Sat Mar 16, Swami Travels to New Jersey: After the Guided meditation session, Swami Yogatmananda will leave for Somerset, NJ. Will give a speech on ‘DHARMA: THE CENTRAL IDEA IN BHAGAVADGITA” He is scheduled to be back in Providence around the noon on 17th.
Sat, Mar 23, 9:30 am to 7:00 pm: Spiritual Retreat by Swami Atmarupananda, Houston
Topic: VEDANTIC MINDFULNESS
Prior Reg Required. Reg Fee: $30 ($20, if paid by Mar 14);
Click here for more information and online registration.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. March 15||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. March 16||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
7:00pm – 8:00pm – Aarati (devotional singing, a short reading and meditation
|Sun. March 17||5:00-6:00 pm: ‘Enter’-tainment is the topic of the Sun lecture by Swami Yogatmananda. It will be followed by Aarati, soup-supper and meditation.|
|Tue. March 19||5:30-6:30 pm: HATHA YOGA class: Contact Vedanta Society by email or
contact Roshni Darnal at 401-226-54217:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on Swami Saradananda’s book – ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA & HIS DIVINE PLAY’ (Tr. Swami Chetanananda)
|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 ‘BOOK OF DAILY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS’ by Swami Paramananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Fri, Mar 08: Birthday of Sri Ramakrishna as per the Lunar Calendar. Special morning chant and special worship in the morning and afternoon. The evening prayers and class on Svetasvatara Upanisad was as usual.
Sat, Mar 09: Regular Karma Yoga Session (8:30-10:30 am) and Guided Meditation & Prayers (11:00-noon) went on as usual.
Sun Mar 10: Sri Ramakrishna Birthday Celebration: Began with special morning chant, followed by ritual-worship, devotional music, flower-offering, Prasad-Luncheon, video on the life of Sri Ramakrishna, symposium on his life and teachings and singing of Kirtan of Sri Ramakrishna. It was over by 7:00 pm. Over 125 devotees participated fully or partially in these programs.
Click here to see photos.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, March 08 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 21, Verses: Ch 3, 7-8:
A prayerful attitude helps us in spiritual life. Without it, we get an inflated ego. Praying to our chosen deity/form of God helps us make spiritual progress. Yet, we confine God with upadhis (coverings) when we make God personal and apply attributes. Eventually we have to break out of the “intellectual boxes” we create for ourselves. God is beyond these attributes. We should keep striving to go higher, to know the Supreme Brahman. We must learn to see everything imbued with Divine Consciousness. The whole universe is pulsating with this same life. Meditation is crucial because it lets our imagination deepen so we can experience this universal I-consciousness. Without connecting ourselves to the “cosmic I”, we are deluded into thinking we have freewill. This discussion will be continued next class.
Sunday, March 10 – Symposium on Sri Ramakrishna
Began with the opening song on Sri Ramakrishna, composed by Swami Abhedananda.
Rashmi Joshi: Sri Ramakrishna incarnated to act as a bridge between traditional and the modern. Sri Ramakrishna’s mission was to realize God in a scientific manner. A common thread of his diverse teachings was the importance of bhakti. Sri Ramakrishna gave Mahendranath Gupta five commandments: 1) Repeat God’s name and sing his glories, 2) Keep holy company, 3) Go into solitude now and then, and think of God, 4) Discriminate between the Real and the unreal, and know that God alone is Real, and 5) Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God.
Rishi Dhar: Sri Ramakrishna knew right away that Narendra, who became Swami Vivekananda, was a great spiritual aspirant. Initially, Narendra objected to accepting a man as God. Sri Ramakrishna taught through everyday interactions, and Narendra did not know he was being taught. Sri Ramakrishna was glad to be tested by Narendra. A highlight for both of them was when Narendra’s family was in poverty, and instead of asking for material things, he accepted the Divine Mother and asked only for the highest love and devotion. Narendra felt that Sri Ramakrishna had true love for him from the beginning, while others just feigned love.
Swami Yogatmananda: Narendra exemplified the quest of the modern age, and found the way through which we all get fulfilled.
Sarah Phat: Sri Ramakrishna used parables as a teaching method. In one story, the inscrutable nature of Maya was explained through a parable of Narada who asked the Lord about it. Another story was to highlight how one can be insincere in surrendering one’s actions to Lord by example of a man who killed a cow in anger but pretended that it is not he, but his hand, which has Indra as the controlling deity, has killed the cow. Another story illustrated that while God is in everyone and everything, one cannot behave with everyone in the same way. ‘The mad elephant is Narayana, but the mahout, who is telling you to get out of the way of the elephant, is also Narayana’.
Swami Yogatmananda: The Truth is simple and practical, but we make it difficult because our minds are crooked. We should keep on dwelling on the life and teachings of Sri Ramakrishna.
Tuesday, March 12 – Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru – Page # 446- 447
Intense attachment to the body and mind results into the cycle of pleasures and pain. The moment one ceases to identify with the body and mind he/she goes beyond this cycle.
Sri Ramakrishna attained an unobstructed vision of Divine Mother through His intense spiritual practice and earnest desire to see Her. This vision was not through the eyes but was a direct perception removing any need for the medium. Divine Mother commanded Sri Ramakrishna to remain in Bhavamukha after this vision. This state of Bhavamukha was completely devoid of any bodily awareness. He had no I- consciousness. Whenever He regained a little I-consciousness, His experience of the world was not like ours. He saw the innumerable names and forms as the waves rising and dissolving in the Cosmic I (Universal Conciousness). As the waves did not impact the existence of the ocean, likewise the names and forms do not cause any disturbance to the Cosmic I. We, with our limited bodily awareness, focus on the names and forms, completely forgetting the primary source behind their existence. We not only stop there but disregard the power of Cosmic I and imagine the names and forms are functioning through their free will. Scriptures call this ignorance as spiritual blindness. One must take a practical approach and develop discernment to separate the real from unreal and eternal from transitory.