Retreat w/Swami Sarvapriyananda October 6 10:30-4:30

We are happy to announce that Swami Sarvapriyananda, Minister in Charge of the Vedanta Society of New York, will be returning to Ridgely to give a one-day retreat. His subject is Waking to Awakening, based on the Mandukya Upanishad- discovering the Self by analyzing waking, dreaming and deep sleep state of consciousness.

We are limiting the number of attendees for this retreat to 50. We have already given first chance to sign up to our local friends. There are 30 spaces left. If you wish to attend you must sign up by emailing me: Give me your name and your phone #. DAY VISITORS MUST SIGN UP.

OVERNIGHT VISITORS: There are a few spaces left in both the women’s and men’s retreat houses. If you wish to attend as an overnight visitor please go to and fill out the overnight application. You will find it at the end of the Visit section. Once we receive your email application, we will contact you to finalize. Please remember that w do not allow children under the age of 17 to stay overnight at the retreat.

Swami Sarvapriyananda is a very well-known speaker and these spaces will fill up quickly. Once the spaces, both overnight and day visitors, are filled we will be placing all others on a waiting list.

Ridgely’s 2018 regular schedule (not the weekend retreat schedule)

As always, we consider our weekly schedule at the beginning of our spring season-what is working for us, what is not. Here is the schedule that will go into effect AFTER April 15.

SUNDAYS 10:30-12 Bhagavad Gita class
12-1` Chandi chanting and reading

SATURDAYS (The schedule will alternate activities. You will need to consult the Ridgely calendar on our website.)


Now that spring might be around the corner, we will be starting up our outside work and we need volunteers to help us. What are we doing? We have a large organic vegetable garden and many flower borders, all maintained by Gitaprana with the help of volunteers. We have a shrine trail complete with labyrinth that needs regular care. We have 3 houses that take a beating during the winter and need paint touch-ups. We also have inside cleaning jobs.

This year we are considering training some volunteers to be tour guides for the many day visitors we have during the warm months. Every year we are happy to have more and more visitors and we love giving tours. The “downside” to this is that, with the increase in visitors, we are, more and more, pulling our own staff members away from work that needs to be done.
If you have an interest in Ridgely and it’s history and would like to share it with our guests on tour, please let us know.


MEDITATION SATURDAYS- please check our calendar for these events.

We are going to try to bring back our silent meditation retreats in modified form. Once a month we will hold a silent meditation morning from 9:30-1pm followed by a silent lunch.

e are also going to try a new kind of meditation-a forest hike. One Saturday a month, we will gather at Ridgely (with a bag lunch and hiking clothes) and go for a hike somewhere in the area-the Catskills, Minnewaska etc. Don’t worry-we will choose hikes that aren’t too strenuous ! The idea is to spend time in quiet reflection in nature.

Vivekananda Retreat is Open, Weather Permitting

It is almost Spring here at the retreat. Currently there is no snow or ice so we will be allowing visitors on a limited basis. If you wish to visit YOU MUST CALL IN ADVANCE. Our weather could change back to snow and ice at any time and, quite frankly, we do not want visitors here when this happens. Our first retreat is scheduled for April 15th w/ Swami Chetanananda, Head of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis. See our blog for the schedule and topic.

Kali Puja October 19 10pm

We will be performing our annual Kali Puja, the elaborate ritual worship of the goddess Dakshina Kali, the same form of the Divine worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata. This is basically an all-night puja that combines elements from both the Vedic and Tantric traditions. During the ritual the goddess is”invoked” several times, in water, fire, the one who performs the ritual and in the little image of Kali who presides over the event. As I wrote in the last newsletter, we perform a prana pratishtha, calling forth the presence of the goddess in the image. Even though the Divine is everywhere and everywhen, once the invocation is performed the awareness of Kali Herself is both everywhere and precisely in the image at the same time, mysteriously present in the room. The best way to attend the worship is to keep in mind that She is present right there in that tiny image and simultaneously everywhere. At the very end of the worship we ‘break the tie’ and She happily returns to the Formless Ocean of Bliss.
You will have a chance to bring special offerings to the Mother. It can be flowers, food, make-up, jewelry, perfume- anything you might give to a beloved and respected Mother. Please remember that the puja restrictions apply: whatever you bring should be first for the Mother. That means it has not been tasted, smelled, overly handled or otherwise enjoyed by you or anyone else. If you are bring a food offering please bring it in new containers. We won’t be allowing anyone in our kitchen except for our designated helpers, so all food offerings must be fully prepared before coming.
There’s another kind of offering that the Mother loves: music! I am inviting any of you who can perform or lead bhajans/kirtan or any other kind of song to come and make an offering.
Here is the rough schedule:
10pm   Gitaprana explains the puja
10:30-1 The main part of the puja
1-2 Homa Fire
2-3 The final ‘returning’ of the Mother to the Ocean
3am  Prasad
As always you may come and go at any time during the night. If you need to rest for a few hours after the puja there will be a place w/o our usual suggested donation.
We really hope you can attend part or all of this wonderful night.

Thinking about making a day visit to Ridgely? Please read this:

First of all, we are happy to show people this wonderful place where Swami Vivekananda stayed. If you would like to visit Ridgely, you must schedule a tour at least a day in advance. Right now we have so many day visitors we are asking groups to come at the same time so we can give one tour instead of many. Ridgely is not a museum; it is a private residence and retreat center. We live here and there are usually people on retreat, enjoying the peace and quiet of our shrine room and retreat houses. The same people who give tours are also the people who do most of the interior and exterior work at Ridgely. We are very happy to arrange our schedules to accommodate tours if you call in advance. We always ask people to call us if it is necessary to cancel or if you will be late. Please do this.

When Ridgely is holding an organized retreat or some other program like a meditation day, we do not give tours. You are welcome to attend the program and, if we have time, we usually show people around in a limited way.It all depends on the retreat schedule.

Once in a long while we will tell you that it will not be possible for you to visit on a particular day. It could be that we are all scheduled to attend an event off-site. Or, we know that the weather is going to be dangerous-tornado warnings, snow and ice etc. We do not want to have extra people here when we know there are going to be dangerous conditions. If we ask you not to come, please don’t come anyway! We have had visitors ignore this and drive for 2 hours only to find the place closed and locked.

And, last but not least, please be aware that we live in an area where there are many ticks that carry Lyme Disease. If you are planning to walk on our property, especially the shrine trail, you need to come dressed appropriately-long pants, socks and enclosed shoes. You need to check yourself and your children for ticks when you return home.

Pravrajika Sevaprana Retreat Sunday, June 25 10:30-4:00

please join us for this one-day retreat with Pravrajika Sevaprana, a senior nun of the Vedanta Society of Southern California. Here is her description of the retreat:

Why do we Suffer?    Can suffering actually broaden our hearts and lead us to compassionate action whichin turn can free us from our isolation?

We see so much suffering in this world and
much of it seems inexplicable, yet on closer
scrutiny we see that this very suffering can
lead us to a Compassionate Heart, an awareness
that we are all One. This Unitive Awareness
can broaden our perspective and
bring us to a state of mind that is so inclusive
that we are freed from suffering itself.

Retreat w/Swami Sarvapriyananda: May 13 10:30-4 THIS RETREAT IS NOW CLOSED TO FURTHER ENROLLMENT

Many of our local friends have not met Swami Sarvapriyananda, the new Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of New York,recently transferred from the Vedanta Society of Southern California where he served as Asst. Minister.He is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order who has held many posts in India, including serving as teacher at the monastic training center at Belur Math in Kolkata. Swami Sarvapriyananda is renowned as a speaker on Vedanta, traveling to many centers and university campuses worldwide to give lectures and talks, mostly on Advaita Vedanta. You can find his talks on YouTube.

Because Swami Sarvapriyananda is such a popular speaker, our overnight accommodations began to fill up when his coming to Ridgely was only a rumor. There are still a few places left.
If you wish to stay overnight for this retreat DO NOT WAIT AND THINK ABOUT IT. We guarantee your place will be gone! Please apply by visiting and filling out the online application in the Visit section. As always, we cannot accommodate children under the age of 17. At this time, you will most likely be sharing a room. Alternatively, you can book a room at a local motel and attend during the day.


All are welcome. There is no charge although we appreciate it when people give donations to help with the costs of the retreat.