Coronavirus Alert: TILL MAY 08 (OR FURTHER NOTICE) – ALL CLASSES AND LECTURES AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE ON YOUTUBE CHANEL OF VEDANTA SOCIETY OF PROVIDENCE.
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All other daily and weekly programs (meditations, prayers, Karma Yoga) are suspended for the public.
Sun, May 10, 10:30-Noon: Special Youtube lecture by Swami Yogatmananda for Vedanta Society of CT on Sri Ramakrishna -Eternal Image of Bliss
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; I am EVER FREE. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. May 08||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Sun. May 10||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘Buddha’s Practical Solution to Problem of Suffering’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Tue. May 12||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
Thu, April 30, 11 am: Swami participated on Zoom in an Interfaith Vigil arranged by RI Interfaith Coalition, and gave a short talk.
Sun, May 03, 7:30-8:45pm: Swami delivered a special Youtube talk (from the regular Vedanta.Providence Channel) to devotees from New York Metropolitan Area.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, May 01 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 17: Culmination of Meditation
What does it mean to “give up the body”? It is not the same as death. Those of us who remain ignorant will die, because we have not yet differentiated between “I” and “the body.” But those who have reached a high state of yoga can give up the body. There are two routes by which the gross and subtle body are given up. First, the direct approach, wherein one merges with God. The attachment to the body, the intellect, and the individual soul, which is bound up with the body-mind complex, are all dissolved in the Universal Spirit. Through this process of gradual dissolution, the aspirant is established in peace, in one-without-second consciousness. Everything has been accomplished. There is another, indirect way that the body is given up, after stopping at a stage called ‘Brahmaloka’. Each stage must be analyzed and considered before moving to the next. The “vertical intellect” must be employed, which allows us to analyze each station or plane, and move on if we determine it cannot satisfy us. By this vertical motion we move from gross to subtle, from effect to cause, from tree to seed. This is the process of sadhana. Through meditation, we can transcend what is superficial and get to the cause. The process of transcendence begins with the perceived universe, which includes the body. Its causes are the material gross elements; the cause of these gross elements is the brain-program, made of subtle elements. These are caused by the ego principle (ahamkara), which is caused by cosmic intelligence (mahat), which is caused by the three gunas–tamas, rajas, and saatva. These three principles dissolve in prakriti, the unmanifest, which is inseparable from God. Here, finally, we have arrived at the goal. This is Sat-Chit-Ananda, existence-knowledge-bliss, and from here the soul never returns to the body.
Sunday Service, May 03 – Atman Alone Abides
The purpose of life is to experience The Truth: the Self Alone Is. The Atman is all-pervasive, consumes everything, and cannot be localized. We begin the search with what we are sure of: I am. What about what I see in the world? What about so many ‘I’s and different creatures? Everyone says that ‘I’ and the world are real. The Aitareya Upanishad says that: In the beginning, the Atman alone was. All others are coming and going. Everything has a birth and death. Before birth and after death, the names and forms are not there. This is true for animals, microbes and inanimate objects. When we wake up from sleep, the dream is not there. Similarly, the world is an illusory appearance. Sri Shankaracharya says that even now, the Atman alone is. He says that the names and forms are superimposed on the Atman. We remove ignorance through analysis, meditation, and selfless work. Sri Ramakrishna was reminded by the Divine Mother that he was eating through all mouths. As ignorance recedes, we can feel what was formerly only known intellectually. A form of God is real for a spiritual aspirant until he or she transcends form. We need to worship it as the Atman, as our Self. If we do not believe a theorem, we will not make an effort to prove it. Theorems turn out to be true, even though they seem to be counter-intuitive.
Tuesday, May 05 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Pg #523-525: Master’s relationship with his Gurus
This biography of Sri Ramakrishna is not chronological. Each chapter focuses on a specific aspect of Sri Ramakrishna’s life. This chapter is about gurubhava (teachership) aspect of His life. More specifically, it is about His relationship with His teachers and how He helped His teachers make spiritual progress. Brahmani is the first teacher that is discussed. She was a very advanced spiritual aspirant. She was an expert in Vishnu Tantra. She had a revelation that she would have three disciples and Sri Ramakrishna was the third one. Her other two disciples Girija and Chandra were also very advanced spiritual aspirants but had not realized God and had acquired occult powers.
Spiritual practice helps you plug holes and conserve spiritual energy. As this energy accumulates in a person, it naturally leads to higher powers. If our tendencies and desires are not controlled we apply these powers for the fulfillment of these. This may happen consciously or unconsciously. This causes the spiritual growth to get stunted. Hence, we need to be very careful. More power you have, more control is required so that these powers are not misused. If these powers are misused, we come to a downfall because one may do socially unacceptable things by using these powers and also lose spiritual discipline, causing the power to wane.
Our ego is the source of all our problems. Even when we have the idea of doing good to the world, our ego connects us to our subjects and binds us. Even well-meaning people think that if they have more money they can help more people. Jesus had warned against this idea and not be tempted by this form of the devil. One should stay focused on God. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that Narendranath (Swami Vivekananda) is dhyana siddha – not only was his meditation perfect but he always kept a portion of his mind on God. Once, He offered all his occult powers to Narendra. And Narendra refused to receive these powers till he realized God. Once Narendra acquired the power of clairvoyance. But Sri Ramakrishna warned him about this and asked him not to meditate for a few days. He warned that occult powers should be treated like excreta and should be completely avoided.