While visiting the US, we usually stay at the SAT Temple in Santa Cruz, CA. We try to time the visit so we can attend one of the four retreats they have each year. This year we were able to participate in the “Sri Ramana Maharshi Self-Realization” retreat, in late August.
During the retreats Nome reads from and comments on writings of Ramana Maharshi. There are also dialogs with attendees who ask questions. At this retreat, Nome read from Atma Vidya, and about 20 verses from The Supplement to 40 Verses, specifically all the verses that Ramana wrote. (Some of the verses in this work were selected by Ramana from other sources. Only a few of these were read, like one that Sri Ramana has selected from the Yoga Vasistha).
Here are a few photographs from the retreat to share with you. I did not start the retreat thinking of posting, so these are from photos I took for myself. When I started taking photos I wanted to shoot the flowers. These were arranged differently each day, and were always beautiful.
Here is the Sri Ramana Shrine Room at the start of the retreat.
The Shrine Room on the second morning, with new flowers and the candles lit.
Nataraja, in yellow and pink.
Dakshinamoorthy on the second morning.
Here is the Shrine Room in the afternoon, with sunlight streaming in.
Here is Ardhanareeswara.
The second night we had a pooja for Sri Ramana. Below is a photo of Advait, who I think of as the ‘temple baby.’ He is 6 years old and has been coming to the temple since he was first born. He is nicely dressed for the pooja.
The flowers in the Ramana Shrine, candles lit.
There was about one hour of chanting, and then the pooja. I did not photograph these at first, since I was just basking in the experience of the holy event. I took a few snaps towards the end. Below, Ganesh started offering camphor. First to Sri Ramana.
Then to Nome.
Then to us all.
After taking the light, we sat for one last meditation.
Here is the altar after all was offered.
The next morning was to be our last. Here is the Shrine Room.
Nataraja, just pink today.
The altar in the Meditation Hall. Flowers were left after the previous night’s pooja.
Devotees meditating during the retreat. There is usually a lot of this during a retreat. What Nome aims for during any retreat is that we have the direct spiritual experience of what is being taught, not that we get a cognitive understanding of the material (though this can happen too).
Nome rings a chime to end the meditation period.
Nome, reading from Supplement to 40 Verses.
After the final session for the day, we will go downstairs to the Lotus Room where a dinner will be served to the group. Then back to the main hall for one last meditation.
I would invite anyone who loves Sri Ramana Maharshi, especially anyone who is interested in the practice of Self-inquiry, to visit that SAT Temple. Satsang is held each Sunday at 10 am. The SAT Temple is located at 1834 Ocean Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA.