Grateful or Great Fool?

Before the philosophical discourse at our temple every morning, we sing a celebrated song entitled “Jaya Radha Madhava.” Written by a legendry God-intoxicated saint, it depicts the extraordinary activities, loving relationships, and serene landscape of the spiritual world. Today, the significance of that divine meditation struck me. Every morning we have an opportunity to realign ourselves. We re-establish our ultimate goal, our cherished aspiration. We remember why we are doing what we are doing. In that meditation we can put life’s situations in perspective. The things that agitate our mind and clutter our consciousness don’t seem so important anymore. It reminds me of an upbeat spiritual mentor who used to laugh and exclaim “don’t take the illusion too seriously!”

On a daily basis we are challenged in a variety of ways. Unpredictable dealings with others, the irrationality of our own ‘inner voice’, and the reversals of Mother Nature are all complications which can end up consuming our consciousness. Such contemplation, however, is likened to a rocking chair. While it gives us something to do, it doesn’t really get us anywhere. Instead, we should let go and move on. In the context of our treasured goal, such troubles and inconveniences fall into insignificance.

And how bad is it anyway? I try to reflect on the many gifts I have received in this life – the repeated opportunities, the kind people, the spiritual knowledge, the solid support of a community. All the ingredients for spiritual success are there, and all it requires now is determined application. As the famous saying goes – “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!” (you can tell the age of a horse by looking at its teeth). The lesson is that when offered a wonderful gift, it would be unwise to nit-pick and find faults. Instead, one would do well to gratefully accept it with two hands and make the most of it. The Sanskrit word for gratitude is “krta-jna” – literally meaning “to know what has been done for you.” The ungrateful person who lacks such a vision may instead be called a great fool.

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