Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas

Ramakrishna Sharanam

 Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas
 119 W. Scotland Dr.
 Irving, TX 75062

Christmas 2008

Dear Friends and Devotees,

As the year 2008 draws to a close, it is a good time for all of us to reflect on our spiritual goals—first, by asking, “What are they?”; second, “How have we tried to work towards them?”; and lastly, “What have we achieved by doing so?” Have our goals changed our lives? Have they helped change the lives of those around us? On January 2-3, 2009, Swami Ishtananda, Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of St. Petersburg, FL., will address these vital questions. In a New Year’s retreat on “Self-Development,” the swami will discuss “Setting Goals” and “Achieving Results.” All are welcome.

With a brand new Center, associated with a vast worldwide religious tradition, we at the Vedanta Society may also ask, “What are our Center’s goals? And are we achieving those goals?”

The primary goal of our Vedanta Society is self-development through spiritual practice. The foundation of our Center, then, resides in the spiritual lives of those who support it. Our message is not in building buildings, but in building lives. As a religious organization, we are dedicated to a spirit of love, service, and harmony among people. And we are committed to spreading Vedanta’s non-sectarian teachings as far and wide as possible.

Over the past year, we have tried to work towards those goals. We began by building a routine of daily worship and arati as well as weekly spiritual talks and classes at the Center. Because Sri Ramakrishna used to urge his lay devotees to now and then go into solitude, this past year our Society has provided six retreats conducted by guest swamis—open to the public and free of charge. The monastery grounds themselves have offered a sanctuary of peace and tranquility to all who come during our daily visiting hours. And for children, we now have a special Sunday program. These rich opportunities and developments would not have happened if it weren’t for your generous support.

Once our Center’s routine and foundation were in place, we then reached out to others —neighbors, public officials, educational institutions, and churches.  Our social service outreach began with a bi-annual feeding of the homeless. Our 2008 cultural outreach began in the spring with a spiritual talk at the Crow Collection of Asian Art and the Odissi dance performance, and it continued with our support for other Indian cultural and religious events throughout the year. We then reached out to select churches and temples, North Lake College, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Dallas, and University of North Texas.

By reaching out to others, we began to attract newcomers—neighbors, city officials, students, professors, church leaders, and genuine spiritual seekers. In January and February 2009, we will harvest this outreach in a month-long series entitled: “Vedanta’s Tribute to Interfaith Dialog and India’s Spiritual Culture.”  Please join us.

Now comes the question: “How have I helped the Society achieve its goals?” Well, you have become our friends and devotees and have shown your commitment by attending the Center’s programs and special observances. Many of you have pledged support to our Society in order that we may continue to provide special retreats and a spiritual sanctuary for all.  Still others have worked tirelessly and given unstintingly—sometimes until it hurt—so that our Society could not only sustain itself, but spread the message of Vedanta as far and wide as possible. For this we are grateful.

And so, this past year the rewards have been many. We have seen numerous spiritual seekers express their gratitude, delight, or relief at just finding our Center. Others have received lasting guidance from our spiritual leader, Revered Swami Swahananda. We have witnessed the enthusiasm and sometimes tear-filled responses of those who attended our retreats. And students and professors alike have shared with us their appreciation for the fact that Vedanta has provided them access into one of the oldest living religious traditions of the world.

We may all feel gratified by what has transpired this past year.  May our Center continue to grow and thrive. And may the Lord bless us all.

And so with deep gratitude, on behalf of our Society’s Trustees and Advisors, I would like to wish each and every one of you a spiritually enriching holiday season and a blessed New Year!

With prayerful regards,
Pravrajika Brahmaprana
Resident Minister