by Jaya Hariprasad
The month of June is a time when all students graduate. Not only the school seniors, but in every grade, students are excited to move on to the next level. Students that attend Shri Surya Narayan Mandir, however, go one step further. In addition to the classes taken in school, these children attend the 4 Year Surya Veer Sang Classes at Surya Mandir where they learn the fundamentals and advance concepts of Sanatan Dharma. Each Friday for four years, the children attend classes for an hour and a half (90 Minutes) and gain spiritual knowledge and learn more about their values and culture. They are taught about the Gods and Goddesses, various mantras and shlokas, and stories from our Shastras (sacred texts)
On June 29, 2012, Shri Surya Narayan Mandir held its 4th graduation ceremony for their Surya Veer Sang graduates. The four classes (Year 1 – 4), each had something different to display to the audience. The younger students attend Year 1 classes where they learn the basics of Hinduism, simple mantras, and all the different deities. For graduation they chanted a few mantras and shlokas.
In 2nd year the students start going into more dept on the topics from year 1 and get an introduction to more advance material. For graduation these students chanted the Shiva Manas Puja. This is one of the greatest pujas that can be done. To physically perform a puja is excellent, but to be able to perform a complete puja in one’s mind is going on step further, because that type of puja can be done anywhere and anytime. In this day and age actual puja is recommended since the physical act of performing puja helps us to understand what we are doing better.
In the 3rd Year class, students get a more detailed, and thorough understanding of Hinduism. For graduation these students chanted the Aditya Hridayam. This is very powerful prayer and it is dedicated to Surya Bhagwan. Everyone is encouraged to chant this prayer every morning and by doing this they will feel very energetic and will be able to face any challenge.
The final year is the 4th Year class. This class is less teaching and more discussion. Students in the 4th Year have very in depth discussions about Vedanta, the Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Yoga, Hinduism and society, and many other topics. The 4th year is taught by our very learned Pandits and Guruma (Radha Hardowar). This class is more critical thinking. One can never really graduate 4th Year because learning never stops and one needs more than a life time to get an understanding of Hinduism. For the past year, this class focused on Chapter 15 of the Bhagwad Gita. Each student can chant the entire 15th Chapter in the correct meter and pronounce all the Sanskrit words correctly. This is no easy task, but with the right training, anyone can learn it.
Each graduate at the ceremony worked hard to earn their certificate and orange sash. It shows the dedication they put in, showing up each Friday, completing homework assignments, and participating in class. They all know how important spiritual knowledge is and that it goes hand in hand with what they learn in school. They are all true scholars. Every child should join Surya Veer Sang classes, held on Friday Nights at Shri Surya Narayan Mandir.
I would like to thank all the teachers, the parents, and the executives of Surya Mandir to see the need to offer this class to the Hindu Community at large. Their dedication to teaching and help keep Sanatan Dharma alive is a gift that will keep on giving. It is these very who attend classes will be the ones to take Hinduism into the next generation and they will help keep our values and culture alive. Sanatan Dharma Ki Jai.