Announcements

Coronavirus Alert: TILL MAY 08 (OR TILL FURTHER NOTICE) – ALL CLASSES AND LECTURES AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE ON YOUTUBE CHANEL OF VEDANTA SOCIETY OF PROVIDENCE.
(Connect to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw)
All other daily and weekly programs (meditations, prayers, Karma Yoga) are suspended for the public. STATE OF RI IS UNDER ‘STAY HOME ORDERS’ FOR A GOOD REASON.

Sat April 25, 8:00- 9:00 pm EST: Swami will give a “Google Hangout” Talk to a group in Colorado on ‘Practical Vedanta’.

Tue, April 28: Birth Anniversary of Shankaracharya: Special food-offering in the shrine at noon and a chant before the evening class.

Let’s not be sad that we cannot go to socialize, go personally to attend temple worships, classes, lectures, or music concerts. Let’s remind ourselves of the TRUTH that we are not the body. Let bodies be confined to home, let there be social distancing for the bodies – but I AM NOT BODY. Just let’s experience the freedom and joy of feeling this TRUTH.
The present time is very congenial for the practice of this meditation.
Let us also feel for the people who are going through difficulties/sufferings at this time and come forward for their help.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: COVID 19 RELIEF
Many in the state are facing huge financial hardships due to business closures, loss of wages etc. Vedanta Society will offer some relief to such people. Please contact 401-421-3960 or email at providence@rkmm.org for an appointment.

Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)

Fri. Apr. 24 7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’  by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY
Sun. Apr. 26 5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on God-Incarnations: Fixers of the Broken Ladder”  by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY
Tue. Apr. 28 7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY

Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)

Friday, Apr 17  – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 15: Holding on to God
One thing separates human beings from all other species–the faculty of discernment. Discernment, the charioteer in the metaphor presented in the Gita, keeps the galloping horses of the senses under control and on the right path. Rather than following our impulses and seeking fulfillment of worldly desires, we can discern right action from wrong action, and choose the right, presuming that we keep our faculty of discernment sharp and focused.  Certainly, there will be many obstacles along the way. For instance, while meditating, the mind will fall asleep. Or that the mind seems to slip away from meditating. King Parikshit asks Sage Shuka how dharana, the holding-onto the divine, is to be practiced. On what should we meditate? If we meditate on a worldly object, which is changeable and fleeting, our mind is sure to slip. Our chosen ideal, the object of meditation, must be that which is unchanging and ever-present: God. Though some might desire to worship a formless God, this must not be taken up until the aspirant is spiritually ready to do so; only when one perceives him/herself as beyond form is he/she ready to workshop a formless God. For the rest of us, we would do well to follow the advice of Shuka and meditate upon the gross [visible] form of the Lord, manifested in all names and forms. Let us remember that everything we see in the universe is an aspect of the Divine and meditate on that all-pervading God-form.

Sunday Service, Apr 19 – How to Stop Anxiety Without Stopping Thinking?
Anxiety, fear and stress can be useful in moderation. It helps to properly direct, and energize our thinking. But over-stuffing the brain with anxiety clouds ‘thinking’; in extreme cases, people may do something rash, and have irritation, depression, loss of self-control, substance abuse, and suicidal or homicidal tendencies. Then, anxiety becomes its own fuel. Do not watch endless news about the coronavirus, since this gives us no new useful information but adds to the anxiety.
The sources/causes of anxiety have four layers. Of these, the body and the brain are visible, but the mind and soul are not. What we are going through is caused by impressions from childhood or from previous births. Some types of anxiety include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, OCD, and PTSD. Treatments include dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapies, medications, and holistic treatments such as yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation.
The Vedantic remedy is learning to go beyond the visible: body & brain – to ‘mind’ and soul, which cannot be probed by physical science. Just as ‘I’ appear as all the figures in a dream, One Being appears as all the figures in the waking state. We can meditate on the fact that we are not the body. We need to give the time and energy to meditation that we gave to school through the years. We have anxiety because we feel that I am a little body that can get hurt or die. Arjuna faced anxiety and indecision and had a loss of self-confidence, but surrendering to God made him overcome it. Sri Ramakrishna said to give up ‘I and mine’. That way, we can connect with God or our true Self.

Tuesday, Apr 21 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Pg #519-521:  Master Bestows Grace on Mathur  And Master’s Relationship With His Gurus
Divine Mother had revealed to Sri Ramakrishna that He would have four providers who would take care of the worldly needs of Sri Ramakrishna. He said that Mathur Babu was the first of these providers. Despite associating so closely with Sri Ramakrishna, Mathur Babu still had some desires and Sri Ramakrishna once remarked that he would be born as a king somewhere in his next birth. One needs to become completely desireless to reach the culmination of spiritual practices. Sri Ramakrishna had no ego in Him and therefore not even the smell of any desire. Scriptures say that when desire is gone, you are the same as Brahman, you become immortal. There is no desire that does not lead to more desires. They are like Raktabija, a demon who could not be killed like others, because every drop of his blood that fell on the ground led to springing of another Raktabija with the same power as the original. These desires can be removed when we wholeheartedly love God and desire only for Him and nothing else. There are several lessons in Sri Ramakrishna’s teachership of Mathur Babu. These include: One needs to strengthen the spiritual personality within; visions are not important, what is required is to get desireless-ness; service of a holy person helps us understand the essence of devotion etc.
Sri Ramakrishna learned from several teachers who came to teach Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna learned about various spiritual traditions from them by meticulously following their instructions. However, without Sri Ramakrishna’s intention, the teachers were also able to remove the lacunae in their own spiritual growth. This was a way in which Sri Ramakrishna’s teachership manifested for his teachers and even those who didn’t want to learn from Him. The power of Guru is inherent in all avatars. When we come in contact with them, they have an infallible effect on all irrespective of intention. Scriptures say that Lord is immovably present in all of us. We just need to undertake spiritual discipline to manifest this divinity. In truth we cannot manifest in our lives what is not inherently in us. Some people mistakenly believe that circumstances can help achieve anything but that is not true. Circumstance can only help in this process of manifestation.