Question: In one of your poems you say that God will do everything for us if our every breath embodies soulful gratitude. This kind of gratitude seems far beyond our reach. How can we have it?

Sri Chinmoy: Gratitude is not found in dryness or in strictness; it is not found in a morbid life. Gratitude comes from sweetness — sweetness in life, sweetness in breath. The sweetness of our own nature, our own character, our own movements will create everlasting gratitude. Gratitude is nothing but a spontaneous feeling of sweetness, which does not even have to be expressed in words. A child may not say “Thank you” to his mother, but the sweetness of his entire being is expressed through his eyes in the form of a smile. He does not know the word ‘gratitude’, but when the mother sees his sweet smile, she knows that the child is full of gratitude. So the more we can create sweetness in our hearts and in our being, the easier it becomes to offer gratitude to God.

One way to get sweetness is to look at a most beautiful, fragrant flower. When we look at the flower and smell its fragrance, consciously or unconsciously we become one with its beauty and fragrance. At that time, its sweetness enters into us or our own sweetness comes forward; sometimes both happen simultaneously. Then our whole being becomes sweet and it is easier to have good thoughts. If we are really focusing all our attention on the innocent beauty and fragrance of God the creation through this flower, then impure thoughts — which include not only lower vital thoughts but also jealousy and meanness — disappear, and only sweet thoughts remain. And when sweetness comes to the fore in our nature, it becomes very easy to offer gratitude.

Another way to have gratitude is to think of what we would have become if God had not shown us the light. Then we would have been somebody else — lower than the lowest. But rather than take a negative approach, we can take the positive approach and say, “O God, I am so grateful and I shall eternally remain grateful to You because You have shown me Your Light and You are allowing me to remain in Your Light.”