!!! HEALTHY & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !!!
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Kalpataru Day ( Wish-Fulfilling Tree) – Mon. Jan. 01, 11am – 2pm
Ritual worship, Readings, Music, Reflections, Video, Prasad lunch. All are Welcome.
Day-Long Meditation – Sat. Jan 06, 12noon – 8pm
All are welcome to participate in the monthly day-long meditation-only program. Simple vegetarian food will be provided. This follows the weekly 11am – 12noon ‘guided meditation & music hour.
Swami Vivekananda Birthday Day – Sun. Jan. 07, 11am –7pm
11:00 am: worship-ritual, 12:30 flower-offering & Prasad-lunch, 2:30-4:00 pm Video, 5:00-6:00 Symposium, 6:00-7:00 Singing, 7:00 Supper-prasad. All are welcome.
Salutations! – Mon. Jan. 01
The birth anniversary of Swami Turiyananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, will be observed in the morning with a chant, and during the Kalpataru program with a short biography reading.
Hath Yoga Classes – Fridays, 5:30 – 6:30pm, Beginning Jan. 2018
Appropriate for all levels. $10.00 per Class; $40.00 for a two-month session
Vedanta Bookstore Timings:
Tuesdays & Fridays: 6:15 – 7:00 PM;
Sundays: 4:00 – 5:00 PM and 6:15 – 7:00 PM
Please note that, books, CDs etc. are available for sale at the Vedanta Society bookstore only. Shipping services are not available.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, Dec. 29||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on Jnana Yoga (based on the book of Swami Vivekananda)
|Saturday, Dec. 30||8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and singing
7:00 – 8:30 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|Sunday, Dec. 31||5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture – ‘From Human to Divine’ by Swami Yogatmananda
6:00 – 6:15 PM: Aarati
6:15 – 7:00 PM: Soup Supper followed by meditation
|Tuesday, Jan. 02||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class – Swami Saradananda’s book – ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA & HIS DIVINE PLAY’ (Tr. Swami Chetanananda)
|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.
|Evening||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Towards the Goal Supreme’ by Swami Virajananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
On Sunday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve was celebrated along with the birth anniversary of Swami Saradananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. See the synopsis of the program below.
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Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study class on Jnana Yoga – Fri. Dec. 22
Class #77 – Immortality
Jnana Yoga is part of the yoga system, the theoretical truths bridged with practical experience. Our personality needs to be given a thorough training in the four yogas. We must train our emotions and learn to love that which is real and unchanging, rather than that which in unreal; we must learn to work in the right way; and we must bring the mind under our control. These are bhakti yoga, karma yoga, and raja yoga, respectively. Finally, there is jnana yoga, the practice of sharpening and strengthening our intellect so we can apply this sharpened and strengthened understanding to our lives as we pursue God realization.
The world is full of contradictions. This is maya. We must try to see beyond these contradictions. Living and dying are two sides of the same coin. While we are living, we come to a point called “death,” when the soul discards the old body and takes on a new one. Unity is always there, even amidst apparent diversity. The oneness forms the substratum of the diverse forms we see around us. Without unity present in the background, we could not perceive multiplicity. We see billions of species on the earth, but the life in each creature is really ONE SINGLE LIFE, the same in all creatures. Though this One life shines through the body, we will not find it there if we search for it, for it is not contained in the body. It’s like if we see the moon reflected in a pot of water; if we look for the moon in the water, of course we will not find it there, even though we can see it there. What is the attitude of Vedanta in regards to evolution? Vedanta accept the theory of evolution, but also includes the concept of involution. Creation springs up, then is absorbed back into the One. This will be discussed more in the next class.
Sunday – Christmas Eve Service – Dec. 24
Swami Yogatmananda welcomed everyone. ‘This program celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, a great teacher of humankind, as well as that of Swami Saradananda, who Sri Ramakrishna saw as having been among the companions of Jesus Christ’ – he said.
Tushar Puranik gave a reading of the Sermon on the Mount.
Alagawadi Vishwanath gave a reading from The Life of Swami Vivekananda about a special event on 24th Dec 1886 night, which has a deep significance for the Ramakrishna Order.
Mukta Puranik gave a reading of a biography of Swami Saradananda.
Swami Yogatmananda then briefly spoke about the significance of Jesus’s divine life for mankind. He then did the worship of Jesus.
Swami Yogatmananda performed a worship service.
Songs sung during the program: Sravani Bhattacharjee and Chester Boncek: Joy to the World, Silent Night, Auspicious Mother Divine. Abishek Goswami: Breathe by Pink Floyd, Give Me Oil in my Lamp, and Mary’s Boy Child. Swapna and Rahul Ray: a Bengali Christmas carol. Caron Perry: Speak to my Soul.
54+ devotees attended.
Study Class – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play – Tue. Dec. 26
Pages:396 – Ch: Sri Ramakrishna in Bhava-Mukha
As we read about Sri Ramakrishna’s life we see that He acts like a human being but, while doing so He is fully aware that He is divine. It is extremely difficult for us to understand this phenomenon of divine playing the role of human being. God takes on human body so that we may get a glimpse of divinity latent in us as we notice the divinity in His human form. Sri Ramakrishna used to be in a state of Bhavamukha – a state where He kept one foot in the divine realm and one in this world. Thus, He is a connection between the world and the divine for us. Through Him, we realize that if This Human is divine, we must be divine as well. It is to clearly see that I am divine, is the essence of spiritual practice.
It takes a long time to erase the impression of our limited existence and realize our divinity. This is because the impression that I am this mind and this body is too deep and has been there for a long time. By “long time” it does not simply mean the outer events like days-months-years, but the change within. When we repeatedly do these spiritual practices, we unlearn these things (that we have learned over so many years). Sugar, as a medicine for jaundice, initially tastes bitter for the jaundiced tongue; but as it progressively cures, it starts to taste sweet. Similarly spiritual practices initially feel burdensome and unpleasant but eventually one develops liking for them. It is an essential part of our spiritual practices to read about Sri Ramakrishna’s life and teachings. Sri Ramakrishna taught in parables. As we go deeper into our spiritual practices, the meanings of these teachings and parables become increasingly clear to us. For example, the power of attorney that Girish gave to Sri Ramakrishna, initially seems rather simple and makes us think that we don’t need to do any spiritual practices. It is only later that we realize how it makes us completely rely on God and efface our ego.
Many people read Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna daily. The Gospel reveals deeper meanings of Sri Ramakrishna’s utterances over a period of time. It takes time for a tree to bear fruit. We need to keep on doing our spiritual practices without getting impatient – in time it does bear fruit and we realize the divinity latent in us.