Imperience - Centre for Research and Training in P.A.M

Pujya Babuji Maharaj Birthday Celebrations 2006 Talks - GRATITUDE by Sri Vidyadhar Joshi



Dear Brothers and Sisters on the Path,

Namaste and Hearty pranams to all of you. I feel very happy to share with you my thoughts on “gratitude” on the holy occasion of Pujya Babuji Maharaj’s 107th birthday celebrations.
His Love for humanity is not easily fathomed by us. Not knowing its depths, we all feel with certainty His love and affection towards us. This is what has enabled us to meet in His thought. Howsoever we love Him, we also feel with certainty that His love for us is far far greater by any magnitude we can imagine. Not only that, but the Love of the Master is felt so intensely pure, pristine and unconditional deep within, that it is most impossible to describe. For this precious Love which is now the heritage of whole universe and we are the forerunners imperiencing it, gratitude to Him is then perhaps too small a word to reciprocate what we should feel.

We all understand what gratitude is. Simply put it is a feeling of being grateful or expressing gratefulness for something that has happened in our interest.
It should not remain merely a feeling at the surface but a deep feeling in the core of the heart that should make us act in the sense of the gratitude. If we don’t act out of the feeling of gratitude, the feeling alone will be hollow and of no use. Thus if we are to express true gratitude, the feeling should be accompanied with appropriate actions that express gratitude. In this sense gratitude is a not merely a feeling but an attitude.

As practicants of Natural Path, what is it that we should be grateful for?
There are few aspects as I understand

• The first thing that has happened in our interest is that we have been introduced in the Natural Path with the right guidance. We continuously have support of the Master and we are, no matter what our deservancy, being showered by His Grace. This is the first and foremost reason to have gratitude.
• Then gratitude is the attitude we are asked develop as stated in commandment 5 and commandment 7 given by the Master. This is not very easy and depends on the spiritual transformation one has undergone.
• In the wake of spiritual progress we make, we start understanding the meaning of life and also learn to act accordingly. We also enjoy the calm state of minds. There is every reason to keep the sense of gratitude towards Master alive for whatever progress or transformation that happens, lest we may attribute the progress to our efforts than to His Grace. Not only would this be wrong, it is simply disastrous to our pursuit.

Let us first see the first aspect of gratitude which is elementary to for any practicant. Gratefulness can be felt and reciprocated only when we understand the value of what has been offered to us.
Now do we consider our getting introduced in the Natural Path as the most fortunate things to happen to us?
Many of us are attached to our own notions of God, Divinity, and Ultimate etc. Not just that, we are confused and disturbed and before coming on the path we had no proper guidance of how life should be lived. We harbor so many fears and unknowingly succumb to those. The first stroke of silence we get during sittings with our trainer is a welcome contrast to the disturbed state of mind we come from. If we are to have gratitude for this offering of silence, we at least will start to put some effort in our sadhana as the practice of Natural Path requires. If we don’t value this, chances are we will continue to dwell in our disturbed state of mind. Master out of His kindness will grant us the state of silence several times, but it is up to us to value it and put the earnest efforts due on our side.
When this happens, one gets the imperience of something profound happening within. The feelings of happiness, joy, freedom are indescribable. This propels one to move on the path with more rigor and seriousness. As one puts serious efforts the love for Master sprouts in the heart. This love continues to grow and the imperience of something profound becomes most profound. It does not come as conscious knowledge per se but we feel within that we are steered out of darkness in which we were stumbling and falling before. The grossened sense of individual independence starts melting giving way to simple dependence on Master. As we move on the path, we understand that it is not just our happiness in individual capacity but the happiness of all we strive for. Our introduction on the path through the process of Pranahuti in Dr KCV Order is surely the most sacred thing that has happened to any of us. We all ought to have gratitude for this wondrous event that has opened the doorway to real life.
We will be gratitudinal in this respect only when we are sincere about the goal and value the tremendous help and support provided to us by our brothers and our Revered guide Sri KC Narayana ji. We also don’t fully comprehend the extent of help we receive.
All is of course Master’s support coming to us, but by maintaining gratitude for brothers who are helping us on the path, helps us not to take their hard efforts for granted. Loss of gratitude will lead to non-yielding and insincerity of our efforts.
Without the fundamental attitude of gratitude for the help we are getting on the path, I feel it will be difficult to reduce the attitude of ‘I’ ness.

One more point I wish to share. We all need to have tremendous gratitude for Masters of the Order not just for expounding the Master or Special Personality but also the way Dr. KCV Order is structured. We are saved from the traps of gurudom by following the Order as it stands.

Now coming to the second aspect of gratitude relating to Commandment 5 and Commandment 7. Commandment 5 talks about being thankful for the miseries taking them as Divine blessings. To express gratitude for miseries does not appear easy. When all our efforts in life have been to dodge miseries, how do we suddenly be thankful for miseries? There is an inversion needed in our thinking and this inversion is 180 degree with respect to our perspective in life. If we remember the Love we feel for our Master, there is something within our heart that tells us to follow His command no matter what the intellect or our mind tells us. It is this instinct that needs to be trusted for mind or intellect is a useless tool to analyze the need to be grateful here. Because we have had the imperience of Nothingness by His Grace, we have an acceptance of this commandment and following the commandment is possible. I don’t think we would be in any position to follow this commandment had we not had His Grace. The same goes with commandment 7. To not be revengeful for wrongs of others is not common thinking. Again here we have to train ourselves to invert our thinking and follow His command. It is surely possible because we are all very fortunate to have His Grace.

As we follow the system sincerely and see the changes in our attitudes, we gain meaning in life. We are on the path and also feeling our transformation. Whom do we attribute our transformation to?

Our system is called Path of Grace. Every iota of our progress we owe it to the Master. It is His Grace alone that moves us on the path and our continuous prayer is for His Grace alone. So when we get it, how can we not be grateful? Master does not ask for this but it is our duty. If we recall our state before we started sadhana, it would be easy to know why we should be grateful.

I am reminded of a small story about a poor but happy man who used to be in ragged clothes all the time. He was poor but was very hard working, humble and had faith in God. At the end of the day’s hard work, he used to lock himself in a room for sometime and then come out. No one knew what he did in the room but this was his daily practice. Slowly he worked his way up by sheer hard work. He now had some wealth. No more he had to wear ragged clothes. He continued his daily practice of locking in his room every night. As time passed, by this man assumed a regal status, got married, had a palatial house with servants and all possible luxuries. Yet, this practice of locking in the room every night continued. Despite his richness, he remained humble, hard working and unassuming of his richness. Since he had many servants around him now, they became curious as to what this man does every night in a locked room. Curious to know whether the man counts his wealth secretly in the locked room, the servants once decided to spy on him. They got secretly inside the room in the evening. To their surprise, they only found a mirror and a bag of ragged clothes in the room. They decided to wait till the rich man comes, hoping that there might be some hidden treasure somewhere. Later in the night the rich man walked in the secret room. He removed his regal clothes and put on the ragged clothes he used to wear in his old days of poverty. He stood in front of the mirror for sometime silently. Then he put back his regal clothes and walked out of the room. The servants got baffled by this peculiar behavior and could not hold their curiosity anymore. They came out of their hiding and asked their master on what he achieves with this regular practice. The rich man replied, “When I put back my old ragged clothes and reflect on myself, it reminds me of the days of poverty when I remembered God. If I worked hard, it was He who rewarded it. I do this practice so that I may never forget Him in any circumstances and the sense of gratitude remains alive towards Him who is the giver of all.”

For the practicants of Natural path, the analogy is the spiritual richness we are having in bountiful by the Grace of the Master. We don’t have to resort to remembering our old self everyday, we can simply maintain a subtle thought that all progress is granted by Him only. That is the best way to have gratitude for the tremendous richness that is continuously being showered on us. If we observe our prayer, the last line says, “Thou art the only God and power to bring us up to that stage”. Gratitude then is implicit.

I close with a prayer that out of the deepest gratitude we have, we not squander the Grace that has fallen in our lot and put the earnest effort to become befitting disciples of the Great Master.

Thank you

Vidyadhar Joshi