The list would be endless, would it not? It would vary from individual to individual. Your list would be quite different from mine and your friend’s or your brother’s wouldn’t it?
This only shows that the magnificent kaleidoscope of life is made up of innumerable, beautiful, valuable facets. The glory and wonder, the joy and laughter, the munificence and color of life, are amazing and awe-inspiring.
Yes, indeed, the blessings of life are many. But I am sure that you would agree with me that the supreme gift each one of us has received is life itself… from the love and support of our family, to the laughter and companionship we share with our friends, to the beauty and serenity of nature – blue skies, chirping of birds, swaying green grass, a gentle breeze.
A friend once joked that whenever he wanted to sell his car, the dealers offered him a paltry price; and whenever he considered buying a used car, the price they quoted was astronomical. “It is always a buyer’s market when I wish to sell,” he laughed.
Indeed, we are very particular that we are not cheated or defrauded in our business transactions. We take care to ensure that nobody takes us for a ride.
And yet, we are ever ready to underrate ourselves and our life!
“I am no good; I can never be successful…life is so difficult, it’s not worth living.”
“I am utterly weary of this life and I don’t care to live anymore.”
“I cannot cope. I cannot manage. I’m losing control.”
Do you know how often people say these words to me? Why would anyone want to throw away their lives? How could anyone grow tired of living?
When you were a little baby, your parents and family doted on you. They were thrilled when you took your first steps; they were elated when you uttered your first words, and they rushed to obey your every command when you ordered them to do this or that.
But you know you were not always so angelic. Sometimes, you cried non-stop, all night; sometimes you threw up all that you had eaten; sometimes you lay there, ill and feverish, barely opening your eyes.
Your parents did not complain. They did not say they were weary and exhausted and had had enough of you. They held you close; they comforted you; they hugged and kissed you to make you feel better. They took the best care of you.
Why can’t you extend the same loving care to yourself?
Human life is a rare and precious gift from God. We should live this life in such a way that our body and mind are cultivated in the best possible manner; right thoughts come to us, right words are spoken by us, right actions are performed, and right results are obtained, all leading to the ultimate goal -liberation!
All religions constantly remind us how rare it is to find ourselves in human form on earth. We should feel enormous appreciation for being here as individual spirits filled with consciousness whether we are drinking water or chopping wood, sowing seeds or writing programs, studying or teaching, reading or reflecting, working or keeping a home.
Every seed that sprouts is a miracle of nature. How much more miraculous is the human birth, so generously bestowed upon us by God!
How fortunate we are to receive this precious, priceless gift of the human birth! Once, I saw a six-year-old throwing a tantrum. It was his birthday, and he had got several gifts from his family and friends. But the moment his mother told him to switch off the TV and go to bed, he began to sulk and complain. Gently she reminded him that obedience and good behavior was the least she could expect from him after the many gifts he had received. You should have seen and heard his response!
“I didn’t ask you for a bicycle! I don’t want a computer game! Who wants to play cricket anyway? You can keep all your gifts because I don’t want them!”
I do hope you are not in the least like this ungrateful child. Can you imagine how his mother must have felt at such an outburst? I don’t know, but some mothers have a marvelous sense of humor. Let’s hope that she just laughed it off!
But I do know some people who say to God, “I did not ask to be born in this world. Why did you make me? You can keep this life with you—I did not want it in the first place!”
Now that is not just ingratitude and bad temper – it is stupidity and insensitivity.
There is an old Indian proverb: you need a wall to splash the paint on. What would you do with paints and colors if you didn’t have a surface to paint on? Your life is the wall, the blank slate, on which you can paint any picture of your choice.
Life is the greatest gift that God has conferred upon you. You cannot and must not be ungracious about it.
It is easy to be grateful to God when the going is easy: but may I say to you, you must be grateful to him even when the going is tough. You may be suffering; you may be facing obstacles; you may be stumbling at every step; but you are still alive – and while there is life, there is hope!
Social scientists often say that man is a political animal or a party animal; but I think the best thing about the human species is that we are thinking, talking and laughing animals.
We are different from the rest of creation; we are the best, because God endowed us with those special gifts!
Universally acclaimed humanitarian, philosopher, educator, writer, orator and non-sectarian spiritual leader, Dada J. P. Vaswani headed the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. He was a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellowship, Prani Mitra Award, U Thant Peace Award, and Sant Shri Dnyaneshwar World Peace Prize. Dada authored over 85 books in English, many which have been translated into international languages. sadhuvaswani.org