Friday, Oct. 4 Informal retreat with Swami Ishtananda 10:30-4
Swami Ishtananda , Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of St. Petersburg, FL, will be visiting Ridgely with a group of St. Petersburg friends during the first week of October. The beginning of October usually is also the beginning of the gorgeous display of Fall foliage in the Northeast. For that reason we have decided that, weather permitting, we will have an outdoor retreat/pinic/walk at one of the local lakes. If the weather is not good, we will hold the retreat here at Ridgely. We will post more information in the October newsletter. If you are interested, please call or email us to register.
Two Pujas/Traditional Ritual Worships
Sun. Oct. 6 Durga Puja 11:00am
Sun. Oct. 27 Kali Puja 10:00pm-5:00am
Here at Ridgely, these 2 traditional pujas are the only ones usually celebrated by the Vedanta Societies which do not fall in the winter months when snow and ice compel us to close the retreat. Since worship of Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda are always included as part of these larger worships, we celebrate them all in the Fall.
Durga Puja: We celebrate the goddess Durga with a 10-item worship, homa fire and prasad.
Kali Puja: This is our elaborate all-night puja for Dakshina/Shyama Kali, the same form of the Mother worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna. This is the same format followed by the Vedanta Society in Hollywood, similar to the one performed at Belur Math. For this worship we perform the traditional Prana pratishtha, the summoning and invoking the special presence of the Mother in several ways but focused on the murti, the small image of the Mother that ordinarily stays in our shrine room. After the worship She is invoked once more in the homa fire. During the final part of the puja, special presence of the Mother is allowed to return to the Formless.
Offerings: For both Durga and Kali Puja you may bring offerings to be included in the ceremony. Special restrictions apply: 1) all offerings must be new and unused. 2) flowers offerings-please do not enjoy the flowers before the Mother. 3)food-WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO PREPARE OR HEAT UP ANY FOOD OFFERINGS IN OUR KITCHENS. Please bring all food offerings already prepared from home in containers that have never been used for eating. If you are making food for offering please do not taste it. The idea here is that the Mother should be the first enjoyer of all offerings. Possibilities for offering : food, flowers, perfume, incense, cosmetics, clothing, jewelry.
Musical Offerings: We always encourage our musician friends to lead bhajans and kirtan. As many of you know, we don’t plan the music; it is very spontaneous and depends upon the singers who attend the puja.
All are welcome to attend all or any part of these 2 pujas. Please note that, during Kali Puja, anyone who wishes to rest after the ceremony is over will be accommodated. This is the one night where we waive our restriction on children under age 17 staying overnight at the retreat.