Be grateful to all those who have contributed to you getting this far in Life. It may appear that you have achieved a lot on your own steam, but when you pause to reflect on how much others have contributed to your journey, you will be soaked in gratitude and humility!
The obituary section in The Hindu caught my attention this morning. The doctor who had delivered me, 48 years ago, had passed on yesterday. Interestingly, Dr.Rukmani Sourirajan, had delivered all my mother’s three children – me, my brother and my sister. I remember meeting her last at her maternity home in Dhandapani Street, T.Nagar, in February 1978, when my sister was born. A wave of gratitude came over me when I saw her obituary announcement. Surely I have to be grateful for what she has done for me, my siblings and my mother – each of us could have been poorly handled, yet none of us has had any delivery-stage complications.
That thought led to me reflect deeper. There are so, so many people who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to my growth and evolution as a person. And that means if I started thanking each one of them, I would probably run out of time and space. This is not just true for me. It is so true for all of us – all the time! Which is why, as Meister Eckhart (1260~1328) has wisely said, “If the only prayer that you say in your entire Life is ‘Thank You’, it is enough!”
Yet, caught in the rat race of everyday survival, gratitude often takes a backseat. In spirit we are willing to be grateful, but in practice we are not – because we are so consumed by our Life and our problems.
I lean heavily on the Sanskrit phrase “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam” when I offer my prayer of gratitude each day. The phrase teaches us to offer our reverence in the order of mother first, father next, teacher after that and God last. It may appear – especially to those who know me or have read my Book “Fall Like A Rose Petal” – that I can’t be serious when I say I am grateful to my mother, especially when I openly concede that I have a poor chemistry with her. I see the issue of poor chemistry and the principle of gratitude as two separate things – just because I don’t agree with my mother on several counts does not mean I am not grateful to her for bringing me into this world, for teaching me the alphabet, for raising me and giving me a basic education. I find this practice of saying, “Mother, Father, Teacher, Life (to me, Life = God) – I thank you!”,during my daily mouna (silence periods) sessions, very, very liberating. It calms me down and keeps me grounded.
Undoubtedly, each experience in your Life has had another’s contribution in it. It’s very humbling to know that you are not a sum of all your so-called achievements – your qualifications, your wealth, your material assets and such – but that you are actually a sum of all your experiences and learnings. When I saw Dr.Sourirajan’s obituary announcement this morning, I was reminded, yet again, that my efforts are so inconsequential and incomplete to my own Life – without the contributions of so many other people over the years! To that doctor, in gratitude today, I send all my love…!