Forgiveness and gratitude1

The Western concept of forgiveness is usually associated with guilt and retribution. You give somebody a smart slap, and afterwards you feel sad or guilty. Then the other person will curse you and say that God will punish you. Or perhaps he will threaten to strike you in retaliation. There is a feeling that if you have done something, the same kind of thing will be done to you unless you are forgiven.

But there is another way to look at forgiveness. God wants us to be at a certain height so that we can receive His Affection, Love, Compassion and Blessings, but right now we are not at that level. So God is begging us: "Just raise your consciousness an iota and come up to this level. Then I will be able to give you My Love, My Compassion and My Blessings." Our human mind may call it forgiveness, but God is not thinking about our inner and outer crimes. He just wants us to raise our consciousness so that we will increase our receptivity and oneness with Him. Then he will be able to give us more Compassion, more Light and more Love.

So when I ask you to cry for forgiveness, I am begging you to come up to a certain level so that the Supreme in me can give you something. If you are an excellent disciple, you will feel sad if you do not listen to your Guru and come to that level. But what do you do? In many cases you just look around and see that somebody else is already at that level. Then you become sad and miserable. So you make two mistakes. First, you do not try to come to the place that I want you to be, and then you become jealous and miserable because you have seen somebody else there.

If I want to give you something, you have to come near me to receive it. If I am above you, then you have to come at least to a certain height so that we can talk to one another. You have to come to the first rung of the ladder, let us say. Sometimes I see that you people get so much, so much from me — or let us say, from the Supreme through me — and then you do come up to that level. At that time, I am the happiest person. You may say, "Oh, Guru has forgiven me, or he would not be so kind and compassionate to me." But I am not even thinking about what you have done. Only I am happy that your consciousness is a little bit higher and I am now able to offer you more love, more affection, more blessings.

Then there is the question of degree — your degree of receptivity. I may want to give you ten dollars, but you are satisfied with only two dollars. Then how cleverly you justify your lack of receptivity! You tell the world, "Guru wanted to give me ten dollars, but I took only two dollars because that was enough for me. I can manage with two dollars, so I don't need ten dollars." I am talking about this in the form of money, but in the form of affection, compassion and blessings it is exactly the same. I want to give this much, but you say, "No, if I get an iota of compassion, that is enough for me." I want to give you a very large quantity, because I know that only then will I be able to give you an even larger quantity tomorrow. But you want to take only a drop. And your clever mind convinces you in such a clever way that you are doing the right thing. But if your wisdom-heart comes to the fore, you will say, "Since he wanted to give me $10, why should I be satisfied with only $2?I have to take the $10 if I want to please him in his own way." So if you are really sincere and feel your oneness with me, you will feel sad if you do not receive everything that I want to give you. You will say, "He wanted to give me so much, and I took so little. The reason I did not receive the utmost is because my receptivity is so weak. I am fooling myself if I say I can manage with that." You can't manage with that.

At every moment this kind of give-and-take is going on between God and human beings. God is giving and we are receiving. The human mind will say, "God will be pleased and happy that He didn't have to give me so much." But God will not be pleased. If the giver is an ordinary human being, he may say, "Oh, I am so glad that I met such a stupid fellow who is satisfied with $2. I am so happy that I didn't have to give him $10. And the stupid fellow who receives only $2 is also satisfied, because he can tell the world, "I can manage." Here the giver is a rogue and the receiver is a stupid fellow.

But in God's case, God is sad when we do not take the quantity that He wants to give us. For at that time we are not showing the gratitude that will increase our receptivity. God is not dying to receive our human gratitude. When an ordinary human being gives something to another person, immediately there is a sense of separativity. He feels that just because he has given such and such a thing, the other person has to be grateful. But God's idea of gratitude is totally different. When it is a question of giving and receiving in the soul's world, or between the divine parts of ourselves, the one who gives is equally grateful as the one who receives.

When I want to give you my blessings and light, I am so grateful if you can receive it, for that shows your oneness with me. And I am really grateful and really proud of you if you take the entire quantity that I want to give. Again, when I see that you don't take it, I feel sad. So you see how gratitude comes on both sides. I show my oneness-gratitude with you by giving what I have, and you show your oneness-gratitude with me by taking what I give. Here there is mutual gratitude and mutual oneness. It is such a sweet thing!

Every day we have the golden opportunity to offer our gratitude to our Lord Beloved Supreme in everything we do. There is not a single second when we cannot offer gratitude to God. Look at me. Physically and mentally I am suffering so much because of my oneness with my disciples and humanity. But even though I have such unbearable pain, in the inner world I am telling God, "I am so grateful to You that I am able to bear this pain cheerfully. You are having an experience in and though me, my Lord, and I am so grateful that I am not revolting against You. Then again, I am so grateful to You that I have disciples who will massage me 24 hours a day if I want. They may not cure me, but at least they can give me some relief, and I am grateful to You for this." And even if I had no disciples and were living like an ordinary human being, still I could say, "O God, no matter how bad my pain is, it could have been infinitely worse. I am so grateful to You that I am not in the hospital."

For good things naturally we offer gratitude to God. But even if we have bad experiences, like bad thoughts, still we can show gratitude. There are two ways. One way is to immediately compare what is happening now with a time when we had an even worse experience. We will see that the wrong, undivine, impure thoughts we are having today are nothing in comparison to what we were experiencing on that other horrible day, when we were suffering so terribly. Then we can say, "Right now I am bad, but I am so grateful to God because my consciousness is still much higher than it was on that horrible day." Or we can compare ourselves with the way we were ten years ago. Then we will say, "Oh God, I am so grateful to You that today I am not as bad as I was 10 years ago." This is the best way — to compare our own life now with what it used to be.

Another way is to compare ourselves with the ordinary people who are around us. We can look to this side and that side and immediately see unaspiring people who are infinitely worse than we are. Then we can say, "O God, because of Your Compassion, I am infinitely better than these people. I could have been so bad — like him or her — but You have kept me much better. You are so kind, so compassionate to me."

So we can offer gratitude to God no matter what kind of consciousness we have. If we are having good thoughts, we can say, "O God, I am grateful to You because no matter how bad I am now, I was infinitely worse a few years ago. Because of Your Compassion I have become at least a human being."

Again, we have to know that if our consciousness is low, immediately we can stop our bad thoughts with our will power. And if we have good thoughts, with our will power we can strengthen them. Will power can easily destroy our bad thoughts and negate the wrong forces in us. And with will power also we can increase the power of our good thoughts and increase our good qualities. So if we use our will power properly, we can perform miracle after miracle in our lives. And even if we do not, through our prayer and meditation, develop our will power, still with our sincere aspiration and sincere inner cry we can also do these things. So pray and meditate and develop your aspiration and gratitude. Then you will really see the difference in your lives.


  1. KK 3. 5 January 1987, Valdivia, Chile.

Sri Chinmoy, Khama karo, Agni Press, 1987