Sunday Service: Don’t Follow Anything Blindly

Week of Nov 24 – Nov 30, 2013

Our typhoon relief effort in the Philippines goes well. We have helped an estimated 500 Filipinos devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, and our relief work continues.

“We were the only relief effort that offered water, and everyone began crying for water when they learned we were giving out the precious liquid,” our Haiyan relief coordinator told me recently after a food drop to the town of Medellin.

You can read more about the Medellin food drop on our disaster relief site,

Please consider making a donation to our relief effort if you have not done so already.

Roughly 11.4 million Filipinos have been affected by the storm, which ripped through the Philippines last weekend. There are currently about 670,000 displaced people and 300,000 who have no shelter at all. Then there’s the lack of food.

Every dollar is a mouth fed, and we’re all working really hard to help those most in need.

Peter Kowalke


Road less takenThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Don’t Follow Anything Blindly

by Peter Kowalke

Although I have been walking a Vedanta path since age 2, for many years I self-consciously limited what I shared. That is because it is immediately apparent that I am not perfect, that I do not have it all figured out, that my thoughts and my habits drift both among truth and ignorance.

How could I stand up and talk about the deepest truths when I had not finished understanding truth?

So for many years I did not share. I quietly built my knowledge, experimented actively, practiced truth as I understood it. But I did not share. I was not qualified.

The dirty little secret that took me years to understand, however, is that none of us are qualified. Within all of us is truth and some measure of untruth. If we wait until we are perfectly realized before we share what we know, none of us will share what we know. Even monks, the saintliest among us, are not perfect in their understanding.

I dare write that none of us are 100 percent perfect in our understanding, even the greatest saints that have ever lived. As spiritual giant Swami Vivekananda noted, even Jesus of Nazareth and Siddhārtha Gautama revealed a little imperfection when they taught; the man who fully rests in truth knows there is no ignorance, no action or becoming, no point in making the world a better place beyond one’s own spiritual growth.

No one has perfect understanding, which is why we must always exercise our power of discrimination. Even from the wisest mouths come a little ignorance, so we must always weigh what we hear and what we see against our own internal compass. Truth naturally resonates with our deepest essence because it is a true reflection of reality. So even if we are uneducated or ignorant, even if we ignore the truth, we will recognize it when we encounter it.

(read more)


Jnana-YogaBook of the Month


by Swami Vivekananda

Jnana-Yoga, the Path of Knowledge, describes the essence of Vedanta philosophy – the wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita in a modern scientific manner. Jnana-Yoga, along with Swami Vivekananda’s Karma-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, are considered classics and outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. The Swami’s deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, and broad human sympathy shine forth in these works and offer inspiration to all spiritual seekers.

(download the book for free)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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