Guiding Light: What is contentment

“The mind that is content is the precious parasmani that turns everything into gold.”

Santosha, or contentment, is a virtue we must all cultivate. When we overcome the craving for more money, more power, more material comforts, we become aware that there is nothing wrong in enjoying the pleasures and the delights of this beautiful world that God has created for us. God created this beautiful world as a vale of contentment, a garden of joy and beauty for us to live in!

Contentment is not to be equated with complacency and passivism; it is the dynamic realisation that what we are, and what we have, are part of God’s Providence and God’s Will for us. It is the awareness that we are with God in all circumstances and situations of life and therefore, lack nothing!

Contentment indeed is a rare and precious jewel! There is a Tamil proverb which tells us, “The mind that is content is the precious parasmani that turns everything into gold.”

The five principal niyamas (dos or observances) recommended by Sage Patanjali are: saucha (purification); santosha (contentment); tapas (asceticism); swadhyaya (self-study); and Ishwara pranidhana (surrender to the Divine).

The man of contentment

• A man of contentment is known by his attitude to the things happening around him.

• In every situation, under all conditions he says, “Praised be the Lord! Whatever He does, whatever He gives me, is worthy of praise.” This attitude of acceptance with gratitude should be genuine. It should come from the depths of your heart, then alone will you experience inner peace. A man of contentment will praise the Lord and express his gratitude even when he is passing through stormy weather or facing the worst crisis of life.

• A man of contentment is always at peace with himself and the world. He does not lose his temper, nor does he complain or blame others for his condition, because he knows that whatever God does has a meaning and purpose for him.

A man of contentment sings the song:

Tum hee sab kuchh jaanat preetam, teri ichha puran ho

Dukh mein sukh mein mere pritam, teri ichha puran ho!

Thy Will be done, O Lord!

(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader)

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