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The attitude of Gratitude

Updated on July 28, 2013
Gratitude has the capacity to turn tears of sorrow into tears of joy.
Gratitude has the capacity to turn tears of sorrow into tears of joy.

11th October 2011

Today morning, I woke up with a whine in my voice. I had a complaint to make. I was just thinking of the mounting financial pressure on me and wondered as to why everything seemed to be going wrong. I felt hot tears make their way down my cheek. I looked at Swami’s picture and said, “Swami, I will not ask you anything for you know everything. But see how I am!

That was my prayer. And I spent about fifteen minutes in front of His picture. Then I started the day. I was a bit low for life seemed to be unjust and unfair. I believe in the theory of reaction, reflection and resound - where everything we get in life is actually our own creation in the first place. But what I was getting seemed to be none of the three! It looked like some universal conspiracy. Swallowing hard, I decided to move on with my work.

That was when I heard the tale of G.

G’s sister had been admitted in the hospital, 6 months into her pregnancy. The child had to be delivered in a very premature state. G was very tense and naturally very worried. (In a few weeks, the little infant passed away!) G had not done anything wrong and yet life had placed him in a very difficult situation.

Then, as I went for work in the studio, I came to know of R’s mother - a pious lady who had great love for the Lord. R too was a darling in everyone’s heart and yet, it seemed like his mother was waging an almost losing battle against cancer! Still, R seemed so calm and serene. I wondered as to how someone could be so calm in such a traumatic situation. It seemed as though he was trying to heal cancer through faith therapy!

That was not the end of my morning. My fiancée (today my wife, Pooja) calls me and tells about a colleague of hers - a youth in his prime twenties. He was married just a few months before and everything seemed set in life for him and his wife. All of a sudden something happened - a stress related heart attack and he was gone in moments! His newly wed wife was inconsolable. But her company had called upon her good friend, my fiancée, to find out whether her deceased husband had 'nominated' her in his accounts.

"If that is not the case, then the company receives all his money!" - That was the inhuman intent!

As I heard all these in a span of a single day, my heart began to ache. My prayers began to change. I began to say, “Swami, look at these people. I shall not say anything for you know everything. But see how they are.

Then I hear another story in the evening.

As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, my fiancee's team had a group of 'deaf and dumb' children visiting their corporate office in Mumbai. There was a lot of interaction with these children and employees did their best to bring cheer into their lives. Many people also made donations and bought the little handicrafts that these children had made.

There was a sad observation , however. My fiancée told me that some of the people in office, who were sure to have a couple of thousand rupees tucked away in their purses at any point in time, made no attempt to give anything.

The heart must be rich to give! But the main story was what she told me about N.

N was a new employee. He had been struck by twin tragedy. He had lost his father and his sister in a single accident. This shocked his mother so much that she got paralyzed instantly! Imagine that for a tragedy!

N now was running his whole family on the meager Rs.18,000 that he got every month. In fact, he did not eat at the cafeteria choosing instead to go to the roadside vendor to cut food costs. This N, walked to the central office and put forward Rs.300 as his donation to the underprivileged children. He just kept smiling at the children who could neither hear nor speak but could definitely feel. And when my fiancée accosted him, he saaid with a smile,

“God has given me so much. Let me share.”

When I heard this story, I desperately wanted to cut the phone call for I wanted to cry! I managed to end the call and began to cry! I was so touched. And suddenly, my woes from the morning seemed like nothing.

I felt so blessed and remembered that for every negative that I have in my life, I have at least ten positives. Why then do I focus on the negatives? And even as I felt touched and stronger, I wondered what had made me feel this powerful change.

It was N’s Gratitude!

If the gratitude of a person, (so far away that he was absolutely unaware even of my existence), could touch me, gratitude must be a real mighty thing. I went back to my shrine. I knelt down and again I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I looked at Swami and said,

Swami, I will not ask you anything for you know everything!"

The prayer just ended there. And in my heart was a calm and peace. From that calm emanated a reply,

"Deepavali will bring light to you."

On the day of Deepavali, the festival of lights in India, I received an unexpected bounty - so magnificent that I need a separate space to write about that. An old classmate appeared out of the blue and gave me an advance marriage gift - the exact sum which I needed to clear my head of the so called 'financial troubles'!!

Like attracts like. Gratitude attracts gratitude. Be grateful to the Universe and the universe will be grateful to you. Owe your existence to the world and the world will owe its existence to you. This much I shall state here that the above paragraph has been added months after the original article was written. The bounty that I received came to me through a person who was inspired on reading this same article! Wow! What goes round, comes round.

What makes gratitude so powerful?

For one to feel grateful, one must be able to appreciate all the plus points of one’s life. And to do that, one must be aware of the suffering all around. To empathise with the suffering, one must feel it as one’s own, just like N did. And when we do that, we become one with all creation.

In that moment of empathy, we become God!

That is because we feel for everyone. We then help someone not to relieve their pain but to relieve the pain in our own hearts. Strange but true, that the greatest service is actually done ‘selfishly’!

Gratitude is powerful for it makes us one with everyone, one with the Divine too! Cicero, a consul of Rome during the reign of Julius Caesar concurred when he said,“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

The power of Gratitude is eloquently expressed by Melodie Beattie, author of many inspirational books. "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

Finally, as my warden and teacher, Sri.B.N.Narasimhamoorthy said,

“My sadhana is only this. Everyday, I sit before the Lord's picture and thank Him for all that He has provided me with. He knows all that I need and that He gives me beyond measure. As I do this sadhana, I cannot stop tears streaming out of my eyes.”

Ah! Indeed cleansing are those tears. Let them fall. I feel so cleansed today. It was the case of me complaining about the lack of shoes till I met people without feet - and most of them were happy for they abounded in gratitude!

Develop the attitude of gratitude
Develop the attitude of gratitude

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    • Liz Castillo profile image

      Liz Castillo 

      5 years ago

      We love so much this job you do. I feel great if what I do help at least one person in the world but this is surely bringing hope to a lot. Baba is ever speaking through these articles. I observed this past Sunday at church how I quicly changed from "Lord see how I am" to "Lord see how they are" when I felt I was in the middle of a 911 situation myself. But seing nothing changing in their situation or me experiencing the emotional betterment I expected I was just came to think that maybe I should stop praying all together and limit myself to worship and gratitude forms of prayer. Surely I don't see myself not making a 911 call when I sink in the depths self-pity: How could I? Where else can I go if not to you Lord? But I had the feeling that this may be the right place to be one where there is no need to ask for myself or others because he knows already.

    • profile image

      Priya Tandon 

      7 years ago

      Sairam! There are no words in the English language that are enough to express our gratitude to Swami for all His blessings on us. Thank you Aravind for this gentle reminder to count our blessings....

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thank you for sharing such a moving story and lesson in gratitude.

      All the best,


    • profile image

      Rahul chaudhary 

      7 years ago

      Thank you swami for all that you have given

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image

      Mark Aspa 

      7 years ago from Berlin, Germany

      So true. I have so much to be thankful for. Health, a joyful spiritual life, enough money, a healthy and happy family, clean water to drink, good food to eat, a nice home, rewarding work, the country i live in is doing well economically and is not in conflict and is a democracy with good citizen's rights. But at the same time this gratitude is tinged with sadness, for i know there are BILLIONS of people who do not have some or all of the above.

      So i pray 'thank You' to God for my situation and help us all move forward to a better and juster world.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Simply moving!!!! No words!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Mystries of life will never be understood.....yet it reveals itself on it's own time and place! So young and yet so blessed you are!

    • profile image

      Pooja Digumarti 

      8 years ago

      Il sait tout ce que nous avons besoin. Juste savoir et croire que cela suffit pour nous garder toujours heureux

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      you have put it beautifully. was really moved


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sai ram. May i know what is the web address for the H2H message mentioned above? Thank you. JSR :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wonderful! Struck a chord with me, as I keep thanking Swami nowadays on a regular basis for every l'il thing He has done for me. 'Count your blessings' is what we need to be doing all the time, 'coz we are surely better off than so many people in this world.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey Anna :)

      Sometimes we forget Swami sees EVERYTHING..just to share the H2H message from yesterday..

      " Pain is just an interval between two pleasures. So, when you have an unpleasant experience, just remember that it is for something good that will come in the near future. Why fear when Swami is here? So stop worrying from now." - Sathya Sai Baba

      We all get scared and dejected's okay, I suppose. But what's more important is that we remember, Swami will see us through it, regardless! Complete faith in the beautiful things to come is all we need to have in Him...that, is complete Surrender, is it not? :) Just something I have learnt, after fighting and battling against Him, until I finally realised that by allowing Him to work His magic, my life turns so much more magical :)

      Have a fantastic day Anna!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Anna, regardless of how tough life gets - Swami makes it all better ALL THE TIME. Just trust Him :)In yesterday's H2H message, I read this -

      "Pain is a pleasure between two pleasures. So whenever you feel like you are having an unpleasant experience, just know that it is for something good that will come in the near future. Have faith in Swami, and therefore, stop worrying." - Sathya Sai Baba

      To me, I think Swami is all I have to fall back on, in any given situation. Thanking Him is a fantastic way of realising that whatever He gives us, is in fact, for the best. And faith, that all will be well - that is Surrendering, with no doubts :)

      Have a fantastic day Anna!

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      This is beautiful...I went to bed last night, crying complainng to Swami that he was ignoring me... Why me? What had I done.. and so on.. I got up this morning with an intense headache feeling low... Looking for some sign... This blog was my sign.. I do have lots of positives to negate he one negative in my life! Thank you!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 

      8 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yews, you have hit the nail on the head. You give to receive but before you can give there must be gratitude and appreciation in your heart for all that you have. You might like to check out post#11 on this link to our website titled Gratitude:

      Thank you.


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