Sunday Service: Morning Ritual

Morning

Week of Feb 23 – March 1, 2014

Morning Ritual

By Peter Kowalke

At 4:50am, the Indian capital is quiet. At least Paharganj, where the Ramakrishna Monastery is located.

The streets outside the temple complex are completely silent, in stark contrast with the boisterous hustle and bustle of Delhi by day. The footpaths inside the complex are silent and serene, too, but a few lone figures make their way to the temple. A floodlight at the front gate, and a few strategic lamps elsewhere, create beautiful silhouettes of the temple spires and ornamentation. A fog that feels like burnt trash still hovers, but it is softer and more personal in the morning. The air is cold, and you can see your breath.

Inside the temple there are no lights at first, just half a dozen monks on the floor in the lotus position, facing a shrine to the Order’s three most important homegrown saints—Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Sarada Devi. A few minutes after 5am, lights in the shrine are switched on and the ritual begins. A gong is tapped lightly, a small organ plays, monks near the front chant four prescribed songs, and a designated monk performs an offering from within the shrine. Afterwards the silence returns, and each worshipper files out silently in his own time. This is morning aarati.

Every religion has its rituals and ceremonies. Technically they are not needed.

(read more)

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peace is every stepBook of the Month

Peace is Every Step

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh’s writing is deceptive in its subtlety. He’ll go on and on with stories about tree-hugging or metaphors involving raw potatoes; he’ll tell you how to eat mindfully, even how to breathe and walk; he’ll suggest looking closely at a flower and to see the sun as your heart. Yet, sooner or later it begins to sink in that Nhat Hanh is conveying a depth of psychology and a world outlook that require nothing less than a complete paradigm shift. Through his cute stories and compassionate admonitions, he gradually builds up to his philosophy of interbeing, the notion that none of us is separate.

(Learn more about the book)

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

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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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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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