Founded in 1939 by Swami Ashokananda (Ramakrishna Order, India)

Swami Prasannatmananda (current Swami-in-Charge/ President)

Report: July 4th Spiritual Retreat – An Online Treat for All

Vedanta Society Berkeley conducted its July 4, 2020, spiritual retreat commemorating Swami Vivekananda Online.

While the challenging COVID-19 pandemic has locked down the entire world, Vedanta Society Berkeley resorted to the technological platform of YouTube to continue its tradition of observing the 4th of July Spiritual Retreat this year. Swami Prasannatmananda, Swami-In-Charge of the Vedanta Society Berkeley cleared in his opening remarks that the program was entirely homemade and the Swamis including all other participants recorded their messages and performances at their respective centers and homes. Finally, all the piecemeal recordings threaded together by devotees of the Tech-team to livestream. It was, however, a splendid outcome of a collective effort.

The retreat opened with Vedic chanting by the Swamijis. Following that, Swami Prasannatmananda lead devotees in chanting a mantra and mentally offering flowers to the Holy Trio.

There were several devotional hymns and songs sung by vocalists Sumita Chakravorty and Alokparna. Chorus songs were led by Sumita Chakravorty.

Ruhi, a young participant, recited and shared an analysis of Swami Vivekananda’s poem, ‘The Song of the Free’.

Six Swamis from four different Vedanta centers explained the significance of Guru, the spiritual teacher or preceptor, from different point of views. Swami Prapanananda, Minister and teacher of the Vedanta Society of Sacramento, delivered a lecture on ‘Sachchidananda (the Supreme God) is the Guru’. Swami Vedananda, Assistant Minister of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, spoke on ‘Is Initiation Required in Spiritual Life?’ Swami Ishtananda, Minister In-Charge of the Vedanta Center of St. Petersburg, Florida, elaborated on ‘Guru Tradition and Mantrashakti’.

In the afternoon session, Swami Tattwamayananda, Minister In-Charge of the Vedanta Society of Northern California, delivered his talk on ‘Human Guru’. Speaking on the topic of ‘Our Mind is Our Guru’, Swami Ishadyanananda, Assistant Minister of the Vedanta Society of Sacramento, explained the secret of mind. And finally, Swami Prasannatmananda spoke on ‘Avatara (Incarnation) as Guru’. All six talks were enlightening and answered devotees’ many unasked questions on the significance of Guru and Guru tradition of Indian.

The retreat concluded with Ramakrishna sharanam, a song that inspires love, devotion, and dedication to Sri Ramakrishna and a song that unites all devotees of the Holy Trio from all parts of the world.

The retreat event can be watched on the Vedanta Society Berkeley’s website at

Session 1:

Session 2:

We have five annual Puja
Sri Ramakrishna’s birthday
Sri Ma Sarada Devi’s Birthday
Swami Vivekananda’s Birthday
Sri Sri Durga Puja

Sponsorships opportunities are available for the following:
Entire Puja event
Flowers and garland
Food for offering (Naivedya)
Dinner for devotees (Prasad)

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