Think of Black and Black Will Think for You – Br. Shankara

Sunday, August 20, 2017

[jbox color=”white”][mp3t track=”2017-08-20-br-shankara-think-of-black.mp3″ play=”Listen Now -” stop=”Pause -” title=”"Think of Black and Black Will Think for You" – Br. Shankara”]

Or download the MP3 to your computer, and listen offline.
To move forward/backward through the talk, slide the gray bar that appears once audio is playing.


August is a month for the study of Jnana Yoga, a path to realization that requires analysis, discrimination, reason, and constant devotion to your goal. As a jnana yogi, your aim is liberation, freedom from all limitation.

Vedanta’s scriptures and teachers tell us that life’s misery — its pain, anxiety, and sense of imprisonment — is caused by seeing inaccurately, due to “maya.” As a jnani, you may set aside that framework of delusion and see only Pure Consciousness — Brahman — everywhere, in everything and everyone, including yourself. This is realization, liberation!

Happiness Stan
Happiness Stan

The title of this talk is from a song that introduces a modern fairy tale — “Happiness Stan.”

Stan’s adventure is a pursuit of knowledge. When his regular nightly pastime is upset — as the song says, “black had stolen half the moon away” — Stan is confused and frustrated. He sets off to discover what has happened.

What does Stan’s story have to do with Jnana Yoga? Well, as you read above, all our miseries are caused by seeing inaccurately, and as a Sage later explains to him, that is precisely what Stan has been doing.

Yet, for a student of Jnana Yoga, there is a deeper connection. It has to do with a verse from Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna:

“Thinking about sense objects
Will attach you to sense objects;
Grow attached, and you become addicted;
Thwart your addiction and it turns to anger;
Be angry, and you confuse your mind;
Confuse your mind, you forget the
lesson of experience;
Forget experience, you lose discrimination;
Lose discrimination, and you miss 
life’s only purpose.”

In this talk, we explore this verse line by line, and discuss how Krishna’s admonition has a surprising application to a jnana yogi’s daily spiritual practice.