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Sunday, January 9, 2022

Reflections on a Holy Weekend at Vedanta Society of Providence

By Kanna Pichappan

When planning to come to Providence at the end of December, Swami Yogatmanandaji wrote in a kind email that it would “be a great fun + education.” Every moment at the Christmas Eve Service, Holy Mother’s Birthday Celebration, and in between, rang true of these words. 

At the beginning of the Christmas Eve Celebration, Swami Yogatmanandaji articulated that “Christ is the God in flesh and blood. The Christ is the God we can interact with.” These words were very meaningful to me because they made me ponder how fortunate I am to have so many Christs in my life! Additionally, the following excerpt from The Sermon on the Mount reading resonated with me powerfully: “If, when you are bringing your gift to the altar, you suddenly remember that your brother has a grievance against you, leave your gift where it is before the altar. First, go and make your peace with your brother, and only then come back and offer your gift.” This passage prompted me to recognize that my first priority should be taking care of the God around me who is in flesh and blood form. This notion helped me wrap my head around the idea that God is not only present in the altar of temples. Rather, God is present everywhere around me, and I have the opportunity to serve God in all these living forms!

At the Symposium on Holy Mother, I learned that I should endeavor to prioritize spiritual practice in life. Swami Yogatmanandaji explained, “A lot of confusion happens in life because that which is most important does not get the most important attention. All those which are not very important, they come to the fore. Holy Mother never ever faulted in this respect. Whatever other adjustments had to be made, she very gladly made them without compromising the most important thing in life.” The speakers beautifully articulated how Holy Mother demonstrated this with her life:

Ms. Rituparna Dhar illustrated how Holy Mother had unwavering faith in her priorities: When Holy Mother came to Dakshineswar at age 18, Sri Ramakrishna asked her if she had come to pull him down to worldly life. Holy Mother, without hesitation, said, “No, I am here to help you realize your chosen ideal.” Mr. Fred Richardson pointed out how Swami Adbhutananda describes Holy Mother as “adjusting to circumstances.” Ms. Bianca Gray shared that Holy Mother maintained adherence to living unselfishly even while handling her responsibilities as a householder.  These ideas inspire me to (1) prioritize what is important in life and (2) faithfully adhere to these priorities. 

During my time at the Vedanta Society of Providence, I was also inspired to work cooperatively with others by witnessing how so many people worked together for a common purpose. I, too, endeavor to work with others for a greater and shared ideal.

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