What is Gratitude?
A loving recognition of the Grace received from the Divine.
A humble recognition of all that the Divine has done and is doing for you.
The spontaneous feeling of obligation to the Divine, which makes you do your best to become less unworthy of what the Divine is doing for you.
Gratitude: it is you who open all the closed doors and let the Grace which saves penetrate deeply.
Detailed gratitude: the gratitude that awakens in us all the details of the Divine Grace.
Integral gratitude: the whole being offers itself to the Lord in absolute trust.
Mental gratitude: the gratefulness of the mind for what makes it progress.
The Most Pure and Joyful Feeling
And yet, of all movements, the one that gives perhaps the most joy— an unalloyed joy, untainted by that egoism – is spontaneous gratitude.
It is something very special. It isn’t love, it isn’t self-offering…. It’s a very FULL joy. Very full.
It is a very special vibration unlike anything other than itself. It is something that widens you, that fills you – that is so fervent!
It is certainly, of all the movements within the reach of human consciousness, the one that draws you the most out of your ego.
And when it can be a gratitude without motive, that vibration (basically, the vibration of what exists towards the Cause of existence) … then a great many barriers vanish instantly.
[Mother’s Agenda, 4:427]
A Greater Miracle!
When people are ill and get well quickly, they are full of gratitude; but never do they think of being grateful when they are well; and yet that is a much greater miracle!
What is the way to accept the Grace with gratitude?
Ah! First of all you must feel the need for it.
This is the most important point. It is to have a certain inner humility which makes you aware of your helplessness without the Grace, that truly, without it you are incomplete and powerless. This, to begin with, is the first thing.
It is an experience one can very well have. When, you see, even people who know nothing find themselves in quite difficult circumstances or facing a problem which must be solved or, as I just told you, an impulse which must be overcome or something that has disturbed them… and then they realise they are lost, they don’t know what to do—neither their mind nor their will nor their feelings help—they don’t know what to do, then it happens; there is within them something like a kind of call, a call to something which can do what one cannot. One aspires to something which is capable of doing what one can’t do.
One must have a great purity and a great intensity in one’s self-giving, and that absolute trust in the supreme wisdom of the divine Grace, that It knows better than we do what is good for us, and all that. Then if one offers one’s aspiration to It, truly gives it with enough intensity, the results are marvellous. But one must know how to see them, for when things are realised most people find it absolutely natural, they don’t even see why and how it has happened, and they tell themselves, “Yes, naturally it had to be like that.” So they lose the joy of… the joy of gratitude, because, in the last analysis, if one can be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for the divine Grace, it puts the finishing touch, and at each step one comes to see that things are exactly what they had to be and the best that could be.
There is nothing which gives you a joy equal to that of gratitude.
A self-willed man cannot be grateful—because when he gets what he wants he gives all the credit for it to his own will, and when he gets what he does not want he resents it badly and throws all the blame on whomever he considers responsible, God, man or Nature.
The nobility of a being is measured by its capacity of gratitude.
But to be able to remain in peace you must keep in your heart gratitude towards the Divine for all the help He gives. If gratitude also is veiled, the obscure periods last much longer.
The soul is aware of what it is given and lives in endless gratitude.
With a true sense of gratitude for the Divine’s infinite mercy, one would be saved from such dangers.
What is the best way of expressing one’s gratitude towards man and towards the Divine?
Why do you put man and the Divine together?
It is true that man is essentially divine, but at present, apart from a few very rare exceptions, man is quite unconscious of the Divine he carries within him; and it is just this unconsciousness which constitutes the falsehood of the material world.
I have already written to you that our gratitude should go to the Divine and that as for men what is required is an attitude of goodwill, understanding and mutual help.
To feel deeply, intensely and constantly a total gratitude towards the Divine is the best way to be happy and peaceful.
And the only true way of expressing one’s gratitude to the Divine is to identify with Him.
The best thing we can do to express our gratitude is to overcome all egoism in ourselves and make a constant effort towards this transformation.
It is only by giving ourselves entirely to the Divine in perfect trust and gratitude that the difficulties will be overcome.
The best way to express one’s gratitude to the Divine is to feel simply happy.
To express our gratitude to Sri Aurobindo we can do nothing better than to be a living demonstration of his teaching.
In the physical the joy of being is the best expression of gratitude towards the Divine.
I think that some element in me does not believe in the divine Grace: that is what prevents the gratitude.