Guest Lectures this Week:
Fri. Nov. 10 – VIDEO show: ‘The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi – The Sage of Arunachala’ (YouTube) from 7:30pm – 8:30pm.
Sun. Nov. 12 – Prof. Donna Maurer will speak on: ‘Facing Final Moments’ from 5pm –6pm
All are Welcome.
Sitar Concert – Sun. Nov. 19, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Srinivas Reddy will perform Sitar in the Lower Level. All are welcome.
Day-long Retreat – Sat. Dec. 02
A day-long retreat from 10:00AM –7:00PM, conducted by Swami Yogatmananda on the topic: ‘Learning to Breathe’. Registration fee is $30.00/per person. $20.00/per person, if registered by Fri. Nov. 24. Registration available in the bookstore before classes. Click here for more information and online registration.
Hath Yoga Classes with Roshni Darnal– Tuesdays, 5:30 – 6:30pm
Appropriate for all levels.
$10.00 per Class; $40.00 for a two-month session
Click here to see the flyer.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Friday, Nov. 10||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: VIDEO show: ‘The Life and Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi – The Sage of Arunachala’ (YouTube)
|Saturday, Nov. 11||8:30 – 10:30 AM: Karma Yoga/Cleaning
11:00 AM – 12 noon: Guided meditation and chanting/singing
7:00 – 8:30 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & Meditation
|Sunday, Nov. 12||5:00 – 6:00 PM: Prof Donna Maurer will speak on ‘Facing Final Moments’
6:00 – 6:15 PM: Aarati
6:15 – 7:30 PM: Soup Supper
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Meditation
|Tuesday, Nov. 14||7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Swami Chetanananda’s book – ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA & HIS DIVINE PLAY’ : Selections explained by Swami Yogatmananda
|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 ‘THE STORY OF AN EPOCH: Swami Virajananda and his Times’, by Swami Shraddhananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all.
‘Heroes of Faith’ Interfaith Program – Thurs. Nov. 02
A Vedanta representative attended this eighth annual Interfaith program from 8am –10:30am on Thurs. Nov. 02 in Cranston, RI where various awards were delivered to churches and individuals.
Day-long Meditation – Sat. Nov. 04
Six devotees attended the day-long meditation from 12noon – 8pm.
Children’s Program – Sun. Nov. 05
Three children attended. A discussion of Thanksgiving and the practice of keeping a thankful mindset accompanied the making of a bread in the shape of a Cornucopia. The Cornucopia was put out for the congregation to share as part of the weekly soup supper.
On Wednesday, Nov. 01 and on Friday, Nov 03, the birth anniversaries of Swami Subodhananda and Swami Vijnanananda (respectively) were observed with a chant in the morning meditation and a song and short biography reading at evening Aarati.
On Friday, Nov. 03, Srikanth Srigiriraju spoke on: ‘My Pilgrimages: Outer & Inner –Part 3’
On Sunday, Nov. 05, Prof. Tridib K. Roy spoke on: ‘Sister Nivedita’
On Tuesday, Nov.07, Prof. Sukalyan Sengupta spoke on: ‘Gauri Ma’
Click here to see photos.
Synopses of Past Classes
Guest Lecture – ‘My Pilgrimages: Outer & Inner – Part 3’ by Srikanth Srigiriraju – Fri. Nov. 03
The speaker continued with the other aspects of a pilgrimage: Company, Chastity, Privileges, Tourism, Shopping, Physical Appearance, Unifying purpose and Scheduling.
Company: The company you have during the pilgrimage determines the experiences that you get. It is important to keep a holy company as much as you can. Always pay attention to your spiritual practices first than helping out one’s own family unnecessarily.
Chastity: It is good to refrain from carnal desires during the pilgrimage so that the attention is towards the spiritual goal always.
Privileges: Avoid using privileges to cut the lines for darshan (viewing) of the deity. First, privileges reinforces our mental self-image/false identity increasing our bondage and second it is nice to be in the company of devotees in the line for longer time and third waiting for darshan longer increases the yearning to see the deity.
Tourism: Avoid regular site-seeing as much as you can. If you have to, at least divinize it by chanting the mantra/name of the deity or viewing it as a witness. the focus will be on the main goal of pilgrimage. In the same way, avoid taking pictures and videos as much as you can.
Shopping: Buy souvenirs and other items just to remember the pilgrimage later and also distribute the same to others so that they will remember the deity too whenever the souvenir/gift is seen. Distribute the prasad too everyone
Physical Appearance: Pay minimum attention to what to wear, how much to beautify one’s own body etc. Focus again must be on the pilgrimage and not one’s own body.
Unifying purpose: Pilgrimage removes all distinctions between the pilgrims and it is a powerful unifying journey.
Scheduling: Plan your stay but keep it open for spontaneous inspirations to come to you. Rise up early, meditate in the temple/wilderness, participate in the daily rituals, prayer meetings, spiritual discourses, reading books etc.
What to do after the pilgrimage: Thank the deity for the given opportunity of this pilgrimage and pray for another one in near future. Internalize the experiences through meditation so that you can recall the pilgrimage mood whenever you want to later. Distribute the prasad, souvenirs with others and share your experiences with others so that they get inspired to take up the pilgrimage too.
The speaker then showed the various pilgrimage places in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala along with narration of his experiences there. Hopefully, this 3-lecture series on pilgrimage will inspire the audience to visit pilgrimage places too.
Guest Lecture – ‘Sister Nivedita’ by Prof. Tridib Roy – Sun. Nov. 05
Born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, in Ireland, the woman who became Sister Nivedita attended Swami Vivekananda’s lectures on Vedanta, in England. Her father and grandfather were both Protestant priests. She learned the habits of discipline in boarding school, and, for financial reasons, went to work as a teacher at the age of seventeen. She went back to college, and studied literature, music, art, physics, and botany. She started a club attended by prominent intellectuals. She questioned things found in the bible. She found Swami Vivekananda, in his lectures on Jnana Yoga, to be calm and serene. Once in India, she visited Dakshineswar (but, as a foreigner, was not allowed inside the temples), had a public introduction at the Star Theatre (attended by the elites of Calcutta), met and was welcomed by Holy Mother, was given the name Nivedita, meaning the Dedicated (to the service of India), went on a pilgrimage to the mountains and to Kashmir with Swami Vivekananda, and established a school for girls, all within a year. She also taught science to the sannyasis. When a plague broke out, she got people involved in sanitation efforts by providing an example, sweeping the streets herself. She had a hard time raising money for her school, even on a trip to America. It was her promise, her faith, her love and respect for Swamiji’s every word that she carried out for the rest of her life. ,
Guest Lecture – ‘Gauri Ma – A Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Sukalyan Sengupta – Tues. Nov. 07
From her very young age, Gauri Ma had strong spiritual tendencies and was not very interested in the typical activities of children her age. An astrologer had predicted that she will be a great yogin. She was providentially initiated by Sri Ramakrishna Who she met as a stranger. A sannyasin gave her a stone image – Damodar Shila – that she sincerely worshipped for the rest of her life. Once a relative commented that she can’t be kept in domesticity for too long. One day, while still a child, she slipped away with the sannyasins. When she was 13, she was being forced into a marriage, but she locked herself into a room with her Damodar Shila – the marriage never consummated. Finally, when she was visiting Gangasagar – confluence of Ganges with the ocean – with her family, she slipped away from her family forever and joined some sannyasins in their pilgrimage.
She went for a long pilgrimage towards Himalayas to practice spiritual austerities. During this time she travelled all over India. On one of these pilgrimages, she got a glimpse of Krishna. This further sparkled the intensity of her spiritual practices. In Orissa, she met with Radha Raman Bose, father of Balaram Bose. She respected him as his father and started living in his Kolkata house. During her stay there she had a divine experience where she saw two feet in the shrine where she used to keep Damodar Shila and she fell unconscious. Next day, while she is in a similar spiritual state, Balaram Bose took her to meet with Sri Ramakrishna. When she bowed down to Sri Ramakrishna she saw the same feet as in her vision.
Sri Ramakrishna used to praise Gauri Ma everywhere. He took her to meet with Holy Mother and they become constant companions. Sri Ramakrishna then instructed Gauri Ma that she will have to work to improve the poor condition of women. Gauri Ma felt that she was not prepared to take on this task. After Sri Ramakrishna’s passing away, she felt ready and formed an ashrama in Barackpur. She named it Saradeshwari Ashram with goals of working towards spreading education, helping women realize their ideal, organizing them into a band of workers and providing shelter for girls. The early days of the ashrama were very tough for Gauri Ma as she had no money and food for the inmates. She relocated the ashrama to Kolkata in 1911. By this time the ashrama was very famous. Once Mahatma Gandhi and Chittaranjan Das came to meet Gauri Ma. All this time Gauri Ma continued her devout spiritual practices and her worship of Damodar Shila.
In 1938 Gauri Ma started to withdraw herself from her worldly duties. She used to say “Don’t talk to me about the world but talk to me only about the Master”. She handed over her Damodar Shila to her niece – Durga Devi. Gauri Ma had been grooming Durga Devi in her spiritual life. In March of 1938 she passed away and was cremated in Kashipur Cremation ground, the same ground where Sri Ramakrishna and M were cremated.