Complete Program of Events – 2012-13
VIVEKANANDA WEEKEND AT THOUSAND ISLAND PARK, NEW YORK FRIDAY-SUNDAY, JULY 27-29, 2012
The Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Centerʼs year-long celebration of the150th Birthday of Swami Vivekananda, organized by Swami Yuktatmananda, began with a three-day event held from July 27-July 29, 2012 at Thousand Island Park, New York, where Swami Vivekananda lived and taught for seven weeks in 1895. The Vivekananda Weekend consisted of concerts, lectures and an interfaith service that drew large numbers to that Upstate New York community.
The opening event on Friday, July 27th at 8:00 pm, was a concert by the award-winning Cantabile Choirs of Kingston, Canada, under the direction of Dr. Mark Sirett.
On Saturday, July 28th at 3:00 pm, the Center presented a lecture on J. D. Salinger at Thousand Island Park by Kenneth Slawenski, Salinger expert and author of the recent best-selling biography of the renowned writer. The audience learned about Salingerʼs visits to Thousand Island Park in the early 1950s to attend Swami Nikhilanandaʼs seminar retreats at the Vivekananda Cottage, of his love for the shrine at the Vivekananda Cottage, and the influence that his visits had on his life and work.
At 8:00 pm on Saturday, July 28th, the Parkʼs Tabernacle was again filled, for a concert of Indian classical music by sitar virtuoso Kartik Seshadri, accompanied on tabla by Vineet Vyas.
The Vivekananda Weekend at Thousand Island Park concluded on Sunday, July 29th, at 10:00 am, with an Interfaith Service: The Spiritual Unity of Humankind. A diverse congregation of 500, made up of the Centerʼs devotees and T. I. Park residents, attended the service in honor of Swami Vivekanandaʼs 150th birthday. Inspiring messages were delivered by Reverend James Brown, Minister Emeritus of Market Square Presbyterian Church Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Swami Yuktatmananda, Spiritual Leader of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, Swami Kripamayananda, Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of Toronto, Canada and authors Kenneth Slawenski and Clayton Butler (Thousand Island Park: The Story of an American Eden). Vedic Chanting and a musical rendition of Swami Vivekanandaʼs Song of the Sannyasin were performed by the Choir of the Center.
ONE WORLD SYMPHONY VIVEKANANDA CONCERT – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2012 AT NEW YORK CITY
1) SPECIAL SERVICE AT THE CENTER
On Sunday morning at 11:00 am, the Chapel of the Center was filled to overflowing for the first of two celebration events that were held on that day. Distinguished Swamis and guest speakers addressed the congregation of about 300 devotees on different aspects of Swamijiʼs message of Unity.
2) ONE WORLD SYMPHONY VIVEKANANDA CONCERT: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO THE SPIRITUAL UNITY OF HUMANKIND
The full day program continued at 3:30 pm with a special concert organized for the occasion and held at New Yorkʼs Florence Gould Hall. One World Symphony, under the direction of Sung Jin Hong, presented a program of music in honor of Swami Vivekananda and his universal message of the divinity of humankind and oneness of existence.
SPECIAL SERVICE AT THE CENTER ON THE 150TH BIRTHDAY OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2013 AT NEW YORK CITY
In accordance with the Indian calendar, Sunday, February 3, 2013 marked the actual 150th birthday of Swami Vivekananda. On this auspicious date the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center held a Special Service featuring noted scholars and leaders of the interfaith movement. Once again, the Centerʼs chapel was filled to capacity to pay tribute to Swamiji on his 150th birthday. Swami Yuktatmananda conducted the service, and welcomed the distinguished speakers:
DR. DANIEL GOMEZ-IBANEZ, a pioneer of the global interfaith movement;
DR. MAHENDRA JANI, founder of the Vivekananda Vidyapith in New Jersey;
PROFESSOR KUSUMITA PRISCILLA PEDERSEN, Chair of the Department of Religion at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York;
DR. JEFFERY D. LONG, head of the Department of Religion and Asian Studies at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.
SWAMI YUKTATMANANDA, Spiritual Leader of the Center concluded the service with his message on “Swami Vivekananda and His Mission: For Our Own Salvation, and for the Good of the World.”
VEDIC CHANTING ans MUSICAL OFFERINGS by the Choir of the Center created a festive and uplifting atmosphere to the event.
J. D. SALINGER AND VEDANTA: PRESENTATION OF J. D. SALINGER LETTERS TO THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 AT NEW YORK CITY
The final event in the Centerʼs series of programs was held on Friday evening, April 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm at New Yorkʼs Morgan Library & Museum. In a special ceremony, the Centerʼs Spiritual Leader, Swami Yuktatmananda, presented to William M. Griswold, Director of the important Morgan Library & Museum, the Centerʼs gift of its important collection of J. D. Salinger letters written to Swami Nikhilananda, Swami Adiswarananda and the Center. The gift received wide coverage in various newspapers, and through Associated Press (AP), to world-wide distribution channels.
DEDICATION OF “VIVEKANANDA LANDING” MONUMENT AT THOUSAND ISLAND PARK, NEW YORK
FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2013
On July 26, 2013 at 7:00 PM members of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York were joined by a large gathering of Thousand Island Park residents for a ceremony to unveil and dedicate the community’s new “Vivekananda Landing” monument, fullfilling a pledge made last summer by the Board of Directors (administration) of the Thousand Island Park Corporation on the occasion of Vivekananda’s 150th Birthday celebrations at the Park. As the sun gradually set along a wide expanse of the St Lawrence River, the community unveiled the large, beautifully engraved bronze plaque, bearing an image of Swami Vivekananda, and mounted on a pedestal of local granite. Robert Sharlow, General Manager of the Thousand Island Park Corporation served as Master of Ceremonies, and introduced the participants in the ceremony. Reverend James Brown, a long-time summer resident of the Park, offered the Invocation and Corporation President Bill Burns spoke and cut the ribbon, unveiling the monument. Representing the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York was Swami Yuktatmananda, Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Center and Swami Vidananda, a monk of the Center, both of whom spoke on Swami Vivekananda and his teachings. Swami Yuktatmananda invited all participants to join him in placing a large garland of red and white carnations over the plaque, after which the choir of the New York Center performed several musical offerings, both Indian and Western.