Reverence of all religions is fundamental to Swami’s teachings on ‘Unity of Faiths’. In Prasanthi Nilayam, the abode of Swami, a ‘Sarva Dharma’ (Unity of Faiths) monument reminds everyone of this principle. Festivals of various religions are celebrated in His presence. Naturally, this principle is integral to the SSE programme.
Every year, as part of the spiritual education, visits are arranged to different places of worship as part of our continued efforts to instill in children an appreciation for different faiths and their teachings. Such visits also help the children see the commonalities across religions, which is very much in line with Swami’s teaching on ‘Unity of Faiths’. In previous years, the children visited a Sikh Temple as well as a Buddhist Temple. This year, a visit was arranged to the Mujahidin Mosque at 590 Stirling Road on 27 Mar 2011 for the Level 2 students (7 & 8 year olds).
The visit to the Mosque heightened pupils’ awareness of the Muslim faith. They particularly learnt about the Muslims’ way of prayer, the Quran, their customs as well as their teachings. Parents also gave very good feedback. The students were excited about their experience; following are some comments from them:
“All our friends enjoyed the trip. We had fun and learnt a lot about Muslims and their customs. We learnt that Muslims pray 5 times a day. In the mosque they teach us that they wash their body before they pray – they wash their legs, hands, elbows, head and ears 3 times. We learnt that Muslims must go to Mecca once in a life time which is their holy place. The prayer hall was covered with red carpet and was very clean. The praying area is separated for ladies and gents. Muslims holy book is the Quran.” – Ganesh Hariharan.
“We have to be disciplined while praying. Before entering the mosque we have to clean ourselves. I learnt that Muslims have to visit Mecca at least once in life. I learnt that the Islam sign is a crescent moon and a star.” – Sreekar Gudipati.
“I learnt that Muslims pray 5 times a day. I also learnt the Muslim prayer. I learnt how to focus on the prayer. I learnt the importance of truthfulness, generosity and sincerity. I liked the Muslim prayer and the picture of Mecca.” – Keerthana Reddy.
“I learnt that Muslims are very focused and they surrender to Allah. In Mecca, Muslims walk around the Kabaa seven times. I like to be generous.” – Pavan Balaji.
“…I learnt that the Muslims fast during Ramadan and go around the Kabaa 7 times. I liked the prayer area and the classrooms. They are huge and clean. I liked the goody bags that we received after the tour…” – K. Preneel.
“I learnt how the Muslims pray and give to charity. They are very disciplined… When the Muslim boy recited the Quran, everybody clapped loudly.” – Thavendran s/o Ramachandran.
Some of the parents of the students also gave their feedback on the trip:
“I feel my children’s visit to the mosque was indeed a wonderful experience. They shared with me how a boy read out verses from the Quran. That had certainly created an impact on my children. They also explained that Quran is read not from left to right but instead from right to left. They articulated that the language in which Quran is written is called ‘A-R-A-B-I-C’. I was amazed! They enjoyed the trip and the trip seems to have etched good memories. Well Done!” – Parents of Devaanathan & Thevendran, Mrs Malarvizhi Ramachandran.
“I felt happy about the visit to the mosque as we have never visited a mosque. After the visit our daughter knew more about the customs and she is able to analyse it in relation to our customs. She is able to respect other religions. Thanks to SSE classes for giving her the opportunity.” – Parents of Shalini, Mrs Valli Kannu.
“My son went on a tour to a mosque. He enjoyed the ambience of the mosque and the tour gave him insight of Islamic religion. Main note from Karthik was that the “peaceful praying to God” really attracted him. As a father, I reiterated to him that all religions bring everyone towards God.” – Parents of Karthikeyan, Mr Ramanujam.
“We are very happy that our children went to the mosque. Thanks for your efforts in heightening our child’s understanding about other religions. This would go a long way in helping them respect other races too. Thanks for your support. Sairam” – Parents Of Keerthana Reddy, Mrs Padmaja.
“We appreciate your efforts in moulding our children’s character. Your trip to the mosque would help them in understanding the Muslim tradition. Thanks for your efforts in promoting understanding of different religions and customs. Sairam” – Parents Of Ruthwik Krishna, Mr Raja Sekhar Reddy.
“My daughter, Vaishnavi is attending the SSE class for the last 2 years. The visit to the mosque that they had on 27/03 was a unique and memorable experience for her. I feel it has made a significant impact on her. Right from the interior of the mosque to the videos clippings that they saw, to the people they met there, Vaishnavi was talking about everything. She was very excited to talk about it. I appreciate the efforts taken by the gurus to make this possible. I also take this opportunity to thank her gurus for the positive values that they impart to the children in class. Through the different activities like bhajans, videos, stories, art & craft the messages that are given to children are invaluable. Most importantly, every week Vaishnavi looks forward to going to class and is very happy when she comes back. This alone is enough to know that she is really enjoying the class. Thank you & Sairam.” – Parents of Vaishnavi, Mrs Annapurna Kishore.
The report was compiled by the gurus of Level 2