What is it to be grateful? Nine out of ten people will tell you that they are grateful. That they are grateful for what they have, grateful for all the good things happening in their life, grateful that they are alive, grateful that they are loved…. The reality is that people may say they are grateful, but they do not acknowledge the grace of God for all that is happening to them. The moment things go wrong it’s not gratitude any more, it’s entitlement. I am entitled to better than this, am I not? Why me? Why me, who have always been doing the right things?  Satguru Kabir Saheb teaches us that if we want to know if we really are grateful for everything, then those hard times are our trial times.

“Sukh mein sumiran naa kiyaa, dukh mein kartaa yaad
 Kahein Kabir ous daas kaa kaun soune faryaad”

In your good times you did not acknowledge Him for being the one to keep you safe and happy. Now that you are in trouble you are turning to Him; will He listen to your call? You were so proud that you had the best job, the best dog, the best parents, the best house, the best everything…. Was that YOU who had all these? Everything is His, nothing is yours. Here is your misconception. And you turn to Him in hard times? Asking for what? For more of what is not yours? Satguru Kabir Saheb wants us to realise that whether it is good or bad times (which, by the way is only a perception), our only duty is to be attached to the NAAM. Good will come and go, bad will also come and go; Naam will stay constant. Being immersed in naam protects us from those elusive effects of joy and suffering.

Gratitude and grace go hand in hand. When we are grateful regardless of what befalls us, God’s grace flows to us. And when His grace flows to us, what else do we need? The child is safe in his mother’s lap; he fears nothing. Likewise God is our protector. Let us be in His company.

“Sukh ke maathe shil pare, Ram hirdaye se jaaye

 Balihaari vaa dukh ki, pal pal Ram rataaye”

What is the use of that happiness which makes me forget God? That suffering is far better; at least it makes me remember God always. People become oblivious of their identity as soon as they experience the slightest ‘happiness’. They think they can perpetuate that moment. Should we be struck by sorrow to realise the impermanence of worldly experiences? In this chaotic situation when the pandemic is still claiming more lives, lockdowns will last longer. Lockdowns are also gratifying moments as they give us more time to meditate, reflect, enjoy the divine presence within.  

Know that nothing is yours : neither the ability to move around freely nor the restrictions in  movement. Just be grateful for everything….and let His grace inundate you.

Mahant Jay Jaggessur, Kabir Association of Toronto.