The heedless man incurs serious loss through ingratitude for bounties. We shall describe only one of its many aspects. It is as follows:
If someone eats a delicious bounty and gives thanks, by virtue of his thanks the bounty becomes a light and a fruit of Paradise in the hereafter. If, because of the pleasure, he thinks of it as the work of Almighty God’s favour and mercy, it yields a true, lasting delight and enjoyment. He sends kernels and essences of its meanings and immaterial substances like these to the abodes above, while the material husk-like residue, that is, the matter that has completed its duty and now is unnecessary, becomes excreta and goes to be transformed into its original substances, that is, into the elements. If he fails to give thanks, the temporary pleasure leaves a pain and sorrow at its passing, and itself becomes waste. Bounty, which is as precious as diamonds, is transformed into coal. Through thanks, ephemeral sustenance produces enduring pleasures, everlasting fruits. While bounty that is met with ingratitude is turned from the very best of forms into the most distasteful. For according to the heedless person, after producing a fleeting pleasure, sustenance ends up as waste-matter.
Sustenance is indeed in a form worthy of love, and this form is to be seen through thanks. However, the passion of the misguided and heedless for sustenance is animality. You can make further comparisons in this way and see what a loss the heedless and misguided suffer.
Among animate species, man is the most needy for all the varieties of sustenance. Almighty God created man as a comprehensive mirror to all His names; as a miracle of power with the capacity to weigh up and recognize the contents of all His treasuries of mercy; and as His vicegerent on earth possessing the faculties to draw to the scales and evaluate all the subtleties of His names’ manifestations. He therefore made man utterly resourceless, rendering him needy for the endless varieties of sustenance, material and immaterial. Thanks is the means of raising man to “the best of forms,” which is the highest position in accordance with this comprehensiveness. If he does not give thanks, he falls to “the lowest of the low,” and perpetrates a great wrong.
I n S h o r t : Thanks is the most essential of the four fundamental principles of the way of worship and winning God’s love, the highest and most elevated way. These four principles have been defined as follows:
“Four things are necessary on the way of the impotent, my friend:
“Absolute impotence, absolute poverty, absolute fervour, and absolute thanks, my friend.”
O God, through Your mercy, appoint us among those who give thanks, O