Talk: Giving Thanks – Br. Shankara

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Talk: Giving Thanks
– Br. Shankara

Nov. 18th, 2018

Click for NOTES & QUOTES from the talk (PDF)


November is a month for study of Karma Yoga, a spiritual path leading to the abandonment of selfishness. As a karma yogi, you practice offering your actions and their results, as well as your perceptions, thoughts, and feelings to the Divine Presence.

Even before fully knowing this Presence, you hold firmly to the belief that the Presence is within each person or other living being that you interact with or serve. Working and abiding in this spirit, you are increasingly able to release attachment to your activities and their results. This yields the freedom and contentment promised by Karma Yoga.

“Even a little practice of this yoga will save you form the terrible wheel of rebirth and death …” — Sri Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, Ch. 2

America’s beloved Holiday of Thanksgiving is just a week away. This coming Sunday morning we will talk about Giving Thanks, as a spiritual aspirant.

Last Sunday we ended the talk with this thought (paraphrased from Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga) —

The Divine Mother gently takes your self-forgetting soul by the hand, as it were, and shows you all the experiences in the universe, all manifestations, bringing you higher and higher through various bodies, till your lost glory comes back, and you remember your own nature. 

On Sunday we’ll discuss why, as a karma yogi, you can make a strong connection between Swamiji’s promise and an attitude of profound thankfulness.

pathFirst, some thoughts from Henry David Thoreau. A 19th Century American spiritual teacher, he offers us a very practical kind of spirituality. Several quotes from his works have been strung together to make a kind of narrative:

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in everyday circumstances.

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Things do not change; we change.

This is karma yoga, the yoga of action. If you hear echoes of Sri Krishna’s lessons to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, don’t be surprised. Thoreau wrote: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagvat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial …” — Walden

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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