Today is May 7th and we are blessed with the presence of four beautiful children, ages 6 to 10 years, in the SRV San Francisco ashram. The children's class on spirituality will be centered on the aspect of God as Mother. Respect of Mother, Love of Mother -- the Mother of the Universe! It is an auspicious teaching all in its own, for after all tomorrow is Mother’s Day.
Asana/Sun Salutation, Meditation Pose
For a couple of years now we have taken into practice a meditation asana at the beginning of each class. Through this practice the children become more familiar with the pose, and become more comfortable within the pose. However, on this day I want to begin with the introduction of the Sun Salutation pose, and decide to start here. Since we are celebrating the light of the Mother’s Love, why not practice opening our hearts? Therefore, I teach them the beginning of the pose. The instruction? “Arms up straight above your head, palms open to the universe, head tilted back, chest open to the universe, now stretch backwards, heart open to the universe, open, open, open. Let’s open our hearts to the light of a trillion suns. Don’t look directly at the suns, but imagine the light within you. Breathe! Do you feel that your heart is opening? Ask yourself, how often do we lift up our arms in complete abandonment to the divine Mother’s light?” As I observe, these four kinder do it willingly, and with peacefulness.
We now settle onto the floor to begin our practice of the meditation pose, starting with the breathing. Wow! How they have progressed since we first began this practice. They are sitting straighter, sitting longer, breathing deeper. How clear and focused their breathing is. This group is really coming along and growing in their practice. The classroom is imbued with such sweet calmness and clarity. I wish all could witness this moment. Ah, they are now prepared and ready, so Annapurna takes us all down to the shrine room to lead us into meditation and the following teachings.
They have progressed so finely that when we enter the shrine room they immediately bow down to the deities and sit quietly. Annapurna does not waste a moment. She knows they are ready to begin their first of three 5-minute meditations. Yes. I did say three. Can you believe it? Oh yes, that is how well this group is progressing. In the beginning they could not hold their seat and shifted about, opening and closing their eyes. But now they mostly sit still and calm and make an effort to focus their minds on one thing. After, Annapurna asks them how their meditation went, what they saw and or felt. Here are a few of the responses: “I saw a Japanese garden with water flowing,” “I connected with my karate,” “I felt my heart beating and focused on that.”
Today’s teaching is a reminder of a teaching from one year ago. Annapurna reminds them of the Ganesha story. She pulls out Parvati’s necklace that the kids made a year ago. (They loved this and remembered making it.) The story goes like this: Divine Mother wanted to give Her beautiful necklace to one of Her two sons – the one who could go around the universe and return to Her first. Kartikeya, who rides a peacock, dashed off. But Ganesha, who rides a little mouse, used his reasoning powers. He came to the conclusion that since his Mother was the Mother of the Universe – it all came out of Her -- that by circumambulating Her, he would certainly be going around the universe too. The Mother was delighted with his love and intelligence and gave him Her necklace of gems. They all recalled the story and could even remember parts of it.
Annapurna went on to teach that our personal mothers are each a form of the Divine Mother. Through our earthly mothers the Divine Mother makes sure we are nourished, protected, and given our first teachings. They each slowly turned their heads, gently looked at their respective mothers, if only for a brief moment of awe.
Learning a Bhajan
This is the first time to learn this song, and they learned it well. Listening to their sweet voices sing out “Divine Mother’s Light is Everywhere” was pretty awesome.
Divine Mother’s Light*
Divine Mother’s Light is Everywhere
She lights the sun, the moon, and the stars with care
She lights my mind, that’s how I see,
Her Light is the soul of all living beings.
Narayani Namostute, Narayani Namostute
*sung to the tune of Jai Ma Music’s “Narayani Namostute” on the Shakti Bhajans album.
Garland for the Divine Mother – Offering
Afterwards, we all gathered around the dining table and each child was given the same number of flower buds so that they could create a garland for offering first to Divine Mother, Sri Sarada Devi, and then to their respective mothers on Mother’s day. In this way the garlands of flowers became Prasad to offer to their mothers. It was to be a surprise, you see. The next morning (Mother’s Day) two of the children made breakfast for mother and presented the garlands at that time. How touching and full of Love for the Mother this was!
Have I conveyed how much Love we all felt for the Divine Mother today? You can see by Olympia’s Garland that she made it in the shape of a Heart and her dear smile tells all.
May all the children know the Divine Mother of the Universe and be Blessed by the Blessings of the Divine Oneness!