No matter who we are or where we live we have someone (or something) to thank. Perhaps we thank the sun for brightening our day, or our car for starting without trouble. We may thank Krishna for our connection to Him, or our co-worker for helping us out. We thank because we are dependent on others in all aspects of our life. We thank because it is good for us, especially for our spiritual practice.
To make our thanks genuine and communicate our gratitude in the best way possible we can consider the following 5 elements:
1. Be real
Recognize what we receive and acknowledge the difference it makes in our life. We are truly made by the grace and blessings of others - we need to open our eyes, see the gifts, and count the blessings.
2. Be personal
Being personal means expressing feeling. Here is a beautiful example of a thank you given by Srila Prabhupada to his disciple. We can feel Prabhupada’s joy in his letter - “I thank you very much that you have already allotted a nice apartment for me, an entire first floor, so if I had the wings of a dove I could fly immediately to Brooklyn and enter my apartment.” (letter, 1970)
3. Be practical
One of the best ways to say thanks is to do something practical for the person - that is to offer something tangible in reciprocation. One way Krishna thanks us for our efforts to get to know Him is that "He gives us the understanding by which to come to Him.” (Bhagavad-gita 10.10). What could be more practical or a more generous gesture of gratitude than that?
We should thank often because often we leave our thank you’s until it’s too late. Gratitude lets a person know how we feel and if we don’t say it they won’t know it. A human tendency is to take people for granted. We are so full of ourselves we leave little room for others. Thank now and thank often.
God himself taught us this one. No one loves Krishna more than the gopis (young cowherd maidens) and He relishes their love more than anyone else. Their love is so great that even Krishna Himself says He can’t thank them enough - “It is impossible to repay you or show enough gratitude for your love; therefore please be satisfied by your own pious activities.” (Krishna Book, 32)
We too can offer gratitude to Krishna with such a mood of ‘never enough’ as we recite the following prayer - “My dear Lord, even if someone lives as long as Brahma, he would still be unable to express his gratitude to You for the benefits derived from remembering You.” (Bhagavatam 11.29.6)