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Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Giving Thanks

Excerpts from a lecture given on November 24, 1994 in Los Angeles

We have many things to give thanks for. Our thanks from the bottom of our heart that the guidance of the Guru gave us endurance, character, the power of forgiveness, the life of gratitude, and the attitude of service and standing out to serve. Thanksgiving is not to roast a turkey; we are very grateful that Thanksgiving today is to save a turkey.

We dwell in the Infinity of God, for which we give our thanks that the hand of God guided us to this path. No man can take the responsibility of guiding us, it is the destiny which gave us the strength and the guidance to walk this distance. This distance is very precious. This distance is very pure. We, in our consciousness, can never say that we don't have a Guru. We can never say that we don't have guidance. We can never say that we don't have a purpose, for which we give our thanks.

Our thanks to the fact that our impact is very gracious. Our identity is outstanding and our purpose of life is clear. And within our realm of love and consciousness, in spite of all the handicaps, which are because of surroundings and the circumstances and old habits and the past, we are still walking together in the coziness, in the calmness, in the quietness, in the harmony of being one family of the Guru.

Sometimes when I look at the picture of Guru Nanak, the innocence, the grace, the elderliness, the saintliness, I say, “Thank you for being my Guru, thank you very much. I may deserve you or not, but you took me, thank you.”

Our Thanksgiving day is every day. It's that surrender in gratitude with thanks, with kindness for this pattern and way of life, for which we give our thanks. I gave my thanks today that with all the knowledge which I acquired, all the investigation which I made, all the experiments I followed, all the scriptures I studied, all the powers I attained and achieved and practiced, all the strength I understood—on the guidance of Guru Ram Das, I had the opportunity to clean and mop the floors of Hari Mandir. And with that, I am also grateful that it cleansed me, mopped me out and brought me to be human. And I feel there is no more beauty than to just be a human as God made you.

What a joy today's Thanksgiving was when enemies and friends met together and broke the bread and said, "Thank you."

I give my thanks for those who became my family when I had no family and I give thanks to those who became Guru's family when I had no family and we all became one unison family. Beyond plusses and minuses, beyond any regard to the ego and to the culture and to the color, I give my thanks. I give my thanks to the fact that I learned when I was very young that ifs and buts are no substitute for guts. I am also grateful for the fact that I learned that right or wrong, one should keep on playing one song. I am also grateful to learn that it isn't the life that matters, it's the courage you bring. It's not how many tears you shed, but how many songs you sing.

No matter how many lifetimes and how many ways and miles you walk, all that matters is with what grace you have smiled. I give my thanks to that. I give my thanks to those who questioned, doubted, commented but still walked with me every step.

I think that to conclude life means nothing but to give thanks. That's the purpose of life. There is no reason for narrowness and shallowness, for complaints, but there is every reason for compliments and thanks.

Today I give my thanks that all we earned in the form of earth, richness and glory, was dedicated to the house of the Guru where it belongs and from where it came. I am very thankful for that guidance, for that lesson of humility and respect, for that lesson of courage and dedication. I am grateful. I am grateful to the enemies and to the friends of yesterday, today and tomorrow. And I am grateful to each day when the journey is being walked, distance is covered and destiny is completed.

With that many thanks and many more, which I cannot count, I share with you this great day, this auspicious day. The attitude of gratitude is the glory of God. And service in humility is the story of God. For that wisdom, for those words I am grateful, I am thankful, I give my thanks. I give my thanks to those who fought against me to destroy me. I am grateful to them; they alerted me to my faith and I held the skirt of my Guru and walked through those dark days. And I am very grateful to those who walked with me in that silence and darkness, covering each breath of life, who lived moment to moment, praying deeper and deeper.

My journey is going to come to an end soon, my accounts are settled. I am grateful that through the best of myself and God in me, I have tried to serve, love and restore courage and faith in one’s own glory and godliness. I give my gratitude and my thanks when God guided me to make that banner, “In God I dwell.” It reminds me always of my ultimate dwelling place. As this body is being scattered and shattered and weakened, as the desire is becoming desireless and environments are becoming enemies, still the great reminder of the house, the dwelling place, is a great relief. And with that relief and peace of mind, I say, "Thank You," and I give my thanks.

Many of you are going to enter the maturity of life. The very limbs of the body start refusing obedience. Within those own lonely hours and moments of life I give my thanks that one thing never leaves, that's the consciousness, the divinity, the dignity, the grace which Guru has bestowed through the experience of years to reach the abode, the ultimate, the final destiny of man. For this I give my thanks that with all your help and understanding and love and affection, this journey was good. It was clear, it was conscious.

And I hope as long as we breathe, we breathe together a breath of warmth, a breath of harmony and peace, of kindness and compassion, and that we shall remember each other as friends, as relatives of the Guru, born in the same house under the same destiny. And in that gratitude, as we all will leave, others will follow the values.

Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, thank you for this auspicious day, for the Sadh Sangat, for this love and friendship, for this comradeship and this journey walking the path of the Guru.

© 1994 The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan