!!! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year !!!
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Sun. Dec 29, 5:00-6:00 pm – Special Sunday Service lecture by Rajagopalan Rengarajan on ‘NEW BEGINNINGS’.
Tue. Dec 31: After the regular class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, devotees will welcome the New Year, with the AULD LANG SYNE song and apple-cider & fortune cookies.
Wed. Jan 01 2020: Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpa-Taru) Day Wed, Jan 01, 11:00 am – 2 pm
Worship, Music, Readings, Reflections, Potluck Lunch, Video
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Dec. 27||NO CLASS|
|Sat. Dec. 28||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Dec. 29||5:00 – 6:00pm: Sun Service Lecture on ‘NEW BEGINNINGS’ by Rajagopalan Rengarajan; FOLLOWED BY Arati, Soup Supper.|
|Tue. Dec. 31||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, followed by singing the Year-end Auld Lang Syne song with apple cider and fortune cookies etc.|
|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.
Monthly Daylong Silent Meditation- Sat, Dec 21: Noon to 8:00 pm:
10 devotees participated for different times during the day.
Swami Shivananda Birthday- Sun Dec 22, 2019:
A special morning chant and worship and ‘the disciple-saluting song’ after the evening Arati was offered.
Christmas Eve: Tuesday Dec 24– 7:00-8:30 pm
A well-attended (45-50) program included Short Worship, Christmas Carols and other music, readings, reflection, dinner.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Dec. 20 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 50, Ch 6, Verses 21-23:
With austerities and grace of God, sage Svetasvatara (=whose senses and mind have become pure and controlled) proclaimed the knowledge of Brahman to a group of sincere, spiritual aspirants, who have given up all the worldly pursuits and social ties (=atyasramibhyah). The ‘Asrama System’ prescribes a graded evolution for human beings during their life span, from the early age, where a person is trained first to acquire knowledge, virtue, and become a wise and responsible person of society by practice of continence, strict discipline and regimented, yet free life-style (=brahmacarya), then to be a householder carrying the burden to responsibly rear a good, virtuous family (=Grihastha), then to retire from social and family responsibilities and attachments and devote completely to God (Vanaprastha) and lastly to life of total renunciation of the worldly ties (=Sannyasa) and directing all energies solely towards God-realization. The Upanisad means that the teachings are meaningful fully for a person in this supreme stage of life. One can of course learn them in earlier stages too, but the true import of that learning will be available only when one has renounced everything else, focusing the life completely on realization of Brahman. It should not be taught to someone who is not a follower. This is not a topic for academic study. The last verse categorically, emphatically states that these verses in the Upanisad will reveal their meaning only to those who have supreme devotion to God and the same devotion to Guru as well. Otherwise they remain only words.
Sunday Service, Dec. 22 – The Savior
The opening song was ‘Mary, Did You Know?’, sung by Peter Travisano.
Incarnations of God look like human beings so we can connect with them. We need to be saved when we are in danger, pain, or fear. We feel lost, and the mind is filled with a thousand worries. Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Lord Krishna said: “Those who understand the divine nature of my birth and activities, O Arjun, upon leaving the body, do not have to take birth again, but come to my eternal abode.” One who follows them becomes one with the Divine. Sri Shankaracharya said that when death comes, secular learning is of no help. When our attention is on names and forms, our actions accumulate more names and forms. The Lord saves us from attraction of names and forms. Life is filled with unending greed. We suffer and cause suffering to others. Someone has to show us that we are going the wrong way. We may get things, but we do not get the happiness they promise. God is sitting in our heart as our conscience. Emotions and temptations do not let us act on what is right. The life of Jesus teaches us that we have to love God. When the devil said that Jesus could become the king of the world if he served him, Jesus said that he would serve only God. The path is not pleasant in the sense of ease, but there is joy in achieving it.