Sunday Service: Morning Ritual


Week of May 17 – 23, 2015

This week we bring you a spiritual talk from our archives. We’ve published or reprinted so many spiritual talks over the years, sometimes it is good to go back and reprint some of the earlier work; this site is too deep to fully explore, so many gems can get lost or overlooked.

It is worth noting that we also have pages devoted to faiths other than Vedanta that highlight spiritual talks we have delivered in the context of those faiths. These pages include Christianity, Buddhism and Islam right now. All of our talks are in the context of Vedantic truth, of course, but these pages help bridge the gap between religions and share truth that otherwise go unnoticed in the Vedanta tradition.

So here you go.

Enjoy, and happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

Yours in service,


This Week’s Spiritual Talk

Morning RitualAarti

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 RamakrishnaSwami Vivekananda andSarada 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.

“Ceremonials and symbols, etc., have no place in religion,” says Swami Vivekananda, “pure and simple.” But this saint worshipped during aarti every morning also explains why ceremony and ritual continue to exist in every religion, including Vedanta. “The mythological and symbological parts of all religions are natural growths which early environ the aspiring soul and help it Godward.”


(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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