent and learned, he began to lose hope. His heart was filled with fear.
Gauranga was at that time writing a commentary on Nyaya. This made Raghunath more nervous. Raghunath wanted to see the commentary of Gauranga. But he doubted whether Gauranga would consent to show it to him. Anyhow Raghunath requested Gauranga to show him his commentary on Nyaya. Gauranga readily consented to read it to Raghunath. When they were crossing the river by boat, Gauranga read out his commentary to Raghunath. Raghunath found that Gauranga’s commentary was a masterly original exposition. Raghunath’s hopes of occupying the first place in the world as professor of Nyaya were blasted. He wept bitterly. Gauranga asked, “Brother Raghunath, what is the matter with you? Why do you weep? I shall console you”. Raghunath spoke out the truth: “Brother Gauranga, I have a strong ambition that I should attain the first place in the whole world as a professor of Nyaya. With this hope I have written a book on Nyaya thinking that it will beat out all the existing books. But my hope is entirely gone now, because your book really excels my book. It is concise, clear and original. It is indeed a scholarly production. This is the reason why I wept”.
Gauranga also burst into tears. He said to Raghunath: “Is that all? Then do not weep, my dear brother. Nyaya is after all a dry philosophy. I will not be benefited much”. He threw the manuscript into the river. From that moment he gave up the study of Nyaya. Look at the magnanimous heart of Gauranga! Gauranga’s Nyaya was lost to the world. Didheeti of Raghunath became the first authority on Nyaya.
What happened to Gauranga? Today millions of people adore him as one of the greatest teachers of Bhakti and an Avatara of Lord Sri Krishna. He said that to love God, you must be humble and without any vain pride.