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World Gratitude Day

The ideal of World Gratitude Day is to give people the opportunity to offer personal gratitude, but also to remember gratitude is an essential emotion that should be universally shared. World Gratitude Day is celebrated on the equinox of September 21st.

From 1977 onwards, World Gratitude Day was supported by Sri Chinmoy and the Peace Meditations at the United Nations. Sri Chinmoy composed a special song "World Gratitude Day" and this was performed by the Meditation Group Choir.

O World Gratitude Day!
I pray for you, I pray.
Man's feeble climbing ray
Is one with God's Vision-Play.
Compassion: highest gift.
Gratitude: fastest lift.
Only satisfaction-seed
Can feed man and God's need.

Sri Chinmoy 1

Sri Chinmoy wrote frequently about how the power of gratitude could be a force for good in people's lives and the wider world.

Is humanity's
First giant step

Sri Chinmoy [2]

World Gratitude Day Award

At the special request of the day's founder, Mrs. Edna Fuerth Lemle, Sri Chinmoy and the Peace Meditations at the United Nations participated on a number of World Gratitude Day observations. In 1977 Mrs Lemle presented to Sri Chinmoy the World Gratitude Day Award.

Mrs Lemle handing plaque to Sri Chinmoy

On presenting the award, Mrs. Lemle explained her choice:

"Each year the Board of Directors of World Gratitude Day presents an award to someone who we feel has done something outstanding in the spirit of Globalism. In the past we have honoured such distinguished individuals as Angie Brooks Randolph, first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly, Maurice Strong of Canada and the Nobel Prize Laureate, Rene Cassin. In addition we have honoured UNICEF and Japan, which, incidentally, was the first country to declare World Gratitude Day a national day of thanksgiving.

And so, I present this year's World Gratitude Day Award (1977):

WORLD GRATITUDE DAY is pleased to honour SRI CHINMOY who has enhanced the spirit of globalism with his compassion, his creativity and his great nobility; whose being and achievements reflect the spirit of our Proclamation:

  • WHEREAS, humanity has come to recognise devotion and allegiance to immediate family, to clan, to city, to state, and to nation, and now must experience the concept of Globalism; and
  • WHEREAS, words of praise and positive thoughts generate dynamic harmony, and
  • WHEREAS, decisions made from a grateful heart are endowed with intrinsic wisdom and engender prosperity; and
  • WHEREAS, gratitude, the opposite of “taking for granted,” is a positive emotion which generates good will, is a basic emotion which is indigenous to all people, is a peace-engendering feeling;
  • AND WHEREAS, September 21 is a special day. It is an equinox: one of the two times of the year when the sun passes over the equator and night and day are everywhere of equal length and everyone is equal under the sun;

THEREFORE let us proclaim World Gratitude Day, a holiday for all peoples, a day of meditation for all religions, a day of celebration for all humanity, united by knowledge of simultaneously shared emotion, a day when triumph of the spirit can make a world community.

Sri Chinmoy, I think the world should be grateful to people like you. I am honoured to give you this award.

Sri Chinmoy opened the programme for World Gratitude with a silent prayer.

Sri Chinmoy on receiving the Award

Sri Chinmoy: I am accepting this with my heart's boundless gratitude, and this gratitude is something that is glowing and growing within me. Every day I offer to the Beloved Supreme only one thing: gratitude. Man's greatest gift to God is gratitude. Man's self-giving and his gratitude are one and the same.

I am extremely grateful to you, Mrs. Lemle, for you are opening a new chapter in humanity's evolution. The world is in the process of evolution. You know the utmost significance of gratitude, and the awakened soul in you is awakening others. Gratitude is man's conscious oneness with his Beloved Supreme. I am sure that your soul has felt this supreme oneness with the Beloved Supreme and your soul has come to the fore to urge your illumined mind to offer this loftiest message to the world at large.

Gratitude in the inner world is nothing but self-expansion. It is through self-expansion that we become aware of our true reality, which is Infinity itself. Your contribution to the world at large, to the inner world especially, is momentous. As a seeker, I know that there is nothing on earth as valuable and significant as gratitude. In God's Eye there is nothing more meaningful and precious than man's gratitude. Therefore, to you, to the illumining soul in you, I wish to offer my boundless and ever-growing gratitude.

World Gratitude Day, New York Headquarters

21 September 1977 2

Extract from New Yorker Magazine (1984)

“World Gratitude Day, recognized by proclamation in thirty-eight States and two countries, falls each year at the time of the autumnal equinox and serves as a sort of secular, global Thanksgiving. In fact Mrs. Lemle got the idea at a reception she attended at the United Nations in 1963 a few days before Thanksgiving. She asked the Ambassador from Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, if his countrymen would join in Thanksgiving, and he said he did not think his people would adopt an American holiday.

“Mrs. Lemle proposed the new Celebration, with a different date but the same feeling. ‘Straight away, I told Eleanor Roosevelt about it and asked her to start it,' Mrs. Lemle said. “Eleanor said, ‘Edna, you start it.' I said, ‘I don't know how to start a holiday.' “But start it she did, and it has survived, and that is something. Mrs. Lemle seems to belong to a slightly old-fashioned breed that has managed somehow to steer clear of cynicism – that citrus canker of human affairs.

“'When you're bothered, just stop and think of something to be grateful for — what it is doesn't matter so much as the emotion,” she says and she is correct.

“Who comes to World Gratitude Day? Some followers of Sri Chinmoy, who is a religious leader, and some friends of Edna Lemle, and Richard Roffman, who has been a radio figure for 50 years and now works in TV… “I am grateful for the life I have lived” he told us…”


  1. From the songbook Chandelier, Part 1 by Sri Chinmoy.↩︎

  2. Sri Chinmoy, The Seeker's Mind, Agni Press (1978)↩︎