Wed, Feb 06: Swami Brahmananda’s Birthday and Sat, Feb 09: Swami Trigunatitananda’s Birthday
Will be observed, as usual, with a special chant during the morning prayers; a birthday-song after the evening Arati and reading of short biographies of Swami Brahmananda and Trigunatitananda.
Spiritual Retreat by Swami Atmarupananda, Houston: Sat, Mar 23, 9:30 am to 7:00 pm
Topic: VEDANTIC MINDFULNESS.
Prior Reg Required. Reg Fee: $30 ($20, if paid by Mar 14); Online registration will be available soon.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Feb. 08||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Feb. 09||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
This is also Swami Trigunatitananda’s Birthday
|Sun. Feb. 10||5:00 – 6:00 PM: Sunday Service Lecture by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘Seeing The God‘, followed by Arati, soup supper, meditation|
|Tue. Feb. 12||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on 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, but one must enter before 7 am
|Evening||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.
Sat Feb 02: Daylong Meditation: 8-14 devotees participated for a part or full time period of noon to 8pm.
Sun, Feb 03, Just Kids: Two children participated. Activities included making clay, clay models of Ganesha, greeting cards and bead jewelry to give as Valentine’s Day gifts.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Feb. 01 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 16 , Verses: Ch 2, 12-15:
Since we aspire to reach the goal of spiritual life, our practice must be intense and dedicated. The gross and subtle body, which constitutes our life in this world, is comprised of the five elements, each corresponding to the five senses. These five elements breakdown into two correlated parts: the sense organ of perception and the perceived sense object. As of now, the body is in bhoga-mode, meaning it tends to run after external enjoyments. The task of spiritual aspirants is to change it to Yoga-mode. The spirit of yoga has to be infused through all of the sense organs and the actions prompted by those, and we will see an internal and external transformation of our lives. When this transformation occurs, the whole body will become a body “fired by yoga.” The yogi, through the cultivation of composure and restraint, will avoid many diseases, achieve inner-happiness, and possess a mind more capable of organized and harmonious thinking. Many more signs (in the voice, in complexion, etc.) are made manifest when Yoga is achieved. When our spiritual practice culminates, the sense of “I” that we have and associate with the body will fundamentally alter, and we will then associate it with God. We begin with the idea that we are potentially divine; then we start to see that we are permeated by God (“I am in God and God is in me”);and finally we come to the stage in which we realize we ARE divine, we transcend space and time. At this stage, there is no longer a distinction between ourselves and the divine.
Sunday, Feb. 03 – Addiction of Doubting
Doubting is necessary, but it becomes a pathology if it is out of proportion, whereupon we lose peace of mind. Hundreds of doubts arise because we encounter new information that has to be assimilated with what we know is right. We can contemplate, consult with someone, and reach a conclusion. Jesus Christ said to ask, and we will get an answer. We should not let the seed of doubt germinate. A side effect of doubting is that we think doubts are good, and we like the process of doubting. When this happens, we do not get to any conclusion, because we keep doubting on & on. Doubting with no purpose served becomes an addiction. With doubting as a tool, we are the master. As an addiction, we are bound, although we may not feel addicted. This happens especially in spiritual matters, because other things are more immediately tangible. The way to find out if God is there is to have an advisor, and to follow a path. When we see God, all doubts are completely gone. Nachiketa asked Yama what happens when we die. He contemplated, consulted, and assimilated the knowledge, and went beyond all doubts and ignorance. Anyone who follows this path is sure to get the results. The Bhagavad Gita says that the doubting soul will lose all – here and hereafter.. Sri Ramakrishna told M not to argue anymore. There is hope for everyone, and the de-addiction process includes living in holy company. We must use the process of doubt only to get illumined
Tuesday, Feb. 05 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Bhaava, Samadhi and Darshan: Page 438 – 440
Sri Ramakrishna came to this world in the human form to play the role of a teacher to impart the divine knowledge to one and all. He guided every individual by understanding his/her mental constitution. Not only He guided the disciples but took care of their spiritual well-being especially when they felt dejected.
One must have faith in the very existence of God. With that inherent faith we will see the world as Divine congealed in different names and forms. It is not easy to have such firm faith and determination. The lukewarm devotion leads to despondency and slows down the spiritual progress. All the seekers go through the phases of spiritual high and low. Under the impact of Maya (ignorance), a seeker starts to procrastinate the efforts and satisfies himself/herself with lower ideal. Master used to encourage such despondent devotees by asking them to intensely seek God realization in this very birth. He advised to give up the other desires. One must realize that there is no escape from the Truth that God is in and around us. If we believe in this then there is nothing stopping us from realizing God. That conviction will turn our mind away from the relative world of name and form to Divine.
Sri Ramakrishna used to be merged with the Divine awareness, even oblivious of His body, most of the time. But when He was at normal plane, He was fully aware of everything around Him. He paid attention to every single minor detail. At the level of Divine awareness everything is ONE but at the level of plurality each name and form has its peculiar characteristics distinguishing one object from the other. We can’t ignore these specifics while dwelling at the planes of duality. Sri Ramakrishna emphasized this on many occasions through His teachings and conversations.