Music Concert – Sun. Feb. 19, 6:00PM – 7:45PM
There will be an Indian Classical Music Concert on Sun Feb 19 from 6:00PM – 7:30PM (immediately following Sun Service Lecture), with two budding talented vocalists who are students of Maestro Pandit Dattatreya Velankar. These acclaimed vocalists, Sadhika Hiremath and Keertan Ekbote, will be accomplished on Tabla by Rajesh Pai and on Harmonium by Ravi Torvi.
All are Welcome. Ne Entry Fee. Donations Accepted.
Spiritual Retreat – Sat. April 01, 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Topic: ‘Remain in Bhava-Mukha’
Speaker: Swami Atmajnanananda, Vedanta Center of Gr. Washington DC
Prior Registration Necessary.
Registration Fee: $20.00 per person;
$30:00 if registered and paid after March 20
(For online registration, $1.00 additional)
Weekly Programs (in addition to Daily Programs given below)
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Jnana-Yoga Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda
|8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and Chanting/singing
|5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture: ‘Importance of Celibacy’ bySwami Yogatmananda
6:00 – 6:15 PM: Aarati
6:15 – 7:45 PM:Music Concert
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, Ch 52, pp 983
|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, Vol. 7’
7:00 – 7:25AM – A short ritual worship/Puja. Open to all.
|Evening :||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘THE STORY OF AN EPOCH: Swami Virajananda and his Times’, by Swami Shraddhananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study Class on ‘Jnana Yoga‘ – Feb. 10, Friday
Class #51: Swami Vivekananda is discussing the Katha Upanisad, which examines the inner, true nature of man. The boy, Nachiketa, has been granted three boons by Yama, lord of death. The first boon is that Nachiketa may be reunited with his father, who had sent him away in anger. The second boon is that Nachiketa can learn about a sacrifice that was believed to vouchsafe entrance to heaven. Yama happily agrees to grant these boons and even names the sacrifice after Nachiketa. Finally, for the third boon, Nachiketa asks Yama to tell him the secret of death. What happens when a person dies? We have a strong sense that we will still exist somehow, in some form, after our death. Even when we consider ourselves as living, breathing, alive beings, our awareness of ourselves is in conflict: on the one hand, we identify an aspect of the self that is changing (including our thoughts and appearance); on the other, we recognize that there is some sort of unchanging self, on the basis of which we see those changes.
Yama works hard to dissuade Nachiketa from pursuing this question. He prompts him to ask instead for any number of riches. But Nachiketa is not swerved. He knows that everything that Yama is offering him is transitory, and he wants that which will last. Although he is a young boy, Nachiketa has realized that everything one sees in the world is transient. It’s easy for any of us to come to this conclusion, intellectually, but we feel that since things are transitory they should be enjoyed, and quickly! This is a deception. If we know in our hearts that worldly things are temporary, we will not be able to really enjoy them, and this false “enjoyment” will actually sap our energy. After it is clear that Nachiketa will not accept any other boon, Yama expresses his joy at having found a worthy and dedicated student, and commences his teaching.
Sunday Talk –Beware! You are Being Watched – Feb. 12
We do not want to be watched by authorities when we are doing something that is perceived as being criminal. God watches everything and this knowledge purifies us, makes us behave, and makes us pious. The bible says: The eyes of the Lord are everywhere. It is not possible to prevent God from watching us. Chitragupta is the mythological Hindu karma-accountant who keeps accounts of everyone’s karma. God governs not only externally, but internally too. George Orwell’s novel 1984, where big brother is watching everyone, has become a reality in our society; not only the government but hundreds of others are watching us through our computers connected to the internet. The song From a Distance by Julie Gold, says that: God is watching us from a distance. It says that from a distance, there is harmony. Even when there is a conflict, be it a sports event or a war, both parties agree to fight. From within, everything merges with God. We love others for the sake of the Self. Only the Self is loved for itself. When we know this, the fear of someone watching us will disappear. The book The Way of the Pilgrimlists three ways to look upon God: 1) acting from fear of hell (slave), 2) acting to be rewarded with heaven (hireling), and 3) acting from love for God (finding happiness in uniting with Him). We do not know that God is the object of love, so we go after many other things. God is the only thing worth seeking in life.
Study Class – The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – Feb. 14, Tuesday
Friday, April 8, 1887
Our life is usually mired in the pursuit of sensual pleasures and pursuit of money. We do this under the delusion that it will bring us pleasure. Thus, being stuck in the world with these pursuits, our life is wasted. The only way to come out of this situation is to hold on to someone who is not stuck in the world like us, yet is accessible to us. God’s incarnations play this role. They are free from the world and extend their hands to pull us out of this world. One can escape the world either by 1) holding on to God and leaving everything else or 2) by not running after lust and greed, God appears automatically as lust and greed is eliminated. We should use the name and form of God to practice His presence. Disciples in the Baranagore monastery practiced the presence of Sri Ramakrishna by renouncing the world. This renunciation is necessary. Whatever aggravates our sickness needs to be cut down in such a way as to eliminate it. Similarly, anything that binds us must be eliminated. Without this elimination, our spiritual health will not improve.
Devotees could be of two types: monks or householders. Not everyone can renounce the world and become a monk. One must finish all the pre-requisites (things that we immensely feel like we must do). Only if one is determined then he can finish these quickly and then pursue the monastic life. If the past impressions and desires remain, we may create the same worldly environment in a monastery. Monks are happy not only because they live in the monastery but because they have renounced the world mentally. Sometimes with some help from external circumstances, we feel like we have the strength. But we need to stand on our own strength so thatwhen the circumstances recede we are able to stand on our own.