Sat Jan 04, 12:00 noon-8:00 pm Day-long Meditation
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Jan. 03
|7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Stories from ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’
New topic starting on this day
|Sat. Jan. 04
|8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
12:00 noon-8:00 pm: Day-long Meditation
|Sun. Jan. 05
|5:00 – 6:00pm: Sun Service Lecture on ‘Is Yoga A Science? By Swami Yogatmananda; followed by Arati, Soup Supper.
|Tue. Jan. 07
|7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
|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
|(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.
Tue. Dec 31: After the regular class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play, devotees welcomed the New Year, with the AULD LANG SYNE song and apple-cider & fortune cookies. 25+ present.
Wed. 01 2020: Wish-fulfilling Tree (Kalpa-Taru) Day 11:00 am – 3:15 pm Worship, Music, Readings, Reflections, Potluck Lunch, Video. Over 100 attended this function.
Swami Saradananda’s Birth Day: Wed, Jan 01 – A special chant and worship in the morning and Disciple-song and Bio reading in the evening, as usual.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Dec. 27 – NO CLASS
Sunday Service, Dec. 29 – New Beginnings – a talk by Rajagopalan Rengarajan
The opening song was Ring Out Wild Bells, sung by Peter Travisano.
When we set our alarm clock for the next day, we want to get up and meditate, but when the alarm rings in the morning, we want to sleep. It is like having two different personalities. Our mind goes where it wants to go like Mullah Nasrudin’s donkey that goes where it wants to go. To meditate successfully, we must set priorities that must be internal. We often have new beginnings, such as Valmiki, who started off as a thief and became a saint and Girish Chandra Ghosh who started off as a libertine and became a faithful devotee. These new beginnings came from their interactions with their Gurus. Akrura prayed earnestly and sincerely for a vision of Krishna every day for twelve years. Eventually, King Kamsa ordered Akrura to bring Krishna to Mathura, and his prayer was fulfilled. He felt that it was due to the grace of God. One way of emulating Akrura is to forget our accomplishments and failures each night and start the new day afresh. Spiritual realization can come at any time, so why think of it as a long way off? We should not be like the sage who was dejected when told that he would get the vision of God in three more births, but like the other sage who was ecstatic that it would happen when told that it would take as many births as the many leaves on a tree. It is our choice. Stories like these can help us in our spiritual practice.
Tuesday, Dec. 31 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5 As Guru, His Attitude Towards Mathur, Pages: 486-491
Sri Ramakrishna’s teachership was not performed with an explicit desire to teach but happened while He performed His actions in divine obedience. He lived at the threshold of the Absolute and manifest.
We are hypnotized by the names and forms that result from distortions created by our instrument of perception (senses and mind). We are either unaware that we are hallucinated or, being aware, we are helpless in coming out of it. The nature of hallucination is different for different persons based on the conditioning of their respective instruments. We can achieve de-hypnotization through the process of meditation. Sri Ramakrishna could clearly see the hallucination of each individual and thus was able to guide each one according to their respective needs.
Mathur Babu is an example of a disciple who closely associated with Sri Ramakrishna and experienced a tremendous transformation through this association. He was educated in western system which promotes democracy – creates a sense of equality and encourages questioning and inspection. Vedanta provides a strong foundation for democracy because, while it recognizes the diversity in height, weight, color, mental get up etc. it asserts the equality in spirit among all of us. It, therefore, encourages exchange of ideas in the process of learning. Mathur questioned and tested Sri Ramakrishna and accepted His teachings only when he was convinced. Once Mathur questioned if God can break natural laws and couldn’t accept Sri Ramakrishna’s position that God, who made the laws can unmake them too. Next day, Sri Ramakrishna saw a hibiscus plant with white and red flowers on the same twig which Mathur didn’t think was possible. He showed it to Mathur who then, accepted this as a proof that natural laws may be subject to divine intervention. Mathur also experienced Sri Ramakrishna’s ecstasies and unorthodox methods of worship and prayer. He had the penetrative intellect to conclude that these were not acts of lunacy but results of extremely deep devotion, even though, he initially believed that extreme spiritual practices may have led to some derangement of the brain.