Faith group students came to Buddha Garden on Wednesdays for ten weeks starting in mid-October and finishing in mid-December. They came during the normal work time of 6.15 – 9.00am Monday to Friday and were accompanied by Mahavir Honor and Adele (Deepanam teachers) and Ingrid, an experienced volunteer Waldorf Teacher from Germany. They worked with the Buddha Garden team of Priya, Rajan, Giri, and Mani together with any volunteers staying on the farm.
This gave them a structured opportunity to learn practically how to grow food on a working organic farm. In each session, as well as helping with the farm work, an activity was planned about some relevant topic such as soil fertility, plant growth etc. This was further developed in the classroom where students were encouraged to make their own examples of what they had learned using a variety of media.
During the work time, they undertook any and all of the work necessary to grow food in Buddha Garden. This included making vegetable beds, composting, mulching, planting, clearing beds, They also carried out work in the nursery, on the vegetable beds, and in the various orchards.
During each session, the students first carried out general farm work. For the last half an hour or so there was a talk about an aspect of farming as well as having a question and answer discussion. They were shown around the farm so they could understand how the different parts of the farm support the food growing process in a holistic way. We also looked at soil from different parts of the farm, talked about how to preserve soil fertility and looked at plant growth. The students constantly reviewed the work they did and were able to see how their different plants grew and developed during their time in Buddha Garden.
The Bluebird play is about two siblings going on an adventure seeking happiness.I played the character of Mytyl.She is older of the siblings and her brother’s name is Tytyl.
They come from a poor family and Mytyl is angry about the poverty.She has a tendency to lose temper and she has a good or rather forced relationship with her younger brother.In some ways, I feel like we are similar.Maybe not the way we live but at times I felt like I say the things that are quite similar if not the same.We share the same sarcastic humor, also the pain of having an annoying brother.
Playing the role was quite simple, the lines I wasn’t confident about remembering, in the beginning, came out well during the rehearsals.
I am proud of the way I presented this character.Talking about regrets I would bring up me being sick and really strained my voice to be loud on the stage.I should have taken care of my health but all’s well that ends well!!
Are we always happy and satisfied with what we have?In this era of cars , phones and global travel and trade is it possible to find ‘The Bluebird’? You might we wondering what the bluebird means.Well, the bluebird means Happiness.
So that was the theme of our annual class play.Originally written in 1908 play by Belgian playwright and poet Maurice Maeterlinck we adapted the script to our need.
The story is about a girl Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl, a woodcutter’s children, who are led by the Fairy Betylune on a magical quest through the past, present, and future for the Blue Bird which was to bring them Happiness.
The play was well received by the audience and children were happy and proud to do a good job.
“So here we go! First, we started by reading the whole play script.We spent a lot of time before finally finishing the script.Then we were asked to choose what role we wanted and to write on a piece of paper and give to the teacher.
I just asked to be a boy since I didn’t want makeup.When I found out I was going to be TYtyl (the main character’s younger brother) well …. I don’t know whether I was happy or disappointed.Bhakti told us to learn the lines so Vyomini and I helped each other for the first few scenes.We re-did it so many times that I even memorized the father’s lines!After the second scene, we gave up.
So when we started acting , I always had the script in my hand.But one day Bhakti said “no scripts”, so I had no idea what my lines were!Bhakti had to remind me so many times and that’s how I learned my lines.The acting part was really annoying since I had to act like a naive younger brother who had no idea what was happening.I also had to act cheerful!!! So…Yeah I did.
My favorite scene was probably the Luxurys’ scene because I had to fight with my elder sister Mytyl.It was fun!And the part where I got to sleep for a while .
After a lot of practices finally, we performed.It was fun.I smiled for the first bit of the song before uh… not smiling?Buy Yeah!I was happy with my acting although I didn’t look at the audience much and I felt like we all were too soft.But overall it was good.
The Senior students of Faith Class are learning Philosophy with a visiting teacher Paul.The subject was presented in a fun manner to class by him.
It started with a discussion of the meaning of Philosophy; the importance of ethics and the golden rule -“treat others as you would be liked to be treated.”Further, they learned that ethics are about choices; how to choose wisely; how our choices are based on the circumstances.There were times when they had to research on the net for information related to the topic or designing their model society or understand situations through role play.
The topic of human rights was also covered.It was a research-based assignment.The students had to collect information about the rights and write 10 which appealed to them the most.
Finally, they presented their project in school assembly.
We left for Thanjavur early in the morning on 23rd of March.We were to visit the Brihadeeshwara Temple here which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built under the reign of RajaRaja Chola of the Chola Dynasty in the 11th century.
We reached by noontime.It was a scorching hot.The temple had huge entrance called gopuram.It was full of amazing carvings of women, lion-like creature, other animals, and Gods.It is completely built from granite. With no granite quarry within 100 km. radius of the temple, one wonders about the logistics and efforts that must have been required to transport tonnes of granite to this site.
Inside the sanctum, there is a big Nandi which is carved out of a single rock.It is said that the sculpture gets bigger and bigger.We were early and it was scorching so we rested under one mandapam till 4 p.m.
The temple gates opened and we were excited to go in.Our teacher had told us that there was a chamber inside where if we were to chant om we were to receive an immortal experience.The most disappointing part was we were not allowed to go there.We did the darshan of the Shiva Lingam and went to the admire the murals.They are frescos depicting Shaivism (worship of Shiva), Vishnu, Durga and other Gods, as well as scenes of Chola royalty, courtly and common life.the most amazing fact remains that the pigments are natural and have not faded even after centuries.
It is said to have more than hundred underground passages that connect to various other places. We could not go in as most of the passages are sealed. In the earlier days, the passages were used by sages, Kings, and Queens to roam about different temples and places, especially during auspicious festivals like Deepavali, Maha Shivarathri, and Makar Sankranti.
It felt like we had traveled in time and were in the 11th century.I could visualize the moat that surrounded the temple and the gate and hundreds of worshippers and the kings and the queens, lights, and offerings and celebrations.
It was a wonderful experience.We were to head to Chidambaram for yet another adventure.
Tamilnadu is also called the land of temples.It is a home to around 33,000 ancient temples.In the past a king was considered to be divine by nature and possessed religious significance. The king was ‘the representative of God on earth’ and lived in a “koyil”, which means the “residence of God”. The Modern Tamil word for temple is koil.
A temple is the representation of Hindu Cosmos and a dwelling place of Deity so is considered the place to receive darshan: a glimpse of God.
In our art history classes, we were studying about the temple architecture of Tamilnadu.We studied the rock-cut monolith temples of Mamallapuram and the first structural temple (shore temple) there.
Secondly, we studied the structure and composition of temples of Dravidian style.
Traditional Dravidian architecture and symbolism are based on Agamas. The Agamas are non-Vedic in origin and have been dated either as post-Vedic texts or as pre-Vedic compositions. The Agamas are a collection of Tamil and Sanskrit scriptures chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of murti, worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga.
Composition and structure
Chola style temples consist almost invariably of the three following parts, arranged in differing manners, but differing in themselves only according to the age in which they were executed:
- The porches or Mantapas, which always cover and precede the door leading to the cell.
- Gate-pyramids, Gopuras, which are the principal features in the quadrangular enclosures that surround the more notable temples.Gopuras are very common in dravidian temples.
- Pillared halls (Chaultris or Chawadis) are used for many purposes and are the invariable accompaniments of these temples.
Besides these, a South Indian temple usually has a tank called the Kalyani or Pushkarni – to be used for sacred purposes or the convenience of the priests – dwellings for all the grades of the priesthood are attached to it, and other buildings for state or convenience
After studying the arcitecture we studied two temples built by Cholas -Brihadeshvara Temple of Thanjavur and Chidambaram Nataraja temple or Thillai Nataraja temple.The most exciting part was we were going to visit them.