I first came to know about the Thanksgiving holiday in November 1996, when I first moved to the US after getting married. I vividly remember being attracted to this holiday as it celebrates a way of life my mother inspired in me.
As a kid growing up in India, I had observed my mother being thankful for the smallest to the biggest of things and everything in between that life threw at her.…and her life had thrown at her a good share of challenges! Today, when I look back as a grown up woman, I know without a doubt in my mind that her strength to be thankful came from a place of unwavering faith in Spirituality.
As we all know, growing kids are influenced by what the parents practice and not what they tend to preach. So this subtly powerful strength of my mother’s thankfulness had a powerful influence on me! I too started to emulate her strength of thanksgiving in my own little ways—giving thanks to the chocolates I received from my dad, a surprise favorite recipe prepared by mom, doing homework with my best friend, missing school when it rained heavily, and so on. As a 10-year-old kid, I felt more comfortable going to our prayer room every day and offering thanks to the guardian angel than expressing it to my parents. In fact, this daily ritual soon became my favorite time of the day.
This seed of thanksgiving planted early in the fertile landscape of my pure mind, with the grace of my Guru Parmahansa Yogananda, has now blossomed into a “Tree of Gratefulness.” Today, my heart beats with gratefulness for all that life has bestowed on me—good things coming my way have yielded branches of confidence, things that didn’t materialize the way I wanted them to be have yielded branches of patience and perseverance, grief of losing my parents at an early age has yielded branches of compassion, and hardships in life have yielded branches of humility.
The nourishment to keep my tree of gratefulness healthy and strong comes from my daily meditation and introspection. But this is definitely a work in progress, and the goal is to uncover the greatest gift this tree will unfold one day—to get to know my highest potential as a human being!
How Ayurveda Defines Thankfulness
Ayurveda insists profoundly that thankfulness is an outward expression of being in a state of gratefulness. As you can see, what both these words have in common is the word “fullness.” So this is how I would like to interpret the subject from an Ayurvedic standpoint:
Many centuries ago, Ayurveda formulated six tastes (rasas) to define a complete wholesome and healthy meal an individual should have every day. These six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. They collectively contribute in giving full nourishment to all the bodily tissues and aid in optimal digestion, assimilation, and excretion.
Sadhak Pitta And Thankfulness
Taking this as an analogy to be fully thankful, an individual may have to undergo life in all the six flavors (experiences); all these dualities in life will eventually immolate the ego and thus collectively contribute to making an individual fully thankful, which translates as thankfulness.
Thankfulness is an emotion expressed in the heart and, as per Ayurveda, it is the sadhak pitta (sub-dosha of pitta) that governs the emotions in the heart. If this sadhak pitta is out of balance, there is no way an individual can express gratitude or be thankful in life.
From a Western perspective, sadhak pitta refers to the dopamine that helps to regulate the feeling of love and joy and serotonin that helps to regulate moods and memory. So for this Thanksgiving, I gratefully offer you two of my Ayurvedic recipes that will help bring balance to the sadhak pitta.
Green Beans Stir-Fry
- 1 medium size cup of steamed green beans
- 1 tbsp finely chopped shallots (optional)
- 1–2 tsp ghee (clarified butter) or 1–2 tsp EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 tsp roasted coriander powder
- Fresh squeeze of lime juice (as per taste)
- High-mineral salt (as per taste)
- Few sprigs of cilantro (for garnish)
- In a saucepan, add ghee/oil and switch on the gas to a low-medium flame.
- Add the steamed green beans and saute them in ghee for 2 minutes.
- Now, add the spice mix of cumin and coriander and saute for 5–8 minutes until you smell the deep appetizing aroma of the spices. You may want to add little water if the green beans stick to the pan.
- Switch off the heat and add the salt and lime juice.
- When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro.
Rose Milk Drink
- 2 cups of warm milk or pumpkin seed milk made with soaked pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup of organic dehydrated food grade rose petals (soaked for 10 minutes)
- 3–6 soaked dates
- 2 drops of alcohol-free vanilla essence
Blend all the ingredients for 1–2 mins. Enjoy this drink warm with your family and friends!
NOTE: The quantities mentioned here serve two people.
Include these Ayurvedic recipes in your Thanksgiving meal and see the difference interacting with your loved ones. The balanced sadhak pitta will make you holiday truly special by invoking good memories filled with love and joy.