Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas

Ramakrishna Sharanam

October 1, 2008

Dear Members and Friends,

Please accept my heartfelt greetings to you all.
On August 25th and 26th, 2008, Prakash Rao and Jay Ghosh, our Society’s President and Treasurer, visited St. Petersburg, Florida to present Swami Prabhananda, the General Secretary of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, with a summary report of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas. The General Secretary accepted our report, which will go on file at the Ramakrishna Math and Mission Headquarters, in Kolkata, India. The General Secretary also encouraged our Society to continue as it is doing under Swami Swahananda’s guidance.

Last month Swami Sridharananda’s lectures at North Lake College and his Bhagavad Gita Retreat at the Senter East Park Building attracted many newcomers, including students, faculty, and neighbors along with our own devotees—many of whom requested MP3 recordings of the swami’s talks. At North Lake College, a DVD of Swami Sridharananda’s talks will be incorporated into the college’s curriculum on Western psychology.

In early September our Center was invited to present Vedanta philosophy and practice to a World’s Religion class at Perkins School of Theology, at Southern Methodist University. We continue to invite professors from SMU and North Lake College to visit our Center and collaborate with us on future lecture engagements at their educational institutions as well as at our own Center. In this way we hope to spark a non-formal educational series on interreligious understanding at some of our future Sunday gatherings.

From the time of Swami Vivekananda’s participation at the Chicago World’s Parliament of Religions in 1893 as the official Hindu delegate, interfaith and academic outreach has been an unseen but vital part of our Vedanta Societies’ nationwide service. In the 1960s, with the advent of Vatican II, American Vedanta Societies were invited by the Catholic Church to become official representatives of Hinduism in the Hindu-Catholic dialogue and on interreligious councils throughout the US. Those seminal councils became the standard for future interreligious councils and the inspiration for a vast nationwide interfaith movement that has grown and evolved to the present day. What is the result? Perhaps a recent note from a student at a SMU World Religions graduate class best encapsulates the value of this academic and interfaith outreach:

Dear Brahmaprana,

Thank you so much for sharing your story, your practice and your vision for humanity. I am gaining a deeper understanding that our future begins and depends on dialogue.

Blessings and Peace,
SMU World Religions class 2008

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