Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Internal Light

Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

We have been have been finding out what are the characteristics, the values, which can blow the negative traits away. So far there have been determination, forgiveness, patience, forbearance, equanimity and compassion.

Now for CONTENTMENT. This is a major value to develop and use as the underpinning of life.

The mind is ever restless, stimulated by greed, need and desperate to feed.  On what? All the different lusts; dependencies; I-ness and myness… the list is endless of the traps for a wavering mind. There are said to be four sentinels guarding the domain of moksha - the place in which the spirit can finally and totally rest; they are  शान्ति/shaanti (quietude), सन्तोष/santosh (contentment),  सत्संग/satsanga (company of the righteous) and  विचार/vichaara (investigation/study). The latter is being done even as you read this, or any text which helps to pull you from the storms of samsara.  Satsanga we have seen discussed in Saadhana Panchakam. Shanti is both large and small. It is essentially present in any reading, any meditation any discussion with peers on matters spiritual. Shanti is an attitude of receptiveness, it contains peace (which it most commonly translated as), but also the vast stillness behind the universe.  It is the depth of the ocean, where there is still the current of life, but none of the squall and blatter on the ocean's surface. One who rests in shanti is secure in their being.

Santosh is the foundation for living in harmony.  There can be no greater gain for a man than contentment. To be free of longing is its own kind of bliss. The man who is never content, who cannot get enough money, power, land, property… that man is ever a pauper of the spirit. Men of spirit may find that wealth comes to them, but they do not seek it. When it arrives, they deal with it in a manner befitting the spiritual;  which is to keep only what is required, distribute the remainder.

Although people know that contentment is a virtue that gives peace of mind, they do not try to develop it.  Why? It is because they have lost the power of discrimination and the power of enquiry into aatma/Self.  They have lost the vichaara shakti (power of investigation) due to the lure of easier pursuits. The greed for immediate gratifications, satisfying the senses, clouds the intellect, as well as the memory of the true purpose of life.  There are those who fear that to be in such a state of acceptance is likely to wipe out their ambition, that they will become lazy.  Contentment can never make you idle! It is a sattvic (pure) virtue that propels man towards God.  It supports strength of mind and also peace.  It checks unnecessary and selfish activity.  It opens the inner eye and allows progress towards the divine.  Without contentment to turn our energy inwards, transmuting the gross into the subtle, we succumb to the greeds and needs. A contented man is actually full of energy, but it is inward and dynamic; productivity rises and is of quality; there is focus and the mind is well controlled.

It is contentment which gives the aspirant the strength to stick to the path of spirituality, for he must be fearless as the way is filled with challenge. Contentment nourishes viveka, vairaagya and vichaara.

Happiness consists not in possessing much but in being content with what is possessed.  He who wants little always has enough.  Wealth or power bring their own peculiar inconveniences and troubles. One who is balanced in contentment however, will not be affected and even if wealth comes, the attendant issues will be dealt with in correct fashion, not to disturb that contentment.

One can always look and see someone who is better off than oneself; forgetting that often we are better off than someone who has less.  Maintaining perspective, accepting our lot, is a component of contentment. The contented man is never poor, the discontented never rich. The contented man is magnanimous and graceful, free from cares and anxieties.  The sight of a calm countenance on a contented person gives delight to those who come in contact with them, for they shine with the divine light.

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Hari OM
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