Sunday Service: You Are Not Your Body or Your Mind


Week of June 22 – 28, 2014

This week we start a three-part series on Vedanta put into practice. The essays were first published by the Ramakrishna Vedanta Association of Thailand, a Bangkok-based organization where I am an assistant secretary. Originally the series was delivered as a talk in Thailand, and Bindu Anand and I have adapted it as a series that gives a good starting point for anyone new to the faith.

There are many ways to practice Vedanta, of course, and this is just one of many. But it should give people new to Vedanta a nice primer, and it serves as a refresher for anyone already practicing the faith. Our thanks to Bindu for allowing us to reprint it here.

This week I’m also happy to announce that Swami Sarvadevananda, head of the Vedanta Society of Southern California and a senior Ramakrishna Mission monk, will be visiting our Cleveland Vedanta group on July 23. He’ll be giving a talk on the four yogas. Please see our event page on talk and consider attending if you are near the Cleveland area.


Peter Kowalke


HandsThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Practicing Vedanta, Part One: You Are Not Your Body or Your Mind

By Bindu Anand

If I were to ask what you want most, I guarantee that you would have this answer: You want happiness.

Happiness may translate into different things depending on your likes, dislikes and situation in life. It could mean wanting a new car, traveling, having children, having good health, etc. These can change every minute of the day potentially.

For instance, let’s say you’ve wanted a very expensive car for years, and after much saving you’re able to buy it. At that moment, perhaps even for a couple of days, you will experience joy and satisfaction. You’ll think this is the result of buying the car.

But what happens? Soon that joy from the car has disappeared, and now you want a new house.

This cycle goes on endlessly, with us jumping from one want to another. Pretty much your entire life is spent running after this elusive joy that you think you may get from something or someone outside of you. You keep accumulating things—cars, houses— but that yearning, that sense of lacking something, remains.

Vedanta says that it is this desire that is the root of all problems. It is this desire that gives birth to this body, its likes and dislikes, its attachments and aversions. Until we are able to cut the bonds of desire, we are caught in this perpetual cycle of birth and death. If you believe in reincarnation, then you are in bondage to these desires from one life to the next. If you don’t believe in reincarnation, you still wonder if this is how your whole life is going to be—running after this elusive joy, going through these perpetual ups and downs.

So, is there a way out? Vedanta says yes!

(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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