Tue, Feb 19: Swami Adbhutananda’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 biography of Swami Adbhutananda.
Sat. Feb 16 & Sun. Feb 17: Swami Going to New Jersey and New York
Swami will be traveling to Voorhees in NJ, where he will do a short worship and give a lecture on Ideals of Sri Ramakrishna from noon to 3p and then will proceed to address a gathering of devotees at Bellerose, New York. He will be giving a Sunday-service lecture at the Vedanta Society of New York on Sunday, 17th and will return back to Providence by evening.
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);
Click here for more information and online registration.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Feb. 15
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Feb. 16
|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. 17
|5:00 – 6:00 PM: Sunday Service Lecture by Chester Boncek on ‘Direct Disciples Direct Teachings Direct Knowledge’, followed by Arati, soup supper, meditation
|Tue. Feb. 19
|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)
There will also be a birthday song and biography reading as this is the birthday of Swami Adhutananda.
|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.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Feb. 08 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 18 : Verses: Ch 3, 1-2
Whereas the job of science is to correlate the causal relations of natural phenomena, the job of the spiritual sciences is to find out the ultimate truth behind these natural phenomena. Sincere and diligent students of Brahman seek to understand the cause of existence and the consequent disparity we encounter in the world around us. As the sages pondered answers to this question, and other questions about the nature of reality, they realized the necessity of applying a very different methodology: the answer about the truth of Brahman came through meditation rather than thinking. Through the practice of meditation, the sages realized that the “God of religion, the Self of philosophy, and the energy of science…” is the one without a second, the truth that presides over the causal relations of natural phenomena. The essence of meditation is transcendence. Human beings possess a unique faculty: we can reflect on our own minds. When we experience transcendence through the practice of meditation, the multiplicity, which generates the illusion of time-and-space, disappears; and we experience the ONEness underlying existence. As we practice meditation assiduously, our experience of transcendence intensifies. The second chapter of the Upanisad covers how to control our senses. The third chapter focuses on the topic of devotion. The mind naturally goes to whatever we love. Therefore, to practice meditation effectively, we must cultivate love for God. And how do we cultivate love for God? Through association. God alone is our sole benefactor and the source of our happiness and. Possessed by a feeling of love and indebtedness to God, we will see that God is everywhere.
Sunday, Feb. 10 – Seeing the God
The opening song was Be Thou My Vision, a traditional Irish-style song, lead by Peter Travisano.
Intellectual assent is neither the purpose nor the proof of religion. We cleanse the mind and intellect through cultivation under the scriptures and the teacher. The religious path is for going to the destination, and not for fighting over which path is superior. Those who indulge in lust and greed do not yearn for God. We do not make efforts to control the propensities of our senses, since It is difficult to control our habitual instincts,. We agree with our Guru to meditate, and we only cheat ourselves if we do not do spiritual practices. We need to feel with great urgency: I have to see God. The ordinary person can experience bhava, the presence of the Divine. The most intense love of God is prema, in which the presence of God is seen everywhere. The company of holy people leads to sraddha, (a dynamic faith), even though we have not yet experienced God. This leads to nishta, which is single-minded devotion to the Ideal, without caring about what happens to the world. Swami Vivekananda said that in our whole life, we actually never see anything but God. The Bhagavad Gita says that we can tell a person who has seen God, because that person has no desires, and has equanimity whether being praised or blamed. Sri Ramakrishna was always in bliss, but acted unhappy at times because an Incarnation who is always showing bliss would not be realistic to devotees. All paths lead to God, but we need to follow one path until we reach the goal.
Tuesday, Feb. 12 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Bhaava, Samadhi and Darshan: Page 439-441
Religion is an exploration in an uncharted territory beyond the reach of the mind and intellect. Exploring this territory requires a real spirit of adventure and see if one can transcend the limits of mind and the senses. While this may appear impossible, we should never stop trying. Sri Ramakrishna used to be in “Bhava” that means that He could go anywhere beyond the senses and intellect at will and live across various planes of consciousness. In these planes He used to have “Darshana” – perception – in the different planes of existence. Since Sri Ramakrishna was not tied to a body, He had access to perceptions at different levels and in different organisms. It also allowed Him to truly understand the spiritual state of persons and remove the obstacles in their respective paths. On one hand, He used to go completely beyond the senses to the state of non-duality where He was not aware of people and things around Him. On the other hand, when He lived in the world, He was very attentive to and particular about worldly matters. He had a keen power of observation and to learn from these observations.
Sri Ramakrishna used to say that even if one strand of thread sticks out, it cannot enter the hole of a needle. Even a single scattered thought prevents one from meditating on God. One should not be absent-minded in worldly matters, in the name of being spiritual. It is not a sign of spiritual development. Sri Ramakrishna was very attentive in all mundane matters and used to teach this attentiveness to his disciples too. There is a saying, “Preach all the time, use the words only when necessary”. Our actions are teachers and actions speak louder than the words. Swami Vivekananda used to say that Sri Ramakrishna was the greatest miracle in that He could mold the minds of people and cast them into new molds and new thoughts with a mere touch. Hence, when we come closer to Sri Ramakrishna, we can see easily how the current of our mind is molded to the divine consciousness.