Sri Sathya Sai on: The Importance of Gratitude

Once upon a time, God asked man, “Son, I have given you all comforts. I have given you all conveniences. You do not lack anything. But you are not offering gratitude to God who has given you everything. When somebody extends little help to you, you express your gratitude. When God has provided so many things and comforts, why are you not showing your gratitude towards Him?”

Gratitude to God is prayer. We have to offer gratitude for all that He has blessed us with. When your kerchief falls down and somebody picks it up and gives it to you, you say, “Thanks”. It is not his kerchief that he has given, it is your kerchief; even then why do you offer thanks? That is gratitude. Similarly, God created the five elements and because of these five elements man can live in the world. What are we offering to the five elements? We are not giving anything to them. Nobody gives anything to them. The theist, the atheist or the atheistic theist, no one gives anything. Nobody knows anything about this. An atheist can say that there is no God, but he cannot say that there are no elements.

Five elements are the form of God. We worship water as ‘Ganga Devi’ (Goddess Ganga). We call wind as ‘Vayu Deva’ (the Lord Wind).  We call earth as ‘Bhu Devi’ (Mother Earth). All the five elements are called God. All of them emerged from the soul. Soul is ether. This ether cannot be seen. They say that what you see is ‘Akasha’. It is a mistake. What you see is only clouds. That is not sky. Sky is not seen. Sky is called ‘Shunya’ (nothingness). This does not mean that the sky does not exist. It is there. But you cannot see it. We should try to recognise this truth. Have you seen the wind? No. Can you catch it? No. You cannot see it, nor touch it. So can you say that there is no wind? Without wind, you cannot exist. Wind exists. You cannot see it, you cannot touch it. But we cannot tell that wind does not exist. Similarly all the five elements are within us. Therefore we are the embodiment of God. Because we are not able to understand this, we keep thinking that we are little men. Do not get deluded. Have the feeling and faith that, ‘I am God’. How is it? All the five elements exist in me. If the five elements are God, then I am also God! God has 8 forms of wealth. The 5 elements are the 5 life principles. It is total ignorance not to recognize these 5 elements. 

We say that worshiping is wrong. You see the idol and worship it. Atheists say that foolish people are worshipping stone. It is not a stone; it is the form of God. There is nothing which is formless in this world. All have forms. How can you say that there is no form? Here is an example. On Independence Day you hoist a flag with three colours. We salute the flag. What is this National flag? It is nothing but a piece of cloth. Why do you respect it? It also has a form. Here is a small example. A sculptor went to a mountain. He wanted to sculpt an idol of Krishna. It was one single stone. Out of this stone he made an idol of Krishna, removing the excess stone and installed it in a temple. People worship this Krishna. The pieces of excess stone which were discarded were saying to themselves, “Tat Twam Asi” – Thou art That (Supreme Consciousness). You are also that. Because you don’t have the form you are here. Actually the form of Krishna was given to him by the sculptor. All those who are having the five elements are forms of the Lord. The excess pieces of stone told the idol, “You (the idol of Krishna) are That (Supreme Consciousness) and even we (the excess pieces of stone) are That (Supreme Consciousness). Though we don’t have the form, we have lot of power within us. But we are not developing that power.”

There is immeasurable strength in us. There is great power in us. Today we have many satellites which go into space. Who created the satellites? It is the scientists who created the satellites. And they are sending all these satellites. How did the scientist come to know about all this? This is because of the power which manifested in him. He developed that power. If you develop the power in you, you can grow. In man there is complete Divine power. How to attain God? Suppose there is a small drop of water. In moments this drop will evaporate. But if you pour this drop into the ocean, it becomes one with the ocean. When the drop merges in the ocean it becomes the ocean. Similarly, when one loses one’s individual identity in the Supreme, one becomes one with the Supreme.

Source: Pathways to God, Discourse 2, My Dear Students Volume 3; Divine Discourse on March 19, 1998 at Trayee Brindavan

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