Swami visits Dallas, Texas – Fri-Sun. Feb. 23-26
Swami Yogatmananda will travel to Vedanta Society Dallas, Texas to deliver various Vedanta lectures. Swami will return Mon afternoon Feb 26.
Hatha Yoga Class – Fri. Feb. 23 from 5:30—6:30pm with Roshni
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, Feb. 23||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Guest Lecture – ‘Everyday Vedanta’ by Pravrajika Gitaprana, Vedanta Nun (Ridgely Manor, NY). All are welcome
|Saturday, Feb. 24||8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and singing
7:00 – 8:30 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|Sunday, Feb. 25||5:00 – 6:00 PM: ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA, RIGHT HERE; RIGHT NOW’ by Pravrajika Gitaprana, Vedanta nun (Ridgely Manor, NY), followed by Vesper Service (Aarati) & soup supper
7:00 – 8:00 PM: Meditation
|Tuesday, Feb. 27||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class – 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.
|Evening||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Towards the Goal Supreme’ by Swami Virajananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Sri Ramakrishna Birth Day Celebration – Sat. Feb. 17
About eighty devotees attended the 11:00am – 1pm ritual worship/ food & flower offering conducted by Swami Yogatmananda, various singers sang during puja; and there was a reading. This was followed by flower offering by devotees and prasad luncheon. About forty-four watched the video on Ramakrishna; about fifty devotees attended the 5pm-6pm symposium on Sri Ramakrishna ( see synopsis below); and singing of Sri Ramakrishna Samkirtanam, which was followed by prasad dinner.
Click here to see photos.
Vedanta Society of CT – Sun. Feb. 18
From 10:00am – 12:30pm, about thirty-seven devotees attended Sri Ramakrishna’s Birthday Celebration at Chakravarti’s Home in Glastonbury CT.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study class on Jnana Yoga – Fri. Feb. 16
Class #85: The Atman (chapter concluded)
Swami Vivekananda explains that there are three salient steps which Indian religious thought takes in regards to God. Dualism basically arises as an outcome of ‘cause and effect’ ingrained in our thinking. A creator God emerges from the answer to the question, “Why all of these ‘effects’ have been created?” Qualified non-dualism sees the ultimate oneness if existence but holds that inside the oneness is internal categorization. Non-dualism boldly asserts that a single God appears in and through all names and forms. The names and forms are an appearance only and not the substance of reality. In order to realize this truth, we must be courageous. Stepping out of the comfort-zone of ignorance is no easy feat. How can we know the One Self? Who is the Self or God to be known? The Self cannot be known, according to non-dualism, because it is the eternal knower. Although we cannot know God (or our relative selves for that matter), It can be realized. We are That. Once we experience the Self, the Atman, all of our doubts are cast aside and we become saints. The saint realizes that the same Self dwells in his soul and the mosquito. Although this realization may seem far away, we are sure to reach the culmination of our spiritual struggle, the realization of the Self, if we move forward with our spiritual practice.
Symposium on Sri Ramakrishna – Sat. Feb 17
Professor Gordon Walker: As an example to people, he practiced austerities, and went into long periods of nirvikalpa Samadhi. As a guide, he returned people’s devotion, no matter their level of purity. As a presence, he brings about calm in meditation, and brings about trust. This leads to his presence being experienced outside of meditation.
Professor Sukalyan Sengupta: Sri Ramakrishna encouraged various disciples not to touch money, not to speak harshly to others, and not to spread rumors. At times, one comment he made could alter someone’s life. He challenged his disciples to test him. He had unparalleled love for his disciples.
Swami Yogatmananda: How we connect with Sri Ramakrishna, and how we are guided by him, depends on how we see him. Sri Ramakrishna’s love for us brings a transformational message, more so than intellectual understanding. Swami Vivekananda, when asked to describe Sri Ramakrishna, said he was L-O-V-E.
Sunday Talk – Sri Ramakrishna and the West – Feb. 18
Due to the growth of science, the need of a globalized society is fulfilled by a globalized Incarnation of God. Sri Ramakrishna was the first Incarnation to reach The Goal through various paths, through experience, and not just through intellectual understanding. In Sri Ramakrishna’s time, most religions were merely philanthropic, political, or ritualistic. A European Protestant adherent, known only as Mr. Williams, received a direct vision of Jesus in Sri Ramakrishna, and said that Sri Ramakrishna was Jesus himself. After these experiences, Mr. Williams renounced his job and spent the rest of his life practicing austerities in the Himalayas. The German professor of comparative religions Max Müller met Swami Vivekananda, and wrote Sri Ramakrishna: His Life and Sayings. Swami Vivekananda’s presence at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago started a process that silently transformed the religious ideas of the west, so much so that an article in Newsweek by Lisa Miller was titled We Are All Hindus Now, because many Americans now accept Hindu ideas. A man in Brazil named Arlindo had visions of Swami Brahmananda, and formed a Ramakrishna Mission in Brazil, unknown to the existing Ramakrishna movement. An Austrian artist, Frank Dvorak, had a vision of Sri Ramakrishna, not knowing who he was, and when he found out, he painted a picture of Sri Ramakrishna from an image in a dream he had. All over the world, people are inspired by the touch of Sri Ramakrishna. We can have a throne for him ready in our heart.
Study Class – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play – Tue. Feb. 20
Page # 404 – 407: Biography of an individual can’t be limited to the physical form alone, but it is the mental condition of that individual which governs the external actions. Hence to clearly understand an individual the understanding of the mental state is of paramount importance. In case of Incarnations, their actions are not driven by the force of desires or are not born out of the bodily awareness like common people. We can witness this in Sri Ramakrishna’s life and see how easily he could connect with everyone at their relative mental levels despite their age or gender.
To reinforce the idea of awareness devoid of body consciousness, the Author has given example of Suka – son of Vyasa who did not have any body consciousness and always looked upon himself as Atman. Body consciousness is the origin of desire, shame, fear and the sex instinct. Sri Ramakrishna was completely devoid of such body consciousness and hence it was very easy for all men and women devotees to connect with Him without any barriers. As the iron articles get attracted to a magnet and also acquire the magnetic qualities in the presence of the magnet, all the devotees used to get attracted to Sri Ramakrishna in the spiritually charged atmosphere, forgetting their own physical identities.
The author cited the example of aristocratic women who used to visit Sri Ramakrishna forgetting all the social barriers generated from their physical existence, standing in the society etc. Pre-requisite of the spiritual life is to forget the physical awareness which gives rise to shame, hatred and fear. Sri Ramakrishna preached to renounce lust and greed to overcome this biggest hurdle of physical awareness. Lust and greed give rise to a life centered on the physical awareness. He had nothing against women; rather he always received his women devotees cordially and lovingly.