Chapter 15 — On Contentment

Vasishta continued:—

Contentment (the third gate-keeper) is the chief good. Contentment is called (true) enjoyment, and the contented man, O destroyer of enemies, gets the best repose. Those who are happy with their prosperity of contentment and possess the calm repose of their souls are like holy saints. They think a kingdom no better than a bit of rotten straw.

Whoever retains a contented mind amidst all the affairs of the world is never disturbed or dejected in adverse circumstances, O Rama. The saints who are satisfied with the ambrosial drink of contentment consider the greatest wealth and enjoyments to be only poison. Even the waves of liquid nectar fail to afford that pleasure which the sweetest taste of contentment, the healer of all evils, gives to its owner.

Abandonment of unfruitful desires, and calmness in those desires that are obtained, feeling no pain and having no sense of pleasure, constitute what is called contentment here below. Until the mind can enjoy contentment rising of itself spontaneously in the soul, troubles will continue to grow like briars and brambles in a bog. The mind cooled by calm contentment and purified by the light of philosophy is always in its full bloom like a lotus under sunbeams.

An ungoverned mind, subject to desires and devoid of contentment, does not receive the light of knowledge, like a soiled mirror takes no reflection of the face. 10 A man whose mind is always bright with the sunshine of contentment does not shrivel like a lotus in the dark night of ignorance. 11 A man devoid of diseases and anxieties, whose mind is content though he be thoroughly poor, enjoys the happiness of a supreme ruler. 12 He is called contented who does not long after what he does not possess, who enjoys what he has in its right manner, and who is always graceful in his manners. 13 There is a beauty that shines in the face of one whose mind has the satisfaction of contentment. His face has a fullness of magnanimity and a purity of thoughts like that of the Milky Ocean.

14 Let a man rely on his manly efforts and entertain self control within himself to abandon his craving for things. 15 He whose mind is full with the ambrosia of contentment and a calm and cool understanding acquires a perpetual composure within himself, like cooling moonbeams. 16 All great fortunes wait upon him whose mind is strengthened by contentment, as if they were servants attending a king. 17 One remaining content and composed in himself quells all his anxieties and cares, like the rains settle the dust of the earth.

18 Rama, a man shines by the contentment of his mind and the purity of his conduct, like the cooling and spotless moon when she is full. 19 No one receives so much delight from his accumulation of wealth as he derives from the sight of the beautiful placid countenance (of a contented person). 20 Know, O delight of Raghu’s race, that the gods and the sages honor most those best of men who are decorated with grace of equanimity.