Talk: Swamiji’s Raja Yoga and The Wizard of Oz, Part 1, the Background – Br. Shankara

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Swamiji’s Raja Yoga and The Wizard of Oz, Part 1, the Background
– Br. Shankara

Dec. 9th, 2018

Click for NOTES from the talk (PDF) (coming soon…)


wizard of ozDecember is a month for study of Raja Yoga, a spiritual path often called the yoga of meditation. As a raja yogi, you use ancient, proven spiritual techniques to quiet your mind and gain control of your attention.

Regular daily practice of Raja Yoga increases your ability to concentrate, and may lead to meditation. This can unite you with the Divine Presence, the source of your being, and liberate you from the cycle of rebirth and death.

This Sunday morning talk is about a fairy tale.

Albert Einstein said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 

The Library of Congress declared The Wizard of OZ “America’s greatest and best-loved homegrown fairytale.” Published in 1900, it remains an all-time best-selling book of children’s literature. More than three million copies had already been sold by the time it entered the public domain in 1956.

For us, it’s notable that the book’s author, L. Frank Baum, was strongly influenced by Swami Vivekananda. A student of Theosophy, Baum and his family lived in Chicago in 1893; they eagerly looked forward to the Parliament of World’s Religions. Baum, his wife and mother-in-law were in the audience on September 11th when Vivekananda received a long standing ovation after the Swami said simply, “Sisters and Brothers of America …”

Baum attended more of Vivekananda’s talks, and was captivated by the Swami’s best-selling book “Raja Yoga,” published in 1896. Theosophists of the time incorporated that book, and Vivekananda’s lectures on Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti yoga, into their teachings.

In this talk we study Dorothy’s strange and wondrous journey to the Emerald City of OZ, and explore how the spiritual principles and practices taught by Vivekananda are reflected in the characters and events of Baum’s evergreen fairy tale.

Note: There is silent meditation in the Chapel from 10:30-11am, before each Sunday’s talk. After the talk, devotees and friends meet in the Monastery from noon to 1:30pm, for tea, coffee, snacks and a continuation of our spiritual fellowship. Spiritual talks and classes are open to the public and free of charge.

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