Visit Bala Bhanu School and Babatarini Temple
Yesterday morning we went to the Bala Bhanu school of WTT to assist at some presentations of the students. The school (the name means initiating the child into a way of light, name given by Master EK) is giving spiritual education together with the normal one. It was initiated by Master EK as a model school for educating children to become responsible citizens grounded in spirituality.
In front of the school there is a little Ganesha temple and in front of Ganesha there is his vehicle, the rat. Ganesha symbolises cosmic wisdom, the rat clever intelligence. So when wisdom mounts on intelligence, it becomes practical. So going around the Ganesha shrine and ringing the bell means activating these qualities, especially the one of sound, which Ganesha, who is the cosmic Jupiter, rules over.
The rat looking at Ganesha, ready for a ride
In front of the school rows of students greeted us with Namaskarams. We got some petals to put in front of a picture of Master EK in the entrance area.
Since the last time I had been there 1 or 2 years ago the school had been repainted and was very neat and clean. It is lying at the outskirts of the city, in front of a mountain, so it is very beautifully located close to nature.
In the spacious inner court there were rows of chairs waiting for us.
Sri Kumar and Kumari greeting the students looking down from the different floors.
At the open side of the court there is a little shrine with a statue of Master CVV under a huge Ficus Religiosa tree, where out of one stem three stems are growing. The tree is considered auspicious for learning and meditating, and it is related to the cosmic teacher principle called Lord Dattatreya, who is depicted as a youth having three heads, surrounded by four dogs (four dimensions of knowledge, the 4 Vedas) and with a cow, representing the cosmic nourishing mother principle.
After some words of welcome we went to have a look into the different classrooms where shining eyes were looking at us and and folded hands greeting a warm welcome. It is touching the heart to see the loved expressed by these children and teachers, the latter having worked there often for many years now.
Then different dance, yoga and “human-tower” presentations began. Girls dressed in colourful saris presented folk dances, but with a spiritual background: a group of boys rushed in, surrounding them and holding plates with words like “corruption, greed, misuse”, which are destroying the fundamentals of culture. And through education a strong basis is created to withstand these onslaughts. Lovely to see them singing “India, India, oh my India”.
The highlight were three classical Indian dances by Soundarya, the daughter of Uma and Navaneetam, secretary of WTT. I had asked her before if she could do some dances for the group, and she replied, It is up to my father to decide. A good decision…
The dances were accompanied by (I think) her dance teacher’s rhythmical rap-like singing: tak takatak-takataktak, and sharp cymbal sounds, very intense.
But group members also gave some presentations – a Spanish lady a short Indian dance, an Argentinean young man a typical Argentinean song – and then two Argentineans a very lively version of the Gayatri-mantram which they do in their Sunday morning Mithila-groups in Olavarría – a beautiful fusion of East and West:
Sri Kumar used the pauses for sending some SMS – and later gave a short talk about the background of the school:
“Every responsible person tries to supply to the society what has been his inspiration. Every initiate is a teacher and thinks of uplifting the human awareness and thereby leading the humans. In that context Master EK thought of such a school to transmit something which can be carried into society in a matter of 25, 30 years. Things that carry some spiritual value we supply to them… Master EK in October 1977 thought that he should set up a school, a continuous education that caters to the human needs. … 1996 we had the premises of this building, in 1977 we started building the school…. The Western groups have contributed and also local groups. The school is well conceived.”
He then presented the members of the management board who guide the school.
Afterwards we had a beautiful lunch – and then the group picture before the busses brought us back to the retreat centre.
The little Krishna statue at the entrance of the school
In the evening we went by feet to the Babatarini temple at the beach road in Visakhapatnam. It was not allowed to take photos inside, so here are my pic from the outside and some descriptions, so that you can make your own inner images (oh, my pic was made inside – but I think no-one saw it except God, and he twinkled with his eye 🙂
The temple is a replica of a big temple in Calcutta, where Sri Ramakrishna used to meditate and have his visions of the divine Mother. There is this main building you see on the photo and a little side-temple. At first we salutated Ganesha at the entrance 🙂 and then had “darshan” (the gracing view) of the divine mother as Kali. Normally Kali is frightening for the people, for she symbolises the dissolving-destructing aspect of the divine – but what would happen if everything would always be growing and nothing dissolved? She is depicted in black and red, showing her tongue for licking up the evil. She was clad in saris – normally you see skulls and heads cut as garlands. She stands on Lord Shiva sleeping under her feet. This symbolises that Shiva, the Will aspect of the divine, is sleeping as long as creation exists, for he is the background, and the mother, the form-aspect is dancing – evolving on the basis of this background. Besides there was a tiny statue of Sri Ramakrishna meditating.
We had a short meditation besides the temple and then went again to the “darshan” of the Mother. The priest did a short ritual with camphor waving flames to all of us, symbol of purification. Then we went to the little side temple with a Shiva lingam here some water is drippling from above as a continuous water ritual.Int he background there is a huge image of Kali in blue – and here you see the skulls and heads…
Again some short ritual by the priest, then I was asked to give some explanations. I mentioned the above and that inside this side temple there is something special: There is mercury alchemically treated. Normally mercury, symbol of our mind, is always liquid and difficult to hold – like our thoughts. But this mercury here has been stabilised through the treatment, the effect of which causes a stabilising influence on the minds present.
Sri Kumar is in the managing board of the temple run by 2 elderly ladies as a service activity. They also do good-will work for the needy.