Sat, Mar 07 Noon to 8pm: Day-long Meditation. After the regular 11 am to noon, meditation and prayer session. The Doors close by noon. One may meditate as long as one wants and can leave; but cannot enter again till 6:30 pm.
Sat Mar 07 to Sun 08: Swami Travels to Indianapolis (IN) and Detroit (MI). Will return on the morning of Mon 09. He will be conducting a retreat and will give several lectures.
Tue Mar 10 to Thu Mar 26: Swami Travels to South Asian countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Spiritual Retreat – Apr. 04, 9:30am – 7:00pm – DIALOGUES from BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD
Speaker: Swami Tattwamayananda, Head of the Vedanta Society, San Francisco
Click here for more info.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. March 06||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, Meditation and Study Class on Stories from ‘Srimad Bhagavatam’
|Sat. March 07||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
12:00 noon – 8:00pm: Day-long Meditation
|Sun. March 08||5:00-6:00 pm: Lecture: The Waking State — Just Another Dream?!? by Chester Boncek;
Arati 6:00-6:15 pm followed by Soup Supper
|Tue. March 10||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on –‘Dakshineswar and Sri Ramakrishna’ by Abhijit Sarcar|
|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.
Sun Mar 01: Vedanta Society of CT Monthly Program: Swami and a couple of devotees drove to UConn Storrs to conduct this monthly service. There was worship, Music and Lecture on Sri Ramakrishna – Yogi of Bhagavad Gita by Swami. 21 attended.
Sun Mar 01: Kids Only 4 to 6 pm: Acrylic painting and a short astronomy lesson. We observed Venus, the brightest star Sirius and the crescent moon which were easily seen in the clear evening sky. After the activities they shared soup supper, sweets and ice cream.
Sun Mar 01: 6:30-7:30pm Cello Concert by Susan Salm. A wonderful performance of classical compositions. Audience of about 30 truly loved and appreciated every second of it.
Click here to view photos of above events.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Feb 28– Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 8: Kunti’s Prayer
As the Bhagavatam continues, we learn that Sri Krishna is eager to return to his kingdom of Dwarka. As he is getting on his chariot, Kunti, the pious mother of the Pandavas, and Krishna’s relative, prostrates before him, praying: “I salute you, the being beyond prakriti (manifold nature). Limited by the body/mind, one cannot see you although you are everywhere, pervading everything inside and outside.” God is present in each of us, but it is very difficult to see the Godhead in people like us. The “garb” covering our divinity is difficult to remove. In the case of an incarnation of God, the garb keeps falling and we get glimpses; but incarnations are good at hiding their true selves, so that the ‘play’ can continue and people can get more education. Thus Kunti prays to Krishna to bring many more tragedies/calamities in her life, so that Krishna could again save her and her family, revealing his true nature and tremendous power. When most of us pray, we ask for protection for our near and dear, rather than for all of humanity. What Kunti prays – is a real devotee’s prayer. Or we ask God for specific material boons, not for the unlimited peace and bliss that we could ask God for, because God is peace and bliss itself. When we get the divine vision of God, it will be our last birth and we will be liberated from the terrible cycle of birth and death. Kunti continues, saying people get puffed up by their ego, yet those who have nothing (materially) to hold onto, get God as their wealth. If you claim “something is mine,” you are stuck with something little that can be taken away from you. If you think, “nothing belongs to me,” then God belongs to you.
Sunday Service, March 01 – Common Questions on Reincarnation
The opening song was Morning has Broken, sung by Peter Travisano.
Questions about reincarnation arise from the mistaken conviction that we are the body. If so, then there is no question about divinity or about reaping results of one’s actions. We can see that we are not the body. The body keeps changing while something in us survives as the same. If the dream state is not real, then the waking state is also not valid when dreaming. Question: Why does the population increase if there is reincarnation? It should have stayed the same. Answer: A person is not necessarily reborn as a human being, or even on earth. What about all the trees that are cut down? If you count them, the population might remain the same. Also, main point to remember is dependent on one’s brain; human have a way of counting with its limitations, very different from other creatures. Question: Why do we not remember our past lives? Answer: We do not even remember what we did when we were two years old. Even yesterday, we may not remember everything we did. Also, there is fake memory. Memory is not proof of existence, nor not-remembering proves non-existence. Question: How do we know that the same person is reborn? Answer: How do we know that the ‘you’ of yesterday and the ‘you’ of today are the same? We take continuity for granted, so why not in a new body? Conclusion: The purpose of reincarnation is to realize God. If not in this life, then there is a chance to do so in a future life.
Tuesday, March 03 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Pages 508-510: Master Bestows Grace on Mathur
Sri Ramakrishna used be on the threshold of human and divine, and absolute and relative. His external aspects got illumined by His core divinity. That is how His divinity gets to us. Mathur had experienced this divinity in his interactions with Sri Ramakrishna. When we see divinity outside us, as in external worship, we should take it within us. Then, we can experience divinity within us. Sri Ramakrishna had advised Mathur to worship Divine mother within him after the external worship (Durga Puja) was completed.
Mathur had seen Sri Ramakrishna experience the bliss of Samadhi. He pleaded to Sri Ramakrishna to bless him with this experience. Sri Ramakrishna warned him that his worldly affairs will be adversely affected. But, Mathur did not listen. Like a petulant, insistent child, he insisted on experiencing samadhi. With Sri Ramakrishna’s grace, he experienced samadhi but realized that he could not handle it and asked Him to bring him back to the normal state. If we have an experience without adequate preparation, it does not benefit us and is likely to harm us. We must have renounced worldly desires completely to truly experience the bliss of samadhi. We must weep in earnestness for God. But, we cry bucket of tears for worldly things and do not really weep for God. We may occasionally pray but true longing does not come. Only when we have true awareness of God can we experience real bliss. Otherwise, even if Sri Ramakrishna is standing in front of us, we will not get divine experience. We get enchanted or charmed by certain ideas that we thoughtlessly pursue, that get us into trouble. A Guru can truly help us cure our mental disease and prevent us from getting into trouble. The Gopis of Vrindavan had so completely renounced their I’ness that ideas like “I am meditating” or “I am going japa” could not arise in their minds, they would experience divine bliss in physical presence of Sri Krishna and by performing actions like feeding Him and adorning Him.