Dhanyosmi – The art of expressing Gratitude
Right from the childhood we learn to thank. Parents teach us to be grateful. ‘Say thank you’ is told to every child time and again. So we start using the phrase. So common it becomes that we take it for granted. When the waiter in the hotel serves the dishes you ordered and are going to pay with a handsome tip for him to top it, you murmur thanks. When mother toils to prepare dishes you love, at the dining table you thank her also. Many of our Indian families do not teach children to thank mother, as it is thought that formal thanks are for stranger and not for someone closely related. My mother will have shock of her life if any of us thank her. The shock will not be pleasant but very heart breaking. She would feel a stranger in her own house. This may the cultural difference. But the training to express a sense of gratitude is there in all the civilizations. Coming back to the case at hand; we thank the waiter, air hostess, steward for serving and so we do to our mother. The words are same but are the feelings same?
What is the feeling that we want to express when we murmur Thanks, Thaku etc.? What do we want to convey ‘I am grateful!’ ‘I appreciate your efforts!’ ‘I am obliged by your service!’ In a way it is an acknowledgement of the act which has benefitted us. It should not become a reflex without any meaning and just a mechanical act. The act of expressing gratitude has a deeper impact on the way of life.
In Hindi and many other Indic languages we use – Dhanyawad, meaning I am grateful or Abhar meaning I am obliged. What is the meaning of Dhanya? In Sanskrit it means GREAT or enriched. So by saying Dhanyawad we are expressing that the transaction has resulted in gratifying me. By receiving your service I have become great or I am enriched. But is it the real case? Who is great one who serves or one who receives the service? So is it better to say “You are Great!” “Dhanya ho!” By this we would be thanking that is acknowledging the greatness in the one who serves, thus giving credence and respect to the act of service. But again there is a dichotomy. A differentiation – you & me. We are different so you are great to have served me and I am obliged!
When one starts realizing that the whole universe is One. It is inter-dependant, Inter-connected and inter-related. I & You, He and It are not different, are not many but only the expression of the ONE. This oneness pervades. Whom do we thank then? Who is gratified and who is obliged? Does the mouth thanks the hand for feeding it? Or do they thank the stomach for digesting food and giving them energy? The organic oneness of the body is the same in the VIRATA- the large body of the universe. In fact when every act of service is done we realize this Virata. The act helps us realize that we are the parts of the same whole. When this realization dawns we become GREAT. Every one becomes great, enriched with this experience of the oneness. So the REAL expression of gratitude, acknowledging the act of help, assistance or service would be, “We have all become Great, enriched, Sublime”. All this is perfectly expressed by a single Sanskrit term — DHANYOSMI
To be continued….