216 19th Avenue South East St. Petersburg, Fl 33705
Visit from Swami Tyagananda
March 3 - 6, 2017
Swami Tyagananda, minister in charge of the Vedanta Society of Boston visited the Center the weekend of March 3rd through March 6th, 2017. This was his repeat visit after more than ten years. A reception was held on Saturday, March 4, in the Panton House to greet the Swami. This was followed by Arati hymns and meditation in the shrine.
He gave a lecture Sunday morning in the Chapel entitled, “Do You Remember?”. He started by suggesting that as kids, we have ideals. As we grow older, we slowly start to move away from these ideals. We do the same with Spirituality too. We forget the idealism of childhood and along with it some values. We veer from spiritual growth too.
We forget that we are divine beings and we end up seeing ourselves as finite and limited and we then begin to feel a sense of incompleteness. Swami says we must not let this happen to us. He gave three practical steps to help us “Remember”; Pure food, Pure mind, and Strengthening of memory.
Talking about pure food he said there were two schools of thought. One was propagated by Ramanujacharya who said to look for three defects in food and avoid them; (a.) Nature of the food that is served - stay away from harmful foods, (b,) Source of the food, and (c.) The general impurities of the food such as half-cooked or left over, etc.
Swami said that while this view point is valid, it is also limiting. It seems to suggest that food is all important to spiritual growth. The second school of thought is from Shankaracharya who says that food is not something that is ingested through the mouth only. We need to purify all of the sources of input, the senses and mind included, that impacts our character.
On pure Mind, Swami says we should constantly check our thoughts. The first thing is to stop digging the hole that you have fallen into. What Swami means by this is that once you realize you have veered from the path of spiritual growth, just stop, take notice and change course. This applies to our thoughts and deeds. You do this by becoming Alert. This is where separation of good thoughts from bad comes in.
About strengthening of memory, he said alertness is important for constant remembrance. This is done through daily prayer and meditation. Do not make this a chore but with awareness. Do this every day as if it was the last day of your life. Convert your work into worship. At the end of the day, take toll of how the day has gone by and review the day so you can start again the next day afresh.
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 parks and local attractions. The events were very well attended and we look forward to his return visit in the near future.
Past Special Guests - 2017