Gratefulness in the character is like fragrance in the flower. A person, however learned and qualified in his life’s work, in whom gratefulness is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant. If we answer every little deed of kindness with appreciation, we develop in our nature the spirit of gratefulness; and by learning this we rise to that state where we begin to realize God’s goodness towards us, and for this we can never be grateful enough to His divine compassion.

 

God’s goodness is something that one cannot learn to know at once; it takes time to understand it. But little actions of kindness which we receive from those around us we can know, and we can be thankful if we want to be. In this way man develops gratefulness in his nature, and expresses it in his thought, speech, and action as an exquisite form of beauty.

 

Subtleness in expressing our gratitude…

 

Respect, consideration, reverence, kindness, compassion and sympathy, forgiveness and gratefulness, all these virtues can be best adorned by subtlety of expression. One need not dance in thanksgiving; one word of thanks is quite sufficient. One need not cry out loudly, “I sympathize with you, my dear friend!” One need not play drums and say, “I have forgiven somebody!” Such things are fine, subtle; they are to be felt; no noise can express them. Noise only spoils their beauty and takes from their value. In spiritual ideas and thoughts subtlety is more needed than anything else. If a spiritual person were to bring his realizations into the market-place, and dispute with everyone that came along about his beliefs and disbeliefs, where would he end?

 

With all thy getting, get understanding…

 

When disagreement arises between friends, when sympathy turns into antipathy, when sweet turns into bitter, and when one asks them why it is so, what do they say? “The other one does not understand.” Probably they will both say the same. Very few will say, “I did not understand the other.” Most people will say, “The other does not understand me.” But why must there be this lack of understanding? What causes it? It is lack of sympathy. No words can ever make a person understand; it is the heart alone which can convey its full meaning to the other heart, for there are subtle waves of sympathy, there are delicate perceptions of feelings such as gratefulness, admiration, kindness, which cannot be put into words. Words are too inadequate to explain the finer feelings, it is the heart quality which can express itself fully, and again it is the heart quality which can understand fully. Would it therefore be an exaggeration to say that as long as the heart is not awakened a man is as though dead: it is after the awakening of the heart that a man begins to live.

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