The 2nd Pearl – An Attitude of Gratitude for everything
Everything is a gift from the Supreme.
The term प्रसाद ‘Prasaad’ means a gift or an offering and the term बुद्धि ‘Buddhi’ means intelligence, the mind, the power of reasoning, understanding and the ability to differentiate between right and wrong.
‘Prasaada Buddhi can be defined as an attitude of gratitude for everything one has and for the undesirable things that one does not have. A person with such an attitude of gratitude, treats everything as a gift. He or she does not claim ownership of anything. They feel honoured and blessed to receive love, people, comforts and other things in life. It’s almost like receiving ‘Prasaada’ in a temple. When people go to a temple and receive ‘Prasaada’ which is some food, fruit or any other eatable that has been first offered to the presiding Deity, they accept it with total devotion and gratitude. They don’t tell the priest what they want as ‘Prasaada’ but just accept whatever is given. They share it with others even if the quantity of the ‘Prasaada’ they receive is not big enough to be shared. Should the ‘Prasaada’ not be warm enough, people don’t complain but simply receive it with reverence. Those who believe that everything is a gift from the Supreme, are not troubled by difficulties in life because deep in their mind, they are convinced that just as good things are, troubles too are only temporary.
SBG 2:14 “O Arjuna, impermanent things like happiness and sadness, heat and cold in summer and winter, come and go. They are temporary, so learn to endure them.”
However, people who are bound by strong attachments and those who identify themselves with the body, are controlled by their ego. Such people usually do not have a strong ‘Prasaada Buddhi’. When things don’t go as expected and when they think that they are getting less than what they ‘deserve’, they end up feeling frustrated. This feeling soon turns into anger directed towards themselves and also towards the Supreme System they are a part of. It makes them appear unattractive and unfriendly to others. The anger in them causes them pain and resentment which force them to disregard all the blessings they received until then, including their life.
Ignorant people hardly pay any attention to the fact that their vital body functions are not under their control at all and that life continues on its own. As explained in Chapter 16 of the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, when the ‘I’ in people is excessively strong, they believe that they are the doers and that they are in command over everything in their life. People who have amassed a lot of wealth are proud of their opulence and they look down upon the not so lucky ones. Unfortunately, they do not quite fathom that all the wealth and the ostentatious life they lead, could end with a single heart stroke or with something even simpler than that. There have been innumerous cases of powerful kings, presidents, politicians, godmen and other wealthy people who separated from their bodies all of a sudden, leaving behind hoards of incalculable wealth. Of what use are wealth, name, education and fame for those who have ceased to live? The wise however, realise that each and every moment of their life itself is a Divine gift. They know very well that anything can happen any time and that it is nothing else but Divine Grace that is protecting them all through the day and also through the night when they are fast asleep. They wholeheartedly accept this truth and perceive everything they have and receive as a Divine Blessing or ‘Prasaada’.
When those who don’t understand this truth are forced to face setbacks and failures, they either become depressed or enter into bouts of anger against themselves and their destiny. “I can’t take it any more”, “I am tired of all the troubles”, “I am very angry about my situation” or “I want to kill myself”, are expressions of ego. These expressions of ego are consequences of delusional thinking caused by the lack of spiritual knowledge. The question “Why me?” for example, is a typical case of extreme ego in a person because whoever comes out with such a question, considers himself or herself to be far more superior or more deserving than the others. What else but egotism can that be?
Their are two kinds of gratitude. The first one is bound by a sense of doing something in return for a favour received earlier and to free oneself from the feeling of indebtedness to someone. The second kind of being grateful, which is founded on modesty and simplicity, is simple, pure, plain and absolutely honest without the conceited thought of reciprocating something they received. This mindset ensures that people don’t undergo disappointments, pains, frustration and sadness. They thankfully, gracefully and graciously accept whatever they get and since their mind and emotions are balanced and are not clouded with negative energy, they are highly receptive to new Divine ‘Prasaadas’ in the form of pleasant surprises. ‘Prasaada Buddhi’ is possible only when faith is strong. Whatever people with devotion to the Supreme Bhagavan and Prasaada Buddhi do, they do it for Him and whatever they receive, they respect it as a ‘Prasaada’ from Him.
अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते |
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् || ९ २२ ||
“To those people who worship Me alone thinking of none other, I ensure that they get what they want and preserve what they have.”
यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् |
यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् || ९ २७ ||
“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give, whatever you practise as austerity, O Arjuna, do it for Me and as an offering unto Me.”
The ‘Prasaada Buddhi’ of a person guarantees peace of mind and the attitude to respect, preserve, protect and improve whatever they are blessed with.
May everyone’s life be blessed with Divine ‘Prasaadas’ from the Supreme.
Jai Shri Krishna.