Tuition: $50-450 sliding scale
Join us this holiday season for our online Unity in Diversity Symposium: Let the Light Shine. World-renowned spiritual leaders, musicians and artists from different religions and spiritual traditions will inspire us and help us navigate this time of transition. Through live lectures, workshops, concerts, and performances, we will deepen our understanding of the spiritual path and how we can march forward towards a bright future for ourselves and humanity. We will reflect on the past year and establish a new, enlightened vision for the coming year.
The teaching of Unity in Diversity was at the core of Swami Vishnudevananda’s mission. According to yoga and Vedanta philosophy, the one God or Ultimate Reality manifests as a multiplicity of names, forms, shapes, and colors. There is an underlying unity which supports our manifested diversity. “Unity” and “diversity” are one and the same and their essence is our own essence: pure existence, pure consciousness, and pure bliss.
Join us for this spiritual gathering and gain a direct glimpse of this truth. Through talks, concerts, spiritual practices, discussions, and more, we will participate in breaking down artificial barriers and experience the unity in our diversity.
6:00-7:30am – Morning satsang
8:00-9:30am – Yoga Class
12:00-1:30pm – Workshop
4:30-6:00pm – Yoga Class – Two classes are offered, one regular class, and another family class for children 4-10 and their parents/caregivers (no family class Christmas Day)
8:00-10:00pm – Evening satsang
*all times listed in Eastern Standard Time
Tuesday, December 22
8:00-10:00 PM: Nathan Katz: Unity in Diversity: Inner and Outer Dimensions
Wednesday, December 23
6:00-7:30 AM: Swami Brahmananda: Sermon on the Mount according to Vedanta
12:00-1:30 PM Swamini Atmaprakashananda: The Message of the Bhagavad Gita
8:00-10:00 PM: Daniel Matt: Finding God in the Material World
Thursday, December 24
6:00-7:30 AM: Swami Brahmananda: Sermon on the Mount According to Vedanta
12:00-1:30 PM: Daniel Matt: The Hidden Light
8:00-10:00 PM Christmas Eve Celebration
8:15 Jaya Ganesha
8:30 Jesus puja (Choir during puja)
8:55 Rukmini welcome and presenting speakers and program
9:30 Dan Hines – Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time
10:00 Choir & Santa
Friday, December 25
6:00-7:30 AM: Krishnan Namboodiri: Gita Jayanti Puja
12:00-1:30 PM: Dan Hines: Wayfinding: Navigating a Life
8:00-10:00 PM: Snatam Kaur and Sopurkh Singh Khalsa: Heart of the Universe
Saturday, December 26
6:00-7:30 AM: Rukmini Chaitanya: Narada Bhakti Sutra
12:00-1:30 PM: Swami Swaroopananda: Q&A on Yoga, Vedanta, and Spiritual Life
8:00-10:00 PM: Snatam Kaur and Sopurkh Singh Khalsa: Heart of the Universe
Sunday, December 27
6:00-7:30 AM: Ramesh Parmar: Preksha Meditation
12:00-1:30 PM: Shaykh Abdul Haqq: The Sufi Way
8:00-10:00 PM: Suba Ramesh Parmar and Swamimalai K. Suresh: Bharatanatyam Dance and Classical Indian Vocal Concert (Live Concert)
Monday, December 28
6:00-7:30 AM: Jnaneswari Chaitanya: Prayer
12:00-1:30 PM: Acharya Mangalananda: The Divine Life Of Anandamayi Ma
8:00-10:00 PM: Swami Sarvapriyananda: Sri Ramakrishna on the Harmony of Religions
Tuesday, December 29
6:00-7:30 AM: Rukmini Chaitanya: Unity of Existence
12:00-1:30 PM: Rabbi Alan Brill: Jewish Meditation
8:00-10:00 PM: John Perkins: Finding your Bliss among Uncertainty
Wednesday, December 30
7:00-8:30 AM: Swami Paramannada: Sadhana and New Year Resolutions
12:00-1:30 PM: Brother Rolph Fernandes: Life and Teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi
8:00-10:00 PM: Matthew Fox: “Old Normal” to a New Normal: Wisdom from the Mystics
Thursday, December 31
6:00-7:30 AM: Swami Hridyananda: Life and Teachings of Swami Vishnudevananda
12:00-1:30 PM: Mirabai Starr: Love Language: The Ecstatic Poetry of the Bhakti Saint Mirabai
8:00PM-12:30AM: New Year’s Eve Celebration
Krishnan Namboodiri: Guru Puja for Swami Vishnudevananda’s birthday
Gaura Vani: Hearts Wide Open: New Year’s Eve Kirtan
Krishnan Namboodiri: Homa (fire ritual) for the New Year – a special ritual for welcoming the new year with powerful mantras for world peace as well as blessings for inner peace, protection, prosperity and wisdom
Friday, January 1
7:00-8:00 AM: Swami Paramananda: Message for the New Year
12:00-1:30 PM: Tenzin Palmo: Tibetan Buddhism: Prerecorded Q&A
8:00-10:00 PM: Acharya Mangalananda: Auspicious Bliss: Kirtan Concert for the New Year
Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.
Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo became a Buddhist while still in her teens. At the age of 20, she traveled to India and become one of the first Westerners to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. The international best-seller Cave in the Snow by Vicki Mackenzie chronicles Tenzin’s 12 years of seclusion in the Himalayas. In 2008, the head of the Drukpa Kagyu lineage gave her the rare title of Jetsunma (venerable master). Deeply concerned with the plight of Buddhist nuns, Jetsunma Tenzin established Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery in India. She has written two books: Reflections on a Mountain Lake and Into the Heart of Life.
Snatam Kaur is an American kirtan singer and peace activist, who learned to sing in the Sikh musical style with her mother. One of the most popular New Age artists of our time, she has been recording music since 2000; Her best-known CDs include Shanti, Grace, and Liberation’s Door. Her music can be heard around the world in venues from yoga studios to schools to Hollywood films and in the homes of her fans worldwide. Snatam Kaur has an amazing ability to transform traditional chants into a contemporary sound that appeals to the modern ear and awakens an ancient yearning in the soul. While traveling the world on tour she also teaches yoga and meditation to children and adults alike, a part of her commitment to give people tools for a daily experience of inner peace.
John Perkins is a leading authority on shamanism and institutional transformation, teaching around the world. He is the 2012 winner of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono Peace Prize, best-selling author with translations in over 35 languages, and founder of the Dream Change Coalition.
Swami Sarvapriyananda is the minister and spiritual leader of the Vedanta Society of New York. He joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994, received sannyas ten years later, and served in the Hollywood Temple. He was the acharya of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math, and also served as the vice principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School. He regularly gives retreats and spiritual talks throughout the United States.
Shaykh Abdul Haqq Sazonoff is the national director of the Naqshandi Haqqani Sufi Order of America. He is a disciple of the famous Sufi Master, Shaykh Nazim Adil Al-Haqqani from Cyprus. He travels all over the world teaching Sufism and Islamic mysticism in universities, churches, synagogues, temples, and spiritual centers of diverse faiths.
Father William Meninger, a member of the contemplative Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, is one of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement and has been teaching this form of Christian contemplative meditation since 1974. Based at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado, he leaves his silent monastic life only four times each year to travel and teach. He has authored many books, including The Process of Forgiveness and The Loving Search for God.
Matthew Fox, PhD, is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the last 40 years revolutionizing Christian theology and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion and justice. He has written more than 30 books, including Original Blessing and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic Warrior for Our Times, and co-wrote, with spiritual activist Adam Bucko, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation.
Mirabai Starr is an award-winning author of creative non-fiction and contemporary translations of sacred literature. She taught Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years and now teaches and speaks internationally on contemplative practice and inter-spiritual dialog. A certified bereavement counselor, Mirabai helps mourners harness the transformational power of loss. Her latest book is WILD MERCY: Living the Fierce & Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics. Mirabai is on the 2020 Watkins List of the “100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People of the World.” She lives with her extended family in the mountains of northern New Mexico.
Suba Ramesh Parmar, Founder, Shubanjali School of Performing Arts, NJ is a highly sought after dancer, teacher, and choreographer, and a proponent of the vintage Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam. She is the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Presidential Scholar’s “Most Influential Teacher Award” (2015) by the Obama Administration and the most recent “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Spandana, NJ. She has received rave reviews for her exemplary original dance productions, including ‘Santa N’ Shiva,’ Rendezvous with Shubanjali’, ‘Splash the Wonder,’ ‘Tales of Krishna,’ ‘Chauladevi,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Lured by the Myths’, ‘Oneness’, ‘Tribute to the Legends’, ‘Tattva Tapas Tejas”, TATHASTU, among many others. She has been regularly performing for the Sivananda Organizations worldwide for over 29 Years in US, Canada, Bahamas, South America and Europe. She is an excellent storyteller and through the medium of Indian classical dance, brings to life the philosophy and stories from Mythology making them understandable to global audiences.
Ramesh Parmar is a successful entrepreneur with a history of establishing, operating, and selling mobile software companies. He is a graduate of the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course and a regular practitioner of Jain Preksha meditation.
Nathan Katz, PhD, is Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, at Florida International University. He served as the Bhagwan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies, Director of Jewish Studies, Director of Program in the Study of Spirituality, and Founding Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. He is the author of 15 books, including award-winning Who Are the Jews of India? and memoir, Spiritual Journey Home: Eastern Mysticism to the Western Wall. He was awarded four Fulbright grants and is considered the leading scholar of India’s Jewish communities. He has studied, taught, and lived in South Asia for eight years and leads Jewish-interest tours of India.
Daniel Matt, PhD, is a teacher of Jewish spirituality and one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah and the Zohar, the chief text of the Jewish Kabbalah, which he spent 18 years translating and annotating. For this work, Daniel has been honored with a National Jewish Book Award and a Koret Jewish Book Award, hailing his translation as “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”
Widely featured in the media, including Time, Newsweek, and National Public Radio, he has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah, which has been translated into eight languages and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality.
Swamimalai K. Suresh is a veteran artiste and an internationally-recognized nattuvanar. He is an accomplished vocalist, composer, dancer, and choreographer, and hails from a family of renowned musicians who guided him through rigorous musical training at a young age. He holds advanced degrees in music and is a guest faculty at the Madras University Indian Music Department and Kalakshetra.
As part of a rare group of artists, Suresh is able to conduct a full dance recital with nattuvangam (wielding of cymbals) while simultaneously providing vocal accompaniment. Recipient of many notable awards, he is the Director of the Samarpana Academy of Fine Arts, Chennai and Co-Artistic Director at Shubanjali School of Performing Arts, USA
Rabbi Prof. Alan Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair for Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University, where he teaches Jewish studies in the Department of Religion and the Jewish-Christian Studies Graduate Program. He specializes in interfaith theology, Jewish mysticism, modern Jewish thought and contemporary Jewish Orthodoxy.
Dr. Brill is also the author of numerous books including his most recent volume Rabbi on the Ganges: A Jewish Hindu Encounter (Lexington Books, 2019).
Acharya Mangalananda is a direct disciple of Sri Anandamayi Ma, a venerated Indian saint of the 20th century. Though an American by birth, a lifetime of Indian culture has given him a deep immersion into the traditional spiritual music of India. He is now a kirtan singer well-versed in the traditional kirtan style of India’s rural villages.
Devoted to Sri Anandamaya Ma and her direct disciples, he helped establish a spiritually-based school for local village children after living in her ashram. After teaching in the school for twelve years, he toured internationally to give kirtan presentations and spiritual workshops. In 2013, he returned to the United States and now hosts a small ashram in the San Francisco Bay area, sharing kirtan and classes.
Mentored by Quaker activist, social thinker, and writer Parker J. Palmer, Father Dan Hines serves as a Courage & Renewal facilitator for business, educational, and religious organizations throughout Canada and the United States. He is an Anglican priest and co-founder of the intentional living community, RareBirds Housing Co-operative. He has a passion for exploring alternative living, innovative housing, and a more sustainable relationship to the land. He has run for public office and is involved in grassroots community work.
Brant Secunda is a shaman, healer, and ceremonial leader in the Huichol Indian tradition of Mexico and author of the award-winning book Fit Soul Fit Body: 9 Keys to a Healthier, Happier You. He completed a 12-year apprenticeship with Don José Matsuwa, the renowned Huichol shaman who lived to be 110 years old and adopted Brant as his grandson, leaving him to help carry on the ancient indigenous practices of the Huichol tribe. Director of the Dance of the Deer Foundation Center for Shamanic Studies, Brant leads seminars and pilgrimages worldwide. Alongside other dignitaries, Brant cofounded the Peace University in Berlin, is a founding member of the American Herbalist Guild, and the Huichol Foundation. His work has been documented on television and radio, and in articles and books worldwide.
Krishnan Namboodiri is a Tantric priest from South India, trained in the classical tradition of mantras (sacred sounds), pujas (prayer ceremonies), homas (fire rituals), and yantras (sacred geometric designs). He performs many daily and special rituals for the ashram.
Swami Hridyananda, a direct disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, is senior staff of the Yoga Retreat and has spent over 30 years teaching yoga and Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Courses, and supporting individuals on this transformative journey.
Swami Brahmananda is Manager of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and senior staff of the Sivananda organization. A long-time practitioner of yoga, he regularly teaches yoga philosophy and meditation for the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Courses as well as meditation immersion courses. He is a much-loved, inspiring, and knowledgeable teacher.
Swami Paramananda is the manager of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch and longtime teacher of Sivananda Yoga Teacher Trainings in the Bahamas, New York, and India. A much-loved teacher admired for his humor, warmth, and devotion to the practice, he seamlessly weaves classical yoga teachings into modern daily life.
Jnaneshwari Chaitanya is a senior staff member and teacher of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. An experienced and devoted practitioner, she is an inspiring and insightful teacher of Yoga and Vedanta in Yoga teachers training courses and many of the ashram programs. Jnaneshwari Chaitanya is known for her clear and pure way of communicating the knowledge and its application in daily life, and is especially known for her skill in teaching the Bhagavad Gita.
Rukmini Chaitanya is a senior staff member of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat Bahamas, and the personal assistant to Swami Swaroopananda, the Acharya, or spiritual director of the Ashram. She regularly teaches the Bhagavad Gita during the Sivananda Yoga Teacher training as well as other courses on the Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta, positive thinking, meditation, and yoga philosophy.
Rukmini Chaitanya is known for her enthusiastic and inspiring teaching style as well as for her devotion to the lineage and the scriptures. She is dedicated to each of her students and has an innate desire to share knowledge with them. She brings a great deal of clarity to every topic and is highly appreciated for her capacity to unfold complicated topics and present them in a coherent and pure way.
The Family Yoga Team is Omkari, Gauri Devi, Sarada Devi, Anjum, Shakti, and Sita. They are all experienced Sivananda Yoga Teachers, Educators, and Professional Children’s Yoga Teachers. They have all been co-leaders in Sivananda Yoga Family programs for over two decades.
This program is offered live through Zoom. In many of the sessions there will be an opportunity for students to interact through Q&A with the presenter.
For enrolled students, a video recording will be available after each class in the event you miss a class or would like to review the content.
Requirements & Recommendations:
Enjoy these videos from previous Christmas & New Year’s symposia.