Does gratitude to God attract His mercy?

Sunil, Apr 29 2012

Hare Krishna everyone!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Is it true that being grateful to the Lord attracts His mercy?

What are your views?

How can a person express their gratitude to the Lord?

Can a person simply say in their mind, “Thanks God”?

Regards,

Sunil

Harish, Apr 30 2012

Hare Krsna Prabhuji

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Just a practical answer:

Yes, by being grateful to the Lord, we definitely attract His mercy. God is extremely merciful and the most merciful avatar is Lord Chaitanya, who is Krsna Himself, and He was so merciful that He distributed love of God to each and everyone freely without any consideration of time, place, caste barrier, whether the person was a brahmana or sinful. He distributed love of God freely. He practically demonstrated how to love God by chanting the glories of the Lord at every moment. God is so merciful that He comes Himself, or sends His representative to protect His devotees. Moreover, He is already there in the heart of every living entity, just waiting for His child to turn to Him and return back to Godhead. There are thousands of reasons to be grateful to the Lord: whatever we have with us i.e. home, family, friends, nice body, various senses to utilize the nature properly, whatever we can do with this body, whatever we have got in nature; everything comes from the Lord. We come here empty handed and there is already an arrangement made for our comfortable stay here.

Gratitude can be expressed in various ways: by chanting the Lord’s names, spreading awareness of the Lord to ignorant people by participating in congregational chanting, book distribution, serving devotees etc…

When we were children, our parents used to tell us thank God for everything and we used to do it, sometimes within the mind too. It is ok, but when we grow up, we are supposed to work for God or serve God through our senses. We can work for Krsna by spending our earning or part of our earning on Krsna conscious activities, preaching etc. If for some money, we work for hours for our bosses, then, for the unlimited benefits we are receiving from God since time immemorial, how many hours should we work for God?

Hari Bol!

YS

Harish

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Apr 30 2012

Hare Krishna Dear Sunil Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Very nice and pertinent question, and very, very nice answer by Harish Prabhu also

Here’s my perspective, from what I have heard from the spiritual masters, read in books, and reflected upon.

Yes, you are right, simply saying in the mind “Thanks God” is a way of expressing gratitude.

However, God’s mercy is not conditional. It is not that God is merciful to those who are grateful and harsh to those who are not ungrateful. If that was the case, we could not say that God is impartial. However, the Vaishnava Acharyas explain that God’s mercy is “causeless” – that means there is no external cause for it, and it does not have to be earned. The proof is that ignorant persons, spiritualists, materialists, monists, atheists, and even the worst types of gross offenders against God still get the privilege of breathing air created by God, drinking water created by God, eating the food given to us by God, enjoying sunshine, and all the facilities given to us by God.

God is impartial in all respects. His mercy falls like the rain, even on the oceans where there is so much water, the rain falls, and on the fields where the rain is needed, the rain falls. It does not discriminate. Even the often-misunderstood-as-harshness is actually mercy of God, just like if a parent has two children, one is well-behaved, one is mischievous, the parent loves both, but in order to correct the mischievous child, sometimes some punishment is given, but if the children are hungry, the parent will feed both of them equally lovingly.

But, expressing gratitude allows us to receive God’s mercy completely – it makes us open to receiving the confidential aspects of God’s mercy that are given only to those who really seek it out and grab hold of it with body, mind, and soul. So, to the extent we express gratitude, we become open to seeing and receiving everything. Srila Gurudeva often says that maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” is essential for devotional service.

Now, there are different levels of expressing gratitude. Here is an example of a doctor saving a patient from a troublesome situation by medical treatment. Let’s say that the doctor’s name is Dr. Sunil Vaswani. The following things might happen between the doctor and patient after the treatment is completed.

The patient can run away without paying any doctor’s fee. Or, the patient can just pay the fee and leave without any further interaction. The patient can pay the fee and say “Thanks Doc” with a fake smile, and disappear. Or, the patient can pay you the fee, smile from the heart, say “Dear Dr. Vaswani, you are so expert and you treated my condition so nicely, you really saved me from great pain and suffering”, or if the patient is a friend of the doctor, and pays the fee gladly and says with all heart and love “Hey Sunil, you are really a magician. I don’t know how you did it, but I feel no pain now! How did you do this man? Listen, I know that being a doctor is your profession, but please know that I am really, really, really grateful to you, if there is anything I can do to serve you, not that I can ever repay your treatment, but still, if there is any way I can serve you, then please, please let me know. Please give me a chance to assist you”, and then that same person goes out into the world and says “That Dr. Sunil Vaswani, if you have this trouble, then you go to him, man, you really should see how well he treated me, oh, you have to experience his care to know what I’m talking about”.

Which of the patients pleases the doctor the most? Of course, a real doctor would not refuse to treat any of the patients again, even the fool who ran away, especially if the ailment is serious, the doctor would still treat the patient if possible.

Similarly, the atheist is like the patient who takes the treatment, gets cured, but does not pay any fee to the doctor. The materialist or monist is like the person who takes the treatment, pays the fee, and leaves. The materially mixed spiritualist is like the patient who pays the fee and says “Thanks Doc”. The spiritualist who is not yet freed from awe and reverence is like the person who formally thanks God, and the devotee is like the person who is a friend of the doctor, who expresses sincere gratitude with full heart, and is ever ready and willing to serve the doctor, and then tells everyone how nicely the doctor treated the condition.

Similarly, yes, you can say “Thanks God”, but why not go a little deeper, with a little bit more affection for God. God has a name, just as every doctor has a name. So, why not see everything that God has given us, so freely, without any expectation of anything in return, and very feelingly, with great love and devotion, thank God in this way:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Maha-mantra includes gratitude, prayer, praise, request for service, begging for others’ welfare, everything and much, much more. It is unlimitedly profound, so why not chant the Maha-mantra every time one feels gratitude to God? And why does one not feel gratitude all the time? 🙂 So, why does one not chant all the time? What is the difficulty?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

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