Music Concert on Sun April 28, 6:15-7:30: There is a change in the program announced in the Monthly Announcement. Now it will be: Sufi Music by Sarbpreet Singh and Mehr Kaur; well-known tabla-player Amritpal Singh will accompany.
Sat. May 11, 9:30 am to 7:00 pm: Spiritual Retreat by Swami Atmajnanananda, Vedanta Center, Gr Washington DC
Topic: Parliament of Religions (Christianity and Sikhism)
Prior Reg Required. Reg Fee: $30; (Discounted Fee: $20, if paid by April 28)
Click here for online registration.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. April 26||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. April 27||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
7:00pm – 8:00pm: Aarati (devotional singing, a short reading and meditation
|Sun. April 28||5:00-6:00 pm:Lecture: Swami will speak on ‘Interfaces Between Self, Mind & Body’
This will be followed by Music Concert.
|Tue. April 30||5:30-6:30 pm: HATHA YOGA class: Contact Vedanta Society by email or
contact Roshni Darnal at 401-226-5421
7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on 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, 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.
Thu April 18, 5:30-7:30 pm: Swami visited Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, for a panel discussion on Hinduism; the response was quite good. he returned on Fri morning.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Apr 19 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 27, Verses: Ch 3, 18-21:
All that is, is a manifestation of the one Self, appearing in many forms. While we are still attached to the world, our ego continues to grow; we must be determined to reduce the ego to nonexistence! Sri Ramakrishna used to share the following analogy: When vegetables are boiled in water on a stove, they “dance” vigorously in the water. Each vegetable thinks, “How nicely I am dancing, better than those other veggies.” Of course, it is the heat of the water which is making them dance. When the heat is turned off, they will cease to move. God is this heat, the supreme controller of everything. The little “I” (ego) has no power of its own.
The Divine Being moves everywhere, without legs, does everything without hands; sees everything, but has no eyes; it hears without having the ears. There is no raw material that God requires to create the forms of the world. That which is omnipotent is not dependent on raw material for creation, as we are. It’s difficult to wrap our minds around the fact that the Supreme Being is not bound by the limitations we experience; likewise He is not bound by the limitations of our rationality.
We are accustomed to making sacrifices (e.g. monetary) to appease our worldly desires. When we are finally able to control our worldly desires, and actions prompted by the desires, then we become free from sorrows. Sacrifice is no longer required. At this stage, we will see the Divine Being permeating everything. We will confidently declare that we are beyond birth and death, creation and destruction, because we are that very Self which exists beyond time, space, and causation.
Sunday, Apr 21: Rejoice! There is no Death for Us!
The opening and closing songs were I Wonder as I Wander, and My Lord What a Morning.
Easter brings the promise of escape from the jaws of death. Jesus’s last act was showering immortality on humankind. We are not the physical frame. We are the Self beyond death. We have an insatiable urge for freedom. Worldly freedoms are only partial. The main thing is spiritual resurrection. Father Thomas Merton said that we are called to experience resurrection in our own lives and Christ lives in us if we love one another. In the kingdom of the earth, everything perishes. Identification with the body and mind is universal. Spiritual life is not easy because of our addiction to matter. When we identify with the body, it is impossible to prevent sinful actions. The remembrance of death helps to be moral as, there is no point in cheating if we are about to die. Death comes soon for all of us. Spiritual life may seem difficult, but life is otherwise also full of difficulties. We must renounce our dread of freedom. We want more money and good health, but we do not want liberation. We do not want to give up the little self, which is necessary to attain the big Self. It takes more courage to face the truth than it does to face a cannon.
Tuesday, Apr 23 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru: Page # 449-450
Sri Ramakrishna had experienced dual, qualified non-dual and non-dual states. He perceived the variety in names and forms and dealt with them appropriately, but without losing the sight/ awareness of One intrinsic reality appearing in all these transitory forms. A coconut has a hard external shell and the soft pulp. But, the whole fruit is coconut. Similarly, Brahman is in the names and forms and the underlying oneness. We suffer because we think that the names and forms are real. We keep biting the external shell of the coconut and forget the pulp. We consider names and forms to be real and forget their core essence. Existence, Consciousness, Bliss come from God (are real) and name and form are products of Maya (illusion). Names and forms have no real substance so no real ability to attract. Hence the attraction with names and forms is momentary and leaves behind the addiction and bondage to them. The real source of attraction is Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.
When we introspect into who I am, we find that “I” is not the clothes, the body or the thoughts. Just like peeling an onion, nothing specific is left upon performing this analysis. What is left is beyond specification, nothing but God (as all specification is limiting). Through this underlying unity, Sri Ramakrishna experienced His identity with all other beings. Master’s “I” was always connected to the cosmic “I”. He could grasp the ideas within all the minds, because all ideas spring from the Cosmic I. So, when Sri Ramakrishna says that “I” am Divine, it is not a blasphemous or egoistic statement. It is another way of saying – God alone is. It is a statement of total surrender.
We don’t have this sense of intrinsic unity. Awareness of only separateness, sans underlying One-ness naturally leads to competition, jealousy and hatred. Killing and violence is rationalized in this awareness. Wherever there is “two”, there is fear – that leads to violence. This is the psychology of violence. Violence is not limited to killing, even hatred is a form of violence. The only way to stop violence is to become aware of the underlying unity. Until we get to this awareness, violence cannot be stopped. How do we realize this underlying unity? It can be done through the path of yoga. Bhakti Yoga is the realization of oneness through love, Karma Yoga through action, Jnana Yoga through discrimination and Raja Yoga through meditation.