SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: SUN FEB 07, 11AM-1:00 PM
In-person attendance is all full, no more space available. Registration has been stopped from YESTERDAY.
However, the 2nd part of the Vivekananda Birthday Celebration – the SYMPOSIUM & Sankirtan can still be attended in person, from 5 -7 pm. NO NEED TO REGISTER FOR THAT.
All lectures/classes will continue to be available LIVE and stored on our Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw) too.
Entrance door remains open for limited times as follows:
- Tue & Fri lectures: 6:45 – 7:35 pm
- Sun services: 4:45 – 5:05 pm
- Morning meditation : 5:45 – 5:55 am
- Evening meditation: 6:45 – 7:15 pm
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Jan. 29||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sun. Jan. 31||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘PAN-THEISM’ by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and meditation|
|Tue. Feb. 02||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda|
|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 5:55 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, but one must enter before 7:10 am
Swami gave a talk on ‘Bondage of Work’ on Sun 1/24/21, 7:30-8:30 pm on the YouTube channel of the Vedanta Society. It was mainly for the devotees in the Queens/Bronx region of NY, but many others joined too.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)
Friday, Jan 22 – Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 40: Secondary Creation
Time and space are expressions of the same phenomenon, and that phenomenon is multiplicity. According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, time cycles again and again through the four yugas (or epochs): Krita (Satya), Treta, Dwarpar, Kali. Despite these comings and goings, God remains the same. Indeed, the whole creation is projected, or imagined, on the unchanging Lord. The whole creation appears and disappears in “the blink of an eye” from the perspective of God.
Brahmaa engaged in creation had some false starts (trials): he created the five modifications of ignorance; the sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, Sanatkumara; Rudra (the first type of deity); and the ten rishis. After seeing the unwanted results of these initial endeavors Brahmaa felt dissatisfied with himself for bringing these things into existence. He then took a pause, rethought the situation, and gave a more thoughtful attempt. Following the parallels of the previous cycles of time, Brahma was quick to learn from the mistakes. Thus came out the Vedas and other subsidiary knowledge (e.g. all vowels and consonants, notes of music). Even after all this, even after he pressed all the powerful sages into the creation work, no progress was happening. Brahma was worried as the number was not increasing in spite of his constant application. Seeing that his knowledge and understanding were not enough, Brahmaa started praying to God. And then Divine Providence came to his help…Brahamaa got split into Two: ‘He’ and ‘His’, I and My body, Man and Woman. With duality (Maya) introduced, creation proceeded in “automatic mode.”
Sunday, Jan 24 – Let It Begin with Me
The opening song was Let There Be Peace on Earth, sung by Peter Travisano.
‘I’ is the common foundation of all of the objects that we see, and of all of the emotions that we feel. Nothing is devoid of ‘I’. The sages have said that the Self is beyond the physical body, the mind, and the causal body. They call it the fourth (which is the Real that pervades all the illusory three) state, which is perceived neither externally, internally, nor by a combination of these. In this state, everything is connected together, and through it, we reach the ultimate wellness and peace. It is immutable and pervades all. No one can deny the existence of ‘I’. Sri Shankaracharya said that it is the existence of the one who denies it, too. We need to keep on hearing that we are not the physical body until this knowledge manifests in us. We are beyond birth, age, death, gender, sickness, etc. We are not limited by these. When the meaning of this flashes, our life changes. Knowing that we are not the mind requires meditation. We are not limited by time and space. We feel freedom when we reach the infinite. Lower knowledge is full of doubts. We want to fix the world by doing away with evil people. This does not work. If we fix the self, everything gets fixed. Fixing the world means that the world is Brahman. We do not need instruments to know the Self. Rather, we have to cultivate egoless-ness, and devotion to God and the Guru, and we need to study the words of the sages.
Tuesday, Jan 26 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Volume 4, Chapter 2, Page #583 – 587 : Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru, and Sadhus of Various Orders
Sri Ramakrishna used to be in a divinely intoxicated state. Other ordinary people could not even fathom the depth of His awareness and thought him to be under the influence of an intoxicant. Let alone being under its influence, Sri Ramakrishna could not even touch any intoxicants even though they were offered in a ritualistic worship.
When we look at the world we see it in its gross form alone. We don’t have the capacity to see the divinity behind the gross forms. But Sri Ramakrishna could see the divinity alone ignoring the gross forms altogether. Theoretically we understand that the divine existence is pervaded in and through everything in this world. But since we can’t perceive it, that theoretical knowledge is not functional for us. We are deluded by the external forms only.
The author has narrated many incidents to depict Master’s state of divine intoxication. Just by hearing the name of the Lord, or by being in the blissful company of the devotees, or by visiting the temple of Divine Mother Sri Ramakrishna used to feel divine intoxication. His physical behavior used to be like a drunkard person but His mind was united with God. It was very difficult for an ordinary person to understand the Master’s unique state.
Although it was difficult for ordinary people to understand Sri Ramakrishna’s state, many spiritual aspirants and monks from far and away came to seek spiritual help from Him and received the spiritual instructions. As honey bees gather around a blossoming flower, similarly aspirants and monks visited Sri Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna attained perfection in various spiritual paths and also provided guidance to his own Gurus and other followers of those paths. His teachership was spontaneous and benefited and continues to benefit true seekers.