Saturday, Oct 24, 11 am to 1:00 pm: Durga Puja Celebration
Devotees are welcome to the event in Vedanta Society with prior registration due to limited space availability.
Registration: Starts from Sat. Oct 10
Streaming: For convenience of everyone, the event will be streamed live online on our YouTube channel.
Event: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Entry: 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM – Doors shut at 11:15 AM and no entry thereafter. No Exceptions.
You are suggested to check the traffic delays before you travel to reach on time.
Devotees will have to follow these guidelines:
- Face mask should be always on the face covering both the nose and the mouth
- Sanitize front and back of the palms of the hands with a hand sanitizer at the entry door
- Maintain a good separation distance of at least 4ft from another person
- Minimize touching surfaces and no hand shaking
- No flowers or food to be brought by devotees (home-cooked or store-bought)
- No switching chairs once taken
- Entry only in Chapel & restrooms. No entry in bookstore, library, kitchen and dining areas in basement.
- Only a few designated singers with assigned seating and microphone arrangement due to shortened program and social distancing.
- The Prasad-sanctified food will be given in boxes – no dining at the Center.
Number of attendees (Family members):
I declare I/we have no fever, cough/cold for last 14 days and have not been in physical contact with any Covid 19 patient.
The registration starts only from October 10. Please register by providing this information by emailing [email protected]
PLEASE REGISTER ONLY IF YOU ARE REASONABLY SURE OF COMING.
ALL REGULAR PROGRAMS (DAILY MORNING & EVENING MEDITATIONS AND PRAYERS, TUE & FRI VEDANTA CLASS, SUN SERVICE LECTURE) STARTED & OPEN FOR IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE, WITH CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS.
Lectures are also webcast on our Youtube Channel Now.
Entrance door remains open for limited times as follows:
- Tue & Fri lectures: 6:45 – 7:35 pm
- Sun services: 4:45 – 5:05 pm
- Morning meditation : 5:45 – 5:55 am
- Evening meditation: 6:45 – 7:15 pm
All lectures/classes will continue to be webcast LIVE on our YouTube channel.
Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)
|Fri. Oct 09
|7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sun. Oct 11
|5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘‘Talk on Mind: Super-Duper Info-storehouse – 2’’ by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and meditation
|Tue. Oct 13
|7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
by Swami Yogatmananda
|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 5:55 am
|(Except on Sundays)
7:00 – 7:15 PM: Aarti (devotional music), with a short reading from ‘Uniqueness of Sri Ramakrishna’ by Swami Bhuteshananda
7:15 – 8:00 PM: Meditation. Open to all, but one must enter before 7:10 am
Sat, Oct 03, Noon to 8:00 pm: Day-long Meditation
This monthly program took place after a 6-month COVID break. 9 devotees participated.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)
Friday, Oct 02 – Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Class 25 – Vidura meets Uddhava
In the second chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Vidura asks Uddhava, a companion of Lord Krishna, to recount incidents in the life of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna, who in reality is the absolute, non-dual, all-pervading appearing as a little cowherd boy playing on banks on the Jamuna river. For the sages who have gone beyond name and form, there is no distinction between this beautiful child and the supreme Brahman, although they prefer this beautiful form over the formless. The appearance of God in the form of a human being is known as God’s Lila, or divine play. One wonders how is this Lila possible? How can the infinite, all pervading Brahma be compressed into a three-cubit body? Why not? For the omnipotent Lord all things are possible. Vidura concludes his enquiries with praise of the Lord: “Embodiment and the works of the Unborn and Actionless are only for the destruction of the evil ones and protection of the world…There can be no other purpose.” That divine manifestation has nothing else to attain in this world. It is only for the destruction of evil that God manifests as a human being. “Fish don’t understand the glory of the moon so long as it is reflected in the water.” Like the moon reflected in waters, is the God reflected in the world as human. He who was all powerful, who took us across so many calamities and difficulties, who has guided and protected us, has suddenly disappeared. That is a problem for the embodied beings like us. We are identified with the body. The Lord assumes a human form for our benefit, without identification with the body. If the mind remains fixed on the Lord and his divinity, then we won’t feel confused about the actions he performs in the Divine Play. We will see the real, true, supreme, divine nature of that being. Uddhava recounted following incidents in Sri Krishna Lila: his birth, the destruction of the demons sent by the wicked King Kamsa, the destruction of Kamsa, subduing the snake Kaliya. Sri Krishna’s Lila continues to take place in the hearts of sincere spiritual aspirants. So let us feel the presence of the Divine there so that we may connect with God and overcome our lower tendencies.
Sunday, Oct 4 – Mind: Super-Duper Info-Storehouse #1
The Mandukya Upanishad says that the formless, attribute-less Absolute is neither turned inward nor outward, is an undifferentiated mass of consciousness called the Self, , and is devoid of characteristics. The Naasadiya Suktam says it is not non-existence, nor existence.
It is infinite bliss. Nothing is inside or outside it. If there is no form, there is no in-formation. The Bible allegorically describes the division into day and night. If there is The One, what can split it? The first information is ‘I’ and the world. The all-pervading Reality is lost. There is a struggle to know, to enjoy, and to control. The split is called Maya. It is full of conflicts and contradictions. After we get what we desire, we see that we did not want it. Vedanta says that there is ONE conscious entity that without any change appears as subject/object, conscious/inert, or Purusha/Prakriti. Samkhya says that there are two ultimate principles: conscious/Purusha and inert/Prakriti. Creation ensues from their combination. There are multiple Purushas in Samkhya, from the view that when I eat, you are not full. Vedanta and Samkhya are identical in their psychology, except that in Samkhya, the external world affects the inner understanding by getting into sense-organs. It is ‘Out to In’ approach. For Vedanta, it is the Self that goes ‘out’ through the senses to generate ‘outside world.’ It is ‘In to out’ approach. . In both, instruments are made for the satiation of thirst. They are the subtle body (mind, and sensory and motor organs), and the gross body (the brain, physical body, and various limbs). The two bodies are only functional when combined, like electricity and appliances.
Tuesday, Oct 06 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Sri Ramakrishna as a Guru – Part 2, Chapter 1 – The Story of Vaishnavacharan and Gauri
Sri Ramakrishna’s life is like a play. In a play the character does not undergo transformation but retains the understanding of one’s original identity. Sri Ramakrishna retained his Divine awareness while descending to the worldly plane and address the needs of suffering people. He now got associated with various aspirants who came to Dakshineshwar without invitation.
During this time Sri Ramakrishna was experiencing some unique physical states. Mathur had engaged a physician to examine Sri Ramakrishna. Once a physician friend of this physician was there when Sri Ramakrishna was being examined. This friend had some understanding about changes in the body due to spiritual practices. He concluded that this was not a physical ailment but that it is a manifestation of His spiritual condition. At this time, Bhairavi Brahmani came to Dakshineshwar. She heard about Sri Ramakrishna’s ‘sickness’. She stated that these signs are described in the scriptures and were experienced by Sri Radha and Sri Chaitanya. She concluded that Sri Ramakrishna is an incarnation of God and offered to prove this in a meeting of scholars on the basis of scriptural authority. Vaishnavacharan (A Vaishnava scholar from Calcutta) and Gauri (another highly regarded scholar) were invited to Dakshineshwar to discuss this with Bhairavi.
In the meantime, Bhairavi was excited by her discovery of additional evidence about the correctness of her evaluation of Sri Ramakrishna’s condition. He used to get a burning sensation in his body. Brahmani determined that this is not a disease but a result of Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual awakening. She asked Sri Ramakrishna to wear a garland of fragrant flowers and cover the entire body with sandal paste. Mathur and others did not believe in the diagnosis but went ahead with the recommendation because they didn’t see any harm. After three days the burning sensation disappeared completely. Sri Ramakrishna then experienced another problem. He had developed a ravenous appetite. It is possible that the appetite increases because of the feeling of oneness with the world and you don’t ever feel full. Brahmani was confident that she could cure this as well. She recommended that Sri Ramakrishna spend some time in a room full of various kinds of food. After spending three days in this manner, this problem was cured as well. These events convinced Brahmani about the correctness of her diagnosis.
Story of Vaishnavacharan and Gauri – Page 552-555
Sri Ramakrishna’s body underwent changes according to His inner divine modes. Sometimes Sri Ramakrishna’s height would significantly increase, He would jump out of the bed and run despite being very sick. During Sri Ramakrishna’s spiritual practice as Hanuman (monkey God) He was completely identified with Hanuman and acted like a monkey by climbing trees and eating like a monkey. He had even grown the tail bone. When he was practiced the female mood of Radha, He walked and talked like a woman and used to have monthly menstruations. On several occasions, He asked for more food even though He had recently eaten, and then ate very large quantity of food, a small fraction of which would have ordinarily easily upset His stomach. These changes cannot be explained by our current understanding of anatomy. The author (Swami Saradananda) explains that these bodily changes in Sri Ramakrishna are facts and the rules of anatomy and physiology will have to be changed to accommodate these facts. These changes were because of Sri Ramakrishna’s state of awareness.
The body is a machine that is used by the “Indweller” in the body. We should realize that I am not the body, I am the “Indweller” of the body. We are also not the mind, it is an instrument. Search for the “Indweller” is the most important aspect of the spiritual practice of Vedanta. We meditate on the “Indweller” as a steadily burning flame – steadiness here denotes the unchanging nature of the “Indweller” while the body and the things outside are changing. Sri Ramakrishna could clearly experience this. The whole universe would merge into and emerge from Samadhi at will in front of His large eyes. He used to say that there are two entities inside His body: one is indescribable, that is God and the other one was the devote of the God. The mind is always making, unmaking and changing the gross body. This phenomenon is hard to understand and difficult to believe.