Far away, in the majestic Himalayan foothills lies an ancient little town—a very special place that almost does not belong to this world and yet is so very invaluable to it. Many things make it special. For one, it is a place that has been hallowed by the footsteps of many great and wise saints from across the ages—who sought refuge in this peaceful place to carry out their contemplations on the meaning of life and to go on to make a positive contribution to humanity. The name of the town therefore translates from Sanskrit to mean “Abode of the Sages”. Behind the noisy disturbances of new age tourism, the ageless mountain foothills stand immoveable and the graceful sacred river flows happily on—providing a canvas of peace behind the mayhem of scooter hooting.
But there is something else that makes it special. And that is the quiet joy of gratitude. Every evening as long as Time can remember, when the ochre sun starts to drop toward the horizon, all the people in this ancient town gather along the Sacred River to pay homage. Circling golden flames of devotion, they sing with all their hearts to the mighty Mother Ganga. And to the setting Sun, the great Earth, the Moon, the Stars and most of all to that Divine Intelligence that taps our heart into beats of Life with every breath we take. They sing to say ‘thank you’…with the most touching sweetness you can imagine. A joyful gratitude for all that sustains them. They have the deep poetry of soul to see a river which gives them so much as not just a river but as their living Mother. People of simplicity who do not have much materially by modern world measures, but who have the wealth of spirit to be so grateful for what they do have, and to come out every sunset to show it. It takes greatness of heart and humility of spirit to do that. And what a refreshment to the soul, in a world where nothing ever seems to be enough for us. This little corner of the Earth expresses gratitude with such an abundance of love and joy that it seems to do it on behalf of the whole world, wisely knowing that in humanity’s unquenchable quest for ‘more’, an abiding gratitude for the simple abundance in our own lives is rare to be found. How wonderful it would be if we could join them in our own way. Because the beauty of gratitude is that it brings Joy. And none of that comes from anything outside your Self. It is the very essence of who you are.
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