Special worship is offered to Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Sarada Devi and our other teachers on their birthdays. These are more elaborate public celebrations that include singing, chanting, flower offerings and, often, a homa fire, an ancient vedic ritual. Special pujas are also offered to deities such as Sri Krishna, Mother Durga, Mother Kali and Lord Shiva. Check the puja calendar for these dates as they follow the Hindu calendar and change from year to year. An exception to this is the Christ puja which is always celebrated on Christmas day.
Day retreats are held throughout the year at our centers and our retreat house in Piñon Hills, California. Retreats are conducted by resident monastics, lay members, and visiting swamis.
The Hollywood Center hosts two annual retreats: Memorial Day during which the morning is spent reading The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, and Labor Day when we read The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. Reading time is followed by meditation during noon worship, prasad lunch and an afternoon program.
Ram Nam Sankirtan
Ram Nam is observed in Hollywood, usually on the first Saturday of the month, but may move to later in the month due to other events. Ram Nam is not held during July and August. We start at 6:30 with special worship of Rama, followed by singing of the names, and some bhajans. Also, we chant the Hanuman Chalisa. After that we’ll enjoy a delicious prasad meal, and have some holy discussion in the Green House Living Room with Swami Sarvadevananda.
Songbooks are available, or you can download a songbook here: be sure to print it out back-to-back, using both sides of the paper, to make a booklet. Download the Ram Nam songbook here.
For those who know Sanskrit, download the songbook in Devanagari here.
Karma Yoga Days
Hollywood, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Trabuco hold karma yoga days periodically. These days give members and devotees opportunities for selfless service to support our temples and grounds and to enjoy holy company.
“Music is the highest art and, to those who understand is the highest worship.”
—The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol 5, Epistles
A kirtan is a gathering of call and response singing. The Hollywood Center hosts them regularly and the other centers occasionally. These are joyous, bhakti-filled events.
On the first Sunday in May, the Hollywood Center hosts a public dinner. Members are encouraged to invite friends to hear a visiting swami of the Ramakrishna Order give the Sunday spiritual talk. After the talk, members enjoy lunch in the monastery courtyard. Special activities for children include a piñata.
4th of July Celebration Honoring Swami Vivekananda
The Ramakrishna Monastery in Trabuco Canyon invites the public to honor Swami Vivekananda on the anniversary of his liberation. The celebration includes a puja in the shrine, prasad lunch, and an afternoon program which may include a talk by a visiting swami, or musical or dramatic presentation.
The public is invited to honor Swamiji at Vivekananda House in South Pasadena in July, usually the Saturday after Independence Day. This afternoon program includes worship in the shrine, satsang with the swamis in the living room, and concludes with refreshments in the garden.