THANK-‘FULL’ THANKS-GIVING WEEK to ALL!
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- Vedanta Bookstore opens on Tuesdays & Fridays from 6:15 PM until 7:00 PM;
and on Sundays from 4:00 PM – 5:00PM and again 6:15 PM until 7:00 PM
Day-long Retreat – Sat. Dec. 02
A day-long retreat from 10:00AM –7:00PM, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda on the topic: ‘Learning to Breathe’. Registration fee is $30.00/per person. $20.00/per person, if registered by Fri. Nov. 24. Registration available in the bookstore before classes. Click here for more information and online registration.
Salutations! – Tue. Nov. 28
The birth anniversary of Swami Premananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, will be observed on Tues. Nov. 28 in the morning with a chant and in the evening with a song, and short biography reading.
Hath Yoga Classes with Roshni Darnal– Tuesdays, 5:30 – 6:30pm
Appropriate for all levels.
$10.00 per Class; $40.00 for a two-month session
Click here to see the flyer.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, Nov. 24||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, Nov. 25||8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and chanting/singing
7:00 – 8:30 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|Sunday, Nov. 26||5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture – ‘Feeling Grateful: A Spiritual Practice’ by Swami Yogatmananda
6:00 – 6:15 PM: Aarati
6:15 – 7:30 PM: Soup Supper
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Meditation
|Tuesday, Nov. 28||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.
Swami visits Vedanta Society, NJ – Sat. Nov.18, 2:30-5:30 pm
Swami Yogatmananda conducted a half day retreat at Vedanta Society of NJ, Voorhees, NJ on ‘Raasa Leela” to about twenty-five devotees.
Vedanta Society of CT – Sun Nov. 19, 10:30am – 12:30 pm
Swami Yogatmananda delivered a talk on: ‘Divine-Incarnation’ at Vedanta Society CT, 100 Cherry Brook RD Canton CT, to about twenty devotees. Program included a short puja, music, and refreshments.
Sitar Concert – Sun. Nov. 19, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
About thirty music enthusiasts listened to Srinivas Reddy perform Classical Sitar, with Ajit Acharya accompanying on Tabla, and Davis Becker on Drone, in in the Lower Level.
Central Falls High School – Mon. Nov. 20
Swami conducted a 1-hour class, followed with Q/A session, on ‘Meditation’ ( focus on emotional balance, homeostasis) to about twenty-seven seniors in an Anatomy class at Central Falls High School, RI, Monday morning.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study class on Jnana Yoga – Fri. Nov. 17
Class #72 – Ch: The Cosmos (Microcosm) Pg 229 :
Jnana Yoga now presents the lecture Swami Vivekananda gave in New York on 26 January, 1896. When someone we are close to dies, we wonder if there is anything that survives after death. We see the changing forms around us—all bodies come and go—but their “changeability” can only exist in relation to something which is unchanging. What is this unchanging? To find this is the goal of all religions. Great teachers like Buddha and Jesus perceived the unchanging, and they can give us hints about how to realize it. But we still must endeavor to gain this knowledge for ourselves.
Our likes, dislikes, and desires cloud our understanding. If we remove this dross, our understanding will become pure and we will be able to realize the truth that, “I am all that is.” The distinction between “I” and “the world” will be overcome.
What is the nature of our perception? What role do the instruments of our senses play? Swamiji says that each of these instruments has added its own interference in our pursuit of the unchanging. Our sensory organs (eyes, ears, etc.), brain, mind, and intellect are not enough to perceive reality. These instruments are not in and of themselves alive. It is the soul that is conscious, alive. Everything else is inert.
Sunday Lecture – The Meaning of Raasa Leela – Sun. Nov. 19
The Srimad Bhagavatam is a purana, that gives spiritual truths through stories. Raasa is the essence of anything that allows us to enjoy it. Leela is God’s play. The Lord is the essence of joy, and there is no happiness apart from God. Krishna means that which attracts. All souls are gopis, and not just females. Krishna promised the gopis that he would play with them on the banks of the Yamuna. On that night of full-moon in the month of Kartik (Nov), Krishna played a tune on his flute to invite the gopis. The gopis dropped what they were doing, no matter what it was, and ran to Krishna, because God was calling, and all else was secondary. Krishna tested the gopis by trying to dissuade them, and they said they were unable to leave. Krishna agreed to play with them, like the Self and the body play with each other. Each gopi felt that she was alone with Krishna.
Then the gopis started to feel how great they were to be with Krishna, whereupon Krishna saw the ego in them, and he disappeared. The gopis lost all thought of themselves when they feared that thorns had pricked Krishna’s tender feet, and then he reappeared. Challenging Krishna, the gopis asked him if his love was like that of people who only love those who love them, of saints who love everyone, or of people who do not love anyone. Krishna replied that he had vanished so that their attraction to him would increase. Krishna is playing flute even now; those who are ready can hear it even now.
Study Class – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play – Tue. Nov. 21
Chapter: Sri Ramakrishna as Guru: Part 2 Vol 4 Preface: Pg 544-545
Preface to Volume 3: Written by Swami Saradananda
This is a very special biography as it lays special emphasis on the mental aspect of Sri Ramakrishna in addition to historical aspects of his physical actions. This mental aspect of the biography is very significant because this is what distinguishes humans from animals. The East has always emphasized the mental aspect. Hence, biographies of great personages like Buddha and Shankara are not accurately available with respect to historical dates and physical events but their ideas, teachings and philosophies are emphasized and well preserved. Swami Saradananda had witnessed various mental states of Sri Ramakrishna and his communion with the divine and tried to record these sublime phenomena. Sri Ramakrishna’s life was unique because he Himself went through different religious paths and then declared the truth that various paths lead to the same goal. It is not easy to understand and express this, unless one undergoes spiritual practices on his/her own. . Swami Saradananda did spiritual practice with such great intensity that he could see Sri Ramakrishna in his visions and experience the truths laid out by Him.
He also compared the experiences of Sri Ramakrishna with great personalities like Krishna, Buddha, Jesus etc. Even though God appears to us in different bodies, there is a common thread of divine actions and teachings amongst these appearances. Comparing experiences across these incarnations helps us understand similar events and teachings. Swami Saradananda himself raises the doubt on whether such representations can really be accurate and valuable as they are open to interpretations by the author. He explains that while he has made the best possible effort to represent Sri Ramakrishna’s mental phenomena accurately, any gaps in representing them may be attributed to gaps in his understanding or his inability to express. But, on the other hand, any attempt to understand the divine lives, however limited, helps us to broaden our thinking and does not limit the divine lives in any way. Hence, such an attempt is not reprehensible but very beneficial. Limitations in this biography do not in any way limit the greatness of Sri Ramakrishna.
The biography is extremely valuable to the spiritual aspirants. It is only an expression of his humility that he accepts gaps in his understanding and limitations in his ability to express.