Saturday, Oct 24, 11 am to 1:00 pm: Durga Puja Celebration
Registration IS COMPLETE – ALL SPACES TAKEN. No more registration available.
All those who have already registered will soon get an email of confirmation and guidelines.
Of course everyone is welcome to join ONLINE.
For convenience of everyone, the event will be streamed live online on our YouTube channel.
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: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFof5116HcBYIpUFvKet1Uw
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 23||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and Study Class on ‘Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam’ by Swami Yogatmananda
|Sun. Oct 25||5:00-6:00 pm: Sun lecture on ‘‘Talk on Prayers to Mother Durga – part 2’’ by Swami Yogatmananda, followed by Arati and meditation|
|Tue. Oct 27||7:00 – 8:45 pm: Arati, meditation and A Study Class on ‘Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play’
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, but one must enter before 5:55 am
|Evening||(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
Sun, Oct 18, 10:30-11:30 am and 7:30-8:30 pm: Swami gave the two lectures mainly for the devotees of Vedanta Society of Connecticut and later for devotees at Queens & Bronx, NY, area via YouTube channel of the Providence Center. Many other devotees joined too.
Synopses of Past Classes
(All classes given by Swami Yogatmananda)
Friday, Oct 16 – Stories from Srimad Bhagavatam
Sri Krishna expounded the Srimad Bhagavatam to Uddhava. At that time, he told him the secret of loving the source of love. As ordinary human beings, we give our love to the illusory objects of the world, and so our love meets only frustration; however, if our love is directed towards the actual source of love—the unchanging reality—then that love will keep on growing and growing. As spiritual aspirants we face a common problem: How can the mind be turned to God? At Haridwar, Vidura beseeches the sage Maitreya to describe the “noble path” by which one can achieve enlightenment. Vidura further asks, “Tell us about God; how the ever-free and controller of Maya assumes human form?” How does the infinite Brahma become “compressed” into the three cubits of the human body? After praising Vidura and his questions, the divine sage Maitreya responds for the benefit of Vidura as well as the whole world: “In the beginning…God alone was. He was all. He—the pure spirit, the master; whatever is called many was dissolved in it, by his own will.” There was no object or “seen.” Only the “seer” was there. The expression or power was subsumed in him. The idea of God’s incarnation conflicts with our rationality, but nonetheless God becoming man is a historical fact, which forms the basis of many of the world’s religions. As devotees we rejoice when hearing of God’s incarnation and divine play. Through the power of “yoga-maya” or “shakti,” the “one-without-second” Narayana (Lord or, etymologically, the goal of human beings) becomes the many.
Sunday, Oct 18 – Prayers to Mother Durga #1
The opening song was Kali Durga, sung by Peter Travisano.
This is the time of year when people celebrate the advent of the Divine Mother, Maa Durga. We will discuss the Chandi, or 700 Verses on Maa Durga.
A king who lost his kingdom and a businessman whose family kicked him out both went to the forest, but their minds were on those that they had left behind. Times change but we get caught in the old associations thus feeling miserable. A sage told them that the cause of this was nescience. We need to pray to the Goddess who has made us oblivious to our true nature. We do not see the Goddess, but we see her effects.
Long ago, Vishnu fell asleep, and two demons came out who wanted to swallow the whole universe. Brahma started praying to the Divine Mother to leave Vishnu so he will wake up and fight the demons. All we need to do is to wake up to our true nature. We are in a stupor, oblivious to the fact that we are divine, all-pervading, and bliss itself. The two demons are named Attraction (Madhu) and Repulsion (Kaitabha). Brahma praises the Goddess, saying that in the end, all is dissolved in You. He says that You are the most beautiful, beyond distinctions. The Goddess drew herself out from Vishnu’s limbs and organs, and he woke up. He fought the demons for five thousand years. The demons became pleased with the Lord, and they offered him a boon. The boon he chose was the death of the two demons.
Tuesday, Oct 20 – Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Story of Vaishnavacharan and Gauri, Pages 556-557
Bharavi Brahmani had asserted that Sri Ramakrishna is an incarnation of God because such outburst of spiritual awareness, that appeared in Sri Ramakrishna, can only be seen in the incarnations of God. She proved this to the scholars of the time based on the evidence from the scriptures. People found it unbelievable and ironic that a rustic and unlettered priest with seemingly mental and physical ailments, who could not even talk properly, could be an incarnation of God.
Vaishnavacharan was one of the scholars who was invited to give his opinion. He agreed with Brahmani. He also developed immense respect for Sri Ramakrishna and later visited Him several times. Sri Ramakrishna also visited him and met his fellow aspirants. Vaishanavacharan belonged to a sect in Vaishnava Tantra tradition that undertook esoteric practices usually considered to be abominable. Sri Ramakrishna noticed that sincere aspirants could make spiritual progress in this path as well. So, while the path is dirty, it leads to the same goal. Sri Ramakrishna did not advocate this path. He urged his disciples not to follow it and not to associate with this sect. But, he also taught them that no one should hate them for their practices as they too can lead to God. Tantra uses the mixture of desires for sense enjoyment and spiritual pursuit in us. It provides for practices to fulfill the desires for sense enjoyment but gradually draws the mind of an aspirant to God. If we only pursue sense enjoyments, then we only get misery. We first get misery in working hard for these enjoyments and then when we get the enjoyment, it only leaves behind a lasting misery. Once a person understands this, the pursuit for sense enjoyments stops and only the pursuit of God remains. Sages understand this clearly and they shun enjoyments altogether and seek only God, avoiding the misery thereby and avoiding the wastage of effort in seeking worldly enjoyments.