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Friday, August 30, 2013


by Vedanta Society of Providence

Last weekend (6:00 PM Friday, Aug. 23 - 2:00 PM Sunday, Aug. 25), a residential meditation retreat was held in Vedanta Society of Providence. As its name "meditate-a-thon" suggests, this retreat was exclusively dedicated to long hours of meditation with some short readings and breaks (optional) for meals. About 25 people participated in this retreat and their experiences are being shared with others via comments for this blog post.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Comments on Zohar

by Charles (Prana) Feldman

I reserved the book The Zohar Annotated and Explained, which is translated and annotated by Daniel C. Matt, because I knew Swami Y was using this book in his summer Zohar classes. I was curious to read it for myself. Yet after the book was due back in the public library system, whoever had it out didn't return it. Finally, the book came in and I showed it to someone at the Vedanta Society, which led to much hilarity, because I found out that it had been Swami Y who had had the book out, and had tried to renew it but couldn't, because someone (who turned out to be me) had asked to take the book out next.

Anyway, Swami Y suggested I put something on the Vedanta blog about this book. If I wasn't going to write on the blog, I don't know if I would have finished the book, because it is hard to remember the esoteric terms from one chapter to the next. I still don't remember most of them.

It says that the Torah, the Jewish Bible, reveals its secrets only to those who are ready for them. It talks about a number of stories that bible readers are familiar with, but adds a mystical meaning to them. It talks about the sefirot, which
are the ten sparks or manifestations of God. It weaves the Shekhinah, the Divine Mother, into the stories.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thinking of One's Own Death to Gain Perspective

by Donna Maurer

If I were to say out loud that I try to think of death every day, many people might react by worrying about my state of mental health and wellbeing. More and more, people are saying that they "want to live each day as if it were their last." But that is not exactly the same thing as thinking of death, even though living life in such a way may result from such thoughts. 

I remember an incident that happened a few years ago: A friend and I were walking in the Vedanta Society of Providence parking lot when a car pulled in abruptly with us in its path, leading us both to instinctively jump out of the way. We also had the same verbal reaction: "Not Yet!"

Many times it is the "wake-up calls" that propel us into action: Someone close to us passes away, we have a brush with death or a serious disease, or we watch
scenes of an unexpected tragedy on the news. Oftentimes, people have very strong emotional reactions to such incidents, at least in part I think, because they fear for their own mortality.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Become Like Children

by Gloria Maité

In today’s reading of the Gospel at the Catholic Church, Jesus urges each of us to be like children:

"The disciples approached Jesus and said,
'Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?'
He called a child over, placed him in their midst, and said,
'Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Multiverse - Parallel Universes

By  Kaivalyam

Scientists try to discover life beyond earth by restricting themselves to search for only those conditions that support life as perceived by our human mind. In religion also, we hear about the possibilities of numerous worlds, but this is not restricted to only one idea of a perceived notion of life.

Realm of Transcendence

Have you ever wondered how an ant would visualize your pouring water on it or your destroying its anthill? Of course, as a human being it is difficult to comprehend its perception of such intrusions. Very likely, all that an ant perceives is only a disturbance that potentially endangers its life and it just tries to avoid it. It would not be able to comprehend your entire towering figure and your particular action. So pouring of water or destroying its anthill for an ant could simply be an equivalent of a rainfall or an earthquake for a human being.

The greater the disparities in the states of mind between two creatures, the greater will be the tendency to perceive an action by another living entity as a disturbance. A hierarchy in the states of mind can be proposed: the unicellular organisms at one end and the humans at the other extreme with other creatures in between. We can extrapolate this hierarchy beyond the human mind: What we see as an earthquake or hurricane could actually be an intrusion from another creature at a higher state of mind whom we cannot perceive, just as an ant cannot perceive us in our actions. This could likely be the reason in Hinduism, the natural forces like wind etc. have been given some anthropomorphic qualities. Ultimately, by this extension we reach a single God-head who is superior to everything and controls all.