Vedanta Center of Atlanta: ​​​​May events

5/27/2018 10:30 AM

Vedanta Center of Atlanta: ​​​​May events

Vedanta Center of Atlanta: ​​​​May events

10:30am-11am: silent meditation in the Chapel before each Sunday’s talk.
11am-noon: talk and worship in the chapel.
noon-1:30pm: devotees and friends meet in the Monastery for tea, coffee, snacks and a continuation of our spiritual fellowship.
Please join us!
PS: Please be on time. The service starts promptly at 11AM.
Venue: 2331 Brockett Rd, Tucker, GA 30084
Contact: (770) 938-6673 ;,
See Calendar for details about any particular Sunday.

May is a month for study of Bhakti Yoga. As a bhakti yogi, you establish a devotional relationship with God through study, prayer, ritual, and worship. You practice giving every action, thought, emotion, perception and tendency “a Godward turn.” All of your energies and attributes, both positive and negative, are offered to the Divine Presence. Your prayer is for self-surrender, union with your Belovèd.

May 6, 11am-noon
Talk: “Practicing the Freedom of Love”
with Br. Shankara
Think for a moment about an arranged marriage: Typically, the couple does not love one another before the wedding. Their love is discovered over time, by trial and error, as they live together and practice a loving relationship. It is not easy, yet it can be very rewarding.

For a bhakti yogi, it is much the same. You may be inclined toward love of God — yet, in the beginning, He or She is not really known to you. Patient and persistent practice of devotion awakens a deep current of love that connects you — has always connected you to the Divine Presence.

In Chapter 12 of Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna, “Those whose minds are fixed on me in steadfast love, worshiping me with absolute faith, I consider them to have the greater understanding of yoga … Quickly I come to those who offer me every action, worship me only, their dearest delight, with devotion undaunted. Because they love me, these are my bondsmen and I shall save them from mortal sorrow and all the waves of Life's deathly ocean.”

God’s love is limitless and unconditional. Yours can be, as well. As Swami Vivekananda wrote in his “Letter to a Friend,” “From the highest god to the worm and beyond, to the atoms in the stars, everywhere the same God loves all. Friend, lay your mind, soul and body at their feet. He is in front of you right now, in the different forms He's taken; if you turn away from them, where will you find Him? The first to love all beings without thinking worships God.”

On Sunday we will explore the meaning of these quotes, and others that teach us how to practice, and thereby experience the freedom of love.

May 11, 7-8pm (Friday)
Talk: “Vedanta and Old Age”
with Swami Ishtananda, Minister and Spiritual Head of the Vedanta Center of St. Petersburg, FL. Immediately following we will have a potluck reception for the Swami from 8-9pm in the Monastery and Fellowship Hall. 
Swami Ishtanandaji will unfortunately need to postpone his visit to our Center, which was scheduled for this Friday. One of his team members took ill and is in hospital. We will of course let you know when the Swami is able to reschedule. We apologize for any inconvenience.

May 12, 10am-2pm
SEVA SATURDAY! Seva means serving in the fellowship of volunteers or Karma Yogis.
Please join us for yard work, gardening, cleaning, organizing, office work, lunch, and lots of camaraderie. It’s not necessary for you to stay the entire time… come and join us as long as you can. We’ll be serving lunch around noon.
We always need your help but especially so this Saturday so that we can make the Center ready for the Annual Meeting.
Note: The Saturday morning “Realizing God” class will not meet so that class members who wish to may participate in Seva Saturday.

May 12, 10-10:30am
Chandi Hymns (in English) – led by Br. Shankara

Devi_MahatmyamFour Hymns from the Chandi (Devi Mahatmyam) will be read in English every Seva Saturday, from 10 to 10:30am. Please join us in the Chapel if you can — these hymns are deeply informative about the nature of the Divine Mother, and therefore about the universe and the world we share.

Many of your spiritual questions may be answered by what you read and hear. What is said about the Mother can help free you from restless desires, fear, and other forms of ignorance. Both Swami Swahananda and Swami Sarvadevananda have emphasized the benefits of reciting these Chandi hymns.

Note: Chandi Hymns will also be read, in Sanskrit, every 1st Saturday morning of the month, from 10-11am (new time) in the Chapel. All are welcome, and no prior experience is necessary. Led by Rita Bhandarkar Mathew.

May 13, 11am-noon
Talk: “Chaitanya’s Prayer, the Perfect Primer”
with Br. Shankara
Chaitanya’s Prayer, as interpreted by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, is recited here during morning Arati. This is also done in the temples, convents and monasteries of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, at Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely, and at other Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Vedanta centers in the U.S.

This prayer brings the goal and results of devotional spiritual practice into sharp focus in about three minutes. It is a primer in the truest sense of the word. The prayer’s tone and language are intense; it can be thought of as one of the most beautiful love songs ever written.

Chaitanya calls forth the heart’s bliss, instructs the mind in how to overcome obstacles, and, in the voice of a spiritually awakening heart and soul, speaks lovingly and directly to the Divine within.

Br. Shankara will explore the prayer and its teachings in detail, including some discussion of Sri Chaitanya himself, and the high regard in which he was held by Sri Ramakrishna and Holy Mother.

May 20, 11am-noon
Annual Meeting of the Congregation
Followed by a catered luncheon from noon to 2pm'ish. All are invited and welcome! PLEASE RSVP so that we'll have to right amount of food for the catered lunch!

Thou-Thee-ThineMay 27
, 11am-noon
Talk: “What happens when you say ‘Thou - Thee - Thine?’”
with Br. Shankara
What happens when you consciously, repeatedly replace the words “I - Me - Mine” with thoughts of “Thou - Thee - Thine?” Not as a pretense, but as a stand you take for what you have begun to believe is a higher Truth.

Perhaps your belief is based on what Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “The illumined soul … thinks always, ‘I am doing nothing.’ (Ch. 5) … Every action is performed by the gunas. Man, deluded by his egoism, thinks ‘I am the doer.’ (Ch. 3)” Or perhaps you’re persuaded by Swami Sridharananda; he tells us: “The concept of ‘I am’ is experienced by us all the time. This awareness of I am-ness has to be converted to ‘He Is.’ I don’t exist; He Is, He exists.”

Sridharanandaji says that if you are persistent in this spiritual practice, “… slowly and slowly the awareness of His presence overwhelms the awareness of my am-ness.” As Sri Krishna tells Arjuna in Ch. 9 of the Gita, “Holiness (itself) … refashions (your) nature to peace eternal …”

On Sunday we will explore and discuss these ideas, and tie them to what Sri Ramakrishna says in Ch. 5 of his Gospel: “Bhaktas accept all the states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don't think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the universe is a manifestation of God's power and glory. God has created all these — sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute His glory. He is within us, in our hearts …”

June 2, 10am-2pm
SEVA SATURDAY will be on the 1st Saturday in June!

June 3, 11am-noon
Talk: “Seeing the Living Photos of Sri Ramakrishna”
with Swami Harinamanandaji

June 9 (Sat), 9:30am-4:30pm & June 10 (Sun), 11am-12pm
Weekend Retreat Workshop: The Enneagram
with Jill Ulrici
Note: The book The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Hudson and Richard Russo is recommended,  not required.

June 17, 11am-noon
Talk: “Bhakti According to Sri Krishna” (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 12)
with Br. Dhruva

June 24, 11am-noon
Talk: “The First Step to Freedom”
with Patrick Horn

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