Mrs. Lalita Arya, fondly known as Ammaji which means 'mother' in Hindi, is a social advocate, author, artist, educator and Vedic priestess. Twenty-seven years ago, she founded Kindness, Health, Education & Laughter (KHEL), in Dehradun, India. KHEL's primary objective is educating impoverished children, which often entails providing medical care, emergency aid and other forms of support. KHEL currently serves over 400 children and their families and is in its third generation of students. Ammaji considers her work with KHEL to be her greatest achievement.
I have three daughters, one of whom has two daughters - a 21 yr old and a 17 yr old. They live in Minneapolis. My son who lives with his family - a wife and two young daughters (a 6 yr old and 3 yr old) are residents of princeton in New Jersey. I have a permanent home in Dehradun, India. I enjoy living there, but i do try to spend as much with my overseas families. I had promised my kids that when they had kids i would try to spend at least the first five years of their lives with them, giving them the nurturing that only a grandparent can give during these formative years of growth and foundation of personality development according to vedic and yogic philosophies. This is so important since even though their grandfather is alive he belongs to the world as a swami and does not have time to spend with them, So i am on double shift. But i have been enjoying doing that.
While we adults think that we are imparting to them what we consider necessary, we are also benefitting from their company. For me, they keep both my body and mind stimulated, which is necessary as we mature. There are times when their thoughts, words and actions stun us into wonder. We become absorbed in their sensitivities, understanding and compassion for the world around them. It is always my hope that these do not become adulterated with the passage of years as they become more and more exposed to input that might be preventative in developing a balanced view of the world. We should always attempt to stimulate their creative thinking. For example, the 6yr old while very quietly sitting in the car on the way to school was questioned by her dad, what are you thinking? her answer was: i am organizing my thinking.
I wish we adults would do that sometimes. But here are some examples of what occurs in the world of children.
As narrated by Veena Haasl-Blilie
Shortly before 9:00pm on the night of the full moon meditation, kai had me asking him questions.... Whatever i could think of and for a long time it was a game of "would you rather be or do this or that." after going through all possible "would like to be a tree trimmer or a taxi driver," "an ear doctor or a professor," type of questions, i was out of ideas of what to ask him and yet he asked for more.
My mind went blank and what came was, "would you rather be a grape or a banana?" kai replies, "a grape of course." i asked him why he preferred to be a grape. He replied sweetly and matter of factly, "because then you have all your friends really close to you." i said, bananas come in bunches. "yes, but there are not so many so close together." i ask, "what would you rather be, the acorn of the oak?" "the oak," kai replies. "why would you rather be an oak?" "to be the source that keeps supplying the acorns for all those who need it."
And then he fell fast asleep. I bow to the mighty oak.
Quote from a 6 yr old granddaughter: "when i wake up by myself, i am the boss of my day."
Quote 2: i like to wake up, i look through my window and say "good morning" to the world and then i say "good morning" to myself. I told her how her grandfather would wake his kids up with the bhumi prarthana (prayer to mother earth) have them look at their hands, (with five fingers on each hand representing the organs of actions) and before placing their feet on the ground ask mother earth for forgiveness for touching her with their feet. The verse is "samudra vasane devi, parvaat stana mandale, vishnu patni namastubhyam, paada sparsham kshmasva me." when we give our children that early sensitivity to the earth they would think twice before wasting her fruits and gifts.
Here is another: all initiates in the Himalayan tradition probably know the Gayatri mantra. I have a nephew whose name is Varenya, which is one of the words in the Gayatri mantra. So his daughter recites the Gayatri thus: om Bhur bhuva swa tat savitur Papa bhargo devasya etc etc.
A very Merry Christmas & happy all other holidays to all our friends, well wishers and readers. And a Happy New Year too!!