Salutations! – Thurs. March 16
The birth anniversary of Swami Yogananda, a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, will be observed in the morning with a chant and in the evening with a song and short biography reading.
CT Vedanta Society Meets – Sun. March 19
Everyone is welcome to attend/participate in the monthly program. This time, Swami Yogatmananda will conduct the worship and discourse given by Swami Atmajnanananda, on ‘Life of Perfection’ (based Ch 2 of Bhagavad Gita) at the Vedanta Society of Connecticut, 100 Cherry Brook Rd, Canton CT from 10:30AM – 12:30 PM.
Spiritual Retreat – Sat. April 01, 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Topic: ‘Remain in Bhava-Mukha’
Speaker: Swami Atmajnanananda, Vedanta Center of Gr. Washington DC
Prior Registration Necessary.
Registration Fee: $30.00 per person;
$20:00 if registered and paid on/before March 20.
(For online registration, $1.00 additional)
Weekly Programs (in addition to Daily Programs given below)
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Jnana-Yoga Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda
|8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and Chanting/singing
7:00-8:30 PM – Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture:‘Evolution in Religious Thoughts and Practices’ by Swami Yogatmananda
6:00 – 6:15 PM: Aarati
6:15 – 7:00PM: Soup Supper
7:00 – 8:00PM: Meditation in Chapel
|7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on ‘The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna’, Ch 52, pp 985-6
|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, Vol. 7’
7:00 – 7:25AM – A short ritual worship/Puja. Open to all.
|Evening :||7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘THE STORY OF AN EPOCH: Swami Virajananda and his Times’, by Swami Shraddhananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
Swami to Indianapolis, IN – March 11 & 12
Swami traveled l to Indianapolis, Indiana early Sat. morning, to conduct a retreat on: ‘Day-Dreaming’ to about fifty devotees and delivered a talk on: ‘Hindu Social Structure’ to about one-hundred-fifty attendees at the Hindu Temple there. Swami returned late Sun. evening.
Guest Speaker – March 12, Sunday
Prof. Donna Maurer spoke on: ‘Essence of Compassion’ from 5pm – 6pm to about thirty attendees. See synopsis below.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study Class on ‘Jnana Yoga‘ – Mar. 10, Friday
Class #55: We must cease looking for happiness in the world. Like the Daoist concepts of yin and yang, we routinely experience that in every good there is some evil, and in every evil there is some good. Gradually we see that we want something beyond the dual throng of pleasure and pain. We want to achieve the source of all bliss. It is this Absolute Bliss that we were enjoying anytime we experience happiness but only in a distorted, partial way. Sankaracharya’s metaphor: suppose you have a light inside a pot with holes. We mistakenly identify the holes as the source of light, but the holes are actually what is limiting and distorting the light according to their size and shape. In the same way, our senses do not generate truth, or joy; but they distort it. When we transcend the senses, we get the Absolute Truth, Absolute Bliss.
In order to persevere in this struggle for Truth, it is helpful to seek guidance from a teacher or guru, who gives the student a mantra. Om/Aum is one such mantra, and it contains the whole substance of spiritual practice. According to the Gita, all mantras must begin with “Om.” The spiritual aspirant needs a direct connection to the Truth; the mantra is this direct connection, which brings the student into a spiritual lineage and provides access to a live source of power.
Sunday Talk – ‘The Essence of Compassion’ – a talk by Prof. Donna Maurer – Mar. 12
The world is full of suffering. What can we do to better the world and ourselves? Compassion in a limited sense involves the ego, or subject and object, while in its essence, there is no you and I. In The Light of the Modern World, Swami Bhajanananda says that the life of Sri Ramakrishna involved supreme sacrifice and great concern for those who suffered. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi even showed compassion for those who were about to rob her. She regarded them as her own. She had a lasting impact on them, as they became devotees. Swami Vivekananda said that true compassion is Oneness. He said that self-sacrifice, and not self-assertion, is the spiritual law. The psychological definition of compassion states that it is a moral force with responsibility to others who are in pain. It includes empathy. The Mahabharata tells a story of a woman who had higher illumination, and more compassion, than a monk, which she got by steadily doing her duty. Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan, and said that one who shows mercy is compassionate. Compassion is guileless, and not based on rational calculation. Compassion has these obstacles: indifference, fear, and four aspects of ego involvement (pride, expectation, negative feelings toward others, and compassion fatigue). We overcome these perils by being more guileless, seeking to find our own faults rather than those of others, having empathy toward oneself, seeing our actions as serving God, not being attached to results, and looking towards exemplars of compassion. Swami Vivekananda said that if you can lend a helping hand, do so, and if you cannot, bless the other person. We can mentally bless people at whom we are angry, and pray for their liberation.
Study Class – The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna – Mar. 14, Tuesday
April 9, 1887, Page 985.
Taking on any steps in spiritual quest requires efforts. How much trouble we take is the indication of the dedication that we have towards our journey. That drives the sacrifices that we make and comforts we can keep aside to advance our life in this journey.
Sri Ramakrishna said that Narendra will teach the whole world. Narendra was a perfect instrument for disseminating the divine message. A perfect instrument does not hinder the work of the user of the instrument. The instrument does not have a choice on what the user is doing with it. Sri Krishna’s flute says that it is just an “empty bamboo” – with no form, no words and no features of its own. It was this egoless attitude that made it an instrument of Sri Krishna’s divine music. Similarly, when we become an “empty bamboo” then we become an instrument of God. Sri Ramakrishna passed on his spiritual powers to Narendra and asked him to take charge of Sarat (another disciple), saying that his Kundalini has awakened. It essentially means the divinity that is latent in us (due to our ignorance) becomes kinetic. Just like when a person is asleep he does not know what he is here for and what he is supposed to do. A person who is awake (a Guru) can awaken such a person by shaking him. Then this person becomes aware of his true identity. Waking up goes through various stages of awareness. Similarly the awakening of kundalini goes through various stages after it becomes kinetic. Fishes rest in their holes. But when these holes are covered with leaves, they wander all around and do not find rest in their holes. Meditation is the state of resting in holes. Leaves are the desires. Hence we must shun desires to find restful peace in meditation. Ones who become accomplished in meditation find this rest even in day to day work.