Mon, Mar 04, 7-8 pm: SHIVA-RATRI: Special reading and singing after the evening Arati.
Sun, Mar 10, 11 am to 7 pm: Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday Celebration
11:00 am- Worship-ritual, 12:30 pm- Flower-offering & Prasad-lunch,
2:30-4:00 Video, 5:00-6:00 Symposium, 6:00-7:00 Singing, 7:00 Supper-prasad
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. 22||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Feb. 23||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. 24||5:00 – 6:00 PM: Sunday Service Lecture by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘Observations and Inferences by Ramakrishna’, followed by Arati, soup supper, meditation|
|Tue. Feb. 26||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||(Except on Sundays)
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-Sun Feb 16-17: Swami visited Vedanta Society Voorhees, NJ, Bellerose, New York and Vedanta Society of NY
The Swami conducted a short worship (noon to 1p) and gave a lecture and answered questions on ‘Ideals of Sri Ramakrishna’ (1:1:30-3:30 pm) at Kalyan-Anjana Niyogi’s home in Voorhees, NJ for the devotees at Vedanta Society of New Jersey. He then spoke to a group of devotees at Bellerose, NY (6:30-7:45pm) and on Sun 17th, spoke at the Vedanta Society of New York on ‘Sri Ramakrishna in Bhavamukha’. He returned to Providence by 5pm that very day.
Tue, Feb 19: Swami Adbhutananda’s Birthday was observed by special chants in the morning and evening and biography reading in the evening.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Feb. 15 – 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. 17 – Direct Disciples, Direct Teachings, Direct Knowledge– A talk by Chester Boncek
Swami Saradananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, summed up his teachings by saying that we live and move in Brahman. We need to know an idea to be true in our heart, and never let it go. The form is perceived while the eye is the perceiver, the eye is perceived while the mind is the perceiver, and the mind is perceived while the Witness is the perceiver. The Witness is never perceived, and it observes the state of deep sleep, as well as watching our introspection. An analogy to the Witness is a streetlight, which illumines different things, but is not affected by them. Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Brahmananda said that self-surrender is the best spiritual means in the Kali yuga. Our usual response to who and where we are, when identified with a physical body, is we are in a certain locality. Indirect knowledge is based on sense inputs, is subject to errors and biases, is limited by time and space, and is perceived through a network of nerves. Direct knowledge has no sensory inputs, is the Truth directly perceived, is a universal consciousness, and is intuitionally received. Swami Vivekananda said that our potential divinity is manifested by work, worship, psychic control, or philosophy. In the West, efforts are made to enhance the senses and the body. Swami Saradananda said that we feel the divine touch of an image, and are able to talk with it.
Tuesday, Feb. 19 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru, Page 442-443
The very purpose of Sri Ramakrishna’s life was to impart the spiritual knowledge to the humanity . His teacher-ship did not necessarily start after the advent of His disciples, but can be seen from very early stages of His life. Master disliked people referring to Him as Guru (teacher), Baba (Father) or Karta (doer). He led a very simple and average life. He was not educated and lacked the money-making wisdom, which is essential in this world. He was very humble and considered himself to be a servant of the servants. He proclaimed all the time that only God can be a guru or father and no one else. Hence it was difficult for the people to conceive the same person as a Guru. They preferred to look at Sri Ramakrishna as a devotee of God or as a holy person. But it will be a mistake to look at this all-pervading personality with a limited point of view.
Swami Saradnanda showed us the Gurubhava behind the ordinary façade of this extraordinary personality. Master adopted the servant attitude as he saw God in everyone. His humility was a result of servitude to God. Some fortunate people have experienced the teacher-ship of the Master, how he taught them spiritual as well as secular wisdom, how he crushed the ego of his disciples, how with a mere touch He shifted their awareness. After such experiences the devotees surrendered themselves at the feet of the Master. They realized that He was not an ordinary guru but guru par excellence.
It is very easy for an ordinary mind to grasp an individual either as very humble who has surrendered himself to the will of the God, or as all-powerful Guru who can transform people’s lives. The real difficulty lies when we see these two attitudes coexist in one individual. Swami Saradananda, the author of this book and an able disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, who experienced both these attitudes in Sri Ramakrishna will help us understand Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru.