Asian Civilisations Museum
On the 4th of March 2012, our children from levels 3 and 4 (9 & 10 year olds) from the Sai Spiritual Education (SSE) of Sri Sathya Sai Society visited the Asian Civilisations Museum. This learning journey had been planned as part of our continual efforts to create an understanding and appreciation of other religions and cultures in line with Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s teachings on Unity of Faiths.
The Asian Civilisations Museum holds the unique collection of the material cultures of the different groups originating from China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia. As one of the National Museums of Singapore, the Asian Civilisations Museum promotes appreciation of the rich cultures that make up Singapore’s multi-ethnic society.
To ensure that the children maximised their learning, the group size was kept small. The students were taken in 2 groups, not exceeding 20 children each. The children were taken on a guided tour during which they enjoyed the stories that were shared on the different religions. This educational learning journey has truly been an eye opener for our children on how the imported religious beliefs such as Hinduism and Buddhism took root in Southeast Asia, and after which, Islam and more recently Christianity also made its entrance to Southeast Asia.
Here are some excerpts of what the children had to say about their experience:
“I think the visit to the Asian Civilisations Museum was great because I got to know about other religions. Although, we did not view the exhibits for all the religions, we learnt a lot of things.”
S J Hariharasuthan
“I was so excited that I was going to the Asian Civilisations Museum. When we arrived there, a guide brought us around and told us about all the different religions. We covered Buddhism and Islam. I realised that though there were differences in the religions, the teachings were the same.”
“It was fun and I learnt a lot about Islam and Buddhism. I especially liked the sharing about Buddha. There were different stories and they were very interesting. At first, I did not know that Islam also has a holy book which is called “Quran”. I hope I can go to the museum again and learn more about the religions.”
Divya Pratha V
My Learning Journey
Vivek Venketram (10 years)
We visited the Asian Civilisations Museum as part of ‘Unity of Faiths’ learning on March 11th 2012, a bright Sunday morning. My classmates and I were very excited to see galleries on the different faiths: Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism.
We began with the Gallery on Buddhism. There were many portraits, beautiful sculptures of Buddha and replica of Buddha’s crown. I was fascinated by the exhibits. The guide narrated an interesting story on how Buddha got saved from a massive flood, by King Naga [Serpent King], when Buddha was meditating under a Bodhi tree to seek enlightenment.
Message of Buddhism:
Patience with family is love,
Patience with others is respect,
Patience with self is confidence,
Patience with God is faith
We next entered the Gallery on Islam. The gallery was eye-catching with a replica of a Mosque and the Holy book of Quran [house versions and pocket versions] that Muslims keep for protection and prayer [Namaz].
The guide explained to us the Five Pillars of Islam to be a True Muslim:
- To acknowledge that there is only one God, Allah
- To pray to Allah five times a day
- To help the poor by giving alms
- To fast during a specific month, Ramadan
- To visit Mecca once in your life time
Our final visit was the Gallery on Hinduism. There were sculptures and portraits of Gods and Goddesses. The guide narrated the remarkable story of Ganesha’s birth.
Five Elements [PanchaBhuta] that manifested from ‘Aum’:
- Earth ( Prithvi)
- Water (Jal)
- Fire ( Agni)
- Wind (Vayu)
- Space (Akasha)
Quoting Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba:
“I have come not to disturb or destroy any faith, but to confirm each in his own faith- so that the Christian becomes a better Christian, the Muslim, a better Muslim and the Hindu, a better Hindu”
I now understand that all religions are a pathway to God. Each religion is a community that practises prayers and rituals in different ways, but share the same goal: ‘Love all and serve all’.