RIDGELY TEMPORARILY CLOSED AGAIN

For most of July our area has experienced almost daily severe thunderstorms. We had a lightning strike on our property which took out our phone service last week. It still has not been restored. Without phone service visitors have no way to schedule tours, so we have decided to close the retreat until our service is restored and some other damage is repaired. We require advance appointments for all visitors. Please do not try to visit the retreat at this time. We hope this problem ( and other damage as well) will be fixed soon.

With best wishes,

Gitaprana

JULY 1 RESTRICTED OPENING: VACCINATED DAY VISITORS ONLY- PLEASE READ REQUIREMENTS BELOW

We are happy to announce that Vivekananda Retreat will open to DAY VISITORS ONLY on July1. (If that goes well, we will open for overnight stays on August 19.) We look forward to seeing you! Of course, this could change, as the pandemic is not over yet. Because of the growing uncertainty of the spread of the Delta variants and their potential impact you must follow these requirements:

PLEASE  NOTE THESE REQUIREMENTS:

-At this time VACCINATION IS REQUIRED. This means that, for the time being, unvaccinated adults and children may not visit the Retreat. Proof of vaccination required the first time you visit. Our staff is fully vaccinated.

-We are limiting tours to 8 people or less. YOU MUST CALL US AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE TO SCHEDULE A TOUR.  Our phone:(845)687-4574. Our tour hours are 2-5pm.

-MASKS: REQUIRED. BRING YOUR MASK! 

-SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIRED IN THE SHRINE

-NO DROP-IN VISITS. As stated above, you must call us at least 24 hours in advance. We will enforce this.

FOR OUR MEDITATING FRIENDS:

If you are only coming to use the shrine for meditation.

The Manor House will be locked. You will need to ring the doorbell. During the group meditation times the door will be open.

GROUP MEDITATION TIMES:

6-7am

6-7pm

THE RETREAT CLOSES AT 7pm SHARP.

People have many reasons for not getting the Covid vaccine.We recognize that. Here is the reality for an organization like Ridgely that relies on the support of our visitors and friends: The Covid restrictions that currently exist for places like ours are all waived for the vaccinated public but not for the unvaccinated. That makes it possible for us to re-open on a limited basis only. We will do this, unless the pandemic takes another unforeseen turn. We look forward to the day when all restrictions will no longer apply. That day, realistically speaking, won’t be anytime soon.

With all the above in mind, and because we have enjoyed meeting new friends via Zoom, we will be continuing our Zoom classes- the Wednesday Gita class and the Sunday Ask the Sisters class, both every week at 5:30pmEDT.

Ridgely Will Remain Closed Until Further Notice

Dear Friends,

After giving it much thought, we have decided to keep Vivekananda Retreat closed for the rest of the season. If something changes we will let you know. Even though the states in the NE, including NY, have managed to control the Covid-19 virus, there are still localized outbreaks of the virus that make re-opening too much of a risk for our staff (most of us are in the high risk category) and our visitors. We do miss your visits. We miss our monthly retreat programs. Although the staff is keeping very busy with many projects , it is not the same and, like everyone else, we are waiting and waiting for circumstances to change.

As I have mentioned before, I am following the lead of the other local religious/spiritual centers who have visitor accommodations similar to ours. They have all remained closed to visitors. When staff and visitors share the same living space, when giving tours means opening our own living space to visitors, it presents too much of a risk.

I will say that we have been able to provide some service during the pandemic. We have welcomed our neighbors and other local  Stone Ridge residents to take walks on our property throughout the pandemic. There have been more people walking on our Shrine Trail than ever before. Everyone understands that they are required to follow the NY mask and social distancing requirements and that there is no entry to any of the houses. We also have been able to send whatever surplus produce we have in our organic vegetable garden to the local food bank. Since we are not cooking any large meals, we have been able to donate much more than we keep for ourselves.

We really do look forward to the day when we can resume our normal schedule. We look forward to welcoming our visitors and friends back to the retreat. When that will be is still unknown.

August 2020: The Retreat Remains Closed All This Month

A note from Gitaprana:

Dear Friends,

Vivekananda Retreat, Ridgely will remain closed throughout the month of August, 2020. I have to admit that the question of how safe it is to open the retreat has hijacked many of my morning meditations. It has really weighed on my mind. Many people have asked us when we are going to open. Understandably they want to escape the city and visit a beautiful, quiet place such as Ridgely. As I mentioned last month, I am following the other local religious/spiritual centers that have a situation similar to ours- places where living space is shared, meals are communal, and visitors are moving through the same spaces where the staff lives. These centers remain closed and so will we. This is the reality of the pandemic. In my hijacked meditations when I weigh the lives of the staff and visitors against the need for a drive in the country to get away, the choice is clear. We are not open.Unfortunately, this could last much longer than we imagined back in March.

Ridgely is closed to all visitors

Dear Friends,

Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely will remain closed to all visitors for the entire month of July. This is still because of the Covid-19 pandemic. If all goes well in NY we are looking at a very limited re-opening with HUGE restrictions some time in the month of July. We will let you know. Until then, please don’t visit us! We miss our usual summer rush, but this is the way of the world this year. We need to protect our staff and our visitors and, until we feel confident that this is possible, we will remain completely closed. We don’t see any organized retreats with visiting speakers happening in the near future because of space and gathering restrictions that will probably be in place all year.

There are some benefits to this time fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. One of them is the explosion of wonderful online teachings and talks as spiritual organizations have moved their presence to the internet. I suggest you check them out. In fact, I suggest that you limit your exposure to the news and, instead, listen/watch a talk or participate in a Zoom class.

We all know the problem with the news. We need to stay informed without going down the rabbithole into a worldview of endless disaster and unbelievably negative behaviors on display. We may think that this is the way we keep focused on the larger picture, but , if we really pay attention, we will find ourselves feeling totally enraged and disheartened. We will not find Oneness in the news.

As the pandemic drags on, we may find our spiritual life lying in shreds on the floor, as it were. All inspiration and motivation is lost and we feel numb. I would guess that this might be the experience of quite a few people, especially if you live in a place like New York City where the death toll and the horrible consequences of severe illness are all around you, sirens wailing through empty city streets. It is your relatives, your friends on those gurneys, in the morgue. And it just drags on and on…no job, no money , limited friendly contact……Remember, everyone is experiencing some form of anxiety. Remember you are not alone. These are not normal times.

When our spiritual life is hanging in the balance there are a few things we can adjust. One is to find a friend of like mind and talk/study together. Another is to look for a fresh view of your spiritual life. That’s where all the online classes come in handy. Try a new approach with an open mind. If you have been devotionally oriented, listen to a different teacher or challenge yourself to listen to an Advaitic talk or a devotional teaching from another tradition. Break down some barriers in your mind. And visa versa-if you consider yourself an Advaitin, try some devotional practices. “Chant the name of the Lord and His glories unceasingly”.

Many teachers have recommended spiritualizing an activity you love. When the usual practices seem useless and uninspiring, your love for this activity will keep you going. Do you love walking in nature, music, painting, working on cars? Collecting stamps? Writing? Building things? Gardening? Make that into a spiritual practice. You will know how to do it. As Swami Vivekananda said, “Your religion is between you and your God.”

And, above all, stay connected, stay on the Blessing Bandwidth, keep reaching out and doing the next right thing.

With Love, 

Jai Ma,

Gitaprana

Ridgely is now closed until winter conditions improve

      

Every winter we close the retreat due to the build-up of snow and ice on our internal roads. As of today, Dec. 3, we are closed until conditions improve. Depending on the winter, that could mean for a few weeks or it could mean all the way to March/April. We won’t be allowing any visitors until we open again. We hope to see you in the Spring. Our first weekend retreat will be in April.

Retreat w/Swamis Sarvadevananda,Tyagananda, Atmajnanananda Nov. 15-16 Guidelines for Spiritual Life

Ridgely’s annual board meeting brings the benefit of being able to hold a retreat with these three sadhus. Swami Sarvadevananda is the Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern Calif. Swami Tyagananda is the Head Minister of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society in Boston. Swami Atmajnanananda is the Resident Minister of the Vedanta Center of Greater Washington. Here is the schedule:

FRIDAY, NOV. 15 7:30-9pm Session 1 Swami Tyagananda

SATURDAY, NOV.16. PLEASE NOTE THE TIME: 9:30am-3:30pm

9:30-12 Swami Atmajnanananda

Lunch

1-3:30 Swami Sarvadevananda

The overnight spaces are all filled for this retreat; we don’t limit the number of day visitors. All are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat.

Fall Events at Ridgely

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.

Two Upcoming Retreats Aug. 3-4 and Aug. 31-Sept. 1

FOUR YOGA RETREAT AUG. 3-4 PRAVRAJIKAS BHAVANIPRANA, GITAPRANA, SHUDDHATMAPRANA, DIVYANANDAPRANA 10:30-4:30

We are happy to welcome 2 sannyasinis from Sri Sarada Math, India to Ridgely in August. Sri Sarada Math is the women’s independent monastic organization founded by the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1954. The sisters in the West are not part of Sri Sarada Math but we always have maintained friendly relations and are very happy when sisters from India come to visit and give teachings. This time we have agreed on a collaborative retreat on the Four Yogas of Swami Vivekananda. Over the weekend, each one of us will give a session on one of the four yogas. Here is the tentative schedule:

Saturday, August 3
10:30-12:30 Pravrajika Divyanandaprana: Jnana Yoga
1pm lunch
2:30-4:30 Pravrajika Shuddhatmaprana: Bhakti Yoga

Sunday, August 4
10:30-12:30 Pravrajika Gitaprana : Raja Yoga
1pm lunch
2:30-4:30 Pravrajika Bhavaniprana: Karma Yoga

All are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat. There is no fee for day visitors. If you wish to stay overnight SIGN UP NOW! Right now we have 4 spaces in the men’s house and 4 in the women’s house. They will go fast.

We need people who will volunteer to organize and cook lunch for this retreat. This will enable Shuddhatmaprana, who usually cooks for all our retreats, to actually attend the entire program. If you would like to volunteer, please contact her: 845 687-4574.

RETREAT WITH SWAMI YOGATMANANDA AUG. 31-SEPT. 1 THE SPIRITUAL POETRY OF HAFIZ

We are happy to welcome Swami Yoagtmananda, Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of Providence, for his annual retreat here at Ridgely. This year the subject will be the spiritual poetry of Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet.

Here is the schedule:
Saturday Aug 31
10:30-1 Session 1
1 Lunch
2-4:30 Session 2

Sunday Sept. 1
10:30-1 Session 3
1 Lunch

All are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat. The overnight spaces for this retreat have all been reserved. If you wish to be placed on the waiting list for an overnight space, please email or call.

June 13-15 Retreat w/ Swami Sarvadevananda Amritabindu Upanishad

Swami Sarvadevananda, Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California (which also includes Ridgely), will be visiting from June 13 to 15. He will give a retreat on the Amritabindu Upanishad. Here is the schedule:

June 13 7pm satsang
June 14 10:30-4:30 3 sessions on the Amritabindu Upanishad (lunch included)
June 15 10:30-1pm Final sessions on the Upanishad followed by lunch

All are welcome for attend part or all of this retreat. There is no charge to attend as a day visitor. If you wish to stay overnight please apply via the email application on this site. You will find it in the visit section.