Sarada Devi Puja/Worship Day – Sun Dec 30, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Program consists of ritual puja/worship; flower offering by devotees; prasad luncheon; a video on Sri Sarad Devi; some devotional music; 5pm – 6pm ‘Symposium’; followed by Aarati and chanting. All are welcome to attend all or any part of the events.
Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpataru) Day Celebration – Tue: Jan 01, 2019, 11 am-3 pm
NO ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA AND HIS DIVINE PLAY’ CLASS and NO HATHA YOGA CLASS on Tue. Jan. 01
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Dec. 28
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Dec. 29
|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. Dec. 30
|11:00 AM – 7:00 PM: Birth-Day Celebration of Holy Mother
|Tue. Jan. 01
|11:00 AM – 3:00 PM: Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpataru) Day Celebration
No Evening Study Class
|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
|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.
Swami Visits Livingstone, NJ – Sat Dec 22
After the 11am guided meditation and Prayer-music, Swami left for the Shilpa & Mihir Shah’s home in Livingstone, NJ. He spoke on Holy Mother and Sri Ramakrishna and answered the questions. About 60 devotees attended. He returned late at night.
CHRISTMAS EVE CELEBRATION – Mon Dec 24, 7:00-8:30 pm
As per the practice of past years, the occasion was celebrated with Christmas songs, readings of the Sermon on the Mount, Imitation of Christ and a passage from the Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples related to Christmas Eve. There were some reflections, a short worship and then everyone joined in partaking of the offered food.
The photos of above events will be updated soon.
Synopses of Past Classes
Friday Study Class – Svetasvatara Upanishad – Dec. 21
Class 11, Verses Ch. 2: 1
The Svetasvatara Upanishad offers a completely evolved exposition of Vedanta with all dimensions of philosophy as well as practice. It therefore offers a harmonious blending of devotional practices, meditative practices, and the practice of discernment. Moreover, the upanishad explains in great detail the gradual evolution of the person which ultimately ends up in the loftiest ideal of human kind. The upanishad begins by posing basic questions about the nature of human existence: What is the source of creation? What sustains creation? Why do we possess the drag for sense pleasures? Sages realized that we have to go beyond this wheel of space and time, transcend our senses, and then the problem will be solved. By adopting the meditative practices, we transcend our limitations, we see the truth, and we go beyond all fear. The mantras in the first chapter of the upanishad point out how terrible and complicated this bondage is. Our bondage is a direct result of our perception that things are separate from one another. So long as we perceive that “I” and “That” are separate from one another, we run around in circles. Although we may be discouraged by our current state, we must remember that God dwells within us and can be realized. Through tapasya (spiritual practice or checking our outgoing tendencies) and holding on to truthfulness, we can disassociate ourselves from name and form. It is therefore important that we pick up certain disciplines and perform them regularly and with great determination. This will purify the mind, gradually strengthen the will, and ultimately help us to realize the truth.
Sunday Talk – The Kingdom of Jesus – Dec. 23
It is important to meditate on Jesus’s message. The purpose of his incarnation was to show the goal and the way. When Pontius Pilate asked him if he was king, according to the rumors, he said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” While a territorial kingdom is limited in time, space, and effect, Jesus’s kingdom is eternal. This kingdom is in our heart, and has to be manifested by practicing virtues and disciplines. The German Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said that if we see worldly objects as real, we miss God. We need to feel the Divine, as we see different forms. Sri Ramakrishna told a story about a statue made of salt that tried to measure the depths of the ocean, and got dissolved, so it became the ocean. This shows that we cannot know God, but we can become God by losing the ego. Thomas à Kempis wrote The Imitation of Christ, one of the two books carried by Swami Vivekananda in his monastic wanderings. In it, he said that all is vanity except to love and serve God alone. Sense pleasures merely increase desire. The important thing is how God will look upon our actions, and not how this or that person will. Let us not be guided by likes and dislikes, as we may learn from something we do not like to do. We need to start seeing in ourselves the kingdom that Jesus talked about.
David and Nicholas Upegui on trumpet, and Michael Cahill on percussion, performed the Christmas carols Deck the Halls, and Angels We Have Heard on High.
David Upegui on vocals, Todd Andreozzi on guitar, Nicholas Upegui on trumpet, and Michael Cahill on percussion, performed the Christmas songs Feliz Navidad, by José Feliciano, and Happy Xmas (War Is Over), by John Lennon.
There was no Tuesday Study Class due to Christmas.