Announcements and reminders:

Upcoming Events

DURGA PUJA: Sat. Oct. 20, 11:00am – 7:00pm
11:00 am: worship-ritual, 12:30 flower-offering & Prasad-lunch, 3:00-5:00 Video, 5:00-6:00 Special Durga dance,  6:00-7:00 Singing and 7:00 Supper-prasad

Hatha Yoga ClassesEvery Tuesday, beginning Oct 02, 5:30-6:30 PM (Please note the change in day)
Fee: $40 — PREPAID For 2 Month Course, $10/Per Class
Contact Vedanta Society by phone or email or contact Roshni Darnal at 401-226-5421

Weekly Schedule (in addition to Daily Schedule given below)

Fri. Oct. 19 7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation.  
7:30 – 8:30 PM: Study Class by Swami Yogatmananda, class #4 on: ‘Svetasvatara Upanishad’ 
Sat. Oct. 20 11:00 AM– 7:00 PM: Day-long Durga Puja, see schedule above.
Sun. Oct. 21 5:00 – 6:00 PM: Lecture: Durga – Killer of the Ego-Demon by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and soup-supper
Tue. Oct. 23 7:00 PM: Aarati (devotional music) & meditation
7:30 – 8:30 PM:  Study Class – Swami Saradananda’s book – ‘SRI RAMAKRISHNA & HIS DIVINE PLAY’: Sri Ramakrishna As Guru(Tr. Swami Chetanananda)

Daily Schedule

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 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.

Past Events

Sat, Oct 20: Swami Chetanananda Gives a Retreat on Stories of the Vedanta Monks
Swami Chetanananda, Head of the Vedanta Society of St Louis and author of several masterpieces on Sri Ramakrishna and the associated personages, gave a retreat on the above topic. It was attended by 54 devotees. It began with an opening song and 40 min guided meditation by Swami Yogatmananda, after which Swami gave 2 lectures, separated by lunch break, devotional music and Vedantic Tales (Yogatmananda). He gave very inspiring narration about the memoirs of 2nd generations Swamis who are disciples of either Holy Mother or of direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. There was, along with intense spiritual wisdom, lot of humor and practical instructions.

Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda, unless otherwise stated)

Friday Study Class: Svetasvatara Upanisad – Oct. 12
Class 4- verses 2-3: Every person, by virtue of the fact that s/he is a human being poses certain existential questions: namely, what is the world about? Who am I? What is the purpose of living? Etc. Although all human beings ask these questions, very few make them the all-absorbing search of their lives. Those who understand these questions to be the most important in life are known as those truly interested in the knowledge of Brahma – brahmavadins. As these seekers seek the cause of this reality, they rule out what the cause cannot be. The first cause cannot be time because it is dependent on our perception of the space between two events. It cannot be fate or chance because such an answer is tantamount to an admission of ignorance. It cannot be a combination of multiple causes because a combination is always dependent on someone else using it.  The sage teaches us to discover the first cause, and to thus resolve the problems previously posed, through meditation. This first cause is known as Shakti, the universal power by which the one becomes the many. Meditation does not mean simply reciting a mantra and following the instructions of the guru mechanically, but rather achieving transcendence. By means of true meditation we transcend the “kaleidoscope” of the body-sense-organ-mind complex which causes the world to appear as a multiplicity. As we analyze deeply, we find greater and greater unity behind the apparent names and forms.

Sunday Talk – Sri Sarada Devi and Her Divine Play – a talk by Swami Chetanananda – Oct 14
We can establish a relationship with and communicate with an incarnation of God. Every incarnation has a specific mission. Sri Ramakrishna’s mission was to destroy doubt. Holy Mother Sri Sarada Devi is the Mother of all. Today, millions of people meditate on Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother. At 18 years old, Holy Mother had two fears: that her husband was mad (due to false rumors), and that he would reject her because he was a monk. He dispelled these fears by being loving and caring to her. Sri Ramakrishna worshiped Sri Sarada Devi as the Divine Mother, to show that woman’s power is equally important as that of man. Holy Mother would soak up people’s bad karma, and suffer as a result. One man pushed a monk (Swami Saradananda) out of the way to get to see her, and the monk afterwards praised him for having that kind of longing to see Holy Mother. Holy Mother was neither a householder nor a nun, but was the Divine Mother herself. She is the mother of the Ramakrishna Order. Holy Mother appeared to many people in divine forms. A disciple told Holy Mother that he could not meditate. She said she would meditate for him. He said he would go to hell. She said that her disciples are already free. Holy Mother loved a monk so much that when he brought her clean water to keep her from getting dysentery, she forbade him from doing that, so he would not have to carry the heavy pot of water. Holy Mother encouraged people to constantly repeat their mantra, and to be contented where God keeps them. She also said that saying the name of God once is enough. The main lessons we learn from Holy Mother are faith, hope and love.

Tuesday Study Class: Sri Ramakrishna & His Divine Play – Oct. 16
Pg 426-428: As the Kundalini rises through the various centers, it drives different experiences. Once Sri Ramakrishna tried to tell His devotees about these experiences – even attempting to describe the experience of when the Kundalini reaches the top-most point (the Sahasrara). Sri Ramakrishna explains that when it reaches the level of throat there is no more doubt about the Reality, it becomes a matter of conviction and infuses new energy to continue to make progress. At the level between the eyebrows, there is only a thin transparent layer separating you and God. As the Kundalini rises higher into the top most point His speech stopped and despite repeated attempts He could not put the experience in words – there is no subject-object experience in this state to provide expression to. Sri Ramakrishna used to state that the natural tendency of His mind was to merge into Samadhi and He had to make an effort to keep it at lower levels.
The state of non-duality is not a matter of thinking and logically understanding it. The incident of Harinath (later Swami Turiyananda) illustrates this point. It is a matter of experience. The aspirant becomes one with the Ultimate Reality/God. The truth swallows the ego. Sri Ramakrishna used to say that the essence of Vedanta is that Brahman alone is real and the world is unreal. Jiva (individual self) is nothing else but Brahman. One must realize this state of non-duality. The way to do this is through Sravana (listening to the truth), Manana (thinking about it and digesting it) and Nididhyasana (realizing that the truth is not separate from you). Through this process you realize that the world is unreal and then you don’t run after it. People often get temporary dispassion upon witnessing the death of near and dear ones (Cremation Ground Dispassion). Spiritual practice helps in firming up the conviction in unreality and evanescence of the world. Once this conviction is established then comes the realm of grace that leads one to self-realization.