Please join us on Thursday, December 24, 2015 from 6pm – 8pm for Christmas Eve Vespers at Vivekananda Retreat Ridgely.
Swami Sarvadevananda is the Head Minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California, which also includes Ridgely as one of it’s sub-centers. Most of you already know him as he has visited Ridgely many times. He will be accompanied by Swami Atmajnanananda, the Minister-in-Residence of the Vedanta Society of Washington DC. The two swamis will share the talks on this wonderful topic.
Our topic, the nine types of devotional practice, comes from the Srimad Bhagavatam (7.5.23). These practices are important for anyone following a spiritual path and essential for those practicing the path of devotion to the Divine in any form. Do you know the list? It begins with shravanam/hearing about the Divine, and kirtanam, offering praise. We will keep you in suspense for the rest!
We will follow our usual retreat schedule. Saturday the retreat will be from 10:30am to 4:30 pm, lunch included. Sunday the retreat will begin at 10:30am and last until lunch. As always all are welcome to attend all or part of this retreat. If you wish to stay overnight, please fill out the online form found at ridgely.org and send it to us asap. Spaces will fill up fast as this will be Thanksgiving weekend.
We are inviting you to our annual worship in honor of the goddess Kali Bhavatarini, the form of the Mother intimately known, loved and worshipped by Sri Ramakrishna at the Dakshineswar temple in Kolkata. This worship consists of a very elaborate ritual and homa fire, traditionally done at night. During the worship we invoke the presence of Dakshina Kali in our little image and then honor Her with many kinds of gifts, chants and songs. At the close of the ceremony we invite Her to return to the formless and distribute Her “blessing” in the form of shanti jal/peace water. In the early hours of the morning, most likely around 4 or 5 am, we share a prasad “breakfast”. You may attend all or part of this wonderful celebration; coming and going is part of the night as many people must work the next day. We don’t keep to a timetable; here is a rough schedule:
10:00pm a short description of the puja given by Gitaprana
the puja begins
2am homa fire
3am flower offering, conclusion of puja, shanti jal
We encourage you to bring gifts for the Mother. What gifts would you bring to your mother? The ritual requires gifts like jewelry,cosmetics, perfume, clothing and flowers. You can also bring food to be offered. With all these gifts and offerings bear in mind that the Mother should be the first one to enjoy them. Please don’t taste the for, sniff the flowers, wear the jewelry etc.
As always we are extending a special invitation to our “kirtan-wallah” friends and all other singers to come and offer song to the Mother. In many ways, devotional music is one of the most special offerings of all.
We will make our overnight spaces available to all-night puja attendees who wish to rest after the festivities. We will not be asking the usual donation for this.
We hope to see you at this wonderful celebration.
This Saturday (10/17) Durga Puja at 11am
We will be celebrating Navaratri on Saturday with a traditional puja,flower offerings, homa fire and prasad meal. Festivities begin at 11am but you may arrive at any time. We are inviting our bhajan and kirtan singer friends to make offerings.If you do,please choose songs that all may sing. All are welcome to attend. This year we are short-handed so we are looking for friends to volunteer during both Durga and Kali Puja in November. Please let us know if you wish to help out.
Fall Foliage for the next two weeks
Fall is possibly the most beautiful time here at Ridgely. This week and next the fall foliage will be at its most beautiful. Fall is also one of the most busy times for us as we prepare our grounds for winter. There are many tasks to be done in October and November-raking leaves, setting up deer fences,putting up storm windows, cleaning roof gutters etc.This year we are quite short-handed thanks to injuries, absences and departures of our staff members I am looking for able and willing volunteers to help me (Gitaprana) with these tasks. Please let me know if you would like to help out.