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'Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others,' noted great Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero way back in 106-43 BC. Centuries later his words ring true. The article that follows, strives to arrive at the true import of the word 'Gratitude' and unearths different facets of this virtue. Read on and acquaint yourself with one of the simplest yet most powerful truths documented in Brahmavidya'

What can we offer the Highest One, who is all powerful and the genitor of one and all? It is in Him and by Him that 'all' exists' yet there is one thing that we all have and can offer Him. And once we start doing so, we are established in His Grace and after which we can only live a happier and fuller life, each moment. This magical virtue is Gratitude. It is 'the' most powerful feeling - one which inspires all other virtues and uplifts life in totality. 

What is gratitude and how can it be expressed? 

Gratitude is the overflowing of life's cup, when it is full of bliss, the automatic outcome of a truly contented life. Meditation and practice of Brahmavidya teaches us the most important of all virtues ' 'gratefulness.' To be grateful is to recognize and acknowledge the omnipresence of God and His work in our life. Thanksgiving is an important aspect of prayer, which takes us closer to Him and His presence in us. 

Here is a small cue, which explains the importance of gratefulness lucidly: 

What do we say to someone, who says 'Thank You' to us? We probably say 'Welcome,' so when we Thank God with all our heart, wouldn't He say 'Welcome'? And what more can we ask for, when He welcomes us into His Grace? 

His balance flows into our life, His goodness fills our days and all that we know and do not know of Him fills our life' our consciousness. Our life becomes His Life and there ends the distance between Him and Us. We become Him in the truest sense of the word. Let us Rejoice in this Oneness and allow the Universal Hand to govern our life. This is the greatest wealth we can ever acquire and the greatest pleasure we can ever seek. 

Since ages, man has been seeking deliverance from sin and suffering. One fine day, he realizes that it is in him ' deep within him that all happiness and sorrow reside. He realizes that, knowingly or unknowingly, he had been creating the circumstances that caused his success or failure and thereby created joy and sorrow, respectively. Both are, in fact, two sides of the same coin. And within the seeds of suffering also lie the potential of unlimited joy. It is 'attitude' that governs the 'altitude' and not merely the 'aptitude.' 

Any situation when viewed with a different viewpoint (different attitude) will present a new facet and perhaps a new opportunity disguised in the seeming failure. Most innocent and untarnished hearts often are 'open' to such new viewpoints. The following story aptly explains this phenomenon:

Every calamity is an opportunity in disguise

'One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered up anyway. It just wasn't worth retrieving the donkey. He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him.

They all grabbed shovels and began to shove dirt into the well.  At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's surprise he calmed down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that fell on his back, the donkey was doing some thing amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbors continued to shove dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! 

Life may shovel dirt on you ' all kinds of dirt. The trick is to not to get bogged down by it. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping. And by never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!

This is what happens and can be made to happen in practical life, but the inspiration to make it happen, lies in the inner balance. Had the donkey succumbed to pitiful wailing and got so bogged down by the grief that his master had forsaken him, he would never have been able to do what he did. Here we come to yet another saying: God helps those who help themselves. 

Therefore arise, awake and learn of the Great Ones, seek their inspiration and grace. Have full faith in your innate virtues and potential, for it is the proof of the God which dwells in you. Shed off the dirt of ignorance and wrong emotions and seek the 'divine power' within. Always be grateful for its presence and with gratitude will its power increase manifold and open the doors to holistic success and everlasting peace.  

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