Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another story about gratitude

Gurumaharaj's wonderful lecture from February deserves to be quoted again:
You think anything is ordinary? Not in Krishna consciousness. In Krishna consciousness nothing is ordinary. Krishna consciousness means: to see the extraordinary in every thing. If you cannot see the extraordinary in every thing, you are ungrateful. Being ungrateful is the worst thing in the world. Somewhere in Hitupadesh it says, the vultures, they eat anything. They eat the dead carcasses, but they will not eat the flesh of an ungrateful person. ... How do you know if somebody is not grateful? Now you got to be careful with what I say, because it may be a description of you. A person who is not grateful is always complaining. 
We want to conceive of these things... sorry my dear. Krishna consciousness is inconceivable. The gratefulness is inconceivable. Completely inconceivable. And if you are not grateful, that is also inconceivable. If you are some rascal who can not appreciate that Krishna has given so much mercy to him, who cannot be grateful, this is very, very unfortunate. And if you don't follow the principles, this is the way of being ungrateful. Prabhupada came to bring us the four principles, so that we become human beings. We follow the regulative principles to be human beings. 
-- Srila B A Paramadvaiti Swami Maharaj
I had the incredible fortune to catch a glimpse, a very small glimpse of what he is talking about.

It is risky to share realizations directly, it is said that the magic dust escapes if the box is opened too often, but I just have to share this. Recently it was the first real day of summer, and I was walking through the forest - it was green and blossoming, with lovely scents in the air, and the sun made everything bright and warm. I was contemplating the scene with a deep sense of gratitude - I felt that this summer day meant so much to me, and I couldn't have made any of it myself. I cannot make summer. There is nothing I can repay it with. I have nothing to trade in exchange for the sunshine, the buzzing bees, the sound of water, all this life around me... nothing. I am just shamelessly taking it all in, giving nothing back. I can only bow my head in prayer - thank you, thank you, thank you, I don't know why I am so fortunate that I can experience this day.

That moment the forest became alive to my eyes. I find it difficult to describe how, but it is like the difference between black-and-white and color, or between winter and summer. I could feel that everything around me was alive, and every silly detail was fascinating. I just sat by the lake and kept splashing in the water like a small child, admiring the glittering drops, laughing. It was like a psychedelic experience - not in the sense that something was distorted, but in the sense that the familiar was revealed as extraordinary. Since my teenage years I have been fascinated by the prospect of psychedelic experiences, but I never dared to try the heavy drugs, and now I felt that this was even better. Drugs are impersonal, like switching on a TV. At best you learn something about yourself. But this was a relationship - it was personal. The two can never be compared.

Unfortunately I am not in that state anymore, it was temporary. I guess I needed to learn two things about gratitude. One thing is which profound difference it makes, how dearly it is needed. The other thing is that you can't just decide to be grateful. I can not, I am too distracted. It is like trying to laugh or cry, it is not genuine. I can not trace out any explanation for my feelings of gratitude on that day, except the influence of Gurumaharaj, whom I just had met for the first time. I guess I was somehow given a small glimpse of his consciousness. I had not even done anything for him, I'm an undeserving, ungrateful rascal. I am told he goes on like this, like a Santa Claus, giving priceless gifts to anyone. I can only go down on my knees and shamelessly beg for another one.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Read my previous story about gratitude here.

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