“Dare to be free, dare to go as far as your thought leads, and dare to carry that out in your life. ”
“God is everywhere but He is most manifest in man. So serve man as God. That is as good as worshipping God.”
"As clouds are blown away by the wind, the thirst for material pleasures will be driven away by the utterance of the Lord's name."
The Vedanta Society of Portland, Oregon is an affiliated
branch of the Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math, Howrah, India. The Center was established in the year 1925 by Swami Prabhavananda. It gradually developed into its present stature by the efforts of illustrious monks such as Swamis Vividishananda, Devatmananda, Aseshananda, Shantarupananda and many dedicated devotees.
The city of Portland is at the confluence of two perennial rivers - the Willamette and the Columbia and surrounded by snow-cladded Mt. Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St. Helens, other mountains of Cascade range and the Pacific Ocean. Thus making it equivalent to a Prayag. It is the largest city in the state of Oregon, the seat of Multnomah County in the Pacific Northwest, situated at about 45.52 latitude and - 122.68 longitude.
The Center offers encouragement and guidance to spiritual seekers through lectures, readings, discussions, publications, retreats, rituals, and personal guidance based on Universal teachings of various scriptures and teachers by cultivating Self-knowledge and building character through its following facilities-
a) a Temple in Portland,
b) a facility for retreatant in Portland,
c) a 289-acre beautiful forest sanctuary in Scappoose for promoting Harmony of Religions in the lap of Nature by maintaining shrines of various religions and by organizing Interfaith meetings inviting religious leaders from various streams. It also provides space for personal retreat.
This beautiful, pristine forest was developed by the dedicated volunteers on a parcel of clear-cut land of 120 acres. We are happy to inform that the adjacent 169 acres landed property has also been added to the Vedanta Retreat on March 17, 2020. It is open to the general public to enjoy the peace and beauty of this hallowed place.
It takes a lot of resources to maintain its facilities, its trails and shrines. Support from generous public and benevolent institutions will be appreciated and acknowledged.
Karma Yoga, the selfless offering of services, is encouraged through a few programs such as "Serve God in Man", "Friends of the Vedanta Retreat" etc. Yoga is promoted for physical well-being and the study (of Sanskrit and other languages) is promoted for intellectual expansion.
What is Vedanta?
Vedanta is the essence, or the gist of knowledge enshrined in the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India which are claimed to be the most ancient in the world. These spiritual principles were revealed to pure-hearted seers (Rishis). Like scientists, these seers discovered the spiritual truths which are both universal scientific in temper and propagated its practice in our day-to-day life. Vedanta is the broadest religious philosophy and teaches a universal way of living.
Essential Teachings: According to Swami Vivekananda - "Each soul is potentially divine, the goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature: external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy -- by one, or more, or all these -- and be free. This is the whole of religion. Doctrines, or dogmas, or rituals, or books, or temples, or forms, are but secondary details."
Vedanta and Hindu Dharma: Vedanta is the philosophical foundation of Hindu Dharma or the Eternal Religion. While Hindu Dharma includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its approach and application. It is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds. Vedanta affirms-
1. The unity of Existence,
2. The divinity of all individual Selves, the children of immortal bliss,
3. The harmony of all religions as all paths lead to the same Goal,
4. One should tread on the path sincerely and earnestly.
5. Freedom is the Goal of life.
6. The Ultimate Reality is the source and cause of the whole existence.
7. This Reality is all-pervading, Uncreated, self-luminous, eternal, and the final cause of the universe. It is the only Truth behind all tangible and intangible, sentient and non-sentient, animate and inanimate. Does it mean it is beyond our reach? This Truth is present within our hearts so It is accessible all the time.
Our birthright: Everyone can and should realize God, one's own real nature, one's real identity, as tangibly as ‘a fruit lying on the palm of one's own hand’. By conquering the lower nature one can manifest one's higher nature.
It is the desires for worldly objects that drag one down to the lower nature. These desires cling to one’s heart are to be cleansed. So these desires and expectations are to be renounced and then 'be perfect as the Father in Heaven is perfect'. Through the experience of God, one's doubts about oneself disappear totally, the 'knots of the heart are cut asunder’ and one achieves immortality. The attainment of immortality is not the prerogative of a chosen few, but the birthright of all. This is the conviction of every follower of Vedanta.
Realization is essential: From the religious standpoint Advaita Vedanta is monotheistic and from the philosophical standpoint it is Non-dualistic. It also admits all other views such as Qualified Non-dualism, Dualism, etc. According to Vedanta, religion is experiential and not mere acceptance of certain time-honored dogmas, doctrines, or creeds. To know God is to be one with Him. One may study scriptures, engage in rituals, perform social services, or pray with regularity, yet, unless one is lifted to the Divine awareness in one’s own heart, he/she is still a phenomenal being and a victim of distorted identity.
Unity in diversity: The Vedanta philosophy asserts that God, the individual Self, and this seemingly diverse universe are essentially one. The apparent distinctions are being created by names, forms, and utilitarian values. These distinctions do not exist when seen from the Ultimate standpoint. According to Vedanta, Existence is non-dual and universal. Therefore, all religions and all isms (Dualism, Qualified non-dualism, and Non-dualism) are so many paths to reach the Supreme Goal and are true. Accordingly, various deities of the different faiths are in fact diverse manifestations of the same God. In modern times Sri Ramakrishna, a God-Man from India realized this Unity in variety in His own life by practicing various spiritual ways one by one and taught to the world through Swami Vivekananda and other disciples.
Whatever we are today it is due to the effect of our past actions and accumulated impressions. Our past actions were inspired by our thoughts and beliefs. So, if we want to be a better human being we need to improve our thoughts. Our actions will follow our thoughts which in turn will improve our habits then will transform our behavior pattern and character.
The misery, weakness and incompleteness that we experience today is due to the ignorance of our Real Self. The following ways are practiced to remove these weaknesses
Jnana Yoga: By cultivating the right knowledge of our Real Self. The following methods are practiced:
(A) Shravana (hearing, absorbing) —repeated hearing of the Truth with one pointed devotion that our Real nature, the Innermost Core is Divine.
(B) Manana (cogitation, contemplation) —removal of all doubts by positive contemplation based on robust common sense. Vedanta emphasizes leading a life of virtue and righteousness and also seeking guidance from our Innermost Core. Following this method one sheds off the ignorance and a strong conviction grows within for goodness and Divinity of the Self.
(C) Nididhyasana (being and becoming) —Realization comes to an aspirant basing on this conviction. It is being and becoming by constant meditation on the Real Self then translating those thoughts into one’s own natural behavior pattern.
Bhakti Yoga: Same Goal can be achieved through devotion to the personal God with nine kinds of endeavours where wholehearted total surrender to God is the essential part.
Karma Yoga: Similarly the same Goal can be achieved through selfless service to God that reside in all being.
Raja Yoga: An aspirant may achieve the same Goal by cessation of all mental waves through meditation and one pointed concentration.
The Ramakrishna Order, with headquarters in Kolkata, is one of the largest and most respected religious orders in India and in the world. The Order was inspired by the great saint, Sri Ramakrishna, who was born in Bengal in 1836. Shortly before his passing away in 1886, Ramakrishna encouraged his young disciples to formally renounce the world by giving them the ochre cloth of renunciation. He entrusted the care of these young men to his foremost disciple, Swami Vivekananda, who later, in 1897, founded the Ramakrishna Order.
All the services are available for all
At the Vedanta Temple, Portland
Daily Hours 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Everyday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Morning Worship and Meditation
Everyday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Evening prayers, and Meditation
(Singing songs, readings from the Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, and meditation and
on Sundays: singing Rama-Nama after Vesper)
All our classes and special events are available in-person and online.
Please click the links on the mentioned day at the Pacific Standard Time
Zoom - https://tinyurl.com/vedantaPdxZoom.
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnMUMOfVo-5fysQ125_wGYw/videos
Regular weekly classes
All are welcome
Please check the monthly Bulletin given at the bottom of this home page for exceptions
Sundays at 11 a.m. Srimad-Bhagavad Gita
5:00 - 6:15 pm Guided Meditation
Mondays at 7:35 p.m. Yogasana
Thursdays at 7:35 p.m. Vivekachudamani
Fridays at 7:35 p.m.
Sri Ramakrishna and His Divine Play
Sundays: 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. for Young and adults
Veda Chanting and singing of Bhajans
1st and 3rd Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Satsanga near Bethany area
Other Weekly Programs
1st Saturday - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (April - October)
Karma Yoga by the Friends of Vedanta Retreat
2nd Saturday - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Karma Yoga Vedanta Temple, Portland
2nd Sunday - 5 pm. -6 p.m.
Serve God in Man Food offering
3rd Saturday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (TBA)
at the Vedanta Retreat, Scappoose
Anniversary Puja, or Unwind in Nature, or Antar Yoga,
4th Saturday - 10 a.m. to 1 pm - (TBA)
Or Mother's Cooking Tips
5th Saturday* - 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. (TBA)
Open Devotional Music session
at Holy Mother's House Other functions
*occasional/ To Be Announced
For annual and monthly programs please see Annual activities and monthly bulletins below
Upcoming Special Events
The Vedanta Society
1157 SE 55th Ave Portland, OR 97215
July 3 Monday at 9 am. Guru Purnima
July 4 Tuesday at 11 am. Interfaith Freedom Festival
At the Vedanta Retreat, 23000 Gilkison Rd, Scappoose
The Vedanta Temple of Harmony
at Vedanta Retreat, 23000 Gilkison Rd, Scappoose OR
Midday service: 11 a.m. - 12:00 noon. Performed on Mondays and Wednesdays
First Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (April - October) Karma Yoga by the Friends of Vedanta Retreat
The Vedanta Retreat is open from dawn to dusk.
There is no need to obtain prior permission to visit it. Please browse the Retreat section for your other questions and important information.
If you are visiting the Retreat, please park your vehicle on Gilkison Road. Please do not block the two gated fire lanes at any time.
Please be contemplative and do not bring pets.
All sincere seekers are cordially welcome to participate in our programs. There is no need of obtaining prior permission to attend our programs.
A newcomer who is interested to know more about Vedantic way of life should seek an appointment with the minister between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or between 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., on weekdays. Please write an email and give 2/3 options.
Please park your vehicle at the SW side of the Vedanta Temple.
Please visit the following websites
For Audio lectures of Swami Aseshananda Maharaj
For Videos https://www.vedanta-portland.org/video
For Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/vedantasocietyportland/ https://www.facebook.com/vedantaretreatscappoose/
Please click the above video to watch the history of the Vedanta Society of Portland.
Please click the above video to watch the trails and shrines of the Retreat.
Swami Chandrashekharananda and Swami Aparananda
From Belur Math
Blooming Lotus of Humanity: Documentary on Ramakrishna Mission