Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas
 

Ramakrishna Sharanam 

April 1, 2009

Dear Friends and Devotees,

Please accept my heartfelt greetings to you all.
On March 1st, the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas observed the special birthday celebration of Sri Ramakrishna, which was accompanied by Indian devotional singing and followed by a visual presentation of the early life of Sri Ramakrishna. The birthday observance was well attended and devotees expressed their appreciation for the entire day’s program.

From March 4th- 8th, the Vedanta Society also hosted a special retreat with revered Swami Swahananda, its Spiritual Leader, as the special guest swami. The retreat began with a series of three informal evening talks on “Guru,” “Mantra,” and “Ishta.” These question-and-answer sessions probed the importance of a guru, power of the mantra, and various meditations on the chosen ideal. Many devotees who attended appreciated these informal evening talks.

Swami Swahananda inaugurated the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society’s Mother’s Day Food Drive with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday evening, March 6th. The Food Drive is for nearby “Irving Cares” Food Pantry, which serves about 414 hungry families a month. Inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s ideal of serving God in humankind, and especially in those who are most in need, devotees have already started donating canned food goods to the Center for the Food Drive. A list of nonperishable food items is posted on the Society’s website at vedantadfw.org.

On Saturday, March 7th, the Society held its Ramakrishna Public Celebration at the DFW Hindu Temple Society. Prakash Rao, the Vedanta Society’s president, introduced Mr. Rajiv Gaind, president of the DFW Hindu Temple Society. Prakash Rao presented Mr. Gaind with the Vedanta Society’s 2009 calendar in appreciation for the Hindu Temple’s support and co-sponsorship of the Society’s past public celebrations on the Hindu Temple’s premises. The morning program consisted of a special worship to Sri Ramakrishna, accompanied by Indian devotional singing and chanting, followed by a lecture on “Sri Ramakrishna as the Guru” by Swami Swahananda. Prasad in hand was also served.

The culmination of Swami Swahananda’s five-day retreat took place at the Vedanta Center on Sunday, March 8th with a worship, accompanied by singing and chanting, and followed by a talk on “Power of the Mantra” by the swami. A special arati service took place, followed by a potluck lunch. The entire day was enjoyed by all. Swami Swahananda’s series of five retreat talks is now available in MP3 format. Please contact the Center for further information.

On Sunday afternoon, March 8th, the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas held its annual General Board Meeting, which was chaired by Swami Swahananda. The swami appointed new office-bearers: Jay Ghosh, president; Jahar Nandi, vice-president; Kalyan Basu, treasurer; and Ranjana Chopra, secretary. Rekha Rao was appointed as a trustee, as well as Alpana Sengupta, for one year. Four new advisors were also appointed: Purna Halder, Maya Sarkar, Henry Hahn, and Sudipto Chakraborty. Prakash Rao then gave a report of the past year’s major activities and events; Jay Ghosh presented the treasurer’s report; the resident minister listed the Center’s specially donated items and furnishings for 2008; and Swami Swahananda concluded the meeting by giving special thanks to those who contributed toward the Center’s garden and supplied the potlucks for the Center’s Sunday lunches and retreats. The swami blessed the trustees and advisors and encouraged them to continue their successful work in building the Society’s organization and spreading the message of Vedanta.

And lastly, Planned Parenthood’s Federation of America Clergy Advisory Board invited the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society to participate in an interfaith plenary session on Friday, March 27th, during the week of its National Conference in Houston. At the session, the Vedanta Society expressed its appreciation for Planned Parenthood’s worldwide program for the uplift of women through its protective healthcare education and medical services. In turn, officers and members of Planned Parenthood expressed interest in the Ramakrishna Mission’s ideal of service to God in humankind and its spiritual practice of Karma yoga. A copy of Swami Vivekananda’s Karma Yoga was presented to Cecile Richards, PPFA President.

With prayerful regards to each and every one of you,
Pravrajika Brahmaprana
Resident Minister