Loving and Divine Soul,

Let the choicest blessings of God and the masters be upon all of you. I take the opportunity to pray for you as we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend. Normally, we thank someone when we receive help or support. But are we thankful to God in difficult times? It is a common experience that many people do not hesitate to blame God when a critical situation arises: "Why did this happen to me?" But thanking God when problems manifest is a special way to express our love.

A beautiful story in the Mahabharata illustrates thanksgiving. When the battle was over, the Pandavas were victorious. Yudhisthira was enthroned and became the emperor. Shri Krishna, seeing that the Pandavas had been freed from troubles, wanted to take leave of them. He went to say good-bye to his aunt, the queen mother, Kunti, to seek her permission. He said, "My aunt, your sons are free from all difficulties, and you can be happy with your family." Hearing this, Kunti said, "O Krishna, I have a prayer. Would you fulfill it?"

Shri Krishna looked at her with curiosity. Then she continued, "O Krishna, let there be countless difficulties and problems. We will embrace them with joy, and we will thank you forever. But do not leave us, saying that difficulties have ended."

Perhaps it sounds a bit odd that she prayed for difficulties. We always seek pleasure, happiness, and comfort. Why seek difficulties?

Sant Kabir, a mystic and poet in India about five centuries ago, said, "Everyone remembers God in adverse situations." But a true spiritual person's heart always becomes filled with love and gratitude in any situation. In adversity or prosperity, remembering God and being grateful with love is the sign of strength and love.

Whom should we thank? It starts with our parents and ends with God. In between, we can fill in with whomever we find worthy. In reality, any tiny insect such as a bee or a firefly, or a huge animal like an elephant, or a flower or a fruit, a farmer or a tailor, a star or a moon, a rainbow or a clear sky, a sunny day or a snowfall, a lake, river, or ocean, the earth, water, fire, air, or sky, a friend, a companion - we can make an all-inclusive list. What do you think?

The entire creation and its Creator are on my list of thanksgiving. Even a person who might have hurt or done so-called harm is befitting of thanksgiving; I have learned a lot from such beings. I am personally grateful to all and seek their love and blessings.

We should learn to be grateful not only with words coming from our mouths, but also from our heads and hearts. The Bible says, "Let our hearts overflow with thankfulness." (Colossians 2:7).

Should we celebrate our offering of thanksgiving just once a year? Thanksgiving should be our art of living, during every moment and in every breath. It should be a lifelong celebration. This will lead to a life of contentment and fulfillment. This is the door to spiritual upliftment and enlightenment.

Let us forgive and forget the wrong-doings of everyone. Let us do good to others in every possible way. Let us pray and meditate not only for ourselves, but for others.

I share my love and peace with you all when you celebrate Thanksgiving. I also offer my thanks to all of you for the love and compassion you have showered on me.

With Love,
Prajnanananda

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