Sat, Jan 25: Swami Travels to Queens, NY and Livingston, NJ – Swami will give lectures to the groups of devotees and will return back to Providence at night the same day.
Sun, Jan 26: Swami Brahmananda’s Birthday – there will be a special chanting and worship in the morning; the ‘Sri Ramakrishna Disciples Song’ will be sung in the evening after the Arati. (which will immediately follow the Sun lecture as usual)
Wed, Jan 29: Swami Trigunatitananda’s Birthday – There will be special chant, worship in the morning and the ‘Sri Ramakrishna Disciples Song’ and bio reading in the evening after Arati.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Jan. 24||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Stories from ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’
|Sat. Jan. 25||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Jan. 26||In addition to the Brahmananda-birthday program, there will be the regular Sun Service, 5:00-6:00 pm; The Swami will speak on ‘The Word’|
|Tue. Jan. 28||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play|
|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 ‘Uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Bhuteshananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Swami Vivekananda’s Birthday Celebration, Sun, Jan 19. It was a full day celebration, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, with special worship, flower-offerings by devotees, devotional singing, Prasad-lunch, video, symposium on life and teachings of Vivekananda, concluding with Shivanama Sankaran.
Click here for photos.
Sun, Jan 19, 3:00-4:00 pm: Swami attended and spoke at the ‘Retirement Celebration of Rev Dr. Donnie Anderson, Executive Director, RI State Council of Churches.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Fri Jan 17 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 3 – Glory:
Narada meets Bhakti, who laments the degradations of the present age, the Kali Yuga. He assures her of the Yuga’s one great advantage: the austerities performed in past ages are no longer required to achieve transcendence; all that is required is to remember the Lord and to sing His glories. Bhakti tells Narada that her sons, Knowledge and Dispassion, need to be healed. To resuscitate Knowledge and Dispassion, Narada is instructed by heavenly voices to perform a ritual. He searches in vain for what this ritual might be until he arrives at Badarikasrama. There, the four sages (and first four sons of Brahma)–Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanadana, and Sanatkumara– tell him to do a “Bhagavatam Week,” a seven-day practice devoted to reading, recitation, and meditation on Bhagavatam. The sages assured him that the Bhagavatam is where Lord resides and, through it, he will be able to strengthen Dispassion and Knowledge. Narada begins the ritual near Haridwar, joined by sages and celestial beings. Near the end of the Bhagavatam Week,Bhakti appears in the crowd, chanting the name of the Lord, wearing verses of the Bhagavatam as ornaments. Her two sons, Knowledge and Dispassion, have been restored to their youth. The sages hail her, saying, “You are the giver of the divine realization, one-pointed love, and you are expert in uprooting the bondage of transmigration. So please stay in the hearts of the devotees; there, you will not be bothered by the evils of the Kali Age.” The world is inherently full of strife, with each joy is matched by innumerable sufferings. But the truth is: the world is unreal It comes and goes. God alone is real. If we want peace, the tree of samsara has to be uprooted. Who can do that? Bhakti. So we pray that bhakti stays in the hearts of devotees.
Sunday Service, Jan 19 – Symposium on Swami Vivekananda
The opening song was Murta Mahesvaram, composed by Sharat Chandra Chakrabarty, sung by devotees.
Arunim Roy: Swami Vivekananda (Swamiji) was the alter ego of Sri Ramakrishna. Swamiji was a spiritual scientist. He accepted no authority and sought to have everything verified. It was only Sri Ramakrishna who told him that he actually saw God. Sri Ramakrishna told him not to trust him, but to test him. Swamiji’s heart ached for the misery of others. Once Swamiji gave up his tram fare to a poor man and had to walk a long distance to get where he was going. Swamiji was a friend of all. He embraced a universal symphony. He said to never try to force anyone to change religion; because all paths lead to the same goal.
Abhijeet Kislay: Swamiji was like a Giving Tree. Swamiji struggled just like we struggle for spiritual knowledge. He was exposed to the western materialism and skepticism that many of us are exposed to. Swamiji wanted to get out of the quagmire of doubt, like many of us. He kept on practicing meditation and following the instructions of his Guru. His desire to know the truth was intense. While western philosophy may lead to seeing life as a power-play, Swamiji’s intellect gave way to his intuitive mind, and he experienced God.
Swami Yogatmananda: Swamiji was a voice without a form, scattering the message of Sri Ramakrishna world-wide, like a megaphone spreads the message of the speaker to thousands of listeners. Swamiji originally wanted to merge in Samadhi but was convinced by Sri Ramakrishna to become like a big banyan tree, giving shelter to many. Swamiji wanted nothing from the world for himself.
The closing song was Svadesa Videsa Uchali Uthiche, composed by Swami Abhedananda, sung by devotees.
Tuesday, Jan 21 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5 As Guru, His Attitude Towards Mathur, Pages: 497-499
It is very difficult for us to understand the life of Sri Ramakrishna because our life is led in a constant conflict between being bound by the world and the desire to get liberated and this conflict is completely absent from Sri Ramakrishna’s life. Yet, He takes on a human body to demonstrate to us how to get beyond these bondages and problems. While doing so, He has unflinching awareness of His divinity.
Mathur witnesses a number of incidents that reveal Sri Ramakrishna’s divinity to him. But, being a man of the world, he keeps testing Sri Ramakrishna again and again. Mathur witnesses wonderous deeds of Sri Ramakrishna like seeing Siva and Kali in His person. On one hand, He becomes an intimate female companion for the ladies of Mathur’s family, that even Mathur fails to recognize. On the other, He engages with the leading men of society, the pundits, with incomparable and divine wisdom. Sri Ramakrishna could do this because He had no body consciousness and, as a result, no gender consciousness. It is impossible to call Sri Ramakrishna a man or a woman as body consciousness precedes gender consciousness.
Once an image of Govinda in the Dakshineswar temple was broken due to an accident. Sri Ramakrishna recommended to mend the broken image of Govinda and continue to worship it. This was contrary to scriptural injunctions according to some leading pundits. Sri Ramakrishna’s intense love of God made Him feel the presence of God in the image of Govinda and hence not something to be discarded just as one would not discard a loved one in a family because of a broken leg. People raised in some cultures do not understand how an image can be worshipped. It is our love for an image that makes it a living presence and makes our worship effective. When we make a loving association with an image and are devoted to it, the image becomes alive. Similarly, our love for our near and dear ones make them alive and real in our lives who are otherwise nothing but images made of flesh and blood. We encounter so many people in crowd on a day to day basis but because of lack of any loving association they do not assume any significance in our lives. The idea behind the commandment to not make any likeness of God is not to confine God to an image.