Gratitude is a divine virtue so important that practically no other divine virtue could exist without it. Spirituality grows like a seed within the field of our hearts. Balancing our lifestyle protects that seed, and our spiritual practices of chanting God’s names, reading scriptures, and doing service to God and to others are like watering that seed. But it is gratitude that makes the ground fertile so that all of these other virtues will actually have the maximum effect. This is so because only a fertile soil allows the seed to have deep roots and grow very strongly. Gratitude is to seek beyond the immediate circumstances that come upon us, and to actually grasp the essence of that situation.
To seek the essence is real wisdom, and the essence of every situation is that we can feel and find a beautiful opportunity to grow—if we are grateful: grateful for success and failure, honour and dishonour, happiness and distress, health and disease, victory and defeat, heat and cold, pleasure and pain. And ultimately, in every situation is the opportunity to take shelter of the higher power of God. It is in that taking shelter that we find that life has inconceivable treasures at every moment. To seek the essence, to look for the hand of God in every situation—this is the actual definition of success from a spiritual perspective.
Gratitude is a quality of the heart in which we can spiritually grow, in every situation. But without gratitude, even in the most favourable situation, we cannot really progress.
Some people are ungrateful, no matter what. Even if you give them something wonderful, they want something more.
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Radhanath Swami

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