Spring in Vraj

Phase I: Nirvana March 13-15

Phase II: Vrindavan March 18-23

Link to Schedule and Itinerary

Philosophy -

SB stories - Prayers - Songs (Chauraashtakam) - Evening Program done by kids for kids - Socratic Dialogue - Reflections Writing

People and Community Immersion -

Temple and congregation
Sandipani Muni School Teachers and Kids
Care For Cows - care givers
BGIS on 22 March 9 am - Guesthouse Homa
Simple living immersion at Vedic Farm Community adjacent to BGIS

Practices -

Arati at Temple and Darshan, tulsi seva, cow seva, shastra discussion kirtan

Expected Outcomes -

Critical Thinking - Journaling - Day end reflections
Action Learning - book distribution - mud brick making, natural farming vs organic farming Vedic Farm Community, BGIS homa
Creativity and Project Based Learning - Kirtan practice and Drama
Service Learning - tulsi care, cow care

Things to carry -

Canto 6 - Ch 7 Vritrasura Bhagawatam Tales Vol 2 Props material

Activities -

Vrindavan Parikrama
Radha Kund + BGIS + Vedic Farm Community
Srimati Mataji’s seva timing is 7-8 am on all days.
Sandipani Muni School - Morning assembly timing 8:30 - 9:15 am. We can go on 1 day say on Monday Tuesday or Wednesday
We can go anytime in the mornings to the CareforCows goshala. Chintamani mataji is yet to confirm.
We can visit BGIS once or twice too. It has the new Temple, School+Library, Farming, and Dairy unit.
Monday afternoon Kirtan at VIHE Goshala (call and confirm)
Monday - 5 pm Kirtan at SP Samadhi
Sunday School program 8 am onward
Sunday House Program with IYF Sunday School team
We can also do mud brick making at BGIS. Plus the cows from Vrindavan Goshala are moving there so getting to do seva of over 450 cows will be special
SB : Indra’s Enemy, Vritrasura
Reflection prompts:
Have you ever felt proud of something you did or achieved? How did you feel when someone praised you for it? How did you feel when someone criticized you for it?
Have you ever been disrespectful towards someone who is older or wiser than you? How do you think it made them feel? How would you feel if someone was disrespectful towards you?
Have you ever felt lost or confused about something and didn't know how to solve it? Did you ask someone for help? How did they help you?
Have you ever seen someone disrespecting someone or something that is considered important in your culture or religion? How did you feel about it? Did you say something to them or just stayed silent?
Role-play: Divide the children into groups of 4-5 and assign roles of Indra, Brihaspati, Brahma, and Lord Govinda. Ask them to act out the scene from Canto 6 Chapter 7 and discuss how they felt playing each character.
Art activity: Ask the children to draw a picture of a wise person who they look up to and respect. Ask them to write a few sentences about why they admire this person and how they have helped them in their life.
Storytelling: Ask the children to narrate a story where someone was disrespectful towards a person or something that is considered important in their culture or religion. Ask them to discuss how the situation could have been different if the person showed respect instead of disrespect.
Discussion: Divide the children into small groups and give them a scenario where they have to make a decision between showing respect or disrespect towards someone or something important. After the discussion, ask each group to share their decision and the reasons behind it.

Angered by Visvarupa’s death, Tvasta (his father) performed a sacrifice in which he chanted a mantra to increase the strength of Indra’s enemies. The mantra, however, was chanted incorrectly, and instead caused Indra to be increased in strength. Thus, the sacrifice produced a fierce demon (asura) named Vritrasura, of whom Indra was the formidable enemy. Since the demon covered all the planetary systems he was known as vrtra, or ‘one who covers everything.’ Though the demigods attempted to annihilate him, Vritrasura effortlessly swallowed up all their weapons and equipment for fighting. Frustrated, confused, and seeing no other recourse, the demigods approached the Supreme Lord, knowing that only His guidance would deliver an ultimate solution.
Dadhici’s Sacrifice The Lord regretted that their prayers were not spiritually aimed, but He nevertheless assisted them in killing Vritrasura. He told them to request Dadhici Muni for the bones of his own body, which would be used to create a special thunderbolt weapon to kill Vritrasura. When the demigods approached Dadhici he readily agreed, understanding the inevitable death of the material body and the higher cause that he could serve by making this sacrifice. How magnanimous and noble Dadhici was! This body, he said, is meant for the welfare work of others. Situating himself in mystic trance, Dadhici shed his gross body and then engaged his soul at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. With the help of Visvakarma, the demigods then prepared a thunderbolt from Dadhici’s bones. Armed with the thunderbolt weapon, they prepared themselves to fight and mounted the backs of elephants.
The Great Fight A great fight ensued. The demigods fought with great vigour, causing the fearful demons to flee, until only Vritrasura, their commander-in-chief, was left on the battlefield. The demon encouraged the demigods to follow dharma and fight as proper warriors, after which he valiantly attacked them all. Vritrasura came face-to-face with Indra and angrily rebuked him for killing Visvarupa, who was a brahmana, a spiritual master and his brother. Though in battle with Indra, Vritrasura encouraged him to employ the special thunderbolt and gain victory. This, the demon said, was all ordained by Vishnu. He knew that he would also be blessed to die in that way, and thus be released from material existence. Indra was still reluctant, and Vritrasura thus prayed to the Lord, further revealing his devotional disposition in beautiful prayers of surrender. It was becoming crystal clear that this was no ordinary demon.
Indra Kills Vritrasura Vritrasura attacked again. Impressed with the demon’s devotion, detachment and knowledge, Indra heeded his advice. He thus invoked the thunderbolt and a great fight ensued. Indra eventually severed the demon’s head from his ​Upside Down “Herein it is clearly indicated that a person who is not at all demoniac, such as Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, may outwardly be a demon or be born in a family of demons. Therefore in terms of real culture one should not be considered a demigod or demon simply according to birth. In his dealings while fighting with Indra, Vritrasura proved himself a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Furthermore, as soon as he finished fighting with Indra and was apparently killed, Vritrasura was transferred to Vaikunthaloka to become an associate of Sankarsana.” (SB 6.13.3) The stories of Srimad-Bhagavatam are not only full of intrigues and twists, but highly instructive and incredibly deep. Since the goal of the spotless Purana is to establish pure love of God as the ultimate goal of life, the various stories demonstrate how the level of one’s bhakti is the defining factor in ascertaining spiritual advancement. Whatever external signs and prevailing hierarchies may indicate, love trumps everything. It has the power to turn our conventional understanding upside-down. According to general convention, demigods are considered more elevated than demons. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, however, we find the epic account of the demon, Vritrasura, who possessed greater spiritual acumen than his demigod counterpart, Indra. As the pastime unfolded, Vritrasura’s greatness shone through, reminding us that even those of demoniac descent can embody the highest states of devotion.
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