Sunday Service: Love as the Basis of Monasticism

Brotherly love

Week of December 7 – 13, 2014

I’m still away on my Buddhist retreat at Wat Suan Mokkh in southern Thailand, so not much new to announce this week.

This is a good opportunity, however, to highlight one of my favorite spiritual talks on our site. It is part of a larger lecture given by Swami Bhajanananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order, on what makes the Ramakrishna Order unique. What’s important about this spiritual talk, however, is what it says about love. Rather than rehash the message, however, I’m just going to let you dive right into it.

Yours in service,


This Week’s Spiritual Talklove as the basis of Ramakrishna of Monasticisim

Love as the Basis of Ramakrishna Monasticism

by Swami Bhajanananda

There are six unique features of Ramakrishna monasticism: It is centered on Ramakrishna; it introduces a new form of community life; it synthesizes the yogas; it stresses the harmony of religions; it uses work as worship; and it emphasizes love.

Love, the sixth unique feature of our monasticism, is what this essay will focus upon.

The basis of our monastic life is love. In traditional Hindu monasticism, the basis of community life is mutual convenience and common interest. In some of the big Akhadas, hundreds of monks live together. What holds them together is not love, for love is considered bondage, Maya.

In Buddhist monasticism also the basis of community life is not love. There is a popular belief that Buddha taught love. The truth is Buddha warned against priti, love, as the cause of attachment. What he preached was maître (metta in Pali), friendliness. We should be friendly to all; we should not hate or harm anybody—this was what Buddha taught.

Even in the Bhakti schools in Hinduism, love for man is regarded as an obstacle to love for God. Swami Vivekananda removed the barriers between love for man and love for God. He showed that the two types of love—human and divine—are mutually complementary, not contradictory. This view is based on the Vedantic theory of love.

Now, what is love?

(read more)


videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio 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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