Enlightening Series of Lectures by Swami Sarvapriyananda, the Best is Yet to Come

VSGH 1in By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON:Joy of the Vedanta Society of Greater Houston (VSGH) devotees knew no bounds when Swami Sarvapriyananda was in their midst from January 17-19. Swami Sarvapriyananda is a dynamic young monk of the Ramakrishna Math. At present he is an acharya at the monastic probationers training centre at Belur Math. His interests are in the fields of spirituality, philosophy, management science and education. His reputation as a speaker preceded him and some of the youtube links to his lectures have drawn more than 350,000 hits.

His series of lectures began with, “Spiritualizing everyday life” on the evening of January 17 where he emphasized that by knowing the infinite being, one can transcend death and suffering. If one deifies the world, one has an uninterrupted vision of God. Once work is spiritualized, one can concentrate and meditate and, it is important to remember that “Work is Worship.”

The morning of January 18 was dedicated to the worship of Swami Vivekananda to commemorate his birthday. Sw. Sarvapriyananda performed the puja with extreme devotion and the devotees got to enjoy the melodious singing accompaniment by the VSGH choir. A delicious lunch followed and the perfect weather allowed the devotees to savor the food sitting outdoors on the verandah.

“Practical Vedanta” was the topic of the lecture the same afternoon, where he mentioned that the source of knowledge of the Upanishads is Vedanta. Vedanta has to enter every part of our lives, not just the spiritual and one has to elevate one’s life to the ideal and not drag the ideal down. He stressed that, “To labor is to pray, and having a goal in life is very important.”

Jan 19, Monday morning, he conducted a class on “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” where he discussed that one can purify the mind only through “Nishkama karma.” Then one can meditate on the eternal truth and Bhakti – the love for God overcomes worldly desires.

“Who am I,” concluded the first round of his series of  talks the same evening and drew a significant crowd considering it was a weekday evening. The central teaching of Advaita Vedanta that, “You are divine” was elaborated by quoting mahavakyas from the 4 Vedas and 4 Upanishads. 8 verses of the Panchadashi were used to explain Sat-chit-ananda, the definition of  Brahman (God). If chit (existence) is sat (an intrinsic property), ananda (bliss), the atma a continuous source of the greatest happiness will last forever.

The next series of lectures will restart on Friday, January 23 and will include a 4 session retreat on the text, “Drg, Drsya, Viveka,” and a lecture on, “Managing stress”

The main attraction of his 2 week visit will be the Youth Convention to be held at the center on January 24 from 1 -7:30 PM. A talk on “Education and Powers of Mind,” will be followed by an interactive group discussion session and a guided technique of concentration. A multimedia presentation contest by 2 youth groups will be judged by a panel of 3 judges. Prizes will be handed out at the end of the contest and dinner will be served. All information is available at www.houstonvedanta.org.