Coronavirus Alert: Worship-places, Churches in RI are still NOT OPEN. ALL CLASSES AND LECTURES AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE ON YOUTUBE CHANEL OF VEDANTA SOCIETY OF PROVIDENCE.
(Connect to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw).
All other daily and weekly programs (meditations, prayers, Karma Yoga) are suspended for the public.
There is a possibility, indicated by the Governor, that all worship-places may be able to open from the week-end of May 30, if the number of cases continue to come down, but with restrictions. The details will be known later.
Body-mind is a two-layered mask for the Self. Our regular clothing is another multi-layered mask. Now we need to add a suitable face-mask to protect the body-mind mask. Let’s keep the body-mind mask in good, efficient and transparent condition, so that the bliss. Love and peace of the Self will shine forth through it.
The present time is very congenial for the practice of this meditation.
The Covid 19 situation is reportedly becoming better. But it is foolishness to jump the boat when the shore is just visible. It is still far away and waters are deep and turbulent. Many devotees are asking when we are going to re-open. We will, for the safety of everyone, assess the situation after the State administration gives a green signal and announce accordingly. We too are very very eager to open the doors.
Till then, come riding on the electromagnetic waves!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: COVID 19 RELIEF
Many in the state are facing huge financial hardships due to business closures, loss of wages etc. Vedanta Society will offer some relief to such people. Please contact 401-421-3960 or email at [email protected] for an appointment.
|Fri. May 22||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Sun. May 24||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘How to Overcome Fear’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
|Tue. May 26||7:20 – 8:45 pm: Meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’ by Swami Yogatmananda. ONLINE ONLY|
Sat, May 16, 8:00pm ESD: Special Youtube lecture was given by Swami Yogatmananda for devotees in Utah on ‘YOGA AND VEDANTA FOR MENTAL HEALTH’.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, May 15 – Study Class on Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 19: ONE to MANY
All the world-religions seek to understand how God created the world. According to the Vedas, the supreme Lord does not create. Instead, the act of creation is relegated to Brahma by the Lord who is beyond creation. Brahma explains to Narada how the one Lord manifests as the varied forms of creation. He further expounds to Narada that “[his] creative act is only a manifestation of whatever is already in the Supreme God, the Changeless, Transcendent, and Immanent reality of the universe.” Nobody in this universe is indispensable, not even Brahma. This is a lesson we all need to learn. We live in an egocentric world in which ego is the master, and feel that we are absolutely necessary. Sri Ramakrishna frequently emphasized this truth: we do not do anything on our own, we are merely instruments of the Lord. “I am the machine, You are the operator.” Without any change the Lord creates this universe and manages all its affairs. It is all God’s Maya, which does not affect Him but infatuates all with the ego. Let us not commit the folly of asking how this individual soul (the jiva) is created by Maya. The question itself is a product of ignorance. Maya is in US NOT IN GOD. The creation that proceeds in Maya has the following factors: Elements (dravya), Karma, Kala (time-space), Swabhava (nature), Jiva. God, without any effort makes this, and YET DOES NOT MAKE ANYTHING. How this universe gets made without actually being made can only be understood in the depths of meditation. Our sense of “I” and the world that we see is in reality the undivided, unchanging, ever-blissful, divine, one-without-second, sat-chid-ananda.
Sunday Service, May 17 – Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Carriers
Symptomatic carriers of spirituality may be well known, and easily identified from the obvious symptoms. They can transform lives with their spiritual instructions. An example is Swami Vivekananda, who gained great fame in both India and the west. Asymptomatic carriers have inner knowledge of the Self, but in the absence of symptoms, they are not easily identified. There is a story in the Mahabharata of a mendicant who was humbled to receive spiritual secrets from a housewife and a butcher; both practiced karma yoga but bore no external ‘symptoms’. Sri Ramakrishna was an asymptomatic carrier who had no formal education, and gave no lectures, but people saw that he had direct conversations with God, and word spread about him. Holy Mother’s intense divinity and capacity to transmit it, was hidden by doing chores, such as cooking for devotees and taking care of her family. Nisargadutta Maharaj, who carried great Vedantic wisdom, lived a common man-like life. Symptomatic non-carriers pose as spiritual teachers, and they take advantage of people who are looking for spiritual short cuts. It is advisable to watch for renunciation and love of God in a spiritual teacher. Some people have a high degree of spiritual receptivity, like Avadhuta, who learned to renounce from a kite who dropped his food to escape from being chased by crows. Some people have immunity to spiritual wisdom. Swami Saradananda pointed out to those who regretted not meeting Sri Ramakrishna that some people who did meet him were not affected by it. If we meditate on a spiritual picture, that picture becomes a spiritual carrier for us.
Tuesday, May 19 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Pg #528-530: Master’s relationship with His Teachers
Sri Ramakrishna’s advent was to be the teacher of humanity. He took up a number of teachers to teach us the need for a spiritual teacher in our lives, but He became a teacher of His teachers as well. These teachers were followers of various paths. The path that we take depends on our internal constitution which is not the same, it differs from person to person. Once demons, humans and the celestial beings sought advice from Prajapati. He gave all of them the same advice – the letter “da”. Each of them understood the advice based on their constitution. Demons, who were full of cruelty understood it as “daya” – compassion; human beings who had tendency to hoard understood it as “dana” – to donate or giving; the celestial beings who were prone to enjoy, understood it as “damana” = control these desires of enjoyment. The appropriate spiritual practices are dependent on the constitution of the person.
Bhairavi Bhahmani was very accomplished in Tantra. Tantra describes three modes depending on the constitution of the aspirants: bestial, heroic and divine. Bestial – they have preponderance of lust, anger and other bestial passions along with the spiritual inclinations. Such people follow the bestial mode (pashu bhava). Such aspirants should avoid all objects of temptation, maintain external purity and engage in japa and purashcharana (the practice of repeated recitation of mantra for several hours to complete a certain number of recitation – typically close to a million). The aspirants of heroic mode have intense desire for God which get subdued automatically by the intense love for God. Such aspirants are to practice intense devotion and remain unperturbed while remaining amidst temptations. The aspirants in divine mode are free of lust and anger and filled with current of divine love. They effortlessly practice forgiveness, sincerity, kindness, contentment, truthfulness etc.
Tantra practices teach you to use what you have and apply it for your spiritual benefit. We typically misuse what we have but Tantra teaches us to use these things properly. Tantric practices had become corrupt over centuries by human propensities. These practices have been purified, cleansed of non-spiritual aspects and included in the practices recommended by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda – they are not even called Tantra in the new form. The traditional and corrupt Tantra practices were forbidden by Swami Vivekananda.