Upcoming Events

Swami will give a retreat on zoom on Sun Aug 30 for the devotees of Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas (Dallas).
The Topic is ‘The Prophet – by Khalil Gibran’.
Interested devotees can join after getting details at their website – http://www.vedantadfw.org/

SUMMER-BRAKE GETTING OVER SOON:
With ‘Universal Brotherhood Day’  – the annual interfaith event – on Sun, Sept 13, 5:00-7:00 will begin the regular Sun services, Tuesdays & Fridays Vedanta classes. They will be available live on our YouTube channel as well as in-person, with limitation on number of attendees, who will have to follow the guidelines.

For attending the Universal Brotherhood Day in-person, one needs to register at our email address: providence@rkmm.org .
Registration will begin from Sun, Aug 30 and will stop once the seats are full. No walk-ins.

Theme: ‘MEDITATION’
Main speakers: Swami Sarvapriyananda
of Vedanta Society of NY,
Rabbi Barry Dolinger,
Beth Sholom, Providence,
Kwan Haeng Su Nim,
Providence Zen Center.

Timings:
Event: 5:00 – 7:00 PM – All devotees are expected to leave the premises by 2:00 PM.
Entry: 4:45 PM to 5:10 PM – Doors shut at 5:10 PM and no entry thereafter.
Re-entry for those who leave the building is also not possible.
You are suggested to check the traffic delays before you travel to reach on time.
Guidelines:
Devotees will have to follow these guidelines:

  • Face mask should be always on the face covering both the nose and the mouth
  • Sanitize front and back of the palms of the hands with a hand sanitizer at the entry door
  • Maintain a good separation distance of at least 4ft from another person
  • Minimize touching surfaces and no hand shaking
  • No flowers or food to be brought by devotees (home-cooked or store-bought)
  • No switching chairs once taken
  • Entry only in Chapel & restrooms. No entry in bookstore, library, kitchen and dining areas in basement.
  • Only a few designated singers with assigned seating and microphone arrangement due to shortened program and social distancing.
  • Boxed dinner will be served at the end ‘to go’– no dining at the Center.

Registration Form:
Name:
Email:
Phone #:
Number of attendees (Family members):
I declare I/we have no fever, cough/cold for last 14 days and have not been in physical contact with any Covid 19 patient.

THE REGISTRATION STARTS ONLY FROM AUGUST 30. YOU CAN PROVIDE THE ABOVE INFORMATION BY EMAIL (providence@rkmm.org).
PLEASE REGISTER ONLY IF YOU ARE REASONABLY SURE OF COMING.

Next Newsletter will be on September 16.

Past Events

Aug 1 & 2 Sat-Sun: Swami conducted a retreat on Taittiriya Upanisad (Canto 1 & 3) for the Vedanta Society of Rochester on GoogleMeet. It was attended by over 60 participants.

Aug 09: Krishna Festival: Readings, reflections, singing devotional songs. About 30 attended in-person; a few hundred attended on-line.

Aug 16, 7:30-8:30pm: Swami gave a YouTube discourse on ‘Why Meditation’ specially for the devotees of Queens and Bronx, NY.

Aug 22-23: Swami traveled to queens, NY and Monroe and Wayne, NJ and met many groups of devotees.

Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)

The Enneads of Plotinus – Aug 04
One theory of the universe is that it came about by chance, which according to Plotinus, means that they are saying that they do not know. There is coherence, or order, in the universe, so it must have an administration. We have misery, injustice, and pain in our lives, so is there divine Providence, or an evil creator? In the fragments of the universe, there is some bad, but also some good. Plotinus takes a broader look. Some say that God gradually created the universe, and that humanity is the best creation, made in the image of God (although humanity does more evil than any other species). Plotinus says that the universe was not made in time, but that time is a part of the cosmos. Individuals see good and bad differently. The universe is not under our governance. The lower cosmos has conflict in its very nature. A part is not self-sufficient, so e.g., a man might seek a woman to become whole. We become selfish. But Plotinus says that the universe is perfect as it is. To do good, we must be aware that it is all a play. Everything in the universe has its function. A finger does not want to be an eye, and an eye does not want to be a finger. A person goes from body to body in life after life, until he or she rises to the one Soul. Everything is included in divine Providence.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Aug 11
Plotinus went beyond Plato, in saying that the goal of life is to merge into Oneness. Though God is the true source of love, for most people, possessiveness enters into what they think of as love. It is difficult to reconcile possessiveness with love. Plotinus says that the soul is attracted to beauty. There is no consummation of the loved object, because that would turn beauty into ugliness, and good into evil. Love has a longing for eternity. Love transcends reason. The universe is an emanation of the One. Eros is the active principle of attraction, which comes from Aphrodite, or the soul holding onto heaven. Holding onto love leads to hypostasis, the underlying reality. Hypostasis is not an inert existence. The generalization of beauty, joy, and knowledge means that existence is imbued with love. Plotinus says that other souls come from the Soul supreme. Every being has a non-corporeal aspect. The love that every spirit has is essentially divine, but it gets misplaced toward reflections of reality. Sensual love comes from poverty and possession. We lack something, and we feel that we want to possess it. Good people have no other love than for the absolute and authentic Good, or God.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Aug 18
In Plato’s Symposium, Diotima says that love gives birth to beauty in the body and the mind. Knowledge is more beautiful. Knowledge of the highest is the most beautiful. This is absolute beauty, that always exists. Beauty is symmetrical and patterned. Mathematician George David Birkhoff said that beauty is the ratio of order over complexity. When the principle of beauty is united with a person or a landscape, they become beautiful. Beauty is spontaneous. People do not need to be taught to see beauty. The thrill of beauty does not come from an object, because it is not always there with the object. Plotinus says that the heavenly soul is the source of beauty. It is intrinsically beautiful. The universe has a form, whether it is there or not, like the form of a building is there before it is built. Beauty is unification with the ideal form. Beauty is authentic existence, meaning that it is always there. Ugliness is the contrary. Beauty is the good, while ugliness is evil. When we approach God, sensual objects are no longer beautiful. Similarly, we strive for a real piece of candy, or a real dollar bill, rather than a photo of candy or a fake dollar bill. We need resolve to overcome our addictions to the things that cheat us. This requires strength of body and mind. Such strength is religion and morality. Objects that attract us are mere shadows, or reflections, that cheat us.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Aug 25
Plotinus’s non-dual view is unique in Greek philosophy. If knowledge, its objects, and its instruments are separate, then knowledge is imperfect, because the knowledge would not be intimate knowledge, and would be limited by the instruments. In that case, there would be no intellectual principle at all. The intellectual principle is all-inclusive, spontaneous knowledge. It is true unity, and not unity in diversity, which would be like qualified non-dualism. Though we use the words existence, knowledge and bliss for the Godhead, it is ONE thing, and not a collection of things. The unity never vanishes, while multiplicity keeps shifting. Plotinus says that the FIRST remains intact, while something else produces. This can be compared to a shadow changing size, which has no impact on the person whose shadow it is. There is no answer as to how and why multiplicity came. It is a spontaneous manifestation. Plotinus says that from the numberless One came the BEING, without any ‘process’. One sound breaks into speech. Is God in us or are we in God? This is like asking if the statue is in the stone or the stone is in the statue. Both are true. The FIRST is good, is beauty, and is infinite. We want to go toward God like we want to go toward beauty. When we have the intellectual principle, we have the sense of sufficiency. God transcends everything and permeates everything.