This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
Title - Sadhak and Sathi
Author - Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)
CHAPTER - 15
Contentment is a state in which even when subjected to various
longings and temptations in day-to-day life, one remains
unruffled and satisfied. As explained earlier in our chapter on
forgiveness, let it be clearly understood, that contentment is
the very basic nature of Soul (Atma). Therefore permitting
greediness to arise or becoming greedy is unnatural in spiritual
vision, as it gives birth to viciousness and sorrows.
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE (SADHANA) OF CONTENTMENT AND ITS REWARD
One who experiences resorting to spiritual practice (Sadhana)
and has understood the nature of the soul (Atma) and the
doctrine of Karma by philosophical vision, is very fortunate
indeed. Such a heroic person has the necessary capability to
uphold the great virtue of contentment. Wealth, power,
relations and fame cannot be attained just by hankering after
them. These things can be acquired easily if one deserves them
and is lucky to have the benefit of previously acquired merit.
It is only when such true conviction and faith arise, that
supreme contentment reveals itself by stages in the life of an
When contentment is attained, a person experiences mental peace,
ease in life, and a state free from worries and tension. He is
not inclined to be attracted by big festivals. Thus, by stages,
he experiences introversion and steadiness, and attains to the
highest transcendental meditation (Nirvikalpa-Samadhi). He also
associates with divine bliss through the control of the mind
(Chitta). Attainment of this state is the climax of a
successful spiritual life. This is precisely the true
meditation of the Yogis, the unflinching devotion of devotees
and self-knowledge of enlightened souls.
Desirelessness is achieved in proportion to contentment;
accomplished with the dawning of non-attachment. A spiritual
practice in isolation results in quick success of spiritual
progress. A higher state is also attained to in the life
hereafter because of the collection of unique virtues through
quietude of passions in general and covetousness in particular.
WAYS TO CONQUER COVETOUSNESS:
The process narrated in the first chapter on forgiveness applies
here also. In that chapter we have described the stages of
annihilation of anger and the process thereof; here, in a
similar manner, we have to understand that the effort of
annihilation of covetousness becomes successful by resorting to
the virtue under discussion.
However, actually conquering covetousness is indeed more
difficult than conquering anger. Covetousness is so very
cunning that it is not externally manifested while anger is
detected by several external signs, and hence, its detection
Covetousness is, again, shown to be the last of all passions to
be separated from soul (Atman), as described in the Jaina
doctrines. This is due to the utter difficulty of conquering
its subtle types. The condemnation of covetousness and the
greatness of contentment are known to the world by famous
sayings such as, "Covetousness fathers sin," "The pit of desires
is limitless and endless," "Desire is the root cause of sorrow,"
and so on.
A person blinded by covetousness resorts not only to deceit,
treachery and injustice, but may go to the extent even of
killing the other person. A person subjected to covetousness
resorts to such condemnable acts as described above and
therefore the Sadhaka should continue in his efforts to strike
constantly at the gross and subtle forms of covetousness and
resort to the virtue of supreme contentment for his further
GLORY OF CONTENTMENT:
1. Discontent is a great sorrow and contentment is a great
happiness. Let the Sadhakas have such firm conviction and
let them try constantly to feel contented.
2. Wealth in the form of cash, land, houses, cars, and jewels is
known to the world, but few in the world know that
contentment is the wealth before which all other forms of
wealth are just trifles.
3. Contentment is natural wealth, while voluptuousness is
4. A calm personality is the highest austerity (Tapas).
Contentment is the highest happiness. Desires are the worst
of diseases. Compassion is the noblest religion.
5. A person free from attachment is free from worries, one free
from worries is free from anxiety. The person who is not
attached to any object is a uncrowned king or queen of the
6. Giving up attachment to wealth and such like, is difficult.
Persons endowed with a sense of discrimination are also
enslaved by covetousness. One should therefore, constantly
study and put into practice, the causes that reduce
7. The great emperors (Chakravarti) of the earth and the king of
heaven (Indra) also have great desires and attachments. They
become acquisitive. However only great sages on the earth
who have abandoned desires completely by resorting to true
contentment, really experience increasing divine and
supersensuous bliss. Such great souls command respect and
veneration from one and all.
8. O Soul! What do you desire now? Desire is the root of
sorrow. The eternal misery is dissipated only when the
desire is destroyed.
9. A saint (Yogi) is supreme being in the world for the time
when he is desireless. The moment he desires something
worldly, the world is superior to him and he becomes a
10. As one gives up desires through right knowledge, his mind
slowly and steadily gives up unsteadiness. As unsteadiness
is given up, the mind and the senses are conquered, the
hesitations disappears from the mind. This leads the
aspirant (Sadhaka) to experience the delight of Supreme
transcendental meditation (Samadhi).
11. A person is happy permanently in contentment. He is ever
merged in the ambrosia of self meditation. Senses and their
objects seen to be a source of unhappiness to him.
12. It is necessary that a person gives up all worldly desires
so that he can attain to absolute Truth. If desires are not
restrained, they go on expanding and make it difficult to
liberate from worldly life. This is because the depth of
desires and attachments is endless and can never be filled.
Self-controlled, heroic, and discriminating persons therefore
conquer desires and passions through contentment and lead
their lives for the ultimate freedom of themselves and
others. Let us praise these heroes! Blessed are these great
LIVING EXAMPLES OF CONTENTMENT:
A great Sanskrit scholar named Kaiyata, was the writer of the
great religious scripture "Maha-Bhashya-Tilaka". He was from
the tradition of the Brahmin pundits of Kashmir. He led the
life of a sage (Rishi). His cottage had one mat on the floor to
seat, a water-pot, a few clothes and utensils, and religious
He was always busy with his religious works for many hours in a
day. His wife used to weave ropes and earned a some money for
food. They were very poor, yet he and his wife will not to
accept any charity from any source.
The king of Kashmir learnt of the poor life of this great
scholar Kaiyata. He personally came to his cottage and said
humbly with folded hands, "Sir, I am ashamed that the learned
scholar (pundit) like you, is poor in my kingdom."
Kaiyata immediately folded his mat, took water-pot and told his
wife, "Let us not stay here. The king feels ashamed of us!"
The king bow down at his feet with folded hands, "Kindly pardon
my mistake if any. Kindly give me an opportunity to serve you!"
Kaiyata replied, "If you are serious about serving me, please
see that you or your officers do not come here. Please do not
send gifts, money or food and so on. My only desire is to live
in seclusion, study the scriptures, write, and remain engrossed
in the self meditation. I desire nothing else."
This is the desirelessness of a true devotee of the goddess of
learning (Saraswati). Such contentment is difficult to be found
in modern days in scholars or even in saints and monks.
Swami Dayananda Saraswati is in the first rank of the great men
of the nineteenth century. He has established the new Hindu
religion sect called Arya-Samaj. He was a great devotee and
servant of Indian culture. He was a celibate throughout his
In the initial days of his spiritual practice (Sadhana), he
followed a strict vow with himself and used to wear only one
loin cloth on his body. Once a gentleman came and said,
"Swamiji, since you have only one loin cloth, I have brought
Swamiji replied, "Well friend, even this one loin cloth is a
burden to me. Why do you load me with an extra burden? I thank
you for your regard, but I cannot accept another loin cloth.
Please take it back."
This was the desirelessness and spirit of contentment of the
great monk (yogi).
Sheikh Sadi was a great religious preacher of moslim religion in
Iran. He was very poor. Once he had no shoes to wear and no
money to buy. Without shoes, while walking, his feet used to
burn and pebbles bruised his feet. He felt very discomfort.
During this time he went for prayers to the mosque at Kufa. He
saw at the entrance, a man with both his legs amputated. When
Sheikh Sadi pondered over that man's helplessness, his eyes
opened. He thanked God, "O God, how kind of you! You have kept
my two legs safe!"
If we look to the sorrows of others in the world, our own
sorrows lessen. We then remain contented with the state that
providence has placed us in.
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