[GHHF] Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji is Rewriting the History every year inspiring Children to Memorize and Chant 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita in USA
"If the Upanishads present the aim and purpose of human life, the Bhagavad Gita indicates the way to attain them and live a life of fulfillment. By faithfully following that path shown by the Bhagavad Gita, man can make his life sublime, leave behind his footprints on the sands of time." --Parama Pujya Sri SriSri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji
Realizing that Bhagavad Gita has all the answers for the modern day turbulence and turmoil, in August 2015, Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji commanded the Children and youth, who were sitting in a newly inaugurated Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple in Frisco, Texas USA to memorize the entire Bhagavad Gita that contains 700 verses and chant them by the time He comes the next year. Many children with so much enthusiasm, gusto and determination agreed by saying “Yes, Appaji,” “Yes, Tataji,” and “Yes, Swamiji.” With that announcement history was in the making. Sri Swamiji asked Srikanth Challa to take the responsibility. The arduous, laborious, grueling and the very difficult task of memorizing the Bhagavad Gita verse by verse started. Parents and children went through the hard task of adjusting their time, foregoing their holidays, working around their school schedules, sacrificing their leisure time, and postponing their travels to make sure that the children will attend the Gita classes on a regular basis. They all realized that it would be hard to catch up with the memorization even if they miss one class. Parents and children spent countless number of hours memorizing to make sure that they will be ready to chant all 700 verses by the time Sri Swamiji arrives in July 2016.
History was made on July 17, 2016 with 43 children ages 6 thru 14 sitting for about four hours chanting all 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita with Sri Swamiji sitting next to them admiring and appreciating the discipline, dedication and devotion of the children. More than 4000 people along with special invited guests for this historical event listened with awe, amazement, excitement and astonishment. The sounds, rhythm, energy, and vibrations created by chanting touched the audience, infused them with vigor, infiltrated their body, touched their hearts and penetrated their soul. By the time they completed chanting, several people shed tears appreciating the commitment, dedication and discipline of the children. Some of them have seen even Sri Swamiji wiping His tears. Many of them became speechless and left numbed cherishing the unprecedented historical event. Sri Swamiji’s power and blessings permeated the majestic Temple and cleansed the hearts of the people and purified the atmosphere.
Since that event, Sri Swamiji himself is breaking his own records by inspiring more and more children year after year to memorize Bhagavad Gita. In 2017, 139children qualified as memorizers; in 2018, 126 children memorized Bhagavad Gita and on July 20, 2019, 236 children memorized all 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita. Dr. Subramanian Swamy attended and appreciated this unique event and tweeted few pictures and a video clip. So far, 543 children memorized the entire Bhagavad Gita. Furthermore, 318 adults are qualified to be “fluent Readers” meaning they can chant the verses as per the required rhythm, clarity and style by looking at the book.
One wonders as to why Sri Swamiji selected Bhagavad Gita instead of one of the other scriptures, why did he select the children rather than all age groups, and why did he ask them to memorize. Sri Swamiji also aware of the power of mantras, and the significance and value of Sanskrit.
Why Bhagavad Gita?
Sri Swamiji with His divine vision, felt that Bhagavad Gita would equip the children and youth to cope with the challenges they face in life; trials and tribulations they encounter daily; problems they meet in the modern world; frustrations they may be bumped into the competitive world of work;and adjustment they have to make in the family life. Bhagavad Gita would enable them to utilize the ancient wisdom that might help them to differentiate between the dharmic and adharmic values;exercise their freedom to make wise decisions; and cope with the stress they might face in their hectic, hurried and materialistic world. Bhagavad Gita would teach the high morals that promote peace and harmony.
Sri Swamiji wanted to impress upon the children the timeless and universal Gita can offer them for the rest of their life by learning the basic principles of life that will shape, guide and mold their personalities. One would learn about discharging his own dharma, doing his responsibility with no attachment for the fruits of the action, establishing the balance between material and spiritual fields, importance of Sadguru in one’s own life, learning the art of maintaining Stithipragna (controlling the mind), the virtues of freedom and independence, acquiring the courage and strength in face of distraught and hopelessness, and handling with the confusion and troubles that beset the modern world.
Sanskrit is a marvelous, majestic, scientific and spiritual language. Its depth, fullness, splendor, simplicity and complexity at the same time is peerless. A. L. Basham, former professor of Asian Civilization in the Australian National University, Canberra, writes in his book The Wonder That Was India: "One of ancient India’s greatest achievements is her remarkable alphabet, commencing with the vowels and followed by the consonants, all classified very scientifically according to their mode of production, in sharp contrast to the haphazard and inadequate Roman alphabet, which has developed organically for three millennia. It was only on the discovery of Sanskrit by the West that a science of phonetics arose in Europe."(P:390)
Why did Sri Swamiji encourage children to learn Bhagavad Gita? Do they learn faster and better than adults? Do they absorb and digest better than adults? Do they retain more information than adults?
According to science, a brain contains about 100 billion brain cells called neurons. The question is how the children learn faster and remember better than adults. The main difference between children and adults is found only in the number of connections among the neurons. Children’s brains are more active, more flexible and more absorbing than adults. The connectivity to each of the neurons changes as we grow older thereby memory power decreases.
There is a common adage that children’s brain can absorb and soak up information like a sponge. Is there any scientific evidence to prove it? Sri Swamiji is aware that childrencan establish more and more connections with other neurons as they start learning. Every sound they hear, every sensation they experience, every movement they make, and every stimulation they are prodded to are all stored in the brain. These neural connections cause the brain to learn anything and everything as the brain is developing at a faster rate with very little effort. This learning process is known as synaptogenesis. Whatever is learned in childhood stays with them for the rest of their life.
According to Alison Gopnik, children’s “brains are more active and more flexible, with more connections per brain cell, than the brains of adult human beings, the researchers have discovered. By age three, the child's brain is actually twice as active as an adult. It has some 15,000 synapses or connections per neuron, many more than in the adult brain.” The more you stimulate their brain, the more connections to neurons are established. With more connections, they will think better, learn faster, and draw logical conclusions.
Why did Sri Swamiji say that the children should memorize and chant? Are there any benefits of chanting that may help children as they grow up? Memorization of information based on repetition is as old as human history. It served the purpose of preserving the cultures and helped develop the individual personalities. In every society we find children learning the alphabets of their mother tongue and other languages. Similarly, if we look at all school going children, they will be learning the multiplication of the tables and the spelling of the words. As they move up to middle school and high schools, they will be memorizing several mathematical formulas, algorithms, chemical numbers, poetry and historical dates. At the high school level, the elements and their chemical numbers must be memorized by rote. Many times, teachers use rote learning without even realizing they do so.
Memorization will allow us to absorb the information that can be stored and retrieved at one’s will. Memorization will help you to learn the elusive phrases at early age; permit you to hammer every word for precise pronunciation; make you twist your tongue for proper clarity and crispness; and save so much time that could have been wasted by repeatedly looking for the same information, and infuse confidence in knowing that he can retrieve the information from the memory bank.
According to Brad Leithauser, “The best argument for verse memorization may be that it provides us with knowledge of a qualitatively and physiologically different variety: you take the poem inside you, into your brain chemistry if not your blood, and you know it at a deeper, bodily level than if you simply read it off a screen.”
Sanskrit: Its Unique features
As Sri Swamiji announced several times that Sanskrit was considered as "Dev Bhasha", " Devavani "or the language of the Gods by ancient Indians. The word samskrit, meaning "refined," “complete”, “perfect,” “definitive,” or "purified," is the antonym of prakriti, meaning "natural," or "vulgar." It is made up of the primordial sounds and is developed systematically to include the natural progressions of sounds as captured by the human mind. Our ancient rishis were able to capture the natural sounds of panchabhutas such as wind blowing, raining, hissing, roaring, ocean waves, thunder, fire, silence, and bird chirping and translate them into oral language and finally into written language.
Sanskrit is considered as a most wonderful language with clarity, accuracy, exactness and precision. Every letter and word have a vibrant sound and should be uttered without any deviation. It should be pronounced properly and meticulously. Uttering of alphabets of Sanskrit causes resonant vibration within the Chakras of the human subtle body.
Sri Swamiji mentioned that learning of Sanskrit has many benefits: improves brain function, enhances memory power, stimulates energy points in our body, relaxes the mind, reduces stress, control bodily ailments, improves blood circulations, activates all nerve centers on the tongue, and instills confidence and creativity. Sanskrit language will permeate the whole body, and vibrations stay with them and guide them forever.
Benefits of Mantras
Every word, a combination of words, a sentence, or a verse when uttered in a particular manner will become a powerful mantra. Mantra means “revealed sound.” “Man” means mind and “trai” means liberate. Mantra also means to liberate the mind. They are revealed to the ancient rishis and other enlightened people when they are in deep meditation. They are uttered for spiritual as well as material purposes. The aim of chanting the mantras is to achieve the purushardas in life such as dharma (religious righteousness and duty), artha (economic needs and fulfilment desires), kama (procreative needs and sensual satisfaction) and moksha (salvation from birth and rebirth). These mantras possess magical or divine power enabling the utterer to achieve the potential desires.
As per Sri Swamiji, chanting of Mantras gives strength, enable one to handle conflicts, cultivate positive thinking, rejuvenate the brain, benefits thyroid glands, improves memory, eliminates the root cause of stress and depression, provide more oxygen to the body, and improves immunity system.
History was made
Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swami is rewriting history year after year by inspiring, encouraging, guiding and blessing the children as well as adults to memorize all 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita and chant in His presence. Last four years these children chanted Bhagavad Gita without looking at the book sitting for more than four hours creating vibrations and spreading the energy waves across the space. As of 2019, about 543 children and adults memorized and chanted. The Fifth batch has already started memorizing verse by verse and plans to complete the memorization and chanting by May 2020.These children’s lives have changed forever as these verses have permeated their body, mind and soul. It is also time remember that Lord resides in each of these verses to mean that Lord Krishna will be there with them and in them. By memorizing, they have absorbed the eternal message, improved their intelligence and expanded their memory bank. The power of the Sanskrit and vibrations created by chanting the mantras (verses), would live with them forever. Bhagavad Gita will help them to face numerous roadblocks with little difficulty. The eternal universal message will guide them throughout their lives. Bhagavad Gita equipped them with a lifelong friend who travels with them wherever they go. It never fails them. Many scholars, researchers, philosophers, politicians reaped the benefit in their daily pursuits as well as their academic pursuits. By commanding the children to learn Bhagavad Gita, Sri Swamiji instilled curiosity in them, helped them to memorize all 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita, implanted courage in them, infused confidence, helped expand their memory power, and shaped their personalities for life. With Sri Swamiji’s blessings, these kids will be the role models for the other children and their parents to pursue the talent and become ambassadors to the richness of Sanatana dharma.
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