Question: What is gratitude?

Sri Chinmoy: Gratitude means to become a flower in every part of your being: body, vital, mind and heart. Everything in your being will exist only as a flower. There are 86,000 subtle nerves inside you, but there will not remain anything else except a flower. You as an individual will become only a flower to be placed at the Feet of the Supreme. This flower is completely open; all the petals are blossomed. This is gratitude.

A student quoted one of my aphorisms: “One second of gratitude to God is worth three hours of intense meditation on God.” He was finding it difficult to understand this aphorism. He thought that it meant that just to say “Thank you” for one second was worth several hours of meditation. But gratitude is not like shaking hands and saying, “Thank you”. No, it may take you many incarnations to come up to the stage of true gratitude.

Inside the physical body there are thousands of nerves and inside the subtle body also there are thousands of subtle nerves. When everything disappears, when you exist only as a most beautiful flower and you feel that you are ready to be placed at the Feet of the Supreme: that is gratitude. But it may take hours, days, months, years or many incarnations to come to that stage. For one second of gratitude, the preparation may take quite a few years. So when I say that gratitude is the most difficult thing and the most important thing, please remember that I am referring to this kind of gratitude. When everything of yours has gone away, when everything of yours has melted and there only remains one flower, when you remain only as a flower ready for worship and you have placed yourself at the Feet of the Supreme: that is gratitude. From now on, please feel that this is what I mean by gratitude. Otherwise, I will not say that one second of gratitude is equal to three hours of meditation.