Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, perhaps my favorite national holiday. While other holidays celebrate a person or an event, Thanksgiving celebrates an attitude.

This year at Ananda Village the COVID virus is forcing us to be separated from others. In normal times we would have had a big, joyous Thanksgiving gathering and feast—but not this year. Instead, we shared meals together via Zoom. Afterward, we talked about those things for which we are thankful. It ended up being much deeper and more intimate than the usual chitchat of social gatherings.

I’ve been thinking about the things in my life that I’m most grateful for. The list is far too long to print in a blog, but here are a few highlights:

1) I’m grateful for my mother and father. They were loving, supportive parents who helped bring out my better qualities. My father was deeply dharmic and focused, and my mother was a bundle of energy. I hope that a little of both rubbed off on me.

2) I’m grateful to have been born in circumstances that allowed me to thrive. So many in this world start out with such severe disadvantages that they have little chance of success. I know that these things are driven by karma, but nonetheless I’m thankful.

3) I’m grateful for Paramhansa Yogananda and the spiritual path he brought to the world. I don’t know what would have become of me if I hadn’t found Autobiography of a Yogi.

4) I’m thankful for Swami Kriyananda and his guidance and love. It is no exaggeration to say that he shaped my entire life.

5) I’m grateful to my wife and lifelong partner. When Swami Kriyananda gave her the name Devi, he said, “It means ‘Divine Mother,’ and you had better live up to it.” She has, for me and for countless others.

6) I am thankful for the many tests and trials in my life. Each one has made me stronger and freer.

7) I’m thankful for the teachings I’ve received. One of the most precious gifts is knowing that I can choose whether to be happy or not.

Let me give you a little example of this. The other day, as I was walking, an old spiritual bubbled up out of the dim recesses of my mind. The words are:

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.
A long way from home, a long way from home.

This poignancy of longing for home and mother is a normal human emotion—even Yogananda felt it deeply after the loss of his mother. He wrote: “Early every morning I made a pathetic memorial-pilgrimage to a large sheoli tree which shaded the smooth, green-gold lawn before our bungalow. In poetical moments, I thought that the white sheoli flowers were strewing themselves with a willing devotion over the grassy altar.”

This pathos and longing is natural, even helpful, while grieving. But, I wasn’t grieving, just mindlessly repeating some long-gone lyrics. I noticed that the emotional cloud they evoked began to make my heart feel a little down, my pace a little slower. Fortunately, I remembered that we can choose our thoughts, so, I changed my internal song to the Sanskrit chant, “Twameva mata, chapita twameva.” The English translation is:

Thou art my mother, my father Thou art.
Thou are my brother, my friend Thou art.
Thou art my wisdom, my wealth Thou art.
Thou art my all. Light of lights art Thou.

The first song affirms how far away mother, home, and comfort are. The second not only brings them close, but makes them ever present. With that little shift of songs, both my mood and pace picked up.

8) Finally, I am deeply grateful for my many friends and gurubhais. They have helped make this life a magical, light-filled adventure.

thanksgiving message yogananda teachings

Take a moment to give thanks for the many gifts in your life.

You, too, might take a moment to give thanks for the many gifts in your life. Perhaps you would like to inspire others by sharing one thought in the comments field below.

In gratitude,

Nayaswami Jyotish

You may enjoy this Thanksgiving message from Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi.

Subscribe to the Touch of Light podcast. Download the audio recording of this week’s blog by right-clicking here. Or listen to it here (5:59):

39 Comments

  1. I’m grateful for the love of humanity for without it there would be nothing to live for in this world or the next.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Jyotish and Devi ji, and all gurubhais. I am grateful in this life to know from the Masters that we are all children of one family. That thought helps me serve better.

  3. Thank you dear Jotish and Devi for your love ❤and your wisdom🌟 Thank you God, Divine Mother and Masters to let me be part of such beautiful families in this lifetime. Happy Thanksgiving to all🙏🌺 Vinata

  4. I am so thankful for God leading me to Master Yogananda and Ananda for my search is finally over! Rather then chasing the unknown in Maya’s world of the ten thousand things, I have found my peace in spirit that I so badly wanted but didn’t realize where or how to find!
    God bless all of you and Thank you!

  5. I am grateful for Swamiji and Ananda. The constant inspiration streaming through Ananda and its ministers is my raft over the ocean of delusion, keeping me afloat with rememberance of our divine nature. In gratitude to Jyotish, Devi and the spiritual family of Ananda.

  6. I’m thankful for God for be alive and be free of cancer, I need to cure the hemolytic inmune anemic I ask all of you spiritual family of Ananda, please pray for me, I’m grateful too because few years ago I was in a retreat and I never forget the beautiful experience and the peace I feel. Very grateful to Jyotish and Devi. God blessed all of you.

  7. Thanks God to put me in this graceful path. Thanks the Masters to light up my life with their teachings. Thanks to Swami to create this wonderful and big spiritual family. Thanks to all my sisters and brothers that share love, light and harmony every day in the world. God bless you and all the Ananda Community around the world! OM GURU OM!

  8. This year, after Easter, I have become so much aware of how right here and now the Masters are with me (us). I am grateful for the Tucson Ananda Center also.

  9. The old spiritual “I feel like a motherless child ….” struck a chord in me. I am thankful that a community like Ananda exists.

  10. Dear Jyotish Ji,

    Happy thanksgiving to you and Devi Ji, and all acharyas and Gurubhais.

    Your every word resonated in me. Heartfelt thanks to divine mother and gurus for giving us Swamiji & Ananda.

    Om Guru,

    Priya – Ananda Chennai

  11. I’m grateful for God’s love as it was expressed through Swami Kriyananda, and that he never coddled my ego but led me over the high mountain passes to greater happiness and freedom

    1. I am thankful that “our” unique paths to understanding enrich the One, from whence all consciousness stems from.

  12. I am thankful to my parents first for showing the way to guruji Paramahansa yogananda. Then I am really thankful to guruji Yogananda for giving me an opportunity in this life to know about him, though i know a little but my love for him is unending. Thanks for being there with me everytime I need u most and showing the path which leads to you. I love you Guruji. Shower Your blessings.

  13. I am grateful that I am able to repair others, broken bodies, and make a change and a difference in the world

  14. Jyotishji – Grateful for each morning. Grateful for life energy. Grateful for new thoughts. Grateful to be alive. Grateful for endless searching. Grateful for right now. Grateful for my first reading of Autobiography of a Yogi forty years ago. Grateful for my dog Boo Boo for leading me to Ananda. Finally, I am grateful for all the many forms of love I’ve known and experienced in this lifetime. Namaste Everyone!

  15. I’m grateful that I stuck with meditation till it became a habit, for 30+ years now, and richer, more empowering every year.

  16. Deepest gratitude to Swami Kriyananda and the sacrifices he made to bring Master’s teachings to the world. Without Swamiji, I would not have known the true purpose of life is to strive toward freedom in God. Heartfelt thanks to you, Master and Swamiji.

  17. I am grateful for my spiritual mother and father, Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi.

  18. Yesterday, the New York Times posed a challenge to its readers. It is a challenge once posed to Ernest Hemingway: to tell a story in six words. The theme of yesterday’s challenge was Gratitude, and in this most unusual year, I wrote: It’s all good. Thank You, God.

  19. Grateful for Swamiji for leading the way and for training the next generation. And to the Giver behind all gifts to be part of such a wonderful community and to be part of this wonderful opportunity of Self-Realization!

  20. I am grateful for Divine Mother’s ever present and vigilant guidance. Guidance through early childhood struggles to wanting to find God and finding HIM in my Guru. This grace lead me to Ananda, this perfect path to God, beloved friend and guide Swamiji and all the beloved friends/ gurubhais that I deeply treasure, and to my life partner. I am also very grateful for beginning to “learning to behave”. Namaste

  21. I am grateful, forever, for the experience I had as I was 18, and watched that unforgettable Organ Music in that illuminated church. Although 43 years have passed, I am still grateful for the effect high-quality music can have on human nature. Thank you, Beloved God! keep inspiring souls throughout the world with Music!

  22. I’m grateful for my soul partner, Ana, and Master’s presence behind us all. Thank you for another beautiful blog of light, Jyotish. God bless you and Devi

  23. I am grateful to my friend Richard who passed away from Pancreatic Cancer well over a decade ago. He first introduced me to the teachings of Yogananda over 28 years ago. I am not the only person that Richard was able to touch and change the spiritual direction of their life. The power of one sincere person can shed so much light into the world.

  24. Thank you for this lovely message and there reminders. It is interesting to me that I played the harmonium yesterday and chanted “Twameva mata, chapita twameva.” We are forever thankful to you and for you.

  25. I am grateful for my growing awareness and realizations in almost every aspect of my life.

  26. I am grateful for the growing awareness and realizations in almost every aspect of my life.

  27. Many years ago, my yoga teacher introduced me to Yoganandaji’s Autobiography, which radically changed my life and attitude. He said at the time, all who have been brought to this path must have very good karma. I am eternally grateful and thankful for the knowledge, love and the ancient wisdom that he and the great ones have once again brought to the world, to strengthen and inspire us all towards the ultimate goal of Self-realization.

  28. I am thankful for the little things that get me to stop and feel the Divine Mother’s presence. I am grateful for living a life of service and having others around me who are likeminded. I am grateful to be on a spiritual journey that gives meaning and purpose to life.

  29. Dear divine brother:
    Your Thanksgiving message is quite touching, ennobling and inspiring to me.
    Gratefully yours,
    R

  30. Thank you Jyotish ji for the beautiful blog. I too am grateful to have found this path and my Guru, no words can express it. A movie that I loved was A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which really touches on this point.

  31. I am grateful for all of the misunderstandings, the losses and gains. It is these moments that have helped my understanding of the Master’s role in my life; for he is my life.

  32. I am ever grateful for the gift of living in spiritual community. What a blessing it is to know my neighbors and feel the collective power of joy that permeates these grounds. Before moving to Ananda I lived in places where it’s commonly accepted to never really get to know your neighbors, which always felt odd, but now I have the opportunity not only to know them but to learn and grow with them, helping each other through the ups and downs of life.

  33. I thank my beloved Guru Paramhansa Yogananda for bringing changes in every aspect of my life. I thank Swami Kriyananda for his blessings and introducing kriya yoga meditation through Ananda India. Because of Ananda Pune I could take blessings of swamiji. Thank you Jotishji and Deviji for keeping us all as part of Ananda family encouraging all of us. Thanks to all Kriya acharayas for guiding us in our practice of kriya yoga through weekly guidence and kriya meditation.

  34. Thank you for this post. The attitude of gratitude has been, and still is, one of the most powerful practices in my life. At first this was not so easy, because when I began I did not find myself at a very happy place. Now several years later, I have come at a level, that I thank God for everything. Not only for the good that came to me, but most of all for my trials, errors and spectacular mistakes. Gratitude made me move towards a deeper understanding of life in general. Most of all, it enabled me to forgive myself. God made no mistake when He created me. Jai Guru!

  35. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this beautiful blog.

    I’m thankful and very grateful for this path that Master had given us and for the family Swamiji had given us through Ananda. And my sincere gratitude to our Acharyas for their guidance and friendship.

    Eternally Grateful,
    Prem

  36. Thankful for the Path. Thankful to Swami Kriyananda and his Nayaswamis. Thankful to Gurubhais and Devotees.

  37. “Sometimes …..I feel……..like a motherless child…..far …far from my home… Freedom…Freedom..Freedom…Freedom

    In 1970 the speedometer broke on my Triumph motorcycle and I found that if I sang this song at the meter that Richie Havens used that I would be going the appropriate highway speed while watching the lines on the road go by my bike in rhythm to the song …. and that is the way I road around the nation….. never did fix the speedo and so thanks Jyotish, for bringing me back to this song. I am thankful to Ananda for being my spiritual home and looking forwards to may more visits and satang with you noble people. God bless,,,Jeff Kundert

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