Memorial Day Weekend Retreat Photos
Every year, the Vedanta Society, following a forty year tradition, has been holding a whole-day public interfaith program at its Olema retreat in Marin County on Memorial Day. A guest speaker from another faith tradition is always invited to join our swamis to address the topic chosen for discussion which will always center on a universal theme in religious and spiritual life. A special feature is an extended question and answer session with the audience. Details of the program are posted in April of each year.
Shanti Ashrama Retreat Photos
It has been our custom since 1976 to hold a public retreat at the end of April at Shanti Ashrama, our first retreat now no longer in active use, to remember and celebrate the great swamis who, at the start of the twentieth century, led groups of devotees there for extended periods of spiritual practice.
Swami Vivekananda 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations
To fittingly celebrate this occasion, a public program was arranged at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco consisting of a round table discussion by eminent guest presenters, a showing of historic photographs, and a concert of Indian classical music by a well-known virtuoso on the sarod.
It has been our custom to celebrate the birthdays of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Sarada Devi, Lord Buddha, and Christ with special worships in our main shrine. Traditional festivals such as the Autumn festival of Divine Mother Durga, Kali Puja, Shivaratri, Easter, and Guru Purnima are also observed. For a number of years we have celebrated the birthday of Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother, which normally falls in December (according to the usually accepted lunar calendar) with a special worship accompanied by a traditional fire ceremony known as a homa ceremony. This occurs on the morning of January 1, as is shown here.
Vivekananda Grove Dedication
On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, in 2013, the area of the Olema retreat known as Vivekananda Grove, which – until then- had consisted mostly of groups of trees found in areas of the East Coast that had been visited by Swami Vivekananda, now was significantly embellished. A fitting redwood and glass enclosure containing a bas relief of Swamiji in meditation was added. Several meditation benches also were placed in the now mature grove of well-developed trees. In addition, an architecturally designed roof structure now embellishes and protects the memorial plaque that features embedded stone from American locales visited by Swami Vivekananda as well as reproductions in stone of the colorful leaves that the surrounding trees display in the autumn season.