Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas

Ramakrishna Sharanam 

November 1, 2009

Dear Friends and Devotees,
Please accept my heartfelt greetings to you all.

The month of October was highlighted by Swami Sridharananda’s visit to Dallas. On Thursday, October 8th, the senior swami from the Vedanta Center of Sydney, Australia, spoke to a psychology class at North Lake College on “Ancient Wisdom for the Post-Modern World.” In spite of inclement weather, about 100 students, faculty, and members of the public attended the one-and-a-half hour lecture, which was followed by question and answers.

On Saturday, October 10th and Sunday, October 11th, Swami Sridharananda gave a retreat on “Yoga of Meditation,” which was well attended by devotees, newcomers, neighbors, and students from North Lake College. The retreat was recorded and the swami’s complete series of talks at North Lake College and the retreat are available for all those interested.

Swami Sridharananda enjoyed meeting the Vedanta Center’s devotees. He also commented on the beauty of the Center’s garden. The swami stayed at the Center during the day to meet informally with sincere seekers and to attend the evening arati service. Before leaving Dallas, Swami Sridharananda noted the marked growth of the Dallas Center and its outreach. “From the time I first came to meet the Dallas devotees in 2002 until now in October 2009,” the swami commented, “there is a world of difference. Please continue to do Sri Ramakrishna’s work!”

October was a month of both interfaith and academic outreach. On Tuesday evening, October 13th in the Center’s chapel, SMU students from the Perkins School of Theology engaged in the first of four interfaith dialog sessions with six devotees from the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas. After the first session, from 7- 9pm, one member of the dialog team commented, “Though I have long-time friends, never have I shared so openly and intimately about matters of such a deep spiritual and personal nature. This is a rare opportunity and a privilege.” Another commented: “I feel such a spiritual atmosphere created by hearing the stories how we each came into contact with God as we know Him.” An SMU student noted, “It is amazing to hear how we all went through similar experiences and raised the same types of questions in our spiritual quest.” The closed interfaith sessions will continue for one month on Tuesday evenings from 7-9pm.

The Northhaven United Methodist Church, which is hosting the Contemplative Life Series, invited the Vedanta Society to also participate in a closed interfaith session with Dr. James Finley and twenty other spiritual leaders in Dallas. Dr. Finley, former Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemane, Kentucky, where Thomas Merton was his spiritual director, explored Merton’s vision of interfaith dialog as the catalyst for mutual religious understanding and spiritual self-development.

On October 20th, as part of its academic outreach, the Vedanta Society was invited by Dr. Lisa Owens at the University of North Texas, Department of Art, to present the Durga Puja at Belur Math, as an example how Indian temple architecture functions as a sacred space for worshipers to commune with the Divine.

And lastly, Kali Puja was celebrated at the Vedanta Center on Sunday, October 18th with worship, arati, flower offerings, and prasad. This puja, which was enjoyed by all who attended, brought the Mother Goddess season to a close.

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