Swami travels to Rochester, NY:
Swami will be travelling to Rochester NY on Fri Dec 13 afternoon and will be back on Sat 14th evening. He will give a lecture on Fri at a devotee’s home and at the Hindu temple of Rochester on Sat morning.
NO DAYLONG MEDITATION THIS SAT Dec 14:
Although announced to be a day for the Monthly Day-long Meditation, in the wake of the full-day program next day due to Holy Mother’s Birth Anniversary function, the day-long meditation has been shifted to next Saturday – Dec 21.
Sun, Dec 15, 11 am to 7 pm: Holy Mother’s Birthday Celebration:
Worship, music, readings, Prasad-lunch, video, Symposium
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Dec. 13
|7:00 pm: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 pm: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, A video Lecture by Swami Anubhavananda
|Sat. Dec. 14
|8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Dec. 15
|11:00 am-7:00 pm: Day-long Celebration Holy Mother Sarada Devi’s Birthday
The program will consist of Worship Ritual, devotional singing, reading, flower-offering, lunch-Prasad, video, symposium on Life and teachings of Sri Sarada Devi, Samkirtan.
|Tue. Dec. 17
|7:00 pm: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 pm:Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
|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
|(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.
Salutations to Swami Premananda:
Thu Dec 05; Special Chant & worship in the morning; Birthday-song and bio-reading was done after the evening Arati.
Special Lecture by Swami Satyamayananda on MANY ASPECTS OF YOU – Sun Dec 08, 5:00-6:00 pm.
About 30+ devotees attended the lecture.
It was followed by music concert 6:15-7:45 Vinay Desai on Santoor accompanied by Rajesh Pai on Tabla. The concert was well-appreciated. 25-30 attended.
Daylong Spiritual Retreat: Sat, Dec 07, 10 am to 7 pm
Topic: Songs of Divine Love from various traditions.
30 attended. Six songs were discussed. 1. Yajnyavalkya-Maitreyi dialogue, 2. Song of Songs 3. Spiritual Canticle of the Soul, 4. Gopika Gitam, 5. Hafiz’s ‘Stairway…’ 6. Kazi Nzarul song on Mother Shyama. There was guided meditation, devotional music, question-answer session too.
Click here to view photos.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Dec. 06 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 49 : Chapter 6, Verses 19-21:
We all want to be immortal; our desire for immortality is so deep-rooted that it’s impossible to imagine our own death. Yet we cannot realize our immortality while remaining identified with the body. We have to learn the truth that, “I am not body, I am not anything that is changing.” This knowledge is our bridge to immortality.
We do not think much about God when life seems to be going our way. But when things go wrong? We frequently turn to God to ease our suffering. The Buddha taught that desire was the cause of all suffering; hence, removal of desire results in removal of suffering. Knowing God, realizing that we are divine, suffering ends. Without realization of God, we will have to be able to “roll the skies like a mat” in order to find peace. Which is simpler? God is within our very selves. If we practice, we will gradually achieve the wisdom that, “I am all-pervading Reality.” Our attachments are so deep, they are not easily removed. We must keep our mind on a leash, so to speak, and not let it be drawn to worldly things. This is austerity. When we feel drawn to something, we should ask ourselves, “Am I drawn there for wisdom, or for enjoyment?” Both, self-effort (devotion, austerity) and God’s grace are necessary for us to succeed on the spiritual path.
Sunday Service, Dec. 08 – The Many Aspects of You – a talk by Swami Satyamayananda
The opening song was Tell Me Mother, written by Sravani Bhattacharjee, sung by Peter Travisano.
We have many aspects that we are not aware of. The mind is deceptive. We need to know which aspects within us hinder or enhance us, and then to integrate our sub-personalities. The mind is not in our control at all. There are five senses outside, and three senses inside us (the first aspect). They are the brain knowing where the body is, knowing when we are hungry or thirsty, and having a sense of balance. The second aspect is the personality, consisting of language, thoughts, feelings and actions, etc. The third aspect is our evolution to protect us from what would make us ill, and our morality. We do not need a book to know that we should not lie, cheat and murder. The fourth aspect is the ideal self, in which we can be the best. The fifth aspect is derivative of this, in which we are the best in the world. We get out of the many aspects by combining the four yogas. Through karma yoga, what we throw out comes back to us (like smiling and loving others). Through bhakti yoga, we replace our image with the chosen Ideal, suffusing our aspects with the Divine. Through raja yoga, we stay in the present, rather than the past and the future. Through jnana yoga, we face ourselves, which takes courage. Through a combination of these, our real aspect arises, and we become immortal.
Tuesday, Dec. 10 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
As a Guru – His Attitude Towards Mathur Chapter 6 Page # 484-485:
Sri Ramakrishna’s body was used as a machine for a divine purpose. Is the divine power manifest only in the incarnations or is it also manifest in ordinary people? The divine power manifests in varying degrees in incarnations and in ordinary people but it does manifest in both. Every character in this creation has a role to play. Ordinary people are confused about their role, what they are seeking and want to run after various things. They need to be taught who they really are, what to seek and how to seek it. This is the role that God-incarnations play – to teach us – and the divine power abundantly manifests in them to influence the ordinary people to follow them. One cannot resist the power of God-incarnations, when one encounters it. More broadly, the influence of incarnations gets into the mass psyche of a populace and we see this manifest in tiny expressions of awe and wonder (e.g. Oh Jeez, or Hey Rama) even though we may not mean to refer to God when we utter these expressions. The expression of this power is so high in incarnations because they have no sense of ego. Sri Ramakrishna, for example, used to completely lose Himself when He worshipped the Divine Mother and saw Her as a living presence that talked to Him. He treated anything that the Divine Mother said to Him as a command.
Ordinary people mold their lives according to the incarnations. Hence, there are some similarities between their lives. While we may not relinquish our egos, but we do experience situations when our lives take a course despite our wishes and plans. Some subtle power seems to direct our lives and make these things happen. As Mathur Babu came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna, his life was impacted by this contact and he developed tremendous faith in Sri Ramakrishna despite his initial skepticism. His life is a great illustration of gradual manifestation of Sri Ramakrishna’s power of guru. God is always present in us, we should meditate on this idea and make it manifest in our lives – this is an important idea in Hinduism. Our worship of God is centered around where our knowledge of God is. Sri Ramakrishna used to worship Divine Mother in His own person.