Cleansing Vices (January 2017)

Majority, if not all, of the people who have achieved any material goal in life will attest to the fact that success didn’t come to them without a clear understanding of the target, self-evaluation to identify weak points, and a firm practice routine to remove the deficiencies while maintaining or improving the strong points. And like achieving any physical goal, becoming a better person is not something that comes without a structured plan and consistent practice, for mind is a battleground where a fight between divine/uplifting thoughts and evil/negative tendencies is continuously fought. No matter how smart, intelligent, and educated one may become, without conquering all the vices, one cannot achieve true joy and bliss in life. An alert person works on both fronts simultaneously: while continuing to maintain/raise the positive characteristics, he/she continuously identifies the negative tendencies and takes tangible actions to weaken/remove them. That’s the theme of kids’ assignments for this year: cleansing vices by identifying and removing the root causes, while continuously increasing nobility.
As for the first month of the year, kids will reflect on the first mantra of Ishwar Stuti Prarthana Upasana mantras: Om vishwani deva savitar duritani parasuva, Yad bhadram tanna asuva. ओ३म्‌ विश्वानि देव सवितर्दुरितानि परासुव। यद्‌भद्रं तन्नासुव। It means “O God, please remove my sorrows and vices and bless me with virtues”. While it’s captured as a prayer, in reality, it’s a commitment. A commitment to identify and eradicate the root causes of the negatives in our life by taking genuine steps. Only then, by showing our serious efforts, we can ask for God’s help. In this month’s assignment, kids will cover “what”, “why” and a bit of “how” aspects of this year’s theme: kids will talk about various vices (i.e., a list of relevant evils), importance of removing them from life (i.e., the why aspect), and the nature of steps kids can undertake to remove those vices (i.e., the how aspect). Please note that kids will not go in the too much details of the “how” part in this month assignment; we will go deep in the specifics of “how” aspects based upon the individual topics of the subsequent months. For instance, steps to overcome a key vice anger are quite different from jealousy or hatred; we will cover them separately.
In addition to this, kids will also talk about the individual resolutions. As you may recall, a few weeks back, all the kids shared what they liked from the last year’s assignments – particularly the points that resonated with them the most. Understanding the importance of those points, kids also made a commitment to make visible changes in their lives by jotting down their personal goals and resolutions in their Hawan notebooks. By writing it on the first page of the personal journals, kids will stay current to their resolutions; the mere act of opening the book and glancing over it will serve as an automatic reminder. This month kids will share:
       their experiences of the first month, of what it meant to stay on track; 
       challenges, what unique issues they faced;
       and, solutions, how they overcome and solved the problems. 
So, to summarize, this month’s kids’ assignment has two parts: reflection on the theme of the year and a brief review of the individual kid’s experiences when trying to abide by his/her resolutions.
I am looking forward to hear and learn from kids.
Best Regards,
Harsh Mendiratta