Sunday, Feb 16: Vedanta CT Monthly Meeting – 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Place: Indrani-Shankar Mukherjee’s Home 143 Huckleberry Hill Rd, Avon, CT-06001.Topic: Sri Ramakrishna’s Life and Teachings
Friday, Feb 21: Maha Sivaratri. Sivanama Sankirtan immediately after the Arati at 7 pm & before the ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ class.
Sunday, Feb 23, 11 am to 7 pm: Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday Celebration
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Feb. 14||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Stories from ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’
|Sat. Feb. 15||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Feb. 16||5:00-6:00 pm: Sunday Service – The Swami will speak on ‘How to Use the Ego’|
|Tue. Feb. 18||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play|
|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
7:00 – 7:25 AM: A short ritual worship/Puja. Open to all, but one must enter before 7 am
|Evening||(Except on Sundays)
7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Bhuteshananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Swami returned from his trip (Feb 03-08) to California and Arizona on early Sunday morning of Feb 09. He gave retreats and talks several places during this tour.
Monday, Feb 10: Swami gave a Hinduism class at the Salve Regina University, Newport, RI.
SPECIAL: NEW BLOG-POST – ‘Deification of the World’ – Abhijeet Kislay
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Feb 07 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam – Srikanth Srigiriraju
Story of Dhruva: Srikanth Srigiriraju presented the story of Dhruva, the son of the King Uttanapada who embarks on a quest at the age of five to achieve God’s grace after being accosted by his jealous step-mother. Throughout the narration, Srikanth drew comparisons between the characters described in the story and our own condition, highlighting that we too engage in attention-seeking behavior, witness injustice but fail to act, and express excessive attachment to material and non-material objects. Existence is temporary; we need to focus on how to reach God, the ultimate reality we aspire for. Dhruva leaves his home with the faith and understanding that receiving God’s grace is the ultimate goal of life. Alone in the forest, Narada appears, which reminds us that help comes unsolicited if we are sincere. Narada advises Dhruva to return home and to take up spiritual practices later in life. Dhruva un-swayed presses on. Narada then initiates Dhruva into spiritual practice. After practicing severe austerities continuously and in a focused manner for several months, Dhruva sees the form of the Lord, which asked him to seek a boon; Dhruva, instead of asking for the liberation, asked for kingdom etc, as there was a subconscious lingering desire remaining. From Dhruva’s example we can learn the following: 1)There is no substitute for hard work—it is essential to engage in sustained spiritual practices. 2) We must cultivate a love for the Lord and be sincere in seeking the Lord’s grace. 3) We should have faith in the guru’s instructions and persevere. 4) Bearing in mind always that desires are obstacles, we should strive to free ourselves of desires.
Sunday Service, Feb 09 – The Art of Expressing the Experience
The body and mind are not required for our deepest awareness, or consciousness. It is difficult to express any experience adequately; the difficulty of expressing the experience of the Absolute is multiplied infinitely. Sri Ramakrishna gave each person what they were ready to hear. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna started out by giving advice to Lord Krishna, saying they should not fight the war. Lord Krishna said nothing until Arjuna asked his opinion. He then told Arjuna not to talk like a sage when his mind was full of desires for revenge and justice. Lord Krishna told Arjuna that the path of devotion is great, while the path of the formless God is good, but not for those identified with the body. Swami Adbhutananda had no formal education, but Swami Vivekananda called him Plato because of his deep philosophical wisdom. When the monastery bell rang at 4 o’clock in the morning to wake up the monks, he would already be meditating, so it served to disturb his meditation rather than encouraging it.
At his disciples’ request, Sri Ramakrishna tried and failed multiple times to describe Samadhi, conveying to them that Samadhi cannot be described in words. Sages have to find an analogy suitable to us to describe their experiences. They say contradictory things so we will not take them literally. They say (like in Isopanisad) that ‘God moves, and God does not move’. Sri Ramakrishna said that, just like there are different words for water in different languages, each religious path is for those to whom it is addressed.
Tuesday, Feb 11 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
As a Guru, The Master Bestows Grace on Mathur, Page 501-506:
Ordinarily, we identify ourselves with the false identity which is constantly changing. Identification with our changeless and true identity brings about the transformation in one’s life. We can see in Mathur Babu’s life such transformation as a result of association with the Master. We should not lament the fact that we are not fortunate enough to get that physical association with the Master. One must believe that Sri Ramakrishna still exists in an expanded form through this organization and His teachings. The association with those will help us to realize our true identity.
Master was attending the worship of Divine Mother at Mathur’s residence. He was in the mood of a woman companion of the divine mother and even dressed like a woman. His body was looking lustrous. This fact is confirmed by the Holy Mother as well as Master himself. They both have mentioned that his body used to shine like gold in the earlier days. People used to get attracted to see Him. The inner spiritual luminosity manifested through His physical form. But Master abhorred the external beauty. He used to pray to Divine Mother to take away the external beauty and grant Him the inner beauty. How unique was this prayer!
Going back to the story of Master attending the worship at Mathur’s residence. Master lost outer consciousness and was merged in the divine mood of Mother’s maid or confidante. It was the time for the vesper service. Jagdamba Dasi – Mathur’s wife – was in two minds to leave him alone and go to attend the vesper service. She was successful in adorning Him with her jewelry and bringing him down to the semi conscious state by constantly uttering the name of the Divine Mother. She brought Him over to the vesper service as a lady fanning the Divine Mother’s image. Even Mathur could not recognize Him. Later on, knowing who to the fanning lady was, Mathur commented that no one can know the Master unless and until he reveals His true nature.