Day-Long Meditation – Sat. May 05, 12:00 noon – 8:00pm
Begins at 12 noon (after the guided meditation & singing hour) when the entry will be locked. Vegetarian food available. Absolutely no electronic devices allowed. One can leave anytime, there is No re-entry until the doors open at 6:30pm for the 7pm (singing) Aarati. Meditation continues then until 8pm. All are welcome to participate for as short or long a period as one can.
Just Kids! Program – Sun. May 06, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
All children under age 12 are welcome.
Saxophone-Tabla Indian Melodies – Sun. May 13, 6:15 – 7:45PM
Phil Scarf will perform Indian melodies on saxophone, with Amit Kavthekar accompanying on tabla, following the 5-6pm Sunday Service lecture & Aarati. All are welcome.
Hatha Yoga Class – Fri. May 04 from 5:30—6:30pm with Roshni
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, May 04||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)
|Saturday, May 05||8:30 – 10:30am – Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon – Guided Meditation & singing Hour
12:00noon – 7:00pm – Day-Long Silent Meditation
7:00pm – 8:00pm – Aarati (devotional singing & a short reading) & continued meditation
|Sunday, May 06||5:00 – 6:00 PM: A talk – Art of Doing ‘Nothing’, by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Vesper Service (Aarati), Soup supper & meditation . All are welcome.
7:00 – 8:00 PM: Meditation
|Tuesday, May 08||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class – Swami Saradananda’s book – ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA & HIS DIVINE PLAY’ (Tr. Swami Chetanananda)
|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.
|Evening||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Towards the Goal Supreme’ by Swami Virajananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Birth-day of Lord Buddha: Mon. April 30
A short reading from ‘Thus Spake the Buddha’ and a chant in the evening after the Arati.
Day-Long Retreat – Sat. April 28, 9:30AM –6:30PM
Ninety(90) people attended this 59th day-long retreat, consisting of 50 min guided meditation session by Swami Yogatmananda, two (1 ½ hr) discourses on ‘Vedantic Meditation’ by Swami Sarvapriyananda from Vedanta Society of New York. The first lecture was about learning to separate the ‘seen’ from the ‘seer’ and to see that the ‘Self’ is the seer that never becomes ‘seen’. The discussion was based on Sri Sankaracharya’s book Drg-drsya Viveka. The second lecture was on Non-dual Vedanta practices of Yama-Niyama etc as described by Sankaracharya’s book ‘Aparokshanubhuti’. There was devotional music/singing segment; a 1 ½ hr Q/A session conducted by both Swamis, refreshment breaks, meals and singing of Rama-nama-sankirtanam.
Click here to see the photos of above events.
Swami Teaches at La Salle Academy, Tue, May 01, 8:30 am -12:10 pm
As per practice of 10+ years, Swami went to the La Salle academy to give classes (4) to high school students on basic Hinduism.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study class – Jnana Yoga (a book by Swami Vivekananda) – Fri. April 27
Class #94: The Real and the Apparent Man (Ch 16)
Through the practice of Jnana Yoga, the yoga of discernment, our minds are trained to discern what is permanent and what is impermanent, what is real and what is unreal. To learn to separate these, is very important for a blissful life. When we learn to separate these things, we see that we are not limited by this body, we are all that IS and we reach that permanence, that immortality which is the all absorbing true nature of reality. According to the Vedantic psychology of cognition and response, we cognize something and according to that cognition is our response. The response is not according to the reality but how we see it. The solution to our problem of suffering lies in correcting the erroneous cognition. And that is the method of Jnana Yoga. We must separate likes and dislikes from right and wrong. Our life will accordingly change because our cognition will change. If we understand impermanent as impermanent, then we don’t get attached; that is the quality of recognizing impermanence. The moment we see the impermanent as impermanent, our cognition becomes right and we attain to freedom. Each created thing in the universe can be seen both as an individual and aggregate. Similarly, the whole universe and whole consciousness can be seen as the universal soul. And this universal soul is, in Vedanta, identified with the expression Ishwara, or God. There are separate entities in us: the body with its external and internal movements, and the mind which acts on the body and makes the body function. Lastly, there is the soul who receives the results of whatever this machine (both external and internal) does. Are soul, mind, and body separate entities functioning together or are three stages of one being (e.g. coffee, milk, and sugar vs. the leaves, stems, and roots of a tree)? For dualists, souls have pleasure-pain and other various qualities. For the non-dualists, souls have no qualities. For both dualists and non-dualists, the soul is not made of matter and energy (akasha and prana). The samskaras, or latent impressions, of an individual become manifest according to the situation within which one finds oneself. Therefore, it is very important to keep holy company, which will provide good circumstances for the manifestation of spiritual thoughts and actions.
Sunday Talk – Be a Light unto Yourself – Apr. 29
A Buddha is born whenever anyone becomes enlightened. The Buddha told his disciple Ananda to verify awakening for himself. Toward the end of his life, the Buddha’s message to his disciples was: Hold onto the truth and be lamps unto yourself. By surrendering to a God-like being, we may give up refuge in money and in ego, but the danger is that we will become complacent and feel that we do not have to do anything to attain enlightenment. The Buddha said to his disciples that we are not to depend on anything outside. This echoes the statement in Bhagavad Gita that we our best friend and our worst enemy. We blame others, and this does not solve our problems. The Buddha said not to cling to anything with name and form, since it is unstable and impermanent. The body changes and dies. He said not to cling to the body’s cravings, so they will not become our cravings. Thoughts come and go. When we have a good thought, we should act on it before it goes away. When we have a bad thought, we should postpone acting on it, so it will go away. The idea of truth is innate in us, and uncreated. We need to hold onto the truth as our lamp.
Study Class – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play – Tue. May 01
Page 414-416: Ordinary human beings have to go through the whole life of sadhana to get liberated. They come to the world as bound souls due to the result of their desires and past actions. But the divine incarnations are not bound to come to this world. Out of compassion for the humanity, they choose to be born in this world for the sole purpose of helping the other human beings to attain liberation.
Sri Ramakrishna came to this world and practiced various spiritual disciplines, to set an example in front of the earnest spiritual aspirants. Totapuri taught him the ultimate non dual discipline of spiritual realization, which Sri Ramakrishna realized in very short time. This was not quite acceptable to his other Guru (Bhairavee Brahmani) of Tantra Sadhana. She thought that this path is not conducive for a devotee of God. Totapuri and Bhairavi Brahmani were both the followers of different paths. They both appreciated Sri Ramakrishna’s readiness and expertise to follow their respective disciplines, but at the same time could not recognize his extraordinary capacity to master every single spiritual discipline.
Sri Ramakrishna could excel in all these paths easily as he gave up all the desires at the very outset of his spiritual quest. He could recognize the falsity of the world. Similarly he never cared for public recognition. His entire life was driven by the love of God. He gave up everything except the truth at the feet of divine mother. He practiced truthfulness to such an extent that everything he spoke came to be true.