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 ridgely.org 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.

DAY VISITORS PLEASE RSVP FOR THIS RETREAT. WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW MANY WILL BE JOINING US AT LUNCH THAT DAY.

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

Swami Sarvadevananda Retreat “Life After Death” March 28 and 29.

Ridgely will be open with a retreat given by Swami Sarvadevananda on Life After Death. WITH A HUGE CAVEAT: IF THE WEATHER IS SNOWY OR ICY, WE WILL CANCEL SO CHECK THE WEATHER AND CHECK WITH US IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO ATTEND.

Here is the schedule:

March 28 7:30pm    Session 1

March 29

10:30am Meditation

10:45     Session 2

12noon Session 3

1pm lunch

2:30 Session 4

All are welcome to attend. If you wish to stay overnight you must apply via our website application no later than Thursday, March 23.

Vivekananda Retreat Will Open Saturday March 11

Weather has kept us from opening the retreat. We hope to open on March 11. Please see our calendar section and blog for schedule information. Please remember: YOU MUST CALL US TO SCHEDULE A VISIT.  Ridgely is our residence as well as a retreat. It is not a museum where one can walk freely through the buildings. You need one of us to take you on a tour! We are more than happy to do that if tours are scheduled in advance.

Ridgely will be closed starting December 16

Dear Friends,

Every year the winter weather creates conditions that make it necessary for us to close the retreat to all visitors. Right now we already have snow and ice building up on our roads. Another snow followed by ice is expected this weekend. WE ARE CLOSED TO ALL VISITORS. Please do not try to come anyway. Right now I am not sure about our Christmas Eve celebration. We will post again if we are going to re-open.

Nov. 8-9 Retreat w/ Swami Sarvadevananda and Swami Atmajnanananda on Inner Peace

Join us for a 2-day retreat on finding inner peace, a topic we chose specifically because of election day! Here is the schedule:

Nov. 8 10:30 -4:00

10:30-12:30   Swami Sarvadevananda-talks on finding inner peace, session 1

12:30 Lunch

2-4  Session 2

Nov. 9 10:30-4:00

10:30 Swami Atmajnanananda-talks on finding inner peace

12 noon- mini puja in honor of the goddess Jagaddhatri

1pm  Lunch

2-4 final session w/ both swamis

As always, there is no fee for the retreat unless you wish to stay overnight. Please remember that we require several days notice for overnight stays and that we cannot accommodate children under the age of 17.

Kali Puja on Saturday, Oct. 29 10pm

This is our big, elaborate, all-night traditional worship of the Mother in Her form as Dakshina Kali. And the good news is, this time it’s on a Saturday night! So please come one and all! As always, we will provide places to rest after the puja, waiving the usual overnight fee. We hope to see you here!

The worship will begin at 10 when Gitaprana will explain a little about the process and the symbology of the puja. The worship itself usually requires 3-4 hours to complete. It will be followed by a homa fire and prasad. Again we invite all our singer/kirtan wallah friends to make offerings of music. And again, you may also bring other offerings-food (which you cooked at home or bought), flowers, perfume,make-up, jewelry. During this ceremony we offer these items to the Mother.

PLEASE NOTE: WE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO USE OUR KITCHENS. IF YOU ARE GOING TO BRING FOOD, YOU MUST PREPARE IT AT HOME.