Lesson video

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Hello and welcome to our R.

E lesson.

I'm Mr Hutchinson, and we're learning all about Hinduism.

We've already learnt about the origins of this ancient religion over thousands of years.

We've learnt a bit about some of the key concepts and beliefs at the centre of this religion, and how they influence how Hindus live today.

We've thought about how, in many ways, it's not just one religion, it's many, many beliefs revealed through many sages, and eventually written down through the Vedas.

And in today's lesson, we're going to zoom in on one of the stories that's often told within Hinduism, a story about a God and a Goddess.

And that story is the story of Shiva and the Goddess Ganga, or the River Ganges.

And so in today's lesson, you're going to need an exercise book and a pencil.

And if you've got some colouring pencils, then they'll be really helpful for today's lesson as well, because we're going to do some drawing.

We're going to draw out the story that I tell to you.

Make sure that, as always, your brain is focused just on our lesson.

Any distractions can go away for the moment so that you can really focus and soak in this story from within the religion of Hinduism.

Once you've got everything ready, if you need to, you can pause the video, we can get started.

So our lesson is going to look like this, first of all we're going to learn the story of Lord Shiva, So the God Shiva, he is sometimes called Lord Shiva, and the Goddess Ganga.

And Ganga is another name for Ganges which is what the river is called now, that runs through India.

After that, we'll think a little bit about why Lord Shiva, who features in this story, is so important to Hindus.

So first of all, as we look at the story of Shiva and Ganga, we need to look at the River Ganges.

So the river Ganges is a real river and it runs through the Ganagtic Plains of India, and through Bangladesh as well, into the Bay of Bengal.

And so it runs all the way through these different countries.

And it's an extremely important river to everybody that lives there, always has been for humans that have lived along that river, it's provided them with the water that they need for daily life.

But it's also a Holy river.

So it's treated with great religious importance for people who live near to it.

And we'll find out why as we learn this story, and it's the story of Lord Shiva, who you can see here, and the Goddess Ganga, who you can see here, flowing through as the River Ganges, the hair of Shiva.

And we'll learn about who this is in the story.

So the story of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Ganga.

Well, Hindus believe that the River Ganges, or the river Ganga, was in heaven.

It used to be in heaven, and that's why it's a Holy river, because it was brought down to Earth.

How was it brought down to Earth? Well, the story goes that, long, long ago, there lived a King named Sagara, in a place called Ayodhya.

And Kings Sagara had two wives.

Keshini was his first wife, and they had a son named Asamanja.

Asamanjas was very cruel.

However Amshuman, who was Asamanja's son, was kind and brave.

So King Sagara had a cruel son, and he also had a kind grandson.

Kings Sagara had another wife called Sumati.

And with Sumati, King Sagara had 60,000 sons.

But each of these sons, they were very proud and arrogant, and acted as though they were better than other people.

And so they weren't very liked by the other people, by the rest of the people, these 60,000 sons.

King Sagara was very, very powerful.

He had a huge empire.

But he wanted to show everybody just how powerful he was, and show everybody where the boundary of his empire was.

And tell everybody that he was King.

The way that King Sagara wanted to do this was through a ritual, and the ritual involved the sacrifice of a horse.

So the ritualistic killing of a horse.

This ritual was known as also Ashvamedha, and it means the sacrifice of the horse.

Now, while King Sagara, who was trying to organise this, he picked out the fanciest horse that he could, because he wanted a very special horse, and let it sort of go out to sort of trot in any direction that it wanted to.

While he was doing this, the gods had become very unhappy with Sumati and King Sagara, and especially their 60,000 proud sons because they were too cruel.

And the gods thought, do you know what, the world would actually be better if those sons weren't there.

So Indra, who is the King of the Gods, transformed into a demon, and came down into Earth as a demon, and Indra stole the horse.

As it was trotting around in the grounds, he stole it.

The one that was supposed to be used for the sacrifice.

And he took it away and hid the horse.

Indra tied it up near a wise man, a Sage.

And the wise man's name, the Sage, was Kapila Mooney.

And Kapila Mooney was deep in meditation.

He was praying, he was near a tree, and he was praying deep in meditation.

King Sagara wanted his horse back.

He thought it had been stolen, which it had, by Indra the King of the Gods.

And so he sent his 60,000 sons out looking for it.

Now, when they went and found the horse tied up near the old Sage, they thought that he had stolen it.

And so they started shouting at him angrily, and the Sage was disturbed from his prayers.

And he was so angry that he slowly opened his eyes, and his eyes were so filled with rage for the 60,000 sons, that he immediately turned them all into ashes.

They all burned and turned to ashes.

King Sagara was obviously very upset and worried about where his 60,000 sons had got to.

So he sent his grandson, the good and kind Amshuman, to find out what happened.

Amshuman found the horse, and then he also found 60,000 small heaps of ashes.

And he wondered what had happened.

The God of the birds, who was called Garuda, told Amshuman what had happened.

So Garuda, this King of the birds, said, that they'd all been turned to ashes because they disturbed the Sage.

And Garuda said, you need to take the horse away.

And also, that your uncles, these 60,000 sons of the King, their souls will not be at peace.

They will not be allowed to rest unless they are washed away in the River Ganga.

There's only one problem though, the River Ganga was in heaven at this point.

And so they needed to find a way of getting the River Ganga from heaven, down to Earth, so that all of the souls of the 60,000 sons could be put to peace and allowed to move onwards.

The next King, who was called Bhagiratha, didn't have any sons of his own.

And he was a good King.

And he was troubled by the fact that he hadn't been able to solve this problem, the 60,000 heaps of ashes.

And so he went into the Himalayas, the mountains, and he prayed.

He prayed and he prayed, and he prayed.

And eventually Brahma, who was so pleased to see the King praying so much, came down and said, I'll grant you your wishes.

I'll give you the River Ganga, coming down to Earth to wash away all of these ashes and take the souls onwards.

But Brahma said, the only problem is Ganga is so powerful.

Goddess Ganga is so powerful that if she flows down to Earth, the Earth won't be able to take it, and it will destroy the Earth.

And so Brahma said, you will need help from Lord Shiva, the destroyer God.

And so King Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva, and showed how devoted he was.

And Shiva said that he would help.

So Shiva said, if Ganga comes down, I will be able to hold off Ganga.

Now Ganga, heard this and was proud and jealous, and thought, who's this Lord Shiva.

I'm the favourite God, I'm the favourite Goddess.

And so wanted to teach Shiva lesson.

So with all of her power sent herself, flowing down onto Earth.

Now Shiva knew that this was coming, and so took up his matted hair, Matted mean sorts of thick, and matted is thick and tangled and untidy, and let the matted hair out which slowed and destroyed all of the flow of the Goddess Ganga.

Bhagiratha then prayed to Shiva again and said, I need the River Ganga to flow.

And so Shiva said, okay, I'll let the river flow out gently.

And so he just allowed seven streams of the River Ganga to flow out.

Three to the East, three to the West, and then one other stream to follow Bhagiratha's chariot.

And so Bhagiratha took his chariot and washed away all of these ashes of the 60,000 sons, allowing them to move on to the next life.

And those different streams of the river, the huge, great different streams of the river still flow through the Gangatic Plain today.

And the River Ganges as the Goddess Ganga is worshipped and treated as a Holy river from heaven by many who live there.

So that's the story of Ganga and Shiva.

What I would love for you to be able to do is see if you can retell.

It's quite a complicated story and so I'm going to put up some of the words to help you.

See if you can retell that story.

So there's a few different ways that you can do that.

You can draw out this table and you can sketch little pictures of the River Ganga and the different parts of this story.

After you've done that, you could see if you could retell it using those pictures as prompts.

Now, eventually as an additional challenge, you should be able to put the whole story map down and be able to retell it just from memory.

But to begin with just as little prompts, because you've only heard it once, see if you can draw a little picture to show each part of the story.

And if you need to, of course, you can skip back and listen to the whole thing again.

Awesome work.

I'm sure that you've got a lovely story map.

You can add as much detail, you can add extra sections, if you'd like to, to show some of the other events.

And there are different variants of that story that have been passed on through the thousands of years, but it's an interesting story of Lord Shiva and Ganga.

So your picture should have looked something like this.

You may well have added your own little spin to them, and that's absolutely fine.

So we learned a little bit more about Lord Shiva there.

Lord Shiva is so important to Hindus.

Why is Lord Shiva so important? Why does Lord Shiva make up one of those three most important Gods within Hinduism? Well, you can see here the picture of Lord Shiva.

We've seen this in our last lesson, and Shiva's role is so important as a destroyer because Hindus believe in this, Samsara, the cycle of life and death, the endless rebirths.

They also believe this about the universe.

The universe runs in cycles and four different stages, and runs in cycles.

And it's Shiva's job to destroy the universe, which will allow it to be recreated.

Why is that important? Well, because in destroying it, he destroys all the imperfections.

All the wrongness is destroyed, melted away.

And then what comes new is better than what came before.

Now, Lord Shiva is said to behave in quite erratic and extreme ways, sometimes showing complete asceticism and completely denying himself of any worldly pleasures, and other times gorging on all the different worldly pleasures that he can find.

And so his wife, the Goddess Parvati, is said to sort of give balance to his different extremes and ensure that he doesn't act in such erratic ways.

It's almost taming these sort of different wild behaviours.

So let's see if you can finish this sentence now, just underneath your story map.

Shiva is important to Hindus because his role is to 'mmm' the universe in order to 'mmm' it.

So see if you can fill out that there.

Pause the video and write out that full sentence.


Let's see if you were right.

So it should read, Shiva is important to Hindus because his role is to destroy the universe in order to recreate it.

Give yourself a couple of ticks if you've got that right, well done, you're awesome.

So let's learn a little bit more about Shiva now, and let's study this picture in a little bit more detail.

So first one, going to make it as big as I can, take a close look.

If you need to pause the video you can, what can you see within this picture? There are lots and lots of different clues which tell us a little bit more about Shiva and his importance.

So pause the video and see what you can spot within that picture.

Great work.

I'm sure that you spotted lots of interesting things there.

So you might have noticed that there are actually the two children of Parvati and Shiva, here.

So Ganesha, who has the head of an elephant, is quite a famous and well worshipped God within Hinduism.

But let's focus in on Shiva.

You might have noticed that there is, sitting just in the middle of his head here, there's the, what's called the vibhuti.

And that's three, you might just be able to see, there's, oh sorry, first of all, you might have noticed his third eye.

So the third eye in the middle of his forehead, which represents just how wise Shiva is.

And doesn't often have to open the eye.

And it said that in fact, if Shiva opens that eye, his third eye, in front of you, it will melt your face away and turn you into ashes.

But it represents his wisdom.

You might also notice his cobra necklace, which shows that he is in charge of all of the most dangerous creatures that bring death and destruction.

He is even more in charge than any of those.

You might have also noticed these three white lines going horizontally across his forehead, and that's called the vibhuti.

And they represent Shiva's great power and wealth.

Lastly, you might've seen here, the Trident.

A sort of three-pronged spear.

And that represents the three main Gods within Hinduism.

You could see, there are some other things at the bottom here, including how he's sitting on a kind of like, I think this is a leopard skin, which shows just how powerful he is.

You might see he's near the Himalayan mountains.

They seem to be some offerings on the ground here.

And so each of these show just how important Shiva is.

In fact, before we get to sharing our work, let's go back to that because what I'd like for you to do for your final task is just sketch this picture.

Labelling the important features of Shiva, what they represent, and why it shows that Shiva is so important within Hinduism.

So pause the video, sketch out that picture, and label the diagram now.

Great work.

So now I can go on to our next slide which asked you to share your work.

Because one of the things I'd love to see is your picture of Shiva, nicely labelled with all of the important meanings and symbolism within it.

So you can do that by asking your parents to take a photo of your work, popping onto Twitter or Facebook, or Instagram, just using the hashtag, #LearnWithOak.

And then I'll be able to see it.

And I'd love to see those, and other people will be able to see it, and you'll be able to see other people's.

If you ask your parents if you can have a look it, or carers, I should say.

So well done for working so hard today.

Well done for learning about this interesting story of Hinduism.

There's loads of stories within Hinduism.

This one's about Shiva and the Ganga, and why the River Ganges is a Holy river within Hinduism, and has such importance to so many Indians.

I'll see you in our next lesson where we'll be learning even more about Hinduism, this beautifully complex and ancient religion.

I can't wait to see you then.

Bye bye.