Past Special Guests - 2016
Visit from Swami Mahayogananda
November 10 - 15, 2016
216 19th Avenue South East St. Petersburg, Fl 33705
Swami Mahayogananda, from the Vedanta Society of Southern California, Hollywood, visited the Vedanta Center of St. Petersburg from November 10th through November 14st. This was Swami’s third visit to the Center. He has also been one of the three monastic participants who have been part of the Center’s summer retreat in Tennessee.
Swami was greeted at a reception held on Saturday, November 12, which was followed by a showing of a documentary on the theme “Reincarnation in America”. This was a prelude to Swami’s talk on Sunday, November 13 on “Vedanta and the Near Death Experience”. The lecture centered on twelve categories of near death experiences and examples of people who had such experiences. When a person dies, or nearly dies, he may experience one or more of these categories; 1. Out of body experience; 2. Heightened senses or increased clarity of perception; 3. Intense feelings of peace, joy and love; 4. Passing into or through a tunnel; 5. Encountering mystical light; 6. Encountering other beings; 7. A sense of altered time or space; 8. A life review; 9. Encountering unworldly or heavenly realms; 10. Encountering or experiencing intense knowledge; 11. Encountering a barrier; 12. Return to the body. After a near death experience, some people may lose their fear of death, become more compassionate, maybe less religious but have experiences of divinity and the dissolving of the ego. He explained how Vedanta teaches that we are not our bodies. When we have a spiritual experience we can realize this fact. Vedanta says we can know God here and now. We don’t have to die first; but a near death experience can enhance our faith in the existence of God or the Soul.
The Sunday lecture was followed by a lunch held in the garden of the Vedanta Center.
While in St. Petersburg he was also able to visit some local attractions. Both events were very well attended and we look forward to his return visit in the near future.