Upcoming Events

Vedanta Society of Rochester Retreat: This year it will be live online
August 1st & 2nd, 2020 Session (both days): 9:30am – 11:30am and 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm (EDT)
Meeting Link (updated) Join with Google Meet meet.google.com/qee-kfht-yrz 
Join by phone+1 219-379-3396 (PIN: 554401443)

Registration: Starts from July 30
Devotees are welcome to the event in Vedanta Society with prior registration due to limited space availability (the social-distancing requirement has reduced the space to less than 50%).
The registration can be done by email ([email protected]) or phone. Registration will stop once the seats are full. Absolutely no walk-ins without registration on the event day.

Streaming: For convenience of everyone, the event will be streamed live online on our YouTube channel.
Event: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM – All devotees are expected to leave the premises by 2:00 PM.
Entry: 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM – Doors shut at 11:15 AM and no entry thereafter.
Re-entry for those who leave the building is also not possible.
You are suggested to check the traffic delays before you travel to reach on time.
Devotees will have to follow these guidelines:

  • Face mask should be always on the face covering both the nose and the mouth
  • Sanitize front and back of the palms of the hands with a hand sanitizer at the entry door
  • Maintain a good separation distance of at least 4ft from another person
  • Minimize touching surfaces and no hand shaking
  • No flowers or food to be brought by devotees (home-cooked or store-bought)
  • No switching chairs once taken
  • Entry only in Chapel & restrooms. No entry in bookstore, library, kitchen and dining areas in basement.
  • Only a few designated singers with assigned seating and microphone arrangement due to shortened program and social distancing.
  • The Prasad-sanctified food will be given in boxes – no dining at the Center.

Registration Form:
Phone #:
Number of attendees (Family members):
I declare I/we have no fever, cough/cold for last 14 days and have not been in physical contact with any Covid 19 patient.


Every Tue, till Aug 25, 7:00-8:30 pm:  Study Class on Enneads of Plotinus 
Online as well as in-person (with restrictions)

No daily morning-evening prayer meetings, no Sun service till Sept 13.

Sun, Sept 13, 5:00-7:00 pm – UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD DAY
Main speakers:  Swami Sarvapriyananda
of Vedanta Society of NY,
Rabbi Barry Dolinger,
Beth Sholom, Providence,
Kwan Haeng Su Nim,
Providence Zen Center.
Information on attending: It will depend on COVID19 situation and an update will be sent by early September.

Next Newsletter will be on Aug 26.

Past Events

Fri June 26 to Sun June 28, Swami gave a retreat remotely on zoom, mainly for the devotees of Vedanta Center of Pittsburg. The Topic was PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS.

Sun, Jul 05 11am-1pm: GURU POORNIMA and Independence Day Celebration
There was worship, singing, reading, food-offering, Arati, Prasad-lunch distribution (in boxes). Only the pre-registered 38 devotees were allowed to attend in-person.

Sun Jul 19, 7:30 -9:00 pm: A special online lecture was given by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘Receiving Grace’ mainly for the devotees in Queens & Bronx NY area.

Sat Jul 25  Swami gave a retreat on Ishopanisad while staying in Maine along with seven devotees. It was well-attended on GoogleMeet.

Click here to view photos.

Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)

The Enneads of Plotinus – Jul 7
Studying the lives and message of mystics of all religions shows us that the Truth can be realized by various paths. The idea that my religion is the best and that all others go to hell, gets transcended. If we hold onto outdated paraphernalia of religion, we miss the core, life-giving principles of religion. Swami Vivekananda encouraged everyone to see what is common in all religions. Philosophy means the love of wisdom. Philosophy gives meaning to life. Mysticism is the experience of merging with the Reality that eludes the senses and the mind, thus leading to ultimate fulfillment. With mystical experience, life changes. Seeking knowledge is a special trait of human beings. We need to learn to control our unending desires.
Plotinus’s disciple Porphyry organized the teachings of Plotinus, in series of nine-s, or Enneads. He also wrote the biography of Plotinus. As a young man of 28, Plotinus developed an interest in philosophy. He was interested in studying Persian and Indian philosophy, and he ended up settling in Rome. He was ashamed of being in the body. The way out of the body is not to kill the body, because then we end up manufacturing yet another body. Knowledge of the Self is of utmost use, because then, we transcend all limitations.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Jul 14
Plotinus dealt with the question of how to connect the physical with the non-physical, the eternal problem of the body and the soul. He observed opposing emotions like pleasure and pain, fear and courage, and desire and aversion. He asked: Where are they? Why are they? How are they? What brings pleasure can later bring displeasure, so the source of happiness is not in the object. Philosophers use rationality. Mystics accept rationality, but they then go beyond rationality. Six hundred years after Plato, Plotinus considered himself a Platonist, showing Plato’s lasting influence. Philosophy consists in asking the right questions, whereupon we get the right answers. Plotinus asked: Are the emotions entirely in the soul? Do they come from the soul employing the body? Do they come from a combination of the soul and the body? Are the soul and the body blended (like hydrogen and oxygen making water), or are they separate (like the parts of a chair)? Plotinus posited the individual soul and the Essential Soul. These can be compared to water in different receptacles (individual), and water as a substance (essential). He asked: Are the individual soul and the essential soul the same? If the body changes the nature of the soul, then the individual soul and the essential soul are different. But if they are the same, then the soul is immortal and changeless.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Jul 21
We have an awareness of the body as different from the soul. Buddhists and some neurologists say that the soul is an epiphenomenon of the body. If the body and soul were inseparable, then the soul would suffer from birth, disease, and death. Plotinus calls the soul and the body together the animate. One who has overcome the animal tendencies, he calls the man. In a coupling of the body and soul, the soul perceives sensations. The common aspect of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell, is consciousness. Plotinus considers what is real or true to be ideal or authentic existence. The existence of objects is not authentic because they come and go. Coupling brings us impressions. The idea of an object comes from sensations that corroborate each other. Plotinus calls this a phantom. The ideal forms require no sensory input. The animate is governed by a conscious entity. What he calls the divine mind does not emanate from the body. This is consciousness which is free from sensations. It is one, common to all, indivisible, everywhere, and always. Here, coupling has vanished. Q&A: We can cease to be affected by emotional trauma by knowing that it is appearance, and that it is not real. When we define ourselves by trauma, we set out to prove that we cannot do things. To feel the Divine, we should tell ourselves that I am Divine, and we should not succumb to animal tendencies. The body is not bad (or good) – it is just not real.

The Enneads of Plotinus – Jul 28
Happiness and comfortable, pleasurable living get confused. Comfortable, pleasurable living consists of such things as no death and disease, a steady income, a nice house, nice food, a good spouse and family, and respect in society. We feel that we are happy when we have these types of things, but they change, and circumstances become painful. In human beings, what is good may not be pleasurable, but it still makes us happy. For example, someone may give up their money for others, or undertake a long, adventurous hard journey, making them happy. If we have pleasant things, but do not do the right thing, we feel guilty and thus, unhappy. Animals, acting on instinct, have no sense of right and wrong. Good is beyond sensation or perception. Plotinus says that one who lives fully has the supreme good (meaning God). Each person is capable of this. He recommends the life of reason. Horizontal reasoning consists of getting more and more details about what is unreal (like a mirage). Academic research is like this. Vertical reasoning concludes that there is no happiness in this level of existence, which leads to renunciation. Plotinus says that happiness, being intrinsic, is constant. When the source of happiness is within, and irrespective of external circumstances, one is proficient in happiness. Since nothing outside is responsible for happiness, nothing outside is capable of taking it away either. Examples are Sri Ramakrishna when he had cancer, and Jesus when he was being crucified. They were both happy and blessed others despite these circumstances.