Vishnu Mandir’s Bal-Vihaar Program (ages 5-16 years)

The Bal-Vihaar at the Vishnu Mandir is based on the Purna Vidya by Pujya Swami Dyananda Saraswati and authored by Swamini Pramananda and Shri Dhira Chaitanya. Purna Vidya is a twelve year value based cultural education program designed to teach our cultural heritage to children in an authentic, systematic manner.

What is the need for complete education- Purna Vidya?

Growing up in a modern society implies exposure to the global cultures and media. With modernization, urbanisation and the shrinkage of family units, children do not have the same opportunities as their earlier generations did, to know the Indian culture. For decades parents have felt the need to understand the significance behind their cultural and religious forms in order to educate their children. To address these needs, the Purna Vidya program was created. It provides a resource, offering an insight into the vision of the Vedas, the vast literature and religious culture of India. Essential principles of our culture and heritage, exposure to various value structures and beliefs form are an important part of this education and the Purna Vidya program provides all the information required for a child’s development.

How do children relate to this program?

The program has supplementary teaching tools to make learning easy for children. By working on the games and playing to learn Indian Heritage, but also the art of learning. The exercises cover topics parallel to the text material. They illustrate the same ideas through word-search games, puzzles, fill-in-the-blanks, circle the right answer, match the columns, journal writing, field-work, points-to-ponder and many more. These would help review the topics covered and encourage participation among children.

 

The Purna Vidya Programme

What is the need for complete education- Purna Vidya?

Growing up in a modern society implies exposure to the global cultures and media. With modernization, urbanisation and the shrinkage of family units, children do not have the same opportunities as their earlier generations did, to know the Indian culture. For decades parents have felt the need to understand the significance behind their cultural and religious forms in order to educate their children. To address these needs, the Purna Vidya program was created. It provides a resource, offering an insight into the vision of the Vedas, the vast literature and religious culture of India. Essential principles of our culture and heritage, exposure to various value structures and beliefs form are an important part of this education and the Purna Vidya program provides all the information required for a child’s development.

Pancatantra Tales - Ages 6

Value based animated stories to capture children’s imagination. The stories all carry a message of Universal values easy to comprehend at a young age.

Puranic Tales- Ages 7

The simple stories of the Lord and also stories of deities such as Hanuman, Ganesha are popular and by listening to them the children develop a reverential attitude for our religious traditions and universal values.

Ramayana-Ages 8-9

The life stories of Sri Rama and others in Ramayana, becomes a means to educate the students on dharma- adharma and help them distinguish between the two. At this age, children are introduced to the 16 step Puja, a basic format of worship to develop a love for the Lord.

Bhagavat Purana- Ages 10-11

Stories of the 10 Avatars of Lord Visnu. The stories highlight the necessity and outcome of living a life of dharma. Such understanding strengthens ones faith in living a life of values.

Mahabharata- Ages 12

The lives of Lord Krishna, the Pandavas together with the other characters in the Mahabharata becomes a means to educate the students on dharma- adharma and help them to distinguish between the two.

Values- Ages 13

As children grow older they seek to understand the reasoning that guides our judgement of right and wrong. Different values and situations that present themselves in a day-to-day life are carefully analyzed as the student is taught how to think correctly and interpret values.

Isvara and Religious Disciplines, Religious Culture of India, Sanatan Dharma- Ages 14

Students learn of the deep spiritual insights that underlie our cultural forms, literature and fine arts. Unique aspects of the Vedic dharma such as karma, avatars, varanas are discussed. This helps the student to discover the richness of our great culture and develop pride in their heritage.

Human development and Bhagavat Gita- Age 15 up

The various aspects of Human growth and emotional maturity are introduced. The subject matter is written to generate discussions between adults and teenagers thereby bringing deeper understanding to issues and challenges that students face in today’s world. The last section of the Purna Vidya is meant to introduce students to the profound subject matter of the Bhagavat Gita with a comprehensive analysis of Chapter 2. With the introduction of the Bhagavat Gita, the teenager will be well equipped to further his/her study of the scripture, even in the adult years.

 

OVERVIEW OF PURNA VIDYA TEACHERS WORKSHOP, JULY 22, 2012

1. Pancatantra tales

• Short stories with animals as the main characters to capture the child’s imagination and educate them in right and wrong
• They will remember the stories
• Learn to respect other forms of live
• Children can use their imagination to color the pictures
• At the end of each class the message needs to be reinforced.

2. Puranic tales

• Stories of the Lord in His Divine expressions
• Divinity portrayed as children so that the young children can relate to the characters
• Stories are easy to remember and have a profound message.

3. Ramayana

• An opportunity for the child to see the values being lived
• Examples of Dharma/Adharma
• Taught to think freely and properly when they are young

4. Bhagavata Puranic

• Avatars of Lord Vishnu and other selected stories
• Insight into devotion to the Lord
• Strengthens faith in living a life of values

5. Mahabharata

• Very powerful personalities
• See how to face challenging situations
• Impact when you follow what is right

6. Values

• An opportunity to explain do’s and don’ts as the child starts to ask “why”
• Need to see reasoning to guide their decisions on right and wrong.
• Help the child to think through situations and options

7. Isvara and Disciplines

• Effective way to understand spiritual practices (vows, japa, puja)
• Start to practice the disciplines

8. Religious culture of India

• Not covered

9. Sanatana Dharma

• Some topics included in Isvara and Spiritual Discipline

10. Human Development and Spiritual Growth

• Will be part of Gita
• Physical group and emotional growth
• Open discussion

11. Vedic Knowledge

• Not covered

12. Introduction to the Bhagavat Gita: Chapter 2

• Summary of the Gita
• Teenager can then pursue throughout his/her life
• Different meaning at each stage of life

Puja and prayers

• Prayer sheet, learn to chant and chant in class each Sunday
• 16 step puja to be done each week. Children to chant
• Invoking the higher power

 

Books

Guidelines for teachers Workbook

• Comprehensive material
• How to inspire the child, not just about information
• Mutual respect between teacher and student so that there is trust
• Capture and hold the child’s attention and give them an opportunity to use their imagination
• Teachers to be patient and encourage creativity
• The art of story telling: don’t read, tell the story
• Communication is critical, use words that the children are familiar with
• Using language to guide the child’s thinking process, crossing the hurdles of understanding together and going over the material with different examples/different approach, so that the student understands
• Working with children’s minds so that they are aware of the consequences of their actions by showing how the characters dealt with different situations

Approach to teaching

1. Value based
2. Understanding the value of values
3. Explain the value at the child’s level
4. Draw parallels in daily life so that the child can see the relevance and how it relates to their lives.
5. Stories, games, drama, DVDs
6. The curriculum moves from young children learning right and wrong through the stories, they accept when told not to do something and what they should do, to the older children who need to understand and can use their logic to determine what is right and wrong. For this group, we need to guide their thinking as they may think they know everything but not yet mature enough.

Planning together

– Decide how you will work as a team,
– who will do what,
– how to keep engaged

Puranic Tales of the Lord

• Helps cultivate reverential attitude for the religious tradition
• Short prayers to various deities for recitation
• Five additional Slokas for the performance of Puja
• Values

Ramayan

• The story of Lord Rama with games for assimilation of the child
• Illustrations for colouring the stories
• Sanskrit Prayers to Various deities
• Ways to perform a traditional Puja
• Values

Bhagavatam

• Ten Avatars, incarnations of Lord MahaVishnu
• Illustrations for colouring the stories
• Sanskrit prayers to varios deities
• Ways to perform a traditional Puja
• Values

Mahabharat

• The stories of the kings of The Kuru race
• The Life of Lord Krishna and the protection of Dharma
• Sanskrit prayers to various deities
• Ways to perform a traditional Puja
• Values

Human Development & Bhagavat Gita Chapter 2

• The stages of development in the human life cycle
• Self, Cultural and sexual identity
• Moral development and peer pressure
• Vedic and modern influences
• Questions and topics for discussions
• Sanskrit Prayers to various deities
• Ways to Perform a 16 step Puja
• Values

 

VISHNU MANDIR BAL-VIHAAR PROGRAM

The Bal-Vihaar program at the Vishnu Mandir is based on Purna Vidya by Pujya Swami Dayananda’s Saraswati and is authored by Swamini Pramananda and Sri Dhira Chaitanya. The program provides a voluminous resource of learning and assimilating the basic concepts of living in a regular, systematic weekly program. Through this program, the children at the Bal-Vihaar classes learn about our cultural heritage, with a focus on living a life based on values. With the help of the Vedic literature and the study of its spiritual cultural traditions, the program offers:

• Knowledge of the ultimate goal of life and the relative goal of life.
• Knowledge of important universal values of life.
• Exposure to forms of prayers and worship

What is the need for Purna Vidya?
No educational system is complete without imparting the wisdom of living. We may receive education in Science, technology and humanities; however, an insight into living right is essential. A person who has knowledge in discipline may be an informed person, but not necessarily a person with wisdom. So any education which deals with culture heritage and human values is complete.

Festivals Celebrated
• Navratri Children’s Garba
• Diwali Puja,
• Dinner and Fireworks
• Annual Christmas Party
• Family Puja and Holi Celebration