Sun, Feb 21, 10:30-11:30 am Monthly Meeting of Vedanta Society of CT on YouTube channel of Vedanta.Providence.
Topic: FEAR OF FALLING IN THE MIDDLE (6th Chapter of Bhagavad Gita)
All lectures/classes will continue to be available LIVE and stored on our Youtube Channel. (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw)
Limited in-person attendance. Entrance door remains open for limited times as follows:
- Tue & Fri lectures: 6:45 – 7:35 pm
- Sun services: 4:45 – 5:05 pm
- Morning meditation : 5:45 – 5:55 am
- Evening meditation: 6:45 – 7:15 pm
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Feb 19||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sun. Feb 21||5:00-6:30 pm: Lecture on ‘Analyzing Sleep-Walking’ by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and meditation|
|Tue. Feb 23||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda|
|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 5:55 am
|Evening||(Except on Sundays)
7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Bhuteshananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all, but one must enter before 7:10 am
Sat, Feb 13, Swami Brahmananda’s Birthday. Observed with a special chant in the morning and the birthday song and Bio-readings in the evening.
Also, Day-long meditation: Noon to 8:00 pm on that day. 14 joined.
Mon, Feb 15, Swami Trigunatitananda’s Birthday was observed with a special chant in the morning and the birthday song and Bio-readings in the evening.
Sun, Feb 14, In addition to the regular Sun-service talk, Swami gave two lectures in the morning – first to a group of Hatha-Yoga teacher-trainees learning with Ellen Schaffer of One Yoga Center (9:30-10:45) and the next was for the Indianapolis Temple (11a – noon).
On Tue, Feb 16, he gave a lecture on Message of Vivekananda to Youth for Women’s College in Shillong, India using Google-Meet.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)
Friday, Feb. 12 – Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 43: Fall of Jaya-Vijaya
Maitreya relates a story to Vidura (as heard from Brahmaa) in which Lord Vishnu’s gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya, are expelled from the abode of Vaikuntha as a consequence for obstructing the four sages (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara). We all desire to be treated with dignity. Jaya and Vijaya were not manifesting the qualities befitting servants of the Lord, namely love, devotion, etc, and, therefore, were sent to the netherworlds to live as asuras. The Lord then appeared to the sages, who were overwhelmed by His beauty. Though the sages travelled far to reach God, God reached them first. That is how it happens: the devotee strives to reach God, but ultimately the vision of God comes from God’s grace alone. God is in everyone’s heart. But is not experienced by evil minded persons. Unless we purify ourselves we will not experience God or His bliss. Therefore spiritual practice or sadhana is necessary. The sages pray only for the blissful company of God in their hearts. Vishnu now starts apologizing for the conduct of his attendants, taking the responsibility for their conduct upon Himself. The sages, in turn, also apologize to the Lord, realizing that they should have better controlled their anger. The Lord responds by singing the glory of Holy men. Veritably, there is no difference between holy men and God. The sages implore Vishnu to make the final decision regarding what should become of Jaya and Vijaya. The Lord gives up final ruling: “The two erring gatekeepers will be born as ‘asura-s’ and will be antagonistic to me and that will make their minds intensely concentrated on me.” Continual remembrance of God is the ultimate purpose of life. The erring attendants Jaya-Vijaya were told by the Lord— “Have no fear. Good will come out of this. Though I am capable of warding off the power of the curse of the sages, I do not do so, because it is an expression of My Will…” Thus, devotion to God, our innermost reality, is all that one should aspire for in life.
Sunday, Feb. 14 – Changing of the Guard
‘Change of The Guard’ is figurative expression when one regime changes to another.
We have to conscientiously take charge of our life. Otherwise, it goes on the instinctive, animal-like track. The unripe ego says that I do not care, while the ripe ego wants life to go in the right direction. In the Kathopanisad, the god of death offers Nachiketa three boons. He chooses a reunion with his father, knowledge of the sacrifice that brings all glory, and the knowledge of that which is permanent, beyond death. The god of death is pleased when Nachiketa sticks to discernment and does not yield to temptation.
There are two directions that are open: going by likes and dislikes, OR going by what is right and not right. The changing of the guard has to happen; from ‘likes & dislikes’ the reins must pass on to ‘right & not right’. If we go by likes and dislikes, life remains in confinement of the sense objects, and goes round and round in samsara. Under the guard of ‘right’, we reach the abode of Vishnu.
Most of us do not have a strong will like Nachiketa, so we need to surrender to God, the way that Arjuna surrenders the ego to Krishna. Girish Chandra Ghosh had many bad habits. He gave Sri Ramakrishna his power of attorney, which changed his life. Swami Vivekananda had immense intelligence and willpower. Sri Ramakrishna smashed his ego and pride, making him the captain of Sri Ramakrishna’s ship.
Tuesday, Feb 16 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Volume 4, Chapter 2, Page #591-592 : Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru, and Sadhus of Various Orders
Many mendicants were stopping by Dakshineshwar as a part of their pilgrimage. They had not come there to meet Sri Ramakrishna, most of them had not even heard of Him. But, once they came in contact with Him, His teachership happened unconsciously and their life got illumined.
The mendicants could see in Him what they were seeking. Sri Ramakrishna would love these mendicants. His love was not ordinary love which is stained with the sense of me and mine and with the burden of duty which is fluid and it comes and goes. His love was real love manifested due to the awareness of the same Self in everyone and was not subject to change due to worldly circumstances. Narayan Shastri was one such aspirant who benefited from Sri Ramakrishna’s teachership. He came to Bengal to study Nyaya philosophy. He was not a mere scholar but clearly understood that mastery in philosophy cannot be accomplished without practice. He was gradually developing detachment and was very devoted. Developing this discernment and dispassion is key to the study of scriptures. Many people think that Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge) is to read many books and memorize various Vedanta philosophies and indulge in various philosophical arguments but have no desire to change their lives. This is pseudo-Vedanta. One needs to do intense practice to develop discernment and dispassion and to manifest this knowledge in life. Once this knowledge is obtained, the names and forms vanish as if they were never there – like the “horns of the rabbit”. Narayan Shastri was clear that what is perceived through senses is mediated perception. He wanted to get the direct perception of Reality (Aparokshanubhuti). He was well aware that life is momentary and didn’t want to die without learning about this direct perception. This is the purpose of our life – to realize God. This should be our immediate priority. We shouldn’t waste time in worldly pursuits but focus our efforts on realizing God.