Coronavirus Alert: TILL MAY 08 (OR FURTHER NOTICE) – ALL CLASSES AND LECTURES AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE ON YOUTUBE CHANEL OF VEDANTA SOCIETY OF PROVIDENCE.
(Connect to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw)
All other daily and weekly programs (meditations, prayers, Karma Yoga) are suspended for the public. STATE OF RI IS UNDER ‘STAY HOME ORDERS’ FOR A GOOD REASON.
Thu, April 30, 11 am: Swami will be participating on Zoom in an Interfaith Vigil arranged by RI Interfaith Coalition, and will give a short talk.
Sun, May 03, 7:30-9:00pm: Swami will be giving a special Youtube talk (from the regular Vedanta.Providence Channel) to devotees from New York Metropolitan Area. Others also can join.
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 [email protected]m.org for an appointment.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. May 01||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Sun. May 03||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘Atman Alone Abides’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Tue. May 05||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
Sat April 25, 8:00- 9:00 pm EST: Swami gave a Youtube talk to a group in Colorado on ‘Practical Vedanta’. A good number of Colorado were listening for the first time to thoughts on Vedanta. There were many nice questions asked by the audience.
Tue, April 28: Birth Anniversary of Shankaracharya: There was a Special food-offering in the shrine at noon and a chant before the evening class.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Apr 24 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 16: Meditation on The Cosmic Form
With seven days left until his death, King Parikshit beseeches the sage Suka to narrate to him all the things necessary to realize God at this juncture. The king asks Sage Suka the following questions: “How is Dharana (holding onto God) practiced and what should be taken as the object of meditation? How does it help us to overcome our weaknesses and impurities?” The Sage tells: “Having accomplished the proper postures steadying the breath, control of the organs (asana, pranayama, pratyhara), one should meditate on the gross form of the Lord. This universe, observed by the external bodily sense organs, is the grossest of the gross form of the Lord.” We begin meditation by meditating on God in the form of a human being. The whole universe, too, is verily that divine being. If we think on God as the Virat Purusha (the cosmic, gross being), then we will turn later to meditation on the mind of that being. Through meditation we can bring that all pervading reality within us, thus meditating on God as our indwelling reality. We must conceive of God as the summation of all that is beautiful; in this way, the mind is naturally attracted to and remains with that form. Moreover, we must conceive of this indwelling God as endowed with all great virtues and all blessed qualities. If looked upon as a condensation of the whole universe, the mind more easily remains fixed on the object of meditation. God’s form is a compression of the whole universe; there is absolutely nothing apart from the indwelling Lord. This makes possible Dharana: there is none else but God, hold onto That and thus we will be able to reach the goal of life.
Sunday Service, Apr 26 – God Incarnations: Fixers of the Broken Ladder
Evolution can be represented by the chakras. 1) Anus: Holding onto mere existence, 2) Genitals: Procreation, 3) Navel: Accumulating and using knowledge. The ladder can only take us up to this level, for it is broken here. Being tied down by body, senses and mind, human beings cannot reach to the higher rungs of the ladder. All major religions have a founder who is human, but yet not human (a representative of God). Muhammad is called a messenger, Jesus is called the son of God, and Hindus have incarnations of God. They fix the ladder for us, pull us up to the higher rungs of the ladder. We are scared to give up our identity with the body and mind. God incarnations come down to our level so we can form a bond with them. Their love is unselfish. We get tied to them by love, and not by intellectual sermons. An Incarnation acts like a human being, but their awareness is divine. They come to liberate us. People thought that Sri Ramakrishna was a simple priest, who couldn’t even do that right. They thought he was crazy. But he is like the hole in the wall through which we see the infinite. We have to take the help of Incarnations to reach the following stages: 4) Heart: I am consciousness, and the body and mind are subservient to me, 5) Throat: I control the body and mind, 6) Between the eyebrows: My true divine nature is clearly seen, but there is still some ego, and 7) Above the head: The wall goes away, and nothing more can be described.
Tuesday, Apr 28 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Pg #521-524: As a Guru, the Master’s relationship with his own Gurus
The conversation continued about who were the four providers of Sri Ramakrishna as mentioned by Him – Mathur Babu was the first provider who took care of the Master for 14 years. Shambhu Mallik – after Mathur Babu passed away. Surendra Nath Mitra, who provided for the Master when he was in Cossipore, is considered as the half provider. Balaram Basu and Sara Bull are two potential candidates to complete that list. There is no definitive conclusion about the remaining providers, though Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna does mention Balram Bose as one.
Sri Ramakrishna’s gurus approached him on their own accord. Master learned different ways of spiritual practices from each one of them only to conclude that all different paths reach the same Supreme Goal. One unique thing about Master’s relationship with his Gurus is he helped them to overcome their little shortcomings and to progress further.
One of his guru was Bhairavi Brahmani. She stayed with the Master for the longest duration as compared to his other gurus. She was born in a Brahmin family and was initiated in the tantra philosophy. This philosophy teaches the proven techniques for spiritual development. But these can be applied depending upon the nature and the constitution of the spiritual seeker. As per Tantra, there are 64 techniques and Bhairavee was well versed in all of those. While staying with the Master, she experienced the sakhya (attitude of a friend) and Vatsalya (attitude of a mother towards her child) attitudes. She loved the Master as ‘Gopal’ which was equally reciprocated.
Bhairavi was very beautiful and pure. Even Mathur Babu was initially skeptical and asked some taunting questions casting aspersions on her character; but was later much impressed by her pure, noble nature and many good qualities. Master rarely spoke about her early life. It was revealed to her that she would instruct three spiritual aspirants including Master – who happened to be the third one.