Sri Chinmoy: In addition to our bad qualities, each human being has many, many good qualities. The most important and most significant good quality in our human life is gratitude. Unfortunately, that good quality we somehow manage not to express either in our thoughts or in our actions. Right from the beginning of our life we have somehow learned not to express it. So we have the least amount of the very thing that we need most in order to become a better person.
The things that most deserve our gratitude we just take for granted. Without air we cannot live for more than a minute or two. Every day we are breathing in and breathing out, but do we ever feel grateful to the air? If we do not drink water, we cannot survive. Even our body is composed to a large extent of water. But do we give any value to water? Every morning when we open our eyes, we see the sun blessingfully offering us light and life-energy, which we badly need. But are we grateful to the sun? On the contrary, when the sun is too bright we get mad and complain that it is bothering us. The sun is like the mother who gives food to the child so that he can remain alive on earth. But the child quite often gets annoyed at the mother for bothering him. In India we have many gods and goddesses, and even a particular god to whom we offer gratitude. The Western world has many saints. But do we offer these gods or these saints our gratitude?
Every day there are so many people to whom we should offer gratitude. Someone did me this favour. Someone else did me that favour. There is no end to the number of individuals to whom we have to offer our gratitude. If we try to offer gratitude to each individual, it becomes impossible. But no individual created himself. We were all created by God, our Heavenly Father. He is our Source. So if we are not able to offer gratitude to everyone who deserves it from us, we can at least offer gratitude to the Source.
A tree has many branches and countless leaves, flowers and fruits. If we try to offer our gratitude to the millions of leaves, people will say, "You are a fool!" We will get tired just counting the branches, not to speak of the leaves, flowers and fruits. But the tree came from a tiny seed, and the Source of that seed is God. He is the Source of everything in the creation. So if we offer our gratitude to the Source, we are doing the right thing.
From our early morning prayer and meditation we receive good thoughts. Some people will have hundreds of good thoughts. For them to try to offer gratitude to each thought would be ridiculous because they have to go to work, they have to do this, they have to do that. We know that if we can offer gratitude to anything good that comes to us early in the morning, then many good things will happen in our life. We will do good things for others and they will do good things for us. So how can we offer gratitude to our good thoughts? It is by offering gratitude to their Source, our Heavenly Father, for He is the One who has come to us in the form of good thoughts. Everything that comes to us in the form of goodness comes from God.
So at every moment we have to offer our sincere gratitude to the Source, because we will not be able to offer gratitude to each individual, each thought, each action. Today I have received a fax from Tomsk, Russia, informing me that they plan to teach my philosophy at the university there. God alone knows who the President of the university is, who the faculty members are who are responsible, who the secretary is who typed the fax. If I try to imagine what each of them looks like and then offer my gratitude, it will be a joke. But He who blessingfully inspired these people — the President, the faculty members, the university and the country — is the One to whom I can easily offer my soulful gratitude. As soon as I read the fax this morning, I offered gratitude to my Inner Pilot Supreme. Then, while I was reading out the fax to all of you, again I offered my gratitude to Him.
Of course, if we do have the opportunity to offer gratitude to a particular individual, wonderful! But even then what we are really doing is offering gratitude to the Source. Let us say that you do me a favour and I offer you my gratitude. At that time I am actually offering my gratitude to the Inner Pilot, the Source, in you — to the Heavenly Father, who is in you, in me, in the entire creation. The One who deserves my gratitude is not you, but God, our Heavenly Father. He is the very Person who came to you in the form of a good action, and He is the One who is inspiring me to offer you my gratitude. In everything He is the Doer; we are only His instruments.
Outwardly we should try to offer as much gratitude as we can to those who are inwardly or outwardly helping us. I am not saying that we should not offer gratitude to someone if he does something good for us. Far from it! But if we do not have the time to offer our gratitude to everyone who does something for us, God will not blame us. If we cannot offer gratitude to someone individually, no harm. But we have to offer gratitude to the One who has inspired the creation in the form of this human being. To Him we have to offer gratitude. We may not have time to offer our gratitude to the entire creation, but we do have time to offer gratitude to God inside us.