Count your blessings – and make your blessings count
Suppose patients get the right medicine, but don’t value it. Or suppose they value it but don’t take it. Either way, they continue suffering.
These two pitfalls correspond to the absence of the two dimensions of gratitude – as an emotion and as an action. When we get something precious, we need to feel grateful and count our blessing. And we need to act gratefully by using it and thus making our blessing count.
All of us are sick with spiritual amnesia, wherein we forget our spiritual identity as eternal souls and suffer the miseries of birth, old age, disease and death. To cure our amnesia, Gita wisdom offers the therapy of bhakti-yoga centered on cultivating devotional remembrance of Krishna.
When we get the opportunity to remember Krishna by say chanting his names, we unfortunately don’t feel grateful or don’t act gratefully. Either we neglect chanting, for we mistake it to be a mere cultural ritual. Or we value it for the egoistic satisfaction derived by preaching its greatness – so we focus on intellectually proving its glory without cultivating Krishna’s remembrance ourselves.
Sanjaya exemplifies both the emotion and the action of gratitude. His grateful feelings are evident in his recollection of his spiritual mentor Vyasadeva, whose mercy enabled him to hear the Gita (18.75). They are also manifest in his effusive appreciation of the Gita’s message as wonderful (18.74 :adbhutam), ecstatic (18.74: roma-harshanam) and most confidential (18.75: param guhyam). And his grateful actions are evident in his immediately becoming absorbed in remembering Krishna in the subsequent verses (18.76, 18.77).
When we value each opportunity to remember Krishna, we count our blessings. And when we use each such opportunity to cultivate Krishna consciousness, we make our blessings count. By such grateful practice of bhakti-yoga, we gradually transcend material miseries, till we finally transcend material existence entirely.
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