Swami Travels to Salt Lake City: Sat -Mon Nov. 16-18
Swami will be giving Vedanta lectures in Salt Lake City, UT at various places.
Swami Sarvapriyananda, Head of Vedanta Society of New York, will speak on Sun, Nov 17, 5:00-6:00 pm on Infinite Being, Infinite Consciousness.
Daylong Spiritual Retreat: Sat, Dec 07, 10 am to 7 pm. Topic: Songs of Divine Love from various traditions.
Registration necessary. Reg Fee: $30 ($20 if registered by Dec 01)
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Nov. 15||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Nov. 16||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Nov. 17||5:00-6:00 pm: Prayers and Lecture by Swami Sarvapriyananda on Infinite Being, Infinite Consciousness; followed by Arati and Soup Supper.|
|Tue.Nov. 19||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM:Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
|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.
Vedanta Society of CT, Monthly Meeting, Sun Nov 10, 10am -noon: 30+ devotees gathered at the same old venue -100 Chery Brook Rd, Canton, CT. (This was the last Monthly Meeting at this venue, used by the Vedanta Society of CT allowed by the owners Elizabeth Cotterman/Jerry Murphy. Now the property has been put out for sale). Topic of Discussion –‘Wealth & Garbage’ (16th Ch of Gita). There was Puja and devotional Music too.
Birthdays of Swami Subodhananda (Sat 11/09) and Vijnanananda (Mon 11/11): were observed with special morning chant, and ‘birthday-song’ and bio readings of the respective Swamis after evening Arati.
Sarod Concert (North-Indian Classical Music) by Anirban Dasgupta accompanied on Tabla by Amit Kavthekar.: Sun Nov 10, 6:25-8:30 pm. The gifted musicians of rare talent regaled the audience of about 35.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Nov. 08 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 45 : Chapter 6, Verses 6-9:
Illumination in life must permeate the deep subconscious level of our lives. Although we feel the conscious layer of our personalities governs our lives, in fact the subconscious layer, which is significantly vaster than the conscious layer, is the primary driver of our behaviors. Significant effort, training, and discipline are, therefore, required in order for the subconscious to accept spiritual truths. By meditating on the divine presence in the heart, the self-effulgent being and true source of creation reveals itself. The one divine being manifests as consciousness and matter; these two aspects of creation are inseparable. As spiritual aspirants, we must closely associate with God by centering all of our thinking and actions on the divinity. For the ease of following this path, we should make a mental and physical image and attribute active Godhood to it. We must then strive to feel that that very God exists within ourselves. God, who transcends wheel of time and its concomitant sufferings, is our true Self and manifests as this universe. When we fully understand this, we transcend suffering. The one divine reality manifests as the entire creation, and continues to function as creation’s supreme governor. The most intriguing question of philosophy is to explain how the underlying one reality appears as the manifold creation. It must be clearly understood that there is no cause for it. God manifests spontaneously; there is no action that is being done consciously. Just as spreading fragrance, light, and barking are ‘natural’ to the flower Sun, and dog, so also knowledge (consciousness), power, and action are the nature of God.
Sunday Service, Nov. 10 – The Price of God
People haggle over the price of God. The Chhandogya Upanishad tells about a poor cart man who refuses to give the king knowledge of God, until the king gives him his dearest possession, his daughter. Similarly, in the Bible, Abraham is asked by God to give up his dearest possession, his son. The meaning of God is that there is nothing higher than that. Whatever we seek in life is contained in God. God is called satchidananda, or existence itself, happiness itself, and the source of knowledge. No price is too much to pay for God. The price is simple: give up the idea of ‘I and mine’, such as I am the body, and these things are mine. This is getting rid of ignorance. We need to give up untruth to get truth. We have to want God to the extent that we do not bother about the price. We can use spiritual practices to gain the strength to implement this in our life. The divine qualities to practice are listed in the Bhagavad Gita, in chapter 16.
Fearlessness (religion is the promotion of love, not fear); keeping the mind pure by using our mantra at least twice a day (we can put jealousy, lust, and anger in the trash, and we can get more proficient with practice); getting knowledge from the scriptures (even if it takes thousands of years over many lifetimes); and giving (opposing the normal tendency to grab). We need to avoid the demonic nature of showiness, arrogance, boasting, anger, and impurities. The demons are said to be the older siblings because they come naturally. We have to cultivate the younger siblings, the godly tendencies.
Tuesday, Nov. 12 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5, As a Guru in His Youth, Page 475-476:
Sri Ramakrishna was appointed as a priest to conduct the formal ritualistic worship at the magnificent Kali temple of Daksineswar by Rani Rasamani and Mathur Babu. This worship of Divine Mother is a detailed and meticulous process to be followed based on the scriptural injunctions. A breach of any ritual is not accepted. Usually the priest tries to imagine the presence of the deity in the image. The very purpose of such formal ritualistic worship is to connect the worshipper with the Divine. There is a high probability that such formal and ritualistic worship becomes mechanical and loses the true feeling behind the worship. One must focus on the very purpose of building a connection with the Divine through this process. The imagination gradually gets converted into reality.
But in the case of Sri Ramakrishna, Divine Mother was alive and present there. There was no need for imagination. His worship was driven by the pure love for the Mother. Hence his mode of worship was informal. There are two types of devotions – Gauni bhakti – formal devotion – driven by the rituals and Para bhakti – supreme devotion – driven by sheer love. Para bhakti is rare to find.
Ordinary people at the temple garden could not understand the mental attitude of Sri Ramakrishna and hence they complained about him and his way of worship to Mathur Babu. Mathur Babu could see and understand the exceptional love felt by the Master towards Divine Mother. He was very impressed with Master’s devotion.
Rani Rasamani too shared the same feeling. She loved the devotional songs sung by him. Once he slapped Rani Rasamani for indulging in the worldly thoughts, while listening to a song. Other people who were working there with the sole purpose of bread-winning could not fathom Master’s love, his mental attitude and hence were perturbed with his actions. But Mathur Babu and Rani Rasamani sensed the divinity of his personality from the very beginning.