Day-long Meditation – Sat. Apr. 08
The monthly day-long meditation program (12 noon – 7pm, then Aarati & meditation till 8pm) will be conducted.
CT Vedanta Meets – Sun. Apr. 09
CT Vedanta group will meet Sun. Apr. 09 from 10:30am – 12:30pm at 100 Cherry Brook RD, Canton CT. The topic is ‘What is Better—Work or Meditation’ (Ch 3 of Bhagavad Gita). All are welcome.
Weekly Programs (in addition to Daily Programs given below)
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on Jnana Yoga (based on the book of Swami Vivekananda)
|8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and Chanting/singing
12noon – 8:00PM – Day -long Meditation
7:00-8:30 PM – Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture: ‘The Journey from WORK TO WORSHIP’ by Swami Yogatmananda
6:00 – 6:10 PM: Aarati
7:00 – 8:00PM: Meditation in Chapel
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, Ch 52, pp 986
|Morning :||5:45 – 6:45 AM: Meditation
6:45 – 7:00 AM: Chanting followed by a short reading from ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 7’
7:00 – 7:25AM – A short ritual worship/Puja. Open to all.
|Evening :||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘THE STORY OF AN EPOCH: Swami Virajananda and his Times’, by Swami Shraddhananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Spiritual Retreat: Sat. Apr. 01
After the initial welcome and prayers, Swami Atmajnanananda gave a short guided meditation. This was followed by the Hatha Yoga/Ti-Chi class. There was a tea-break. Swami Atmajnanananda gave two hour+ long classes on ‘REMAIN IN BHAVA-MUKHA’ – illustrating the extra-ordinary divine command received by Sri Ramakrishna. This word ‘Bhava-Mukha’ is not found in any of commonly known Hindu Scriptures. It is the state that borders on the Absolute and relative, which enabled Sri Ramakrishna to be in constant direct communication with the Divine and also interact with people. The classes were interspersed by a lunch-break, devotional music and a Vedantic Tale. The hour and half long q-a session was shared by Swamis Atmajnanananda and Yogatmananda. The retreat was concluded with Arati, Rama Nama Samkirtan and supper. 62 attended the retreat.
Saxophone & Tabla Concert – Sun. Apr. 02
Saxophonist Phil Scarff gave a scintillating performance, playing various melodies of Indian Raaga-music. He was very ably accompanied by the famous tabla-player Amit Kavthekar. About 35 attended the event.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study Class on ‘Jnana Yoga‘ – Mar. 31, Friday
Class #57: (Chapter – REALIZATION)
What should we do to realize the truth? The yogi following the path of Jnana Yoga answers that the truth is ever present and there are no means by which we can see it other than through the removal of ignorance. The Self cannot be realized by speech, nor by intellect, nor by study of scriptures. Our sense organs and intellect fall far short of realizing the truth. So how can the truth be seen? Yama, the Lord of Death, advises the spiritual seeker Nachiketa that for those who are steadfastly seeking the truth, the truth gets revealed. There is no ‘how’ or ‘why’ about truth’s revelation, as the ‘how’ and ‘why’ are only present in ignorance. This does not mean that we should not perform spiritual practices. We should assiduously continue sadhana because it will help us to avoid wrong-doing, purify us, and—through the mind’s purification—make the existing God visible. In the Katha Upanishad, the cleansing of the mind by means of sadhana is beautifully described using the analogy of a chariot. In the analogy, the soul is the rider, the body the chariot, the faculty of discernment the charioteer, and the mind is the reigns. The tendency of the horses, the sense organs, is to move in all directions and to miss the track. Spiritual practice is keeping the senses under control of the intellect, the charioteer. There is a difference between a sharp intellect and a powerful intellect. A sharp intellect can reason analytically but is easily overpowered by emotions. A powerful intellect can govern the emotions, thus bringing our “chariot” into proper alignment. When properly aligned, the embodied soul can follow on the path of the true desire towards liberation.
Sunday Talk – ‘The Journey from Doubt to Realization’ – a talk by Swami Atmajnanananda – Apr. 02
Doubt both has a role, and is an obstacle too, in spiritual life. With sraddha, an initial form of faith, when something that the Guru or the tradition says does not make sense, we say not that it is false, but that we do not understand it yet. This does not mean that we swallow everything whole. Yogin Maharaj saw Sri Ramakrishna get up in the middle of the night, and hid outside to see if Sri Ramakrishna was violating his celibacy by visiting his wife. When Sri Ramakrishna, returning after answering the natures call in the pine-groove, found him hiding, he told him that: “You must observe a sadhu day and night before you can believe in him.” Sri Ramakrishna told people to test him like a moneychanger tests his money. Narendra saw Sri Ramakrishna as a pure, highly realized soul, but still at first thought that his visions were hallucinations. He doubted that Sri Ramakrishna was an Avatar, until Sri Ramakrishna responded to Narendra’s thoughts and confirmed that he was, near the end of his life. Sri Ramakrishna was not disappointed in those who had doubts. Sri Ramakrishna said: “As many faiths (mata), so many paths.” Swami Turiyananda said: “In matters of opinion, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand firm like a rock.” Sri Ramakrishna felt that people could attain God-realization even through paths that were considered morally questionable. He said that a path is by no means God himself, and may have errors in it. It is important to purify the heart through the chosen path. All doubts are finally removed only with God-realization.
Study Class – The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – Apr. 04, Tuesday
Saturday, May 7, 1887 p 987-8:
The disciples of Sri Ramakrishna had already been blessed by Sri Ramakrishna but their life was not yet fulfilled. This is because the purpose of their life was not to fill their own pots but to distribute the water to the others. In Baranagore, they were experiencing a deep yearning for God realization. M used to encourage other devotees to spend time with these disciples to learn from their yearning and renunciation.
Worldly people do not understand this yearning. They understand the hankering for money, spouse, social connections etc. and are busy with them. They don’t feel the need for God as God is not needed for mere physical or social existence – just as animals don’t need church. Through God’s grace, they realize that these hankerings won’t bring them any lasting happiness. It is only when we realize this and start questioning if life is only meant for physical and social pursuits, that we seek God.
God is the highest thing to aspire for. A person with this understanding is willing to renounce anything in order to realize God. Narendra wanted to fast unto death, till he realized God. But, when we make such resolutions, they are hard to stick to. Our addictions are so strong that they do not go away so easily. However, one should keep trying again and again. This helps to progressively increase the resolve and the inner power of control. Swami Vivekananda used to say: I am That, I am Divine. Even if you fall a thousand times, get up and say, “I am That”; because that is the Truth. This works only when we are sincere. If we are not sincere, then it is simply hypocrisy. In such case, this repeated resolve and failure won’t be of any use.