Sat, Feb 01, Noon to 8 pm. Day-long Meditation.
Sun Feb 02: Swami travels to Vedanta Society of New York to give the Sun lecture there. He will be back to Providence in the afternoon to give the Sun lecture.
Mon Feb 03 to Sat Feb 08: Swami will be travelling to San Francisco, Danville, Berkeley, San Jose and Sacramento in CA and Tucson and Phoenix in AR. He will give Vedanta lectures and meet devotees at these places and will be back in Providence on Sun, Feb 09 morning.
Tue Feb 04: 7:00-8:30pm– Arati, meditation and a special lecture on SWAMI BRAHANANDA by Prof. Sukalyan Sengupta.
Fri, Feb 07: 7:00-8:30pm– Arati, meditation and regular scripture class on the new topic. ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Srikanth Srigiriraju.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Jan. 31||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on Stories from ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’
|Sat. Feb. 01||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
The day-long meditation after that till 8:00pm. The doors close at 12 noon. Participants must enter before noon.
|Sun. Feb. 02||5:00-6:00 pm: Sunday Service – The Swami will speak on‘I AM A SOCIALIST’|
|Tue. Feb. 04||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and special lecture on SWAMI BRAHANANDA by Prof. Sukalyan Sengupta|
|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.
Sat, Jan 25: Swami Traveled to Queens, NY and Livingston, NJ – Swami will gave lectures to the groups of devotees connected with Ma Sarada Vidya-Niketan at Divya Dham in Queens, New York. Over 150 attended. He then traveled to Livingstone, NJ in the afternoon and spoke to 50+devotees and returned back to Providence the same night.
Sun, Jan 26: Swami Brahmananda’s Birthday was observed; a special chanting and worship in the morning; the ‘Sri Ramakrishna Disciples Song’ was sung in the evening after the Arati.
SPECIAL: NEW BLOG-POST – The Dichotomy of the Ego Function of the Mind By Abhijeet Kislay
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Fri Jan 24 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 4 – Origin:
The world, as we experience it, is constituted by our sense organs. Behind this apparent reality lies the supreme truth. There are many spiritual paths that take us to the supreme truth, but bhakti, or devotion, is the basis of all the paths. The Bhagavatam describes that at the beginning of creation, all was pure consciousness. There was no vibration at all. Then that pure consciousness assumed the form of ‘Purusha’ – The Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu started contemplating, and through that aroused desire, and through that, the world was made. Logically, we can never explain how the world was created, how the absolute manifested the relative, how the unity became a plurality. Therefore, the answer given in the Bhagavatam takes the form of a story. According to the Bhagavatam: “All infinitely varied worlds are imagined on that Purusha-shape; they are various limbs of Him. This is the Purest Sattwika form of God, called Narayana.” Narayana incarnated as infinitely many incarnations in order to fulfil various needs. Sri Ramakrishna stated, “Incarnations are like so many bunches of fruits hanging from a tree of Sat-Chit-Ananda.” Whereas ordinary human beings do not have much power or knowledge and have forgotten divine nature, incarnations remember their divine nature. The sage Vyasa, who, even after composing the Vedas, Mahabharat etc, was not feeling the inner peace, composed the Srimad Bhagavatam to narrate and sing the glories of Vishnu, on Narada’s suggestion.
Sunday Service, Jan 26 – The Word
The opening song was That Man God Loves, lyrics from the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, put to music by Joe Dwyer, and sung by Peter Travisano.
The universe is the word of God. There are many ways to use words, such as sign language, encryption, the number of cell phone rings, and pictures. All words are not audible. God is in every single form. Swami Vivekananda spoke of the Gospel of John which says: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” Hindus call this Maya. There is the general manifestation of God, or nature, and the special manifestation of God, or the Incarnation. The special feature of incarnations of God is that they are aware that they are divine. We know clearly what a chair means, but we do not know clearly what God means. Sri Ramakrishna told Narendra: “I see God just as I see you, only much more clearly.” We do not see clearly because we see through the mediacy of body and mind. That is why there are different opinions, and why fights break out. Sri Ramakrishna then told Narendra: “You also can see God.” The mantra is the name of God given by the Guru. When we repeat the mantra, we get a better awareness of the Divine. All mantras begin with Om, which is the past, present, future, and that which is beyond time. As we find a person by saying their name, by using the name of God, we can find God.
Tuesday, Jan 28 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5 As a Guru, The Master Bestows Grace on Mathur, Page: 500
The life of an incarnation is like a play where they assume the identity of a human being. But, they have a constant awareness of their divinity. It is very hard for us to make connections between the external life of an incarnation and their internal awareness. God incarnates and becomes man so that man may become God. This process cannot be understood through logic because of its inherent limitations. But, by seeing the life of Sri Ramakrishna we realize that I too am divine and all I need to do is to realize my real identity. The way to realize God is to start climbing the ladder of yoga. But, this ladder is very difficult to climb and is very narrow. An incarnation (avatar) is the one who climbs down this ladder. God comes down to our plane so that we may interact with Him and learn from Him.
We should realize that we are really not this body. If we can realize this, then most of our problems and burdens will dissolve. We have no gender, no birth, death or illness. We should realize that we can keep this body aside when our work is done just as we can keep an instrument aside when the work is done. Our bodies have different features, age and attributes. But the self is the same in everyone. The Lord says in The Gita that He is the Self in all. We can learn this by observing the life of Sri Ramakrishna. Feeling the presence of God in us, it is a great beginning in spiritual practice.
During the Durga Puja of 1869 Sri Ramakrishna was present in Mathur’s house. Sri Ramakrishna saw palpable presence of Divine Mother in the image of Durga and Mathur’s worship hall was filled with a divine presence which was felt even by the worldly-minded people. People from some cultures ask why Hindus worship stone images. How can that image be God that we create? The image does not even respond to our actions. An image is not worshipped because it is God. But, there is a symbolism associated with an image that refers to God. When we get lovingly connected with an image, the image becomes real and as a result our awareness gets transformed. Even a human body is an image. Just as our relationship with our loved ones makes the bodies of our loved ones real for us, similarly our loving relationship with stone images makes them real for us.