Thu, Dec 24, 7:00-8:30 pm: Christmas Eve Celebration
Sun Dec 13, 7:30-8:30 pm: Swami will speak on ‘Strong Resolve – A Key Requirement for Spiritual Life’. The talk is mainly for the devotees from Queens/Bronx etc areas in NY; but anyone can join.
Look for the announcements about the Jan 01, 2021 event of Kalpataru Day and Holy Mother’s Birthday Celebrations in the NEXT Wed (12/16) newsletter
Of course, all lectures/classes will continue to be available LIVE and stored on our Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw) too.
Entrance door remains open for limited times as follows:
- Tue & Fri lectures: 6:45 – 7:35 pm
- Sun services: 4:45 – 5:05 pm
- Morning meditation : 5:45 – 5:55 am
- Evening meditation: 6:45 – 7:15 pm
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Dec 11||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sun. Dec 13||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘Is Soul Inside the Body?’ by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and meditation|
|Tue. Dec 15||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda|
|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 5:55 am
|Evening||(Except on Sundays)
7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Bhuteshananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all, but one must enter before 7:10 am
Day-long Meditation on Sat, 12/05 was participated in by 8 devotees.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)
Friday, Dec 04 – Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
At the end of time, the universe dissolves into a causal state known as pralaya. Vishnu is laying on his serpent bed, all alone and in the blissful self-awareness of cosmic slumber, with an “alarm-clock” by His side to wake him up at the appropriate time. As the four Yugas ended, the Time tells him to wake up. All the Lord’s activities and powers were held in abeyance till then. A lotus bud springs up from Vishnu’s navel, all the powers of the Lord manifesting in it. Brahmaa is seated on the lotus, which symbolizes God’s creative tendencies and the expressive manifestation of God’s power. From there creation will begin. All energies and latent knowledge (Vedas) have become concentrated in the form of Brahmaa, who is responsible for discharging the duties necessitated by creation. Brahma is self-born and comes out from the luminous waters. There is no power apart from God. Everything has to come from Him. Brahmaa wondered: “Who am I? What am I doing in this lovely lotus? Where is the source of this lotus?” He goes down the hollow stem of it to explore. He could not find anything even after a big span of TIME—the rolling wheel of the Lord which consumes all. Defeated in this outward search, he entered within and remained merged in samadhi for a hundred years. The outward search does not reveal much. As spiritual aspirants we should use the time allotted to us to go into meditation to develop the inner-understanding by which the truth will be revealed.
Sunday, Dec 06 – Balancing Act
Every human being feels the problem of attaining balance in life. We pay attention to earning money, our family, health issues, and social and moral obligations. Sri Ramakrishna said that we have to do spiritual practice in the midst of these daily challenges. Thinking that we will realize God after other things are taken care of is like thinking that we will take a dip in the ocean after the waves subside. Everyone has some kind of war going on in their life. Sri Krishna said in the Gita to do our work so that it becomes our spiritual practice. Work is binding only if we are addicted to the results, and if we think that we are the doer. Work is not a distraction. It is a tool to create balance in life. The enlightened King Janaka asked one seeker to walk around with a pot of oil on his head, carefully observing what he saw, not spilling a drop. The seeker paid attention to the pot and observed. King Janaka asked another seeker to eat delicious food with a sword hanging by a thin thread over his head. This was to convince him of the impermanence of life. Death can come at any time. Holy Mother had to face so many problems in life, including health problems, selfish family members, and clamoring devotees. She handled them all with spiritual consciousness, not once losing balance. Holy company helps us to keep balance. Being in balance means that God is the center of our life
Tuesday, Dec 08 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Page #572-573 : Volume 4, Chapter 2 – Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru, and Sadhus of Various Orders
Sri Ramakrishna’s teachership awakens the inner divine presence that is already within us. When the mendicants visiting Dakshineshwar came in contact with Sri Ramakrishna, their internal divinity was awakened. Existence-Knowledge-Bliss (Satchitananda, which was a later term, the original Vedantic term was Asti, Bhati Priya), this is the essential nature of this internal divinity that is Brahman. These are not qualities of Brahman but its spontaneous nature. These three coexist. The bliss of Brahman cannot be compared with the bliss that we get from the objects as that bliss is not real but the Bliss of Brahman is real. The objects don’t bind us. It is the subject-object awareness that binds us. Sri Ramakrishna is the breaker of the bondage arising from this subject-object awareness.
The visiting mendicants used to discuss various Vedantic topics in the presence of Sri Ramakrishna, who was at that time suffering from severe dysentery. Whenever they faced some knotty problems, the Divine Mother used to reveal the solution to Sri Ramakrishna that used to satisfy the mendicants. He never harbored an illusion that He will solve other person’s problems. He used to transmit the message that He received from Divine Mother, just like a perfect instrument that does not interfere with the original message. One of these mendicants used to experience this Bliss by seeing God in everything around him. Another mendicant looked like a ghoul but was mad with divine consciousness.