“Father, bless us, that we may remember Thee always. Let us not forget that all blessings flow from Thee.”
— Paramahansa Yogananda
From his earliest years in the United States, our blessed guru, Paramahansa Yoganandaji, had deep appreciation for America’s national Day of Thanksgiving — and of its implicit spiritual significance that transcends denominational boundaries of any one religion. Thanksgiving stirs our hearts with assurance of the limitless generosity of the universal Divine Giver. In reflecting on the many ways His love has touched our lives — perhaps through timely fulfillment of some material need, or unexpected kindness of caring friends and family, or His silent gifts of courage and strength to persevere in the face of difficulties — we recognize with gratitude that we are, and always have been, in His watchful care. “Make every day a day of thanksgiving,” Guruji encouraged us, “and continuous contentment will sparkle in your body, mind, and soul.”
Pure gratitude to God is more than a happy appreciation for His gifts. It is a joyous act of devotion to Him, an expression of unconditional love given with no expectation of anything in return. It is one of the dearest offerings we can make to God: the outpouring of a heart cleansed of all perceptions of receiving — past and future — and focused only on giving of one’s self wholly to God in loving worship.
Thanking the Giver in this spirit creates a profound change in our consciousness. It develops into a way of life — an attitude of mind that enables us to seek out and recognize the good in people and the positive opportunities in circumstances. Our mind is focused on the light of God’s presence rather than the darkness of maya, on abundance rather than lack. We feel a connection with the Source of all good; the vitalizing power of faith and confidence flows into our lives, sweeping away the barriers of limitations and opening new pathways on our journey of spiritual progress. When we see the hand of God in all of life’s circumstances, divine wisdom matures within us — until, come what may, we can say with the God-knowing saints: “Thank you, Lord. I know it comes from You.”
The whole drama of creation is meant for us to discover that loving Divine Being behind His many guises. Through the insight born of gratitude and daily meditation, may you feel Him ever near. This is my heartfelt prayer for each of you.
Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving,
Sri Mrinalini Mata
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