Swami travels to Wayne, NJ and Queens, NY – Mon, May 27. He will be giving talks on spiritual ideal and Sri Ramakrishna. All are invited; rsvp for Wayne- Jyoti Champanerkar: cjyoti-AT-gmail.com; for Queens – Ratan Dhar: rdha-AT-york.cuny.edu
Spiritual Retreat by SWAMI KRIPAMAYANANDA, Vedanta Society, Toronto, Canada: Sat, June 15, 9:30 am to 7:00 pm on Harmonizing our Faculties. Prior Reg Required. Reg Fee: $30. ($20 if registered and paid by June 05)
Click here for online registration.
SCHEDULE FOR THE SUMMER PROGRAMS (Jun 28- Sept 02)
- Fri-Sun -June 28-30 – Retreat at Vedanta Pittsburg
- Thu, Jul 4- Independence Day Celebration
- Fri-Sun Jul 5-7 Silent Meditation Retreat
- Sat Jul 13- ‘M’s Birthday Celebration at Tridib Roy’s Home
- Sun Jul 14 Guru Poornima
- Fri-Sun Jul 19-21 Swami goes to Ottawa & Toronto Canada
- Fri-Sun Jul 26-28 Young Adult Retreat
- Thu-Sun Aug 1-4 Rochester Retreat
- Tue-Sat Aug 6-10 Children Summer Camp
- Sun Aug 11 – Retreat at Tushar-Mukta’s Place NJ
Sat Aug 17 – Vedanta Connecticut Retreat
- Sat Aug 24 – Krishna Festival
- Sun Aug 25 – Special Service commemorating Vivekanananda’s Lecture at Annisquam Village Church. Annisquam, MA
- SPECIAL TUESDAY CLASSES: TUE JUL 09 TO AUG 20. TOPIC: Meister Eckhart – The Christian Vedantin
- Sat-Sun Aug 31-Sept 1 Labor Day Retreat at Ridgely on ‘Hafiz’s Poems of Divine Love’.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. May 24||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. May 25||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. May 26||5:00-6:00 pm: Lecture: Swami Yogatmananda will speak on: ‘Study of Religious books’
This will be followed by Soup Supper.
|Tue. May 28||5:30-6:30 pm: HATHA YOGA class: Contact Vedanta Society by email or
contact Roshni Darnal at 401-226-5421
7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: SPECIAL LECTURE BY SWAMI TADANANDA, FIJI, TUE, MAY 21, on Mantra Sadhana.
|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.
Swami spoke in the symposium on Indian Family System & Traditions on Sat May 18, 9:00a-5:00p at UMassD, Dartmouth, MA. His topic was ‘Changing Landscape of Indian Family according to Place-Time-Temperament.’
Swami Tadananda from Fiji gave a talk on ‘Mantra Sadhana’ on May 21; 30+ attended.
Click here to see photos.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, May 17 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 31 Verses Ch 4, # 6-7
We have to realize our inner potential, our inner dimension. There will doubtless be obstacles on the path to spiritual realization, but we must keep on pushing relentlessly forward. Sri Ramakrishna loved the story of the two birds on a tree, one on a lower branch who ate sweet/bitter fruits, the other at the top of the tree, who ate NO fruits. All of us want to enjoy the sweet fruits of life, but the nature of the world is that though the fruits appear sweet, when eaten, they are bitter. The bird who eats the fruits on the lower branches and thus suffers, looks up at his friend sitting above and wants to ascend. In life, this is when inspiration to seek holy company comes. Still, we get tempted on our way “up,” however. We look at other desires and think, these might not be so bad. Again, we taste the bitter fruits. If we want to be happy, then we must throw out whatever causes us pain and bondage, which are our worldly desires. The only true desire that will yield The Sweet fruit is the desire for freedom. When we realize ourselves, we realize that this lower state was just a delusion. There is no time, no space, no multiplicity, no suffering, no bondage. There are no words to describe the glory of this state, in which the lower being is absorbed into the divine being. Each of us can experience this truth in life, if we take up the spiritual journey in earnest.
Sunday. May 19 – Noble Truth, Noble Path
Srikanth Srigiriraju lead the opening song, No One But Me To Blame, – a poem by Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda said that Lord Buddha was the only one who stood up to all rituals and belief systems, and preached a religion based on reason and observation. The First Noble Truth is that life is fraught with suffering. Sense pleasures are the cause of suffering. This is factual, and not pessimistic; because understanding it leads to greater happiness. The Second Noble Truth is that there is a cause of suffering. The cause is the ‘I’- the separation between ‘I’ and the world, which leads to craving. The Third Noble Truth is that there is a state in which the craving gets removed. The Fourth Noble Truth is that this goal is within our reach. We have to follow the Eightfold Path to get the results. Someone can guide us, but we have to do the work ourselves, and not depend on anyone else. The items on the Eightfold Path are not sequential but need to be pursued simultaneously. They include: Right Vision: Seeing things free from likes and dislikes; Right Intention: If the conscience certifies it and it is not based on selfishness, we need to hold onto it; Right Speech: Speech that is conducive to wellbeing, and does not hurt anyone or tell lies; Right Action: Action that conforms to our speech; Right Livelihood: We cannot change our life if we earn livelihood through immoral means; Right Effort: We need regular disciplined effort, such as in meditation; Right Mindfulness: We need great attention, in which nothing is seen as insignificant; and Samadhi: We learn to have immense concentration, to see things as not separate from us, and to lose craving.
Tuesday, May 21 – Mantra Saadhana by Swami Tadananda
(Instead of the regular Tuesday class, Swami Tadananda of Fiji spoke to the devotees)
Swami clarified right in the beginning that while, he is going to give some general ideas on Mantra Sadhana, the initiated devotees must stick to the instructions of their Guru.
Mantra is a mystic formula given by a spiritual teacher. It has the power to uplift our mind to a higher plane and has the ability to transform us. Repetition of mantra alone is adequate to attain spiritual realization (Japat siddhih), even if one may not understand meaning of the mantra, though understanding the meaning may be extra help. Mantra is a name that represents God. Mantra and God are identical. Mantra comes from a spiritual source, i.e. a spiritually realized Guru. One cannot simply read a mantra and practice it. Coming from a Guru, it has the potency to provide realization. In reality Satchidananda alone is the real Guru. A human Guru becomes a channel for the spiritual power of Satchidananda. Where there is an earnest demand, the supply of Guru must come. Once an aspirant obtains a mantra from a Guru, sadhana (practice) is required to attain realization. The aspirant should have adequate faith in the Guru to follow his instructions and concentrate on japa One should not seek other Gurus and mantras. A mantra has a deity (chosen ideal) associated with it. A disciple doesn’t choose the ideal. Guru determines an appropriate ideal for the benefit of the disciple.
Mantras generally have 3 components: they start with Om, include Beeja (seed) Mantra and the name of the deity. Om is the sound Brahman – the source of all creation. Beeja mantra is associated with a deity and doesn’t have a meaning in the traditional sense. It has a divine source. Mantra takes an aspirant from gross to subtle vibrations progressing from the deity to the, beeja mantra to Om. With mantra, one can experience the ultimate reality here and now. But due to our limited awareness and identity, we experience the world and have different experiences in waking, dreaming, deep sleep states. In the fourth state, called Turiya, we see pure consciousness, pure knowledge, a source of all beauty and strength. It requires a purified mind (which is the same as purified intellect and atman) to see God. We are not seeking the wrong thing, but our method is flawed. We need to not run after the world but learn to renounce. Once we understand that we are inherently divine, we start to renounce.
Saadhana is not easy. We don’t seem to make any progress despite a lot of practice. This may happen because our mind is tied to worldly things or we may be indulging in sense pleasures that dissipate what is accumulated by practice. One should focus on one’s ideal, commit to a certain discipline and routine. Limit and mental distractions by keeping a watch on one’s mind. With practice, the mind gets stronger. One should meditate and attempt to visualize the deity in the lotus of one’s heart and develop a relationship with the chosen ideal. The loving relationship makes it easy to concentrate. In the beginning one needs some visualization and imagination. As the mind become purer, it translates into realization. At the moment of realization the Guru appears and the chosen ideal also appears. Guru merges into the chosen ideal.