It is easy to express our gratitude to someone for the kindness shown to us. But it may not be possible always to know the person as acts of goodness can be done quietly also. In that case, repaying gratitude becomes perplexing.It struck me suddenly this morning as to how is gratitude repaid. As if by contrast, it also occurred to me that all kinds of bank loans have a repayment schedule. Is it, then, because there are prescribed schedules that we repay our loans in time? Will someone repay the bank if non-payment wouldn’t result in penalty? This simple question arises about gratitude. Only because there is neither a repayment schedule nor any penalty, should we not repay our gratitude? In our complex world, this simple question demands an answer.
Before we answer this question, we must examine the fact whether we are aware of the beginning of the acts of kindness, love and support of others to us. It is impossible to do so for the simple reason that it takes time for us to be able to note and remember all these facts. We learn about them gradually from others. But we need to acknowledge the fact that it takes time for us to be able to note and remember all the acts of goodness done to us by anybody. The most crucial time of the process of our growth is what makes us as an individual indebted for life to the world-God and mother included. We get indebted to the unknown and the invisible for letting us take birth. We become indebted to all that becomes known to us and is visible. Isn’t it thrilling to know that we have survived all the dangers in this continuing struggle for existence. All those born are food for someone. Therefore, all the survivors carry the huge debt of gratitude on their head.
We may not be conscious but it is an ongoing process of life. In the natural way it continues in a cycle- we owe gratitude to others and someone might owe it to us. However, this cycle is disrupted in the modern society. One of the sign of modernity is damming the spontaneity of the flow of emotions which make us feel grateful to others for their acts of goodness. Technology gives us immense power. At the same time it disrupts the natural flow of emotions. Scientific and technological developments take place fast and it becomes necessary for a person to keep abreast of them to survive in this fiercely competitive world. Repayments of gratitude suffer in the process.
How to repay gratitude? Gratitude is not repaid in monetary terms. The doer does not do it for payment. It is no commercial doing.
It is repaid in sharing, in bonding. Can God be paid money for all the acts of kindness done to us? Can mother be paid for the pain of carrying us in her womb for almost 275 days, giving birth to us, feeding us the milk from her own body, caring and loving us, nurturing and bringing us up and making us a person worthy to live in the society? Can the debt of gratitude to our father, teachers, friends, neighbours, trees, animals and birds be repaid easily? How can we forget watching the flower blooming from a tiny bud giving us the thrill of immeasurable happiness? How many times has the melody of the singing birds like the Koel or the ethereal beauty of the blue moon lifted our sagging spirits and brought about the change in our mood?
Shall we go on chasing success in life or settle down to a happy living? If we want to repay gratitude, let us relieve those who did good to us by taking their place and keep the cycle of doing good continue. As we pray to God, so should we respectfully remember our mother, father, teachers, friends and all others. The significant thing is that the bonding should never be allowed to become weak. In modern life, staying together may not always be possible. But remembering is possible. What pains is forgetfulness.
Remembering reaches the remembered faster than light. Our prayers validate this claim. Everything is difficult to follow structured time schedules like the loan repayment to a bank. There are flexi repayments, voluntary repayments, onetime repayments, repayments in installments and even no payments. Our awareness about repayments due is enough to discharge our debts in this life. Many repayments get paid in another life, irrespective whether there is rebirth. God, mother, teachers and friends are repaid in more than one life. We witness such a cycle of life and birth often when leaves fall from the branch as soon as a new leaf is born; fruits ripen to produce seeds which sprout at the right time to grow in to a full tree in due course to grow new fruits. The cycle is for real- it is no illusion.
One simple way to repay gratitude is to do good as a matter of habit every day. It instantly draws positive reactions from the recipient for the parents and upbringing of the doer. It raises the individual to an exalted level of consciousness. One moves into a sublime world gradually. After reaching the limits of knowledge, one enters the realm of supra human consciousness. That integrates us with the all pervading super consciousness. It is pure joy for the created to integrate with the creator. In the absence of something to create from, there cannot be any evolution. It should rest the debate between creation and evolution.