Sat. June 02 – Day-Long Meditation
This is a continual long meditation session, starting with guided meditation at 11:00 AM. Must be IN bldg by 12 noon as entry gets locked. Can meditate as long as one wishes; however if one leaves the bldg, cannot re-enter until 6:30pm. Luncheon/snacks provided. Front door opens at 6:30 for (public entry) singing Aarati & continued meditation.
Sun June 03 – NO Just Kids! program this Sun; postponed to June 10, 4-6 pm.
Swami visits Vedanta Center of Greater WA/DC – Sat June 02 – Mon June 04
Swami will conduct a retreat on: ‘From Day-Dreaming to Meditation’ and also deliver the 11:00AM Sun. Service Lecture on ‘ Psychology of Violence’ at the Vedanta Center of Greater WA/DC in Silver Spring MD. He will return Monday.
Sun. June 03 – Guest Lecture – 5pm -6pm
Prof. Sukalyan Sengupta, of UMASS/Dartmouth, will deliver Sun. Service Lecture on: ‘Vairagya(Dispassion): An Essential Spiritual Practice’. All are welcome. Flyer here.
Sun. June 10 – Hindustani Classical Vocal Concert
Pradeep Shukla, teacher at Learn-Quest Academy MA will perform at Providence Vedanta in the Lower Level (LL) from 6:15pm -7:45pm. He will be accompanied by Rajesh Pai on Tabla and Ravi Torvi on Harmonium. All are welcome; No entry Fee; Donations Accepted. Flyer here.
Day-long Retreat – Sat. June 16, 9:30AM –6:30PM
Topic: Yoga Psychology – Managing the Mind (2 discourses)
Speaker: Pravrajika Brahmaprana, Resident Vedanta nun from Vedanta Society, Dallas Texas
Fee: $30.00 per person; $20.00 if paid by June 05
Click here for online registration and more information.
Registration also available in the Bookstore before/after classes, OR send us check by Mail.
Hatha Yoga Class – Fri. June 01 from 5:30—6:30pm with Roshni
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, June 01||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda on Jnana Yoga (based on the book of Swami Vivekananda)
|Saturday, June 02||8:30 – 10:30am – Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon – Guided Meditation & singing Hour
12noon – 6:30PM – Day-long Meditation (see above for details)
7:00pm – 8:00pm – Aarati (devotional singing & a short reading) & continued meditation
|Sunday, June 03||5:00 – 6:00 PM: A talk – ‘Vairagya(Dispassion): An Essential Spiritual Practice’ by Prof Sukalyan Sengupta, followed by Vesper Service (Aarati).
6:15 — 7:00 PM – Soup Supper
7:00 – 8:00 PM – Meditation
|Tuesday, June 05||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class – 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.
|Evening||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.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Study class – Jnana Yoga (a book by Swami Vivekananda) – Fri. May 25
Class #98: The Real and the Apparent Man (Ch 16)
In Vedanta there is an important distinction between the real “I” and the apparent “I”. The true “I” is not easy to see. The goal of Jnana Yoga is to bring out the essence of who we really are, to realize the true “I”. When the body dies, the past momentum of our karmas carries the body for a time. After realization occurs, the wheel of the soul stops, but the connected wheel of the body goes on. According to Sankaracarya, all of our understanding and the life based on our understanding has this basic mistake: the confusion between I and the world. Imagine the life of an illumined person where this division is gone. All likes and dislikes have disappeared. It is the life of living in Brahman. The whole view of life changes. The world, then, is seen as the whole thing; in other words, there is nothing that will be seen as the not “I”. “I am God” is not a statement of arrogance but of ultimate humility. We must have faith in ourselves if we are to realize our true nature: the divine is in us and we are able to manifest it. We must understand the words, “You are that.” When we remove the changeable aspects, what remains? The Self alone. We are not the body. We are not the mind. We are everything. “I am that” is Vedanta’s ultimate statement of fact. This important Vedantic teaching must be accompanied by practice, otherwise we will not be able to fully appropriate this profound truth. We can live only with this idea that we are free. The yoga of discernment teaches us how to separate body and mind, which are bound, from the soul, which is free. The universe is either non-existent or it is God—the One without second. Anything in-between is delusion.
Sunday Talk – ‘My Memorable Day’ – May 27
Swami Yogatmananda: A memorable event is one that we are benefited by thinking about, and that gives us purpose in life. If an event gives us strength, and direction in life, we want to go back to it again and again, and the day when it happened becomes a memorable day.
Devotees spoke about their memorable days:
Charles Feldman: Swami Yogatmananda once helped Charlie reconcile his political thoughts with his spiritual goals, by saying that we cannot attain liberty without God-realization, and that we are only equal as children of God. It is also true that we cannot have solidarity without Oneness.
Chester Boncek: Swami Gokulananda, in his book, How to Overcome Mental Tension, said to overcome mental tension by taking a walk in a cemetery, and seeking the permanent, or Real. A memorable quote for Chet is by Holy Mother: When you are in distress, say: “I have a Mother.”
Analicia Castaneda: Vedanta cultivates an attitude of going forward. Analicia learned to let go in a family crisis. Swami Yogatmananda said that everything belongs to God. God was taking care of her and her family on the day of the crisis. She also quoted Holy Mother: When you are in distress, say: “I have a Mother.”
Alagawadi Vishwanath: Vishwanath remembers Swami Sarvagatananda acting like a mother to devotees who were elderly or ill. He also narrated how a heart patient that Sarvagatananda went see, was encouraged by the doctor himself to read the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
Atreya Chatterjee: Atreya was on a train when he found that he had no money on him to pay for the ticket. A passenger offered to pay for his train ticket, giving Atreya the conviction that our inner humanity is connected, and that we naturally form bonds with each other.
Nitya Gopal Chakraborty: Nitya told how his new professor and boss, though scary in outward appearance, made him go for higher studies, paying for all his expenses. He spoke about the professor: Thakur (Sri Ramakrishna) came through him to me.
Swami Yogatmananda: In everyone’s heart, there is the Ideal that he or she cherishes. When we get connected, this remains the source of guidance for life. Whatever manifests the Divinity in our life pushes us in the direction to see the light, and find a path. A saint, Jnaneswar, said that the golden day in his life was when: Today I saw God. Swami Shivananda said that the one thing worth mentioning in his life was when he got to meet Sri Ramakrishna, which filled his life with eternal bliss. He narrated an incident from a pilgrimage to a holy Himalayan shrine which taught him: Do the right thing, and God makes things happen.
Study Class – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play – Tue. May 29
Page # 420-421(cont): Discourse on Bhava, Samadhi and Darshana
We are bound by the bodies that we live in. While the negative worldly experiences keep flogging us, we are compelled to say how nice our sensory experiences are. An incarnation of God takes human body but is not bound by it. An incarnation is born amidst us to teach us. Sri Ramakrishna lived between 1836-1856 and there are several verifiable accounts of His life and teachings, His pictures etc. This lends authenticity to His life in our minds, which is key to our faith in Him. When we realize that Sri Ramakrishna is real, it gives us the conviction that we too can live a life like Him – to seek happiness inside and not outside in the worldly objects. Quite contrary to our mind that constantly seeks worldly pleasures, Sri Ramakrishna’s mind had a natural tendency to be in the bliss of Samadhi within (Nirvikalpa Samadhi – in which there is no awareness of the names and forms; and Savikalpa Samadhi – in which there is awareness and identification with only one form, that of the deity). He used to bring it down to the worldly plane so that He could communicate the teachings to us.
Our bodies are manufactured based on our desires. There is no escape from the body till the desires are eliminated. Hence, we should cherish only ONE desire – to make our mind devoid of desires. An embodied person must live and interact in the world but Sri Ramakrishna used to say that one should do it by tying the knowledge of non-duality to one’s cloth – i.e. we must inculcate the thinking and awareness of the underlying Oneness amidst various names and forms. As we make efforts to do so, our human tendencies like greed, jealousy etc. resist our efforts and these hidden impulses come to the surface. One must persevere one pointedly towards the goal of desireless-ness and not let these human impulses inhibit us.