Sun Nov 24, 6:00-7:45 pm: Sabad Kirtan (Sikh Devotional Music) by Amritpal Sing, accompanied by Rajesh Pai on Tabla.
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)
Click here to register online.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Nov. 22||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study class on ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sat. Nov. 23||8:30 – 10:30am: Karma Yoga (Cleaning & Work-service)
11:00am – 12:00 noon: Guided Meditation & prayers
|Sun. Nov. 24||5:00-6:00 pm: Lecture by Swami Yogatmananda on Being Grateful to Unseen Givers; followed by Arati, Music Concert of Sikh devotional Music and Soup Supper.|
|Tue.Nov. 26||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.
Swami Traveled to Salt Lake City: Sat -Mon Nov. 16-18
Swami gave three lectures during his 3 day-stay there. One was on Sat evening at the South Jordon Public Library, Utah on Meditation and Spiritual Life, next at the home of a devotee on Means and the End and the third at the University of Utah on Yoga and Meditation. Average attendance was 25. Swami retuned on Tue – 19th morning.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)
Friday, Nov. 15 – Study Class on Svetasvatara Upanisad
Class 46 : Chapter 6, Verses 9-14:
The one-without-second reality becomes many without compromising its oneness. We seek happiness, we seek peace, we seek so many things in the world. What we need to do is to hold on to the one reality in this world. How do we do it? By connecting with that source of bliss of which we all are just emanations. This connection is the meaning of devotion. As devotees we must be ready to shed our identity as a particular body, as a particular small piece of existence, and instead identify ourselves with God. Our true identity is with God. Absorption with the divine is the focus of sadhana. Our false identity must drop away for our true identity to appear. God, in this universe, remains hidden just as the surface of the pond remains hidden by algae. However, this one ‘hidden’ God resides in the hearts of all beings. The difference between sages and ordinary people lies in the fact that the sages live a God-centered life. We must strive to feel the presence of God all of the time, no matter the circumstances: that is devotion. When we change the focus of life, our subconscious begins changing. Even in sleep the awareness of God remains. We possess an instinctive nature that can over-rule the willpower, but as the willpower is strengthened through spiritual practices the force of the instinctive life diminishes. Conscious and repeated effort is required. God pervades all space, internal and external; therefore, nothing is hidden from God. Realizing this, we become pure automatically. When we connect to God, the anxieties and fetters of life disappear, and we become aware that our supreme happiness, the Lord, is always with us.
Sunday Service, Nov. 17 – Infinite Being, Infinite Consciousness by Swami Sarvapriyananda
This talk focuses on the first few sentences in Chapter 2 of the Taittirīya Upanishad starting with “The knower of Brahman attains the highest.” All of Advaita Vedanta is packed into this one sentence. This leads to three questions: What is Brahman? How do you know Brahman? What do I get out of it? Answers: Brahman is infinite being, infinite consciousness. Sri Shankaracharya said in our deepest self I am Brahman. One who realizes I am Brahman gets the fulfilment of all desires. Saints are deeply happy despite their problems, like Sri Ramakrishna being in bliss despite having throat cancer. Can you define God? Yes and no. The best definition is being, consciousness, infinity is Brahman. Brahman comes from the root word meaning vast. Vast without any finite limits is infinity. There are three kinds of limits: space, time, and object. Each thing in space, if it is here, it is not there. If Brahman is not limited in space, there is no space where it is not. Brahman is all-pervading, so it must be right here. Each thing is limited in time, being created and destroyed. If Brahman has no limit in time, there was never a time when it was not, and there will never be a time when it will not be. The limit of object is that everything is uniquely itself and different from everything else. If there is no object limitation, nothing in the universe if different from Brahman. Brahman is devoid of limitation of time, space, or object. We call something real that we experience. Does this mean that a table, or a man, or a woman is Brahman? No, because it must be all-pervading, eternal, and non-dual. What is in all objects that we consider real? Existence itself, like gold in a variety of ornaments. Being really exists, and everything else is dependent. Every conscious experience is limited, and different from others. No experience is apart from consciousness. We can realize consciousness as our own inner reality. Prayer, meditation, and religion are all for realization of Brahman. When we see it, we will say: “Oh, it was always there.” Does an enlightened person know everything in the world, like a cosmic encyclopedia? No, such knowing means knowing that everything is Brahman. But yogis do use the mind to a high capacity.
Tuesday, Nov. 19 – Study Class on Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Chapter 5, As a Guru in His Youth, Page 476-478:
Sri Ramakrishna has assumed a human identity in order to teach humanity. When we see the Divinity of Sri Ramakrishna, we get the understanding that we too are divine. Normally we are not aware of our divinity but just thinking of Sri Ramakrishna purifies us as it helps us in removing the dirt and dust of us being a human animal and all the associated identities that we assume. When we are identified with a body, we also get a craving or a desire which leads to unhappiness. Gautam Buddha used to say that Tanha (desire) is the source of unhappiness.
Swami Saradananda did not write this biography chronologically. He started writing this from the aspect of Gurubhava (teachership) of Sri Ramakrishna because this is the main purpose of His advent. Sri Ramakrishna did not give lectures, His life itself was a big lesson. As Shankara mentions in Dakshinamoorty stotram, best teachership is through silence. We think that we learn from eloquence but that is not so. When teachership is strong and full of love, it might even take the form of stern scolding but is very effective. Sri Ramakrishna once slapped Rani Rasmani because she was engrossed in worldly thoughts while Sri Ramakrishna was singing devotional songs. Sri Ramakrishna could clearly see what’s in everyone’s mind and provide treatment, even punitive ones, to correct the disciple. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that best doctor is the one who forces the medicine on a patient and that helps cure the patient. Punitive actions are good in driving corrections because they remind people not to make the same mistakes again.