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Vedanta Society 1 Prayer Centers Founded Before 1930 undefined

Vedanta Society

"I was headed to the 72nd Street subway, and I walked down the wrong street, " William Conrad related. The year was 1955, the "wrong street" was 71st, and what he came upon was the Vedanta Society, a universal religious organization with the philosophical essence of Hinduism. Now in his nineties, Mr. Conrad emphasized "I was never forced to convert; they simply encouraged me to find my own way. " From that fateful day to almost forty years later, he has never left. In fact, he even moved his residence to an apartment in the same building. In 1893, the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, ventured to Chicago to speak at the World Parliament of Religions. Having inspired Americans interested in Vedanta and Hindu philosophy in 1894, he founded a center in New York City on 33rd Street - the first "expression" of Vedanta in the West. After moving to several other locations around the city, the Vedanta Society found its permanent residence on 71st Street in 1921. "Our practice allows one to develop his or her own spirituality, " William explained. The Swami warns others not to believe what he says, but to think about his words and draw their own conclusions. "There are four different yoga paths to get there, " he continued, "Gyana is philosophical, Bhakti is devotional, karma is of the right path, and raja deals with mind control. "Adorned by candles, flowers, and photographs of Swamis past and present, this spiritual abode lives up to the strength of its roots. Scripted on one of the walls is the phrase, "truth is one; sages call it variously, " meaning that the main truth of all religions is essentially the same. The peaceful intentions and William's sweet demeanor captured my interest and I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with him and to learn the history of this side street brownstone.