Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bhagavad Gita

When we were India, we made a movie of the Bhagavad Gita, the 700 verse scripture which is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. We didn't do all 700 verses though! I play Arjuna, a warrior who is not happy about the idea of killing his kinsman in battle. Baba plays Krishna, the god who counsels Arjuna.

And here are the funny outtakes:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

India: Part Three

After staying at Sri Ramana's ashram (see below), we moved onto Auroville, just north of Pondicherry. Auroville is an "experimental" township where people from all over the world come and live a spiritual, peaceful, and progressive life together. In the middle of this town is this big gold ball (!) called the Matrimandir where Aurovillians go and meditate.

We got to ride some cool bikes

And they had great horns!

We slept under mosquito nets

 One day, we visited Pondicherry and saw an Elephant outside a Ganesh temple

We fed her too!

On our last day in India, we went to Chennai and met up with some friends. We dipped our toes in the Bay of Bengal. It was super warm!

And at the end of our journey, we said goodbye to Baba's hat!

Friday, January 18, 2013

India: Part Two

After staying at Shantivanam Ashram, we traveled four hours north to another town in Tamil Nadu called Tiruvannamalai. There we stayed at Sri Ramana Ashram, which "was home to modern sage and Advaita Vedanta philosopher, Ramana Maharshi from 1922 till his death in 1950." We had fun going to the daily chanting and puja ceremonies at Maharshi's shrine.

It was really great to climb the sacred Arunchala hill

Ramana loved animals and there were lots to see at the ashram

There were even shrines to Ramana's favorite animals, such as Lakshmi the cow

The ashram fed us really yummy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which we ate off banana leaves!

We found a very cool playground nearby too

Thursday, January 17, 2013

India Trip: Part One

We just returned from a trip to South India! We spent this fall studying Hinduism and Indian history (see post below) and our trip was an amazing way to bring it all to life!

After arriving in Bangalore, India, we went straight to Kulittalai in Tamil Nadu where we stayed for five days at Saccidananda Ashram. The ashram blends Christianity and Hinduism and for many years, it was the home of Father Bede Griffiths, a British monk who became a yogi and a leading thinker and writer about the links between Christianity and Hinduism.

Here I am (with Baba) outside Father Bede's hut.

And here I am feeding the ashram cows, who I named Lakshmi, Kali, Sita, and Draupadi.

Here is where we ate our meals, which were yummy!

And here I am meditating with Yogi Jesus!

We visited the local villages, countryside, and towns in an auto-rickshaw

I loved all the animals we saw

And we met some friendly monkeys at a temple!

All the people were very friendly, with big smiles

We also visited Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, which is the biggest temple complex in India

Homeschool History, Religion, and Culture Studies (Part 5): Hinduism and India

So far, we have studied Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Romethe Hebrews, the birth of Christianity and the Middle Ages. Over the last four or five months, we have been studying Hinduism and India and this week we got back from the most amazing trip to Tamil Nadu, South India! (more on our trip later)

As usual, we used Gloria Fiero's Humanistic Tradition to start us off with our studies of Hinduism, but then we read and watched lots of other cool stuff too and went on museum tours. And, of course, this time we went to India too! 

Books and Audio

Modern Scholar lectures on Hinduism: Religions of the East: Paths to Enlightenment
Bhagavad Gita, trans. by Stephen Mitchell
Upanishads, a translation by Patrick Olivelle
Introducing Hinduism, by Hillary Rodrigues
Ramayana, audio version read by Ram Dass
Chicago Addresses, by Swami Vivekanda
Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi
The Spiritual Teaching of Ramana Maharshi, foreword by C.G. Jung
American Veda (about how Vedanta Hinduism has come to the West), by Phillip Goldberg
A Very Short Introduction to Hinduism, Kim Knott
Bede Griffiths: Essential Writings, selected by Thomas Matus
The Essential Aurobindo: Writings of Sri Aurobindo, edited by Robert McDermott

Books for Kids

Ramayana (kids version), by Mathuram Bhoothalingam,
Sita's Ramayana (graphic novel), by Samhita Arni
The Ramayana and Hinduism (introductory book for kids) by Anita Ganeri
Stories for Children by Swami Vivekananda
A Boy Sage (about Sri Ramana Maharshi), by Geeta Bhatt
Bhagavan Ramana: The Friend of All
Sri Ramana, Friend of Animals: The Life of the Cow Lakshmi
Sri Ramana, Friend of Animals: Nondi and the Monkeys of Arunchala

Films and Documentaries
Apu Trilogy - Pather Panchali (Song of the Little Road), Aparajito (The Unvanquished) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)
The Music Room - Satyajit Ray
Selected episodes from Bharat Ek Khoj, a 53-episode Indian historical drama based on the book The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Earth, Deepa Mehta
Fire, Deepa Mehta
Monsoon Wedding, Mira Nair
Bride and Prejudice, Gurinder Chadha
"Abide as the Self" Documentary about Sri Ramana Maharshi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSNEib2RDl8
"The Life of Father Bede Griffiths" Documentary about the Benedictine Monk who lived in ashrams in India and became a famous yogi. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvmWZ9W5f1E
RamaKrishna and Vivekananda Documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAUYFSElzIw

Tours and Lectures
Hindu and Buddhist Art tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Vedanta Society of New York