Friday, June 26th to Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Swami will give an ONLINE ZOOM Retreat for the Ramakrishna Vedanta Ashrama Pittsburgh.
Please go to https://www.vedanta-pitt.org/events/event/swami-yogatmananda-online-retreat-2020/ to register
Sunday Jul 05, 11:00 am -1:00 pm: Independence Day and Guru Poornima
For joining in person, one has to register beforehand, as there are limited seats. Email [email protected] The program will be available on our YouTube Channel for all.
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.
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.
THE REGISTRATION STARTS ONLY FROM JUNE 19. YOU CAN PROVIDE THE ABOVE INFORMATION BY EMAIL ([email protected]), or by phone.
PLEASE REGISTER ONLY IF YOU ARE REASONABLY SURE OF COMING.
Every Tue, starting from Jul 07 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.
Sunday, June 21, 8:30-10:30 a.m. –Swami spoke ONLINE at the function to celebrate the International Yoga Day at the Ganesha Temple, Flushing, NY.
Sunday, June 21, Annual General Meeting of the Society, after the regular Sun Service.
Jim Bentsen – a regular attendee – presided over the meeting. 18 attended physically; many more online. After Chet read out the minutes of the last AGM, Viswanatha read out the Power Point presentation of the Report of 2019 activities. Swami thanked everyone for their continued cooperation. The Presidential address and prayers concluded the meeting.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, June 19 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 22: Answers (Final class before summer break)
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the devotee’s inner yearning to realize God is conveyed through questions. Parikshit, facing his imminent demise in seven days, questions the sage Shuka, just as Narada first questioned Lord Brahma and received the teachings of the Bhagavatam. Parikshit’s first question was seemingly-straightforward: How did Narada spread Bhagavatam? The chain was from God to Brahma to Narada to Vyasa to Shuka to Parikshit (and others assembled there, including the sage Suta, who expounded what we are hearing as the Bhagavatam.) Each teacher dispenses the “medicine” of the Bhagavatam in different ways, depending on the needs of the audience. Hari, or God, is the one in whom all subsists. God alone is the controller of our minds and hearts. Brahma tells Hari, “Thou art formless [pervading] in all gross and subtle forms.” Many get very confused by this. Is God with form or without form? God, the one-without-a-second, is both with and without form. Parikshit asks how the atman, pure spirit, can become associated with a material body. Hari exists before and after creation. When God enters into beings, there is no change in God. Parikshit also asks about time, life spans of various beings, and the dimension of the universe, and what lies beyond it. These questions show the human limitation of being bound by logic and a desire to know the purpose behind everything. After projecting the universe, as instructed by Hari through the symbols ta and pa (tapa means austerity), Brahma asks Hari to remove any feelings of pride in this work, but to instead recognize it as a manifestation of God’s freedom. None of us can lay claim to our work. It is all God’s will; there is no free will, but we are bound to feel we are free. God uses all of us, even Brahma, as his instruments. The tenth subject of the Bhagavatam, asraya, is the most important: we must reach the point of merging with the Lord, of being firmly established in the perception that “God is everywhere.” Material and efficient causes, like karma, time, and nature, come from the Divine. God is like a “big seed.” When the big seed is activated, all the smaller and secondary seeds , like the organs and their objects, are activated. The Glory of Hari is that all is dissolved in Hari as a dream dissolves into the dreamer.
Sunday Service, June 21 – The Ideals of the Vedanta Society
The motto of the Ramakrishna movement, given by Swami Vivekananda, is: For the liberation of the soul, and for the good of the world. Sri Ramakrishna gave Swami Vivekananda the mission to teach the world that we can all see God. There is no universal idea of the good of the world (If we feed people with chicken, it is good for the people, but not for the chicken), but when the purpose of our life (spiritual liberation) is achieved, it is for the good of the world, because we lose all selfishness. The purpose of Swami Vivekananda’s life was to make everyone aware of their inner divinity and how to manifest it. He said that each soul is potentially divine, and that the goal is to manifest this divinity by controlling nature, external (the body), and internal (the mind). We do this by work, worship, psychic control, and/or philosophy. Each of us has to do this work, and not just believe in some special person who will liberate us. Vivekananda says that doctrines, dogmas, rituals, books, and temples are of secondary importance. They are important only as long as they help us to work towards the Ideal. If we say that my religion is the only one, and we should eliminate all others, this is not following the Ideal. Vivekananda preached the harmony and acceptance of all religions. We serve others physically (giving medicine, food, etc.), mentally (intellectually and emotionally), and spiritually (helping people to be aware of the ultimate goal and how to reach it).