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A Scarcity of Gratitude

As Told by Baba Muktananda

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Because of this story I reacted quite differently to a situation in my work. Instead of letting my anger take over, I reminded myself of how the person I was angry with has helped me for many years. I set an intention to have a harmonious meeting with a beneficial outcome. The result was even better than what I had anticipated. I am so grateful for the guidance I have received.

Willemstad, Curaçao

Not less than two hours ago, I was acting like the beggar in this story over a small “first-world problem” at a retail outlet. Fortunately, it remained in my thoughts only, but it almost became an action that would have upset me and others, were it not for the grace of the Guru.
When I read the story, my resulting reaction of remorse felt like a purification in itself. But my awe and appreciation really came through only after I read all of the lovely shares! How blessed I am to be in the company of the wider sangham!

Massachusetts, United States

This story was a wake-up call for me; it brought my relationship toward my body into focus. My body has served me well over my life, but when something happens and I experience pain or discomfort, I often feel angry. Instead of having compassion for myself, I seem to push harder.

Gurumayi has taught me about gratitude; in fact it is my favorite virtue. I am thankful for this powerful reminder, and it is my wish to learn to bring gratitude to this aspect of my life.

Central Coast, Australia

This story reminds me to be grateful for everything—a person, a mountain, the ocean—everything that exists around me. It also reminds me to be grateful for my own self, for it is my self who is learning from love extended from outside of me and who is sharing love that is inside of me.

California, United States

I loved this story and the webshares written by Siddha Yogis in response to it. It’s so amazing to see the ways that different people understand this story. I learn from every webshare!
I saw myself in the beggar. I have been given so much grace for so long. Despite that, I sometimes feel so angry when something I have had and taken for granted is taken away from me. And yet, each time this experience helps me to see my anger and to free myself of it a bit more. It’s a beautiful transformation, which is giving me a life of freedom and blessings much more valuable than the “milk” I had been taking for granted previously.

Washington, United States

After reading this story about the ungrateful beggar, I prayed: Oh Lord! May I always be grateful. May I always remember the shower of blessings pouring down from you. May I count my blessings every day, every day!

Connecticut, United States

This story reminded me of how easy it once was—after facing just a few days of a difficult situation—for me to forget the years and years of blessings and great fortune that had been conferred on me by my Shri Guru’s grace. I am learning that a true disciple remains steadfast. They always remember, and are eternally grateful for, the Guru’s everlasting grace. I pray to constantly remember that Gurumayi’s grace is always with me and will see me through this world and the next.

Georgia, United States

The stories that Baba and Gurumayi tell are close to my heart as they bring home the highest truth in the simplest ways. This story took my breath away by reminding me how I make demands like the beggar in the story, except mine are toward the Guru to answer my prayers in the way I want her to. But the Guru always bestows on me what she knows is best for me.
The story is an eye-opener and a timely reminder for me from the Guru to count—and appreciate—my many blessings in life. I have resolved to be thankful to the Guru moment by moment for the many blessings she has showered on me. I have also realized that if I start counting my blessings, the list will be endless!

Hosur, India

This beautiful story reminds me how important it is for me to notice the way my own subtle expectations can obscure or dissolve my gratitude for the innumerable gifts of grace I receive every day. The story inspires me to ask myself where I might have become complacent in expressing my gratitude. Have I told those around me how much they contribute to my life and how precious they are to me? There are so many people—including my children, my wife, my relatives, my coworkers and many more—who help me every single day. I am so thankful for this reminder to be grateful.

California, United States

When I stopped seeing myself as the generous woman and started seeing myself as the beggar, it became clear to me how often I had taken Gurumayi's grace for granted—how many times I had gotten impatient and forgotten the decades of love and help I had received from her. It put things in a whole different perspective.
Fortunately, I know my Guru can see the whole picture and that her love knows no bounds. I feel so blessed to  know Gurumayi and to be on the Siddha Yoga path. May I always place my love at her lotus feet.

Hawaii, United States

This story reminds me of my own “scarcity of gratitude.” Sometimes I am disappointed when I don’t receive what I am expecting in my sadhana. But then I remember how much Gurumayi loves me and is always with me. I appreciate Gurumayi’s innumerable teachings on the Siddha Yoga path website and in her books. I know that even one word from the Guru is enough for a disciple, and I am grateful for all I have received from Shri Gurumayi. I also remind myself that Gurumayi is walking with me as I walk the unknown terrain of my sadhana. She is constantly with me in her subtle yet powerful form.

This story taught me what not to do!

Thane West, India

One of the ways this story woke me up to the reality of my life was by showing me how I am sometimes like the beggar in regard to my body. My body has been supporting me admirably and consistently for more than seventy-five years, and overall, I am blessed with excellent health. Yet when I think about what supports me in staying healthy, I typically credit external sources like my health team or my food choices, and forget to thank my body itself for the extraordinary service it gives me 24/7. And when something goes wrong, whether it is a pulled muscle or something more serious, I am surprised—because I have taken my remarkable body so much for granted up to that point.

I have now resolved to thank my body every evening before going to sleep for taking me so faithfully and reliably through that day, and I will do my best not to take its amazing functioning for granted anymore—but to marvel at it instead!

Illinois, United States

Contemplating the story, I realized that I have grown to like “buttermilk” as much as I like “milk.” I know that even if my experience is not what I want it to be, there will be gems within the difficulties. When I go through challenging times, I always come out stronger, lighter, and happier.
For me, remaining present and calm in every situation is a way to show my gratitude to my God and my Guru.

Utah, United States

When I read this story, I immediately began to look at my own life. I saw how many times I had complained to God and the Guru when they had apparently not “given me what I wanted”—but had instead given me something far better and ultimately sweeter. 
So many instances of this came to my mind. I feel that this story has come to me at an opportune time, so that I can sit and reflect on how truly blessed I have been, and continue to be, as I walk this path in the constant company of Gurumayi’s grace.

New York, United States

Heaven and earth, parents, and life itself can supply my needs for years, yet my gratitude has to come from within. Only I can give myself a grateful heart.
Like the beggar, I too have sometimes been impatient when I didn’t get what I wanted, forgetting to be grateful for a lifetime of God’s faithful provision. I can see a mirror of myself here.

California, United States

This story ended so abruptly that I felt a kind of shock wave from it. There was no happy ending, no wise resolution. Yet that was what the beggar had created for himself by constantly taking and offering nothing back, and by taking what he received for granted.
I wish I could say that I am not like this, but I see the need to reflect on how I can bring my life into better balance and gain a sense of purpose by offering more to others.

Alaska, United States

For me, this story is all about the exchange of love. How often do I close my heart and turn away from all that God offers me, in whatever shape or form? This story inspires a deep contemplation in me.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

I love this surprising and pithy story. It is one of those blessed wake-up calls. It brings to mind the many extraordinary gifts of grace our Gurus have so generously bestowed on us over many, many years—and reminds me to continually give thanks for all I have received!

New York, United States

I feel that every single service that others offer to me should inspire my own gratitude, as well as gratitude to the Lord. This story changes my perception about my coworkers, among others, and motivates me to appreciate and feel gratitude for every act of their service toward me.

Ghaziabad, India