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Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Snake and the Mantra

 By a Wanderer

(Phew, what a relief! It's not the same “Snake and Rope”)

In the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Ramakrishna tells a parable of a snake to explain how to deal with the wicked.
He says, “A man living in society should make a show of anger to protect himself from evil-minded people. But he should not harm anybody."
The primary message from this story is clear, “You must hiss at wicked people. You must frighten them, lest they should do you harm. But never inject your venom into them. One must not injure others.”
Interestingly, this short parable also talks about importance of repetition of Holy Name (Japa) as discussed below.

Friday, August 15, 2014

When Death Met Its Death

 by Disciple

Kathopanishad's protagonist is a young boy Nachiketa, who on account of being honest, proceeds to face his own death embodied as Yama. Curiously, Yama was missing at his abode, perhaps aware of the portending meeting with this prodigy. Having been made to wait for three nights without food (makes us wonder whether we see day/night and need food after death), Yama as a gesture of making it up to Nachiketa, agreed to grant three boons, one for each night that he had waited.

Nachiketa was either smart as he did not ask the boons in reverse order of what he had actually asked or he made spiritual progress very fast seeing through the true nature of things (so we were told). As first boon, which itself is an intelligent concatenation of multiple wishes, he made sure he will go back to his father alive who would be pacified and also recognize him.  As second boon, he wanted to know the method to attain heaven to enjoy happiness. Yama graciously gives two extra boons here: naming this method by the name Nachiketa besides granting a garland to him.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A New Time Share

By a Wanderer  (A story with fictional characters in real setting)

We were all set to go for our yearly vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We have a beautiful time share right on the beach. I, my wife, three kids and two dogs; we were all excited. Everything was going according to plan until last week. Right before our departure, an unexpected series of events forced us to cancel the whole trip.  Everything fell apart.

While searching for an alternative, I came across a sign board for a retreat “Meditate-A-Thon” - a two-day residential meditation retreat at Vedanta Society of Providence. I registered for both of us. This was the first summer when we were doing something without kids. My wife was reluctant to attend, but in the end she agreed to participate.

Retreat began with Swamiji's short talk. Thought of long meditation sessions gave me shivers down my spine (unfortunately it was not awakening of Kundalini). I was uneasy but couldn’t talk because of silent retreat. At last, I decided to deal with - 'I' and 'my mind'. Two days of complete silence. Slowly, serenity of the environment took over. I determined to stay instead of running away.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spiritual Retreat for Youth: Lessons Learned

By Ankur Chiplunkar (participant in Youth Retreat held at Vedanta Society of Providence, July 25-27, 2014)

This retreat has been a great success for me. The topic of Buddha’s Noble Eight Fold path was very appealing, leading to enriching discussions and wisdom. The best part I liked about this approach is that it is very practical! Difficult, but not impossible. The beauty of the approach is that you can apply it to your day to day activities, making you very efficient and productive at your daily tasks. At the same time, this approach can be applied to the bigger picture of attaining liberation and help you organize and execute your spiritual progress plan.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Insights from the Young Adult Retreat

By Rohan (participant in Youth Retreat held at Vedanta Society of Providence, July 25-27, 2014)


1.    “Noble” comes from Arya Satyam, meaning “deliberate, elevated, wisdom, and finesse.” The definition of Noble is fitting for the title “Noble Eightfold Path.” It clarifies that life should be lived on the Path deliberately, consciously, and with thought into each action. Successfully staying on the path is only achieved by being present in the moment of thoughts and actions.  It is by way of overcoming the instinctive or animalistic life: one that is stimulated only by external forces, and is reactive.

It is difficult, not impossible.

2.    The Four Truths are:

a.    There is suffering.
b.    There is a cause.
c.    There is a state of infinite peace, and it can be achieved by removed by removing the cause of suffering.
d.    This can be achieved through life on the Eightfold Path.

Meditate-a-thon 2014

The residential long meditation retreat was held at Vedanta Society from 6:00 PM Aug. 01 (Fri.) to 1:00 PM Aug. 03 (Sun.). 17 people including Swami Yogatmanandaji participated in this retreat. The retreat constituted meditation from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM on Friday, 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM on Saturday and 5:30 AM to 12:300 noon on Sunday with short breaks in between. The participants will present their thoughts, opinions and feedback on this retreat as comments to this post.