Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WINNERS !! Chhote Philosopher Contest-2014

New Page 1
Bal-Mukund is proud to announce
WINNERS of the 2014
Bal-Mukund's Chhote Philosopher 2014 Contest Results are out! We had budding philosophers from various states send in entries and we would like to thank each and everyone of them for submitting their writings! The choices were many, and the decision tough, but the following children's submissions earned them well deserved wins! Congratulations to them all!
Click on the topics and enjoy the children's creative writing and diction skills, and impressive knowledge base.
AGE: 10
AGE: 9
AGE: 8
AGE: 12
AGE: 12
AGE: 12

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CPC 2014- Winning essay "A Person's Strength Lies in his Integrity" by Sheel Patel

1st prize winning essay on age group 12 thru 15 by
Sheel Patel

A person can be big, strong, and muscular, but he is nothing without integrity. A person without integrity is like a person without feelings or voluntary actions. Integrity is a powerful and valuable trait to have. Humans are lucky to have it! We take it for granted, but without integrity we wouldn't have the modern things we use to live, indoor plumbing and shelter are a few examples! Think about it, if the people who first discovered agriculture didn't have moral principles, they wouldn't have shared it with anyone else and no one after him would know how to farm.
Everyone has this amazing trait inside of them, some people just don't like to show it, I'm talking about bullies. Integrity means controlling your actions in times of unsureness. It is also not going with somebody else, you choosing your own path, your own way. If you choose somebody else's way, it could be the wrong way. Choose your own path and if you think it's right, go for it, everyone has their own definition of the right path, but just go with yours.
Strength is also part of integrity, if you bullied someone, even if it was on purpose,you would probably feel bad and that affects your emotional strength and health. That can make you fell depressed. You always need to fill your life with positive things and people that make you happy, always show integrity. Control your actions and don't end of doing something you will regret later, even if it is 20 years away, what you do now affects your future. You cannot change the past, but you can change the future.
Integrity involves your social actions and thoughts. Don't say bad things to your friends if they're just trying to help. Control your actions, it's a lot simpler than you think. Just think about what you're going to say when you get all mad. Get involved in social activities, people won't just ask you to join, you have to jump in and do it with them! You have to take action, because odds are people won't! It doesn't mean they don't like you, it just means they aren't sure what YOU want. Those who don't are often not good at socializing who don't have a lot of friends, show courage and ask to join. If they are your friends, you know you can trust them. If they betray you, they are not true friends. Always be loyal to your friends, then they will know that you are a true friends, and chances are that they will show it back.
Integrity is the base of all other character traits, it is how you are a human being living in a house and have food on you plate. You are lucky to be going to school everyday and having water in your house and for all those other necessities you just take for granted. Those who show integrity will be successful in life by only thinking good thoughts, those who always think bad will be on the road to not succeeding just because you think you can't. Integrity is kind of like a mixture of all traits, responsibility, respect, and courteous, if you know all of those things and you will know how to get along with other people and you will have real friends that will respect you.
Imagine the world without integrity, just think, imagine humans and animals with no control over anything, no moral thoughts and actions, and no moral principles. We wouldn't be alive! Without individual actions or thoughts no inventions or things could be discovered, including new land like North America and Australia! No uniqueness makes beings boring and unexciting. No control over anything means you don't have control over what to do and how to survive in a world like ours. All plants and animals would die and the world would erode and turn into a global ghost town. It would be like an unknown planet!
Strength is the backbone of integrity, and I'm not talking about muscular strength, I'm talking about mental strength. You need to have mental strength and courage to have integrity. Nobody is perfect so no one will completely know integrity, but it is possible to have it and be a nice and smart person. That is the key to all character traits.

CPC 2014- Winning essay on "A Person's Strength Lies In His/Her Integrity" by Vedika Birla

3rd prize winning essay on age group 12 thru 15 by
Vedika Birla

Radhey Radhey!
This topic really captures my attention, “A person’s strength lies in his/her integrity”. In my mind, integrity means staying true to values. It means being honest and trustworthy always. An example can be doing the exact same if someone is watching or when nobody is watching. Such integrity determines how much of a fair and true person you are. Integrity is necessary between family, friends, and us.
Integrity within family means standing up for actions; this is important in all relationships but most important within families. For example, if I dropped food on my couch that created a stain and I blamed it on my brother. At first my parents would be mad at my brother but, then they found out that I did it, they would be extremely disappointed with me for a couple reasons, firstly that I had dropped food on the couch, and secondly that I had been untruthful and blamed it on my brother. From there on, my parents would not trust me as much as they did before. Trust in your family is like glass bangles once you break them you can’t repair it or get it back to its original form.
Integrity within friends means telling the truth always and keeping promises. If someone follows this it will only make your friendship grow. Telling the truth even when hurts, will actually benefit one’s friendship in the long run. When one let friends take blame for something you did, the friend will not like that person as much as he/she did before because the friend knows that, that person isn’t responsible for your own actions. Showing integrity between friends is also keeping promises and going incredible lengths to keeping the promise. The friendships will build once integrity is shown.
Integrity also builds character of a person. With the quality of integrity, others will feel better about a certain person because they will trust that person more.  It means that one will have a better relationship. God and guru will give more blessings. Without integrity, people will start ignoring one and they will think of one as an awful person and God and guru won’t give many blessings because there are no qualities within their heart.

To conclude, integrity means doing the right thing in a reliable way. Altogether integrity builds strong character within the heart. Integrity includes standing up for your own actions, not blaming others, telling the truth, and keeping promises all this will lead to more blessings. Most values revolve around integrity such as honesty, responsibility, patience, accountability, and care and above all devotion and love for God. 
Radhey Radhey! Hope this essay made you feel how important integrity is on a day-to-day basis!   

CPC 2014- Winning essay "My India" by Shashank Kalkur

3rd prize winning essay on age group 8 thru 11 by
Shashank Kalkur - 8 years old

I have been to India several times and it is really a fun place to be! Life in India is very different compared to life in the USA. The houses for example are made of brick and cement and not wood. Roads are full of all kinds of different vehicles - trucks, buses, cars, motor cycles, scooters, autos and bicycles. Only in India will you find cows moving freely on the road perfectly comfortable with the chaos surrounding them!Early in the morning I am awakened by the vegetable vendor yelling out that he has arrived. He has a cart full of vegetables attached to his bicycle. How nice that the grocery store comes to your home and you don’t have to drive to the grocery store!When I think of India I think of all the yummy food. We usually get invited to family gatherings where there is a grand feast served on a banana leaf. There are more than 20 dishes - savory and sweet. I found it quite overwhelming at first not knowing what to eat first but soon started to enjoy the feast.Riding an auto rickshaw is one of my favorite things to do in India. An auto can take you to any part of the city and they are everywhere! You never have to wait for more than 5 minutes to get an auto in a city like Bangalore. I noticed that some autos are decorated with pictures of Gods and Goddesses and some have flashy tassels. The auto drivers are so skillful in maneuvering through the traffic. Sometimes they come so close to a big bus that it scares me.India has more than 1 billion people and so you see people everywhere. Buses are overflowing with people literally hanging for dear life. I like to travel by train when I visit my grandparents in Kerala. I like watching the never ending line of coconut trees through the train window.I walk a lot when I am in India because everything is close by. My grandfather at the age of 77 still walks every morning to the market to get fresh vegetables. I think that is the secret to his health. In the evening he visits the temple and prays for all of us. He also does "pooja" every morning.The shopping experience in India is so different. There are bazaars lined with stores selling all kinds of merchandise. I noticed that the stores have no doors. At night they secure the store with shutters. The small stores have just a couple of employees who are attending to all the customers. They are good at multi-tasking!When I am in India there is never a dull moment. In spite of the many challenges they face, Indians take things in their stride and move forward. I am proud to be Indian and looking forward to exploring more of the country in the years to come.

CPC 2014- Winning essay ru 11 "Pitri Devo Bhava Matri Devo Bhava" by Sanvi Karhade

By: Sanvi Karhade - 10
Parents are gods messenger .Parents are the best teachers at the beginning of our lives. Starting from crawling, first steps, talking, to graduating. They wish us success and never teach us bad things. My mom and dad said,” You can be anything that makes you happy.”

Mom’s nature

My mom is very sweet. I remember when I was late to school she used to ask me whether I got everything I needed for school .She listens to me even if its bad news also through my school troubles. I sometimes get mad at her because she is always behind me .She might be mad at me but scold’s me and it is stuck in her head all night. I know this is good for me. My Mom helps me calm down by counting to 10. I don’t know why but I can’t hide anything from my mom even if it’s a surprise.
She puts up with some of my requests and still manages my house and sibling. Her heart and determination are something that I can only hope to have myself one day. My test is like her test .She is like a shadow in the sun, Umbrella in rain and a cozy blanket in the winter.  I like when she sings for me in the night “mere ghar aayi ek nanhi pari” one of my favorite song. Every day she tries to tell me small things which I appreciate before coming school bus pray morning and evening namskar in front of god. Tidy up my room. Don’t pile up work and finishing your pending work. From this I learned try to stay up-to-date day by day and don`t wait until last minute and finish your task one day before the deadline. she says if you want go somewhere try to start 5 min early time you think it will require to reach so in this way will be on time not miss any class or bus. Which I experienced and trying to be on time.

Teaching Daddy

Everybody says that I look a lot like my dad .I got the smiling face from my dad. My dad is special and everything he does and says is special too. He usually does not speak while eating, however when he speaks it is one more story to tell. He is happy and thankful for every piece of meal he gets, and he doesn’t like plate with unfinished food, he always says take food in plate only which you can finish. He had a hard childhood without his father. He came from farmer family so he knows how much effort it will take to produce grain. I am proud of dad whatever he is today because of his hard work he lost his father when he was 2 year old. He says whoever I am because of my mom. My dad is sometimes strict but I know in my heart that he wants me to succeed. He gives me opinions from the bottom of his heart. I am confident that his opinion is an objective. If I will ask about my homework he will stop his office work and try to find my answer. After I will sleep he will do his office work.
Everything I have been able to accomplish with regards to school, I have him to thank for. My father has been caring, and strict in his guidelines. My father is like a coconut, outside he will not show feeling but inside he is soft.
He will never give up on me when I will try any new sport, I was so scared when I started learning skating last summer I will see his face and try to go ahead, because I was new in this sport I used to make excuses to not do practice he will listen calmly and wait there for me to start again. I must say he has lot of patience than anybody I’ve ever seen. I like his nature because he always looks positive side of the thing on any difficulty. He always says “whatever happened, happened” don’t stay in past stay in today. My dad is smart, has lots of patience and positive attitude that is the reason I think I will never get afraid of any test.

My parents are the best thanks to god. They listen to me they understand me. They are my emotional healer, my entertainer, pillar of support, anchor in life, and teacher.  My personality roots, Good discipliner, travel guide and most important they love me. I am proud of being their daughter. One day I want to become them.

CPC 2014- Winning essay "My India" by Mihika Deopura

2nd prize winning essay on age group 8 thru 11 by
Mihika Deopura - 9 


India is a wonderful country full of cultural and geographical diversity. Situated in South Asia, it is 7th largest country by area and 2nd most populated country. It is surrounded by China, Nepal and Bhutan in North, Pakistan in West, Bangladesh and Myanmar in East, and Sri Lanka in South. The Indian Peninsula is surrounded by 3 oceans and seas, Arabian Sea on the west, Indian Ocean on the south and Bay of Bengal on the east. The northern India has the tallest mountain range of the world, the mighty Himalayas. West has the Thar dessert, while the east has the lush green Meghalaya known for highest rainfall in the world. India is the largest democracy in the world with 29 states and 7 union territories. It has 22 recognized languages and numerous other dialects including the ancient and the oldest language of the world – Sanskrit.

History & Culture

In Ancient times, India was the center of learning, art and architecture. Around 3000 BC IndIa was flourishing with Indus Valley Civilization. It mysteriously disappeared possibly due to flooding or change of climate. It was followed by Vedic period. This was the time when Vedas and other scriptures were written in Sanskrit. Two major religion teaching non-violence Budhism and Jainism were born during this time. The period between 1st BC and 9th century is known as the golden period of India. India was the richest country during this time. It was the center of learning, sciences, astronomy and mathematics. Decimal number system and zero was invented during this time. Indian astronomer Aryabhata was first to discover the motion of earth and other planets around sun. During early middle ages, India was invaded by Muslim armies of Babar resulting in 800 years of Mughal rule. Around middle of 18th century India became a British Colony for 200 years finally getting Independence on Aug 15, 1947. During the British rule India became a poor country from one of the richest countries. Since Independence India has become a modern multi-cultural and multi-religious country and is steadily improving its economy. Recently India sent a spaceship to Mars becoming only the 3rd country to do so. 

Famous Landmarks

Taj Mahal is the most famous monument in India. It was built by Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648. The Emperor loved his Queen dearly. He ordered Taj Mahal to be built when the Queen died for her body to rest in. It is considered one of the wonders of the world. Other famous landmarks include the Qutub Minar, Ashoka stambh, iron pillar next to Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Stupa at Sanchi, Kahujorao temples, Konark Sun Temple etc.


It is home to all the major religion of the world, but Hinduism is the most widely practiced religion.India is a country of Gods, Goddesses, and many festivals. There are rich set of stories around each Gods and Goddess that teach us how to live our life. The story of Lord Ram and his fight against Ravana teach us to fight evil. Diwali, festival of light, is celebrated to mark return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana. Holi, festival of color, is celebrated to mark victory of good over evil. It is believed that Prahlada, son of the evil King Hirnakashayap was able to survive from burning fire set by his evil aunt Holika through devotion to God Vishnu. India is also birth place of Yoga. It was developed during Vedic ages by Sages to keep them healthy and help them meditate India is also country that gave birth of great philosophers, poets and Saints. Mahatma Gandhi is known for teaching the world about non-violence and tolerance. He led the Indian Independence struggle against Britishers. India is a very ancient country with rich traditions and culture. I am so proud of my India.

CPC 2014- Winning essay "India as a spiritual jewel" by Dhananjay Raghu

2nd Prize winning essay on age group 12 thru 15 by 
Dhananjay Raghu - 12 

There are many countries around the world that have given birth to many beliefs and religions. In my social studies class, as a 7th grader I am learning about many countries and India. When I learn about other cultures and traditions, I realize how Hinduism is more spiritual in nature. It is apparent to me and my friends from India that Hinduism is the origin of many other religions as well. Although all religions are one as my mother always says, yet I have come to realize that India is where Krishna was born and the actual miracles took place in Vrindavan and Mathura. The many incarnations of Lord Vishnu took place in India. Ayodhya, where Lord Rama ruled is in India. Buddhism which is practiced in 10 different countries, originated in India. Here, I am talking about religion because my mother has taught me that religion and religious practices are like staircases to reach spirituality. So I feel that one has to know one's own religion and its reason for such practices to understand spirituality. That is why I go to Bal-Mukund classes to learn more about myself and my origin. In my case I was always curious about my spiritual nature and going to Bal-Mukund classes has answered and strengthened my affinity to spirituality. I say my mantras at home and do Yoga and Pranayam before going to school. I cannot say I am regular but I try to do it every so often. India's religion is mainly Hinduism, but on the other hand it is not really a religion but rather a way of life, as I am learning at Bal-Mukund. This is mentioned in the "The essence of Hinduism", a book by Swami Mukundananda Ji. So when something is a way of life then it is only natural that spirituality too is naturally acquired. India, as my grandfather used to say is a karma bhoomi. Which means the action takes place or took place and people have to do penance, meditations and lead a spiritual life. India is a place where it is said that heavenly bodies descend to bless and this makes India a truly holy land. It is a birth place and a refuge for many religions of the world. In India there are many people from different religious background who live amicably. To name a few there are Zoroastrians, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Taoism, Confucius, Buddhists living in India. Because India is a spiritual land there is so much tolerance towards all religions. Many of the world renowned spiritual saints have come from this land. India is a spiritual jewel because spirituality is so ingrained in its entire people that wherever we live our spirituality makes us stand apart and we reach greater goals in the community. India the land of our origin teaches us to be spiritual. Through her, many holy saints and gurus come and guide us and who not only teach us Indians but teach the whole world about being spiritual. Some of my friends have turned to vegetarianism and practice yoga and pranayama, and this was due to some saint or a guru who has taught them spirituality. This makes me proud, to say that I am of an Indian origin, and I too am guided by Swami Mukundananda Ji through his classes at Bal-Mukund. 

Ref.: The essence of Hinduism (by Swami Mukundananda)
My mother who teaches me a lot about India and on spirituality