Finding Reverence – Br. Shankara

Sunday, September 17, 2017

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September is a month for study of Bhakti Yoga. As a yogi (bhakta), you establish a devotional relationship with God through study, prayer, ritual, and worship. You practice giving every action, thought, emotion, perception and tendency “a Godward turn.”

All of your energies and attributes, both positive and negative, are offered to the Divine Presence. Your constant prayer is for complete self-surrender, in ecstatic union with your Belovèd.

In the first act of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Prince laments, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” Perhaps, at times, you also feel that way.

What will you do? Sometimes, during such a period of dejection and discontent, something totally outside your normal way of living seizes your attention. For one woman, it was a car speeding through a crosswalk that missed her by less than 6 inches. For another, it was standing on a forest floor among giant sequoia redwood trees, suddenly being truly overwhelmed by their age, their majesty and splendor.

The first was barely spared from death, the second given an entirely new sense of life. For both, it was a life-changing moment, the effects of which lasted for weeks. During those weeks, their gratitude and awe became reverence, and a strong desire to penetrate the mystery of what had happened to them. That yearning led them to explanations offered by the great teachers of religion, and to a life of daily spiritual practice.

In this talk, we explore and discuss this mood of reverence, and its essential role in the dawning of a devotee’s God-centered life.