Om Sahanaavavatu Sloka

Om Sahanaavavatu Sahanau Bhunaktu
Sahaveeryam Karavaavahai
Tejasvinaavadheetamastu Maa Vidvishaavahai
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih

May the Lord protect us both (the teacher and the student). May He nourish us both. May we work together with great vigour. May our studies shine and be effective. May we not hate one another. Let there be peace and peace and peace..


Om Sahanaavavatu Sloka – Explanation

AvatuMay He protect
BhunaktuMay He nourish
VeeryamValour or power, strength, courage
KaravaavahaiTo make bright, illuminate
TejasviBrilliant, powerful; beneficial
NauFor us
AdheetamWhat is studied
AstuLet it be
Maa VidvishaavahaiMay we not hate one another

Om Sahanaavavatu Sloka – Activity

Aim of the activity:

To make the Group I children understand that we are all dependent on each other and that we can progress only if we work as a group and look after the needs of each other.

Materials required:

Chart papers, scissors, Colour pencils/Crayons, pencil, eraser, a stick and glue.

  1. Divide the children into two groups.
  2. Distribute the materials mentioned above to the two groups at random. If there are more children in Class, Gurus could form them into number of groups. Care should be taken to ensure that no one team gets all the materials. For example, Group boys could be given orange colour pencil,
    chart, scissors, pencil and group girls could be given green colour pencil, pencil, chart, glue.
  3. Explain to the children that each of the two groups should draw the Indian Flag on the chart paper, colour and finally attach it to the stick.
  4. Initially the children from the groups may complain that they do not have the required material. Example – Group boys may say that they do not have green colour pencil, glue etc and group girls may say that they do not have orange colour pencil, scissors etc. Children are allowed to share materials with other groups. However, gurus should not explicitly mention that they are allowed to share but observe how both the groups are behaving. Gurus should also see if all the children are getting involved in the activity.
  5. Ask the children to submit the completed Tricolour Indian flag and sing the National Anthem as a group.
Suggested questions for Discussion
  1. Ask the children if they felt happy sharing things with others?
  2. Ask the children if they could have completed the activity without borrowing the things from other groups
  3. Ask them how they felt working as a team. Did they wait patiently for the other groups to finish with whatever they were doing before they could give the materials to them?
  4. Did they make the other groups to wait till they fully completed their flag?
  5. Did they ask politely or demanded from the groups?

Gurus should explain the importance of working together and helping each other to succeed in life.

A slight variation of this activity can be as follows –

The Guru can keep one of the essential components with herself/himself, example in this case could be the glue stick. Once the groups are almost through with the activity, the Guru can help the groups with the final touch of sticking the flag to the stick. This can be followed up with questions like

  1. Was the glue important to finish the activity?
  2. Could it have been possible for the Guru to make the flag using only the glue?

As Swami rightly says – The Training of the senses and emotions is a process in which the teacher and the taught cooperate. Gurus should explain with the above activity that for right kind of learning both the Gurus and the children have to work together.

Om Sahanaavavatu Sloka – Further Reading

This is a prayer from the Upanishads. The students are advised before every session that education is a shared experience and the slightest tinge of anger between the teacher and the taught contaminates the gift, the giver and the receiver.

We (teacher and the taught) pray that we should grow together in spiritual wisdom, spread together the light that we have gained from our studies. We also pray that we should live in harmony without discord and promote in harmony, the use of our talents and skills.

Teachers and Students must have mutual respect

The training of the senses and emotions (sikshana) is a process in which the teacher and the taught cooperate, and it must be a pleasant experience for both, a useful and a heartening endeavor. Kshana means a second, and I want you to learn a good lesson every second of your life. For Example, when the teacher enters the classroom, children should salute him, that is a lesson in humility, in respecting age and scholarship, in gratitude for services rendered. The teacher too should decide to deserve the salutations of the children entrusted to his care by sincere work and selfless service.

The student should not respect the teacher through fear, but be moved more by love. The teacher should avoid all methods that frighten or terrorize. Education is a slow process like the unfolding of a flower, the fragrance becoming deeper and more perceptible with the silent blossoming, petal by petal of the entire flower. The unfolding will be helped if the teacher is a fine example of wisdom (viveka), humility, discipline and discrimination, rather than a person engaged in the task of mere repetitive teaching and coaching for examinations. Example, not precept, is the best teaching aid.

– Sathya Sai Speaks vol 1
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