By Radhanath Swami
Gratitude is a divine virtue that is so important that other divine virtues could not exist without it. Spirituality grows like seeds within our heart. The goodness of our lifestyle protects that seed. Our spiritual practice of chanting God’s names, reading scriptures, doing seva for God and others waters that seed. But gratitude is what makes the ground fertile so that all these other virtues will actually have its maximum effect. A fertile soil allows the seed to have deep roots and grow very strong and for that a grateful heart is essential.
Gratitude is to see beyond the immediate circumstances that comes upon us. But to actually seek the essence of that situation, which is real wisdom, we need to see every situation as a beautiful opportunity to grow if we are to be grateful. All the dualities in life, success or failure, honor and dishonor, are all opportunities to learn something, to become better and grow. Ultimately, in every situation there is an opportunity to take shelter of the higher power of God and in doing so we find that life has inconceivable treasures in every moment. Therefore, to seek the essence means to look for the hand of God in every situation. This is the spiritual definition of success.
If we simply lament when things go wrong nothing is accomplished. But if, in a difficult situation, we really sincerely take shelter of the Lord and with our God given ability try to fix and improve that situation, then we can reverse a curse into a blessing. The story of the greatest success in life often involves a person who hits rock bottom only to discover something so beautiful and precious that if they didn’t go through it they would have lived just a mediocre spiritual life and not have accomplished much within.