A popular perception of contentment is that contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state, maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind. Perhaps, even, settling for a little bit less is a milder and more tentative form of happiness. It is a pity these definitions exist, for they do not speak of the mind, desire, nor discontentment. What is contentment in relation to purushartha, the goal of life?
ananda: bliss, elation, state of extreme happiness, “cloud nine”,
santhi, shanti: peace, serenity, repose, harmony, concord, concordance,
ātman, ātmā, ātma- San. m. the Self, the soul, the life principle, the divine core of personality, man’s individual indwelling reality (jīvātmā), the wave in the ocean of the universal Self (paramātmā or brahman),
param – Hin. adj. parama– San. prefix (superlative of para) supreme, best, perfect, most glorious, in the highest degree, most excellent, ultimate, transcendental, mightiest, most remote, further than.
parama+brahman San. N. the supreme Self, the Absolute.
punya Hin., San. adj. meritorious; auspicious, favourable; sin-destroying; pure, pleasing Hin. m., San. n. religious or moral merit accumulated from good acts; virtue, a virtuous act; welfare; happiness; ‘one who bestows merit on those who remember and adore him’.
sākshātkāra San. m. direct visual or intuitive perception of God; Self-realisation.
Question 41: “Sir, what is contentment and who gets it?”
Answer : Ramji, a contented person is one who does not desire the things he is without, nor does he delight or grieve at the good or bad in what he possesses. Such a person is ever absorbed in ananda. Being established in the Atma (soul), he lives with satisfaction. Such a person is always free from desires. He who does not aspire for things he is without and what he has got without having desired, uses that in accordance with the injunctions of scriptures, is a contented person. But he who is discontented, is always consumed by anxiety and grief. A contented person is always at peace within and is not entangled in worldly objects. Where there is contentment, there is no desire.
So never mistake that which is the ‘seen’ to be permanent or true! You cannot exult in anything else except the Ocean of the Ananda of the Indivisible Undivided Atma, or Brahmam. You can get real and full contentment only in the significant, sweet meaningful experience of the Parabrahmam Itself; only that can give solace from this cycle of birth and death. These unreal things can never afford contentment; the present is without existence and significance. Nothing other than the Atman can ever, at any time, in any manner confer any benefit, or bring about any Santhi. It cannot put an end to sorrow and shower Ananda.
Man must have Samadrishti, equal sight. All creation must appear to his eyes as equally auspicious. He must look upon all being with as much love and faith as he has in himself. For there is nothing evil in creation, no, not even an iota. Evil appears as such only through faulty vision. Creation gets coloured by the nature of the glasses we wear. By itself it is eternally pure and holy.
There is, in this world, no penance higher than fortitude, no, happiness greater than contentment, no punya holier than mercy, no weapon more effective than patience.
Devotees should consider the body as the field, good deeds as seeds and cultivate the Name of the Lord, with the help of the Heart as the farmer, in order to get the harvest, the Lord Himself. How can one get the crop without the cultivation? Like cream in milk, like fire in fuel, the Lord is in everything, more or less. Have full faith in this. As the milk, so the cream; as the fuel, so the fire; so also, as the spiritual effort, so satshaksara – the vision of the Divine. Even if the attainment of liberation is not directly realised as a consequence of taking up the Lord’s name, four fruits are clearly evident to those who have had the experience. They are
- The Company of the Great (the saints, the goodly and godly)
- The Control of the Senses.
Through whichever of these gates one may enter, whether he be a householder or recluse, or a member of any other class, he can reach the Lord without fail. This is certain. Men crave for worldly happiness. Analysed properly, this itself is the disease and sufferings are but the drugs we take. In the midst of these worldly pleasures, one rarely entertains the desire for attaining the Lord.