Do you remember that small Nilavilakku, a well-polished burnt-gold brass lamp and your mother at work around it at dusk? How she used to fill it carefully with gingelly oil and put in wicks prepared painstakingly from old laundered clothes? And the ceremonious lighting of it at dusk, after which the family gathered round to chant home-spun songs to divinity or perhaps slokas invoking a specific God or Goddess ? Those moments of family togetherness and peace, does it seem like a dream or a scene from a Malayalam Movie?Not too many years ago, the dusk was the most important time of the day for a Malayali household, and a time when the family came together in love and peace, forgetting the worries and trials of their day. Everyone in the house, especially the children, would freshen themselves up, and sit round the lamp in prayer. It was the hour when each member would find time for a one-to-one session with his or her creator and find peace and solution to one’s day’s tribulations.It was the time before the TV soaps, realty shows and cartoons invaded our evenings and family hours. Almost all homes would have well-thumbed prayer books and the children of the house would learn first to repeat chants and later on to flip the pages of the prayer book for the right words, even if they didn’t know the meaning of what they were chanting. A lucky few would have an older family member who knew enough to explain what they spoke through the chants.When we look back, all we can say is something was done right, and it certainly evoked the Almighty’s blessings. A very special blessing – which helped us face life with dignity, to attach ourselves to our Creator and to believe the purpose of our being.We are sure that it is this hour of prayer that enhances the thoughts, attitudes, behaviour, character, speech and ability to learn not just in ourselves but also the children of the household.At the Little Reader’s Club, we propose to re-introduce our children to those bygone days of peace and prayers.
We have a specific syllabus that includes certain slokas that are easy for the kids to recite and comprehend with basic exposure to Sanskrit. We will also explain the meaning in simple terms and teach them to chant these correctly.In a ten-month long session, we are planning to teach them the following slokas and many more.Ganesha Pancharatna | Aditya Hirdayam| Saraswathy Mantra | Mahalakshmi ashtakam| Sivapanchakshara Stotram| Daridrayadahana siva Stotram |Achythashtakam| Hanuman Stotram| Hayagriva kavacham| Sri Suktham| Purusha Suktham| and the Dhyana Slokas of Bhadrakali, Durga, Ayyappan,Murugan and Ganapathy.|Vishu Sahasranamam| Lalitha Sahasranamam| Lalita Trishathi. ( Full).
Text : Suneetha Balakrishnan