Swami Travels to Atlanta and Augusta GA, Sat Nov 30-Mon Dec 02. He will be giving a retreat on Sat on Meister Eckhart in Vedanta Center Atlanta; will also be giving lectures at Augusta and Athens. Will be back on Tue morning.
Special Lecture by Chester Boncek on Transcendentalism – Sun Dec 01, 5:00-6:00 pm
Daylong Spiritual Retreat: Sat, Dec 07, 10 am to 7 pm. Topic: Songs of Divine Love from various traditions.
Registration necessary. Reg Fee: $30 ($20 if registered by Dec 01)
Click here to register online.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Nov. 29||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Nov. 30||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Dec. 01||5:00-6:00 pm: Lecture by Chester Boncek on Thanscendentalism, followed by Arati and Soup Supper|
|Tue. Dec. 03||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: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 ‘BOOK OF DAILY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS’ by Swami Paramananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Sabad Kirtan (Sikh Devotional Music) by Amritpal Sing, accompanied by Rajesh Pai on Tabla on Sun Nov 24, 6:00-7:45 pm.
A nice event but only about 15 could attend, may be due to bad weather.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Nov. 22 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 47 : Chapter 6, Verses 14-17:
The practice of devotion illuminates our lives by illuminating our subconscious. Devotion should not be thought of as being in conflict with knowledge; in fact, the great saints combined both the paths. Through devotion, we strive to realize that the divine is transcendent over everything and immanent in everything. The light of the Self is self-luminous. By its light, everything is illumined. We should direct our love toward that which is our constant companion: the Self. God, the true Self, never leaves us.
What is the “I”? All matter is pervaded by a conscious, living being, which is the “I.” Vedanta uses the analogy of the swan floating in water. Water represents all matter. The swan is the atman, or Self, which floats on the water. The self is also described as fire, because knowledge of the self has the capacity to burn all our karma (sins) away. Without realizing the Self, we cannot erase karma, because we create new karmas while trying to erase the old! The only way to truly get rid of karmas is to devote ourselves to God.
God manifests as the good as well as the evil. He is Jesus as well as those who crucified him. Vedanta does not try to skirt around that. The so-called good and the so-called bad, the saints and sinners, are manifestations of the same one divine being.
Sunday Service, Nov. 24 – Being Grateful to Unseen Givers – Swami Yogatmananda
The Manusmṛiti lists five sacrifices to acknowledge the many gifts we receive. Many microbes, and plants and animals that we eat for food, sacrifice their lives to keep us alive. We should be grateful to the seen and unseen creatures that help us. Human beings develop our lives by learning, which builds on previous learning, going back to ancient times. We can be grateful to the seen and unseen teachers who have formed the basis of our education. We perform this sacrifice by striving to acquire and distribute more and more knowledge. The sages called rishis (means one who sees) transmitted knowledge that is beyond the senses, for the here and the hereafter. A sacrifice to the sages is reading the scriptures daily. Our parents, and their parents, and their parents, and so on, have done much for us, so we are indebted to them. We cannot give to unseen parents, but we can feel grateful for them. These sacrifices reduce the ego when we know we have gotten our existence from so many sources. We can say prayers for the natural powers that give us life, such as the sun and water. Many creatures help to maintain the ecological balance. We can give proper respect to creatures such as spiders and birds. We can give them food every day. When we respond to connections in our lives, gratefulness becomes more meaningful.
Tuesday, Nov. 26 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5 As a Guru in His Youth Pages: 479-481
This biography brings out the Divine aspect of Sri Ramakrishna and His human nature. As humans, we know suffering for a fact and we all want to escape suffering. But, we do not know how to remove this suffering. To teach us how to do this, is the purpose of the advent of God in human form. This is also the reason to study Vedanta – for elimination of suffering and experiencing the highest Bliss.
In this chapter, we see how Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru removes the obstacles from the path of a student. Sri Ramakrishna could clearly see the minds of people. We don’t really know about what is going on in our minds. But, Sri Ramakrishna could clearly see that and apply appropriate methods of correction. In this book, there are only a few characteristic examples that illustrate how Sri Ramakrishna could see the minds of people and remove the obstacles in their progress. One such example was when Sri Ramakrishna slapped Rani Rasmani. This method was very strange because Sri Ramakrishna was only a salaried priest employed by a very rich and powerful Rani. It is even stranger that the Rani did not respond with anger or revenge but accepted the punishment and benefited from the underlying teaching. When the power of God arises in a teacher, it becomes irresistible and ordinary people get humbled by this powe, even against their own wishes. We can make two types of mistakes in recognizing such teachers – either see them as ordinary humans and miss their Divinity altogether or see them as only Divine and revere and worship them but miss the relevance to our human lives. Sri Ramakrishna did not have any external characteristics like learning, oratory etc. that would attract us. Only if we got attracted by His purity, love of God and devotion we could benefit from His life.