We observed the Tenth Anniversary of becoming a branch of the Ramakrishna Order of India, with a retreat entitled “Celebration of Spirit”, held on May 7 and May 8, 2016. This was a spiritual retreat filled with inspiring musical performances also. Joining us for this occasion were two eminent and scholarly monks, Swami Tattwamayananda of San Francisco, and Swami Sarvapriyananda of Hollywood Vedanta Societies, California.
The theme of the first day, Saturday, May 7th, was Acceptance – Acceptance of all religions and the Brotherhood of Man. The evening began with an authentic Vedic Peace Chant by Jayash and Manash Ramanathan. Swami Ishtananda inaugurated the programs by giving a short history of the Center and welcoming all to the celebration. This was followed by music from The Youth Choir of The Bayboro House singing “Songs of Hope and Faith”. Swami Sarvapriyananda’s lecture was entitled “Harmony of Religions” and Swami Tattwamayananda lectured on “Brotherhood of Mankind”. In between the lectures we were inspired by a rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ presented by Mr. Derek Barrett of New York. Mr. Barrett, Jay Traylor, the Vedanta Center music director, and the Vedanta Center choir then sang “The Golden Thread”, a song composed by Mr. Traylor. The Sunset Strings Quartet closed out the formal event with a concert entitled “Spreading Joy Through Music”, followed by refreshments in the Center’s garden.
The theme of the second day, Sunday, May 8th, was Attainment. If every religion’s goal is to attain God the life of a householder or a monk should be equitable. Swami Sarvapriyananda spoke on the “Way of a Householder” while Swami Tattwamayananda spoke on the “Way of a Monk”. Each of them offered relevant stories and facts to support their points of views. During the service we were also treated to a George Harrison song, “My Sweet Lord”, by Mr. Derek Barrett and the Vedanta Center choir, who also sang another Jay Traylor composition, “I Feel Your Love Inside”. The service ended with “Sacred Music and Kirtan”, presented by The Redtailed Project. Swami Ishtananda concluded the ceremony formally by thanking all participants and guests who made the celebration successful.
We had an enthusiastic turnout of about 200 people attending both events. On Sunday afternoon the retreat was concluded by offering lunch to all who attended. The Vedanta Center was thrilled to become the 13th branch of the Ramakrishna Order in the United States ten years back in 2006 and we look forward to celebrate many more grand occasions in the future.
Celebration of Spirit – Day 1
May 7, 2016
Celebration of Spirit – Day 2
May 8, 2016