Gratitude – towards ?

One topic amongst the many enlightening talks that Sehra uncle, he comes every year from the States and spreads these pearls of Wisdom, gave was on Gratitude. All the topics are very thought provoking and introspective in nature, and uncle repeatedly encouraged us to listen, mull over and imbibe.

We used to serve snacks and tea during the little recess session that we used to have during those talks. And though the rendezvous always used be at my place any one of the sisters used to go and make tea and offer the light refreshments.  Invariably someone or the other would ask, ‘who made the tea? thank you so much, it is exactly the way I like it !’

Or ‘who made the cake? It is very delicious, thank you.’ one such question popping up was a sure shot. Uncle always used to smile, very differently, as if, I don’t know how to put it in exact words, but the smile used to convey something like, ‘I am surrounded by such simpletons! Or O’ O’ they have once begun thanking one another!’ And I always used to wonder why he used to put up that particular countenance every time we were exchanging thank you!

For almost three or four sessions uncle never voiced anything, the fourth session happened to be on gratitude. Who should we thank? Uncle asked.

We all had our own answers, ‘We thank God, of course.’ This was the common reply.

Then he asked, ‘When should we thank?’

Some of us replied, ‘when HE answers our prayers.’ Or ‘HE has helped us in some way.’ Or ‘HE has protected us, and kept us out of harm’s way.’  

So the next question was, ‘How should we thank?’

Again a few voices said, ‘mm, we pray to HIM and thank HIM, those who worship offer flowers and Prasad or offering as a thank you to GOD’

I think uncle was expecting something more than what some of us had just answered. He smiled and said, ‘Just now you said that you made tea today, yes? And everybody appreciated its taste and thanked you for offering such a refreshing drink. Just ask yourself once again, did you really make the tea all by yourself?’

We all were silent and knew there was more to this than meets the eye! Uncle continued, ‘What all goes into making this tea; Sugar, milk, tea leaves, water and the gas of course to make the tea, yes?’ We all nodded slowly, it was beginning to dawn on us ever so gently.

Uncle, ‘Now, amongst all these ingredients what did you exactly make? Contribute to in making them?’

We kept mum. We had barely thought of this in this dimension! The simplest task like making a tea also involves the effort of so many others! I never brought the milk, I had no role to play in the making of the tea leaves, nor did I have any say in the sugar that went into the tea! I simply put a few ingredients available to me and cooked it on the burner, (the existence of which is again because of someone else) and served! And here we were, lapping up all the Thank you! And gloating about our achievement in making a nice tea!

I mean, how blind or myopic are we! Why are we thanking so singularly? Should we not thank every single person who has contributed in making this tea? And do we thank them? No, we didn’t even acknowledge them till then. The magnitude of it all is a big eye opener and a blow to ones ego. Forget the human being helping each other; we never realize but every single thing in this universe works for us and helps us; the human beings. It is so over whelming and humbling at the same time. If we really want to say thank you, show our gratitude we will never know where to begin! We very courteously thank the cab driver and pay him too for taking us to our destination. He was doing his job and we are paying him for his services done, a thank you is good but we never thank our maid for doing her work well, do we? Why so? We blithely cut trees where we have been seeking shelter and whose fruit we have gorged during the season. We neither thanked the tree nor did we bat an eye lid when we cut it down. Why again?

If we really have to show our gratitude it should towards God who gave us all this, free of cost. We should thank nature for serving us, working for us incessantly without once complaining about the harm we humans have brought to it. We will fall short by a large measure if wish to show our gratitude and try and repay nature and God.

Repaying is very farfetched as of now, at least let us try keeping intact this beautiful world and stop destroying it with our insensitivity and greed; this will a small step towards repaying the immense debt we have upon us.

So, thank the Tea maker and thank God for providing us the Tea!