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Hands that Help... A Balvikas Venture Swami Speaks

VASANTH PANCHAMI - CELEBRATING SPRING! Spring signals the end of winter, and the start of that time of the year when flowers bloom and all life is rejuvenated from the dormancy of the harsh winter. Read about the festival that celebrates this beautiful season... The Goddess Saraswathi is the giver of knowledge, the divine Musician, and also the presiding deity of the festival that is Vasanth Panchami. This festival signals the beginning of spring, or Vasanth Rithu. Vasanth Panchami falls on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Magh. On this day, Hindus don new cotton clothes, visit temples, and pray to the Goddess Saraswathi.


this festival, which is celebrated all over the country as well as in many parts of the world (where Indians have now made their homes), it is traditional to make sweets with a

Children are often encouraged to begin their studies on this day, after reciting the following Shloka-

today, so please always bless me that I might be successful in my quest for knowledge.”

Yellow is given impor“Saraswathi Namastub-

hyam, Varade Kaamaroopini, Vidya arambham Karishyami, Siddhir Bhavathume sadaa “ “O Saraswathi, my humble pranaams to you. I am beginning my studies

hint of saffron or kesari in them to give them a yellow-orange hue. In the North, people exchange sweets, these kesari while in the South, people make the sweets as offerings to the Lord. In

tance on this day. Probably because the mustard crops turn yellow at this time of the year. Goddess Saraswathi is often dressed in yellow at temples, and people also wear clothes of the same colour. Green is also worn, a symbol of fertility and spring.

Assam, people dance their folkdance in celebration of the approaching Spring. Everywhere this festival is symbolic of the joy and happiness that accompanies this wonderful season!

“ The secret of happiness is not doing what one likes to do but in liking what one has to do. ” Feb 2008, Vol I Issue II

Thank you, all! We were really happy with the response and contributions to ‘Hands that Help’. This is a venture still in its fledgling days, so we need your articles and thoughts to keep this alive. After all it’s your newsletter, children! Inside this issue:



“Remember India”


Shloka Corner


Coffee Matters—A story


Children Speak


Solutions to Activities


“Remember India” These days we often curse our cities and our country, wondering why it harbours so much crime and suffering. Our people have always been good—we have just forgotten how to lead our lives... On the second Sunday of every month, a satsang is held at the Malleswaram Seva Centre, where people meet, sing bhajans together, and listen to the experiences of a speaker who is invited for that particular session. This time, the month of February, we were treated to a talk by Vidhwaan Veda Brahmashri K.G.

Subbaraya Sharma, who, in the course of his speech, narrated the following true story. About twenty years ago, a prominent American businessman arrived in India. He took a taxi to his hotel, but forgot to take his bag containing all his important documents—passport, thousands of dollars, business papers, and so on. He was horrified at his own carelessness, and felt that all was now lost. Two days later, the taxi driver tracked him down at another hotel and returned the en-

tire bag to him, intact. Not a single dollar note was missing! Relieved, the American offered the honest man a thousand dollars as reward, which the taxi driver refused. “How can I repay you?” asked the businessman, touched. “Remember India”, said the taxidriver, and walked away smiling. The story appeared as a headline ‘Remember India’ in the newspaper The Hindu as a reminder to the country’s people that we are a special country with special people!

Activities Clues Across 1 He wrote the Ramayana (7) 8 Small church where Christians pray (6) 10 Fabric obtained from the mulberry-eating worm (4) 11 Another word for ‘lie’ (3) Down 1 One word for ‘bad habits’ (5) 6 Tenth Avatar of Lord Vishnu (5) 7 ___ is another word for ‘tease’. It’s not good to ___ others who are less fortunate than us (4) 9 God of Fire (4)

See if your thinking caps let you answer these questions! 1.


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If an elm tree has 25 acorns, and 5 acorns fall off, how many acorns are left?

son who was coming second, which place are you now in? 3. I used to be a miserly merchant, but after an incident, my eyes were opened, and I began to


If you are competing in a race, and you pass the per-

compose music and sing the name of the Lord. Who am I? 4. An easy one— Lion : Lioness :: _____ : Duck ?

Hands that Help...

Shloka Corner Shloka on Sharada Devi

Namaste Shārada Devi Kāshmirapura vāsini Tvām ham prārthaye nityam Vidya dānam tu dehi me



Salutations to Sharada Devi, the Divine Mother, the Goddess who resides in the beautiful valley of Kashmir! I pray to thee everyday, and ask thee to grant me the boon of Knowledge.

Sharada Devi is none other than the Goddess Saraswathi, the Goddess of purity of thought, of knowledge and education, of music, and of all goodness.

A wise professor teaches his students how to value life for what it is and not get caught up in small matters that prevent a person from enjoying it! Read and ask yourself if you’re like the students or the professor? A group of prosperous and well-off exstudents, decided to visit their favorite former university professor. It was a happy reunion at the beginning. However, after remembering their college days, and the topic of talk turned to the present, there was a sudden change of mood in the air. Complaints about problems at work, in family matters, health issues, financial worries, and other difficulties soon became the central theme of their

conversation. When differences of opinion arose, the former feeling of unity was lost. What had begun as a celebration of their lives together slowly turned sour. It was at that point that the old professor interrupted the proceedings.

When everyone was settled with a cup of hot coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you notice, all the fancy cups were quickly taken, leaving behind the simple and ordinary ones. This is the source of the problems and stress you have all been complaining about since our conversation turned to your present situations. All any of you really wanted was to enjoy a good hot cup of coffee, and for that, the cup itself bears no importance at all, yet each one of you became obsessed with having the best cup available and even

compared the cups of others to your own.” Sometimes, by concentrating too much on the cup, and those of others,” he smiled, “we fail to fully taste and experience the coffee within it. So don’t let the cups drive you and take all your attention…simply enjoy the coffee instead, no matter the container you find it in.”

February 2008, Vol I, Issue II

He stood and asked jokingly, “Class, now pay attention. Who among you would like a coffee break?” All present raised their hands. He disappeared

into the kitchen and in short order returned with a large steaming pot of coffee and a large assortment of cups – everything from Chinese porcelain, cut crystal, fine glassware, handcrafted ceramics, to plastic and simple old mugs, some expensive, others plain looking. He told his guests to help themselves to the coffee and let them choose whichever cup they liked.

Coffee Matters—A story

- Adapted from the Radiosai Journal Heart2Heart

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In this issue we have a heartfelt poem by Shravya Madhu, expressing her thoughts about her teacher, and a drawing by Naren, where he has given full vent to his creativity! “Teacher” - By Shravya Madhu Teacher, Teacher, you tell us nice things Teacher, Teacher, you tell us stories of Kings,

CHILDREN SPEAK! Children Speak is a part of the newsletter exclusively for the children, by the children! Please write to us at or mail your drawings, articles or thoughts to 108/2, Seethalakshmi Apts, 8th Main, 19th Cross, Malleswaram, Bangalore 560055. Don’t forget! ‘Hands that Help’ needs YOU to stay alive!!

Answers to ‘Thinking Cap’ and Crossword on Page 2: 1.

None. Elm trees don’t produce acorns! Oak trees do.


You will be in the second place!



4. Drake. A drake is a male duck!

Teacher, Teacher, you are the light of success, Teacher, Teacher, you don’t like a mess, Teacher, Teacher, you are bright, Teacher, Teacher, you never cried, Teacher, Teacher you gave us a bright touch, Teacher, Teacher, we love you so much!!!

Hands that Help...  

"Hands That Help..." is a newsletter for children, by children. Contact us at for details.

Hands that Help...  

"Hands That Help..." is a newsletter for children, by children. Contact us at for details.