Question: What is gratitude?1

Sri Chinmoy: To feel gratitude means to become a flower in every part of your being — body, vital, mind and heart. Everything in your being will exist as a single, fully blossomed flower with all its petals completely open. There are thousands of nerves in your physical body and 86,000 subtle nerves inside your subtle body. But these will all disappear and you will feel that you exist only as a most beautiful flower ready to be placed at the Feet of the Supreme. This is gratitude.

Recently, somebody was having difficulty understanding one of my aphorisms about gratitude. The aphorism says, “One second of gratitude to God is worth three hours of intense meditation on God.” He thought it meant that just saying “thank you” for one second was worth several hours of meditation. But gratitude is not like shaking hands or saying, “Thank you!” It may take hours, days, months, years or many incarnations to achieve one second of true gratitude. The preparation it takes to come to that stage may take quite a long time.

So when I say that gratitude is something most difficult and important, I am referring to this kind of gratitude. When everything of yours has melted and you exist only as a flower ready for worship, when you have placed yourself totally at the Feet of your Beloved Supreme — this is gratitude.

  1. MUN 338. May 1978.