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Thriving Mindfully

Category: Uncategorized

The Art and Science of Learning- Semester 1

Syllabus for Semester 1 : Duration : 21 June 2020 to 21 December 2020


Domain 1 – Developing Existential Awareness

Subject chosen – The study of Vedantic Literature

Reason of choosing the subject:

To understand the philosophical concepts on Vedanta and develop a world view, a raison d’être, with the awareness of the timeless wisdom contained in the scriptures.


SYLLABUS – Scriptures to study in the semester

The Bhagvad Geeta

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Isha Upanishad

Kena Upanishad

Kathopnishad

Mandukya Upanishad

Mundaka Upanishad


SUBMISSIONS

1) A series of essays about the vedantic philosophy
2) Two videos outlining the concepts developed through the course

STUDY PLAN – 30 mins of study of the scriptures everyday




DOMAIN 2 – Developing Linguistic Aptitude

Subjects chosen

1) Better Writer 101

This will be a recurring subject every semester since I wish to develop my writing skills and that is an ongoing endeavor.


SYLLABUS:

a) Read one essay, one short-story, one poem everyday (create a publically accessible archive of the same)
 
b) Write and Publish one essay, one short-story, one poem every week (follow a sacred weekly publishing schedule)


SUBMISSIONS (Weekly)

Friday – Poetry
Saturday – Short-story
Sunday – Essay

2) Study of Malayalam Language


SYLLABUS : Half hour study everyday

INSTRUCTOR: Rema Sreenivasan

SUBMISSIONS : A video featuring the progress in language ability across 6 months.



DOMAIN 3 – Developing Musical Aptitude


SUBJECT CHOSEN : Learn to play the bass

INSTRUCTOR: Vishal Singh

SUBMISSIONS: 10 bass covers uploaded on IGTV/ Youtube by December 21, 2020

STUDY PLAN: 1 hour study everyday and weekly lessons with the instructor



DOMAIN 4 – Developing Naturalist Aptitude

SYLLABUS : Study Home-Science with my mother

INSTRUCTOR: Rema Sreenivasan

STUDY PLAN: Learn and document home science skills (cooking, essential life-skills, learning to run a household, wisdom of an Indian mother) in video and written format in an intimate and shareable way

SUBMISSIONS: A PDF document of recipes



SUGGESTED READINGS FOR THIS SEMESTER

1) Practicing – A musician’s return to music – Glenn Kurtz

2) Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century – Howard Gardner

3) Out of our minds – Ken Robinson

4) Writing for your life – Deena Metzger

5) Zen Mind, Beginner’s mind – Shunryu Suzuki

6) Mahatma Gandhi on the Bhagawat Geeta – M.K. Gandhi


Semester ending report: Create Abstract for each subject to discuss methods used, results, outcomes.


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कलयुग

ये कलयुग है ये कलयुग है यह रोना रोते नहीं थके

अपने पापों का बोझा हम जो ढ़ोते-ढ़ोते नहीं थके

इस भीड़ में भी रीढ़ कहाँ काणों में अंधे हैं राजा

जो स्वार्थ के तलवों तले हम सच कुचल बढ़ते चले



ये साधु सभी ये संत सभी क्यों आँखें मींचे बैठे हैं

मन-परिजन की पीड़ा पर क्यों पर्दे खींचे यह बैठे हैं

कलयुग के कोलाहल में अब करुणा की भी कौन सुने

ईमान की नीलामी से सिक्के हम ऐंठे बैठे हैं



कोई धोबी हो या धर्मराज, लत जुए की सबको है प्यारी

इस अंधकार की वर्षा में हम ढूँढ रहे हैं गिरधारी

नेत्रहीन नृप कईं हुए, देखे हमने धृतराष्ट्र कईं

पर न्याय की यह नायिका क्यों बन बैठी आज गांधारी?



चाहे कलयुग हो या हो त्रेता नारी का हर-पल हुआ हरण

हर राजभवन की छाया तले होता आया मर्यादा-मरण

चीर का एक छोर आज भी है हथेली में तेरी

ज़रा मन टटोल और खुद से पूछ, तू देव है या दैत्य है?



संकट है ये, विकट हैं ये, पर छोड़ना ना तू आशा

पिछले कर्मों पर क्या रोना, है व्यर्थ ये निष्कर्म निराशा

रौद्र राग को त्याग तू भज हौंसले की हंसध्वनि

है दृष्टिकोण का खेल सब चल बदलें कलयुग की परिभाषा



तू स्वयं में ही ढूँढ़ कृष्ण न मूरत को मान बैठ मुरारी

तेरे चित्त की चिंगारी से रोशन हो यह दुनिया अँधियारी

जो हर मानुष ढूँढ ले अपने भीतर दसवाँ अवतार

तो सत्त्व की सरस्वती से तृप्त होगी सृष्टि सारी

PHOTO by Pawan Sharma via Unsplash

कर्म और फ़ल

आख़िर फल मुझे क्यूँ मिलता नही
ऐसा रहा हरदम तुम्हारा रवैय्या
पर जो धक्का तुम लगाओ ना सही
तो भला क्या काम आएगा पहिया?

प्रतिभा है तुम्हे भेंट में मिली
पर मेहनत करना है तुम्हारी ज़िम्मेदारी
जो सत्य, सत्त्व और समर्पण मिले
तो साकार होंगी कोशिशें सारी

जो दीप भले तेल से छलके
भीनी सी हो सूत की बाती
जो मन में ज्वाला न जागे
तो कैसे रोशन हो दुनिया सारी?

कस लो कमर, करो तुम परिश्रम
अब पीछे छोड़ो तमस का घेरा
जब कसर रहे न कोई कम
तब ना रहेगा दिया तले अंधेरा

अब उठो और उठाओ तुम्हारा शस्त्र
कलम हो, कुल्हाड़ी हो या हो सितार
बलिदान से संवरेगा हर नक्षत्र
आखिर कर्म से ही होगी तुम्हारी नैय्या पार।

The Power of Everyday May 2019

It’s after a long hiatus that I am writing again in this space. After an year of experimenting with monthly power of everyday projects, I had chosen to take a break in the month of April.
But, soon enough, I realized that not having a daily challenge was proving to be counterproductive, and not really serving the purpose of a ‘rest’ phase so to say.

So, in the interest of being more focused, aligned and having a larger sense of purpose, I realized that having a monthly ‘Power of Everyday’ project, as I’ve had for the past year, is what I need the most.

Last year, I had an interesting ‘Power of Everyday’ project in the month of May. I had to wake up at the break of dawn, write a page about the spectacle of sunrise with my non-dominant left hand.
It was a fabulous learning experience which you can read about here.

This month, I have another experiment in mind that I would like to participate in.
For the past few months, I have been struggling with having discipline with my writing projects. I am writing a compilation of stories which has been languishing for the past few months mostly because of lack of discipline and structure on my part.
So, this month, I would like to lay down a simple, achievable plan to bring my story book to completion.

The Challenge for this month:

Spend one hour everyday on writing and editing the compilation of stories.

I am not taking any more challenges this month apart from the one mentioned above.

Hopefully, if I successfully complete the challenge this month, I will have a compilation of stories to share with you very soon !

How are things at your end?

Can a simple everyday challenge this month help you with achieving something that you’ve wished to, in the interest of having a better life?

If so, why not take a simple everyday challenge this May and usher in a conducive change in life?

I assure you that it will be a rewarding experience that will help you lead a more examined ‘everyday’.

I hope you will join me on this journey.

Wish you a happy Mango season.

Best,

Sreenath

Age and Technology -II

‘I am bored to death’ says a little 10 year old friend as she passes by. I was quite surprised to hear her express this sentiment. It almost felt as if she grew up all too soon. I’ve seen her grow up for the past year and a half. When I first met her she was still a child, free of any fear or judgement. She would prance around without any inhibition whatsoever. Over the course of time two things happened in tandem. She started using a smartphone more and more. She also hit puberty and is becoming a woman with each passing day. As her online activity skyrocketed, her prancing around got rarer. She also developed complexes about herself. She isn’t the carefree little girl anymore. I notice a glimmer of fear of judgement in her eyes.
While she has constant stimulation from online resources, at the end of the day she finds herself bored.

Kids need a medium to experience, assimilate and create. While internet provides with resources for learning, in the hands of kids who don’t have as much self control, they would soon gravitate to be passive consumers of content.
One wonders about the whole world being contained in the 6 inches of a smartphone while he loses touch of his immediate surroundings. After all, it is best to learn physics while rolling a tire downhill and uphill than watch a video about it.

It is late at night and I have a 5 year old with me asking if I have a phone. I will try to take him to the open ground and introduce him to the sky. In the interest of a cultivating wonder.
In a humble attempt to delay the onset of boredom.

© 2020 Sreenath Sreenivasan

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